Has anybody been through the process of testing for mold in their house?
Googling, I see services; I see do-it-yourself kits; I see mention of
"Safe mold", "Bad-for-you mold", "Treat all molds as problematic..."
Lots of stuff... some of it apparently conflicting....
Unencumbered by any knowledge on the subject, my only thought is that I
would not want to hire somebody to do the inspection that also does
remediation, or has relationships with people who do remediation.... the
old "Let us check your automatic transmission for free...." and all
Interestingly, the county I live in recommends that homeowners *not*
test for mold - unless they see or smell evidence of it. They don't
recommend hiring a test firm or buying a test kit unless you see/smell
something that suggests you may have a problem. That sounds to me as
if they're hinting that a lot of these mold test companies will find
mold even when there is none, because that's how they stay in business.
I had a free termite inspection. They found none but I opted for
treatment around the house as neighbors on both sides had infestations
and I was tired of worrying about it.
The inspection was a joke as I had already covered the areas myself and
thought I was more thorough. When the treaters came in, they referred
to the inspector as the salesman. I thought that was funny.
Something like mold or radon, I'd do myself unless you like expensive
My bad. It's actually the state health department, which I came to by
clicking a link on the county site. Here's the page:
Should I test for mold?
The Minnesota Department of Health does not recommend testing for
mold. Instead, you should simply assume there is a problem whenever
you see mold or smell mold odors.
The EPA seems to hold the same opinion:
Testing or Sampling for Mold
Is sampling for mold needed? In most cases, if visible mold growth is
present, sampling is unnecessary. Since no EPA or other federal limits
have been set for mold or mold spores, sampling cannot be used to
check a building's compliance with federal mold standards. Surface
sampling may be useful to determine if an area has been adequately
cleaned or remediated. Sampling for mold should be conducted by
professionals who have specific experience in designing mold sampling
protocols, sampling methods, and interpreting results. Sample analysis
should follow analytical methods recommended by the American
Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the American Conference of
Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), or other professional
I'm suspicious of the whole thing. Some people,
especially with asthma, may be very sensitive to
mold, but in general if you have a mold problem
you smell it. Then you stop whatever moisture is
enabling the mold to grow and you wash with bleach.
We have a damp cellar with foundation walls that
sometimes leak. They're made of giant stones. In
the summer it's damp and cool down there. I can smell
the mold. But I don't see any reason to "treat" it. It
would just come back again, anyway. Actually, on a
hot summer day I rather like that damp, moldy air.
It seems to open up my sinuses.
Ever since hurricane Katrina it seems that mold
paranoia has become a big business, as though it
I work for a school district. We constantly have people who read an
article about "sick building syndrome" or mold scares. Here comes the
science. Mold spores are everywhere. I don't believe you could ever
test for mold and not find any. They exist at all temperatures,
humidity levels, and chemical circumstances. There are many types of
mold and only a few are notably toxic.
In order for mold to be active, alive, and something that needs to be
dealt with requires dark, damp, and something to eat. Eliminate any one
of these and the mold goes back to a dormant condition. It isn't dead,
it is dormant. A typical mold test requires testing both the outside
and the inside, lab analysis of the filters, and careful scientific
interpretation of the results. A typical cost is $3-5,000. What they
are looking for has to do with any differences. Ones that we have had
done usually report the indoor air quality is much better than the
outdoors due to cleaning and filtration of the air. HVAC code requires
strong percentages of outdoor air which instantly contaminate the
filters with whatever is present outdoors.
Get the water problems solved and it goes back to dormant.
If you want true and understandable bullding science, I suggest spending
your time here:
Good answers about insulation, climate zones, proper flashing, etc.
On 3/3/2015 10:13 AM, (PeteCresswell) wrote:
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.