Air Quality Testing for Mold
Most people are not aware of how severely mold can affect their health. Because mold spores are so small, they can become airborne easily and spread quickly. Just because you cannot see a mold contamination in your home doesn’t mean that it’s not there.
Mold and mildew are the result of moisture and water damage. Rooms that are prone to leaks, condensation and flooding often experience mold growth. These include bathrooms, attics and basements.
Property owners have to be careful because moisture problems are not always obvious or visible. They can remain completely hidden from sight (behind walls and underneath carpets). If left untreated, they will lead to black mold contamination.
Exposure to black mold can cause or aggravate health conditions like asthma and allergies.
Over time, it can also lead to more serious conditions such as chronic bronchitis, problems with the nervous system, cancer and heart conditions.
Luckily, you have two types of air tests to help you detect unseen mold: viable sampling and non-viable sampling. Each has its advantages and drawbacks (see below), but both are effective means of assessing indoor air quality.
Types of air tests for mold
Air sampling is one of the best ways to identify indoor contaminants and assess the quality of your indoor air. There are two main air tests for mold: viable and non-viable.
What is viable air sampling for mold?
In viable testing, a sample of air is taken on a growth media and incubated in a petri dish over time until colonies form. This process reveals the exact genus and species of the microorganisms gathered in the sample.
There are literally thousands of mold species, and some are more dangerous than others. Viable air sampling helps to identify mold down to its exact species—information that’s important in determining if you are being exposed to various toxic molds.
Pros and cons of viable air tests
- A viable air sample provides more detailed information about the microorganisms present in an air sample. However, because this method requires culturing, it takes longer to get results. It’s also more expensive.
- In addition, some microorganisms captured in the sample may not germinate depending on the growth media used and competition from other molds. This means that results aren’t 100% accurate.
Mold Busters works only with accredited microbiological laboratories in Canada and the United States so that you get accurate and reliable results in a timely manner.
What is non-viable air sampling for mold?
In non-viable testing, an air sample is collected and observed directly under a microscope. No culturing is required, so the results are ready much sooner.
Non-viable tests (also known as spore traps) are the industry standard for residential mold testing.
The pros and cons of non-viable air sampling
- Because no culturing is required in non-viable sampling, you get results much sooner. It’s also much cheaper than a viable test.
- The results of a non-viable test are presented in an easy-to-read list that includes the genus name and concentration of spores contained in the sample. This makes evaluating the extent of a fungal contamination much easier.
- The main drawback of non-viable air tests is that they reveal only the genus of a microorganism, not the exact species. Therefore, they cannot distinguish between, for example, Stachybotrys chartarum and any another species of Stachybotrys.
Mold Busters uses industry-recognized Air-O-Cell and Allergenco-D air monitoring cassettes and works directly with accredited laboratories to provide the fastest and most reliable results to our Ottawa, Gatineau and Montreal clients. Book your air quality test today!