There are many types of mold tests available to help identify the organisms we are dealing with. Testing is very helpful, for molds
4. ERMI Test
The Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI) was originally developed by the US Environmental protection Agency (EPA) and is based on dust samples collected throughout a home or building. Thirty Six (36) different fungi make up the ERMI test and are species specific. There are two types of mold groups:Group I (Water damaged homes) and Group II (commonly found in all homes). ERMI does not help identify the mold “Ground Zero” or what the water trigger is. And many times, ERMI does not give you all the answers you are looking for.
5. ARMI Test
The ARMI is an acronym for American Relative Moldiness Index. This test is a more cost efficient version of the ERMI testing but is not as thorough. This test correlates with the ERMI for predicting the moldiness of homes. 13 different fungi make up the ARMI and are designated a group 1 (water damaged homes)and group 2 (commonly found in all homes). The fungi identified in the ARMI tests are: Stachybotrys chartarum, Chaetomium globosum, Cladosporium sphaerospermum, Aspergillus versicolor, Eurotium (A.) amstalodami, Penicillium variabile, Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus restrictus, Penicillium crustosum, Penicillium purpurogenum, Aspergillus fumigatus, Penicillium corylophilum,
6. MSQ / PCR
Mold Specific Quantitative (MSQ) Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) air testing. Is a fast DNA based analytical method for genus and species level identification and quantification.
7. Petri Dish Test
Different molds like different food sources where agar plate cultivation via a Petri Dish is the best way to identify Genus and Species of a particular mold. But is time consuming often taking more than 2 weeks to get an answer where some molds don’t grow well on this medium (likeStachybotrys)
There are many sources available for quick, inexpensive, DIY mold tests. Some are more reliable than others where none offer interpretative services that are reliable. Stay away from these testing services as it ultimately is a waste of time and money.
Mold Test Cost
Genus level mold testing from a competent / experienced firm usually runs from $75 - $150 per sample (depending on type of test) where species level testing runs a bit more ($150 - $300 per sample). Be sure to ask your mold pro what the difference is where they should be able to explain it to you very easily.
Want the Truth?
If you have a health related issue involving mold or just want to get to the bottom of your mold issue once-and-for-all, you will benefit greatly from engaging an experienced and competent mold investigative firm that not only knows how to identify hidden sources of mold (Mold Assessment), but how to correct the problem (Mold Remediation).
Got Mold in Your Home?
What to Expect from a Mold Inspection?
Think of your Home like a living, breathing organism that has three main systems: the central nervous system (Electrical), circulatory system (Plumbing) and respiration (HVAC). Most HVAC systems are on-demand systems that only engage when the home is too hot or too cold. If you think about a living organism and the continuity of their systems; how long can you hold your breath if your lungs didn’t work all the time?
01. Client Interview
Speaking to owners/occupants will be extremely helpful in determining extent of mold issues observed, health issues that may be associated with mold exposure, history of water intrusion / repairs, etc. Based on Client / family mold / chemical sensitivity and budget, testing may / may not be recommended. The biggest thing to remember when conducting the interview is that your client has a problem regardless of how colorful the story is. Takes notes and be inquisitive as to the ailments being reported.
Note: The client knows their environment better than anyone else and their accounting's are a valuable asset to your investigation.
02. Olfactory Investigation
Actively growing molds often emit a very identifiable aroma that a trained investigator should detect immediately upon walking into your home. This is very helpful especially if the suspect molds are not visible. But olfactory investigations are affected by the season, air transfer, ambient fragrances, etc. that often dilute or mask the moldy aroma.
Note: A moldy aroma is very subjective and not always present. Only the best investigators account for lack of smell in their investigations.
03. Mold Inspection(Visual)
A comprehensive visual inspection of the home will be completed in areas typically associated with mold growth: under sinks, in bathrooms, basements, crawl spaces, attics, etc. It's not unusual to not “see” mold growth in a mold-compromised environment. Molds often live in dark, inaccessible areas making visual detection of early mold challenges difficult.
Note: Molds like to hide in dark, cave-like environments. When you see them in the open it's often just the "tip of the iceberg."
04. Mold Inspection(Tech Supported)
While performing a visual mold inspection, the investigator may use different pieces of technology to aide in the investigation. Moisture Meters help in assessing moisture content of building materials that help determine if suitable conditions exist for mold growth. A Thermal Imaging Device (Infrared Camera) helps identify temperature differentials often associated with water leaks. While technology has its limitations, it is helpful in proving hidden moisture issues that are hard to believe otherwise.
Note: Many challenging mold projects are devoid of moisture clues due to the seasonal and intermittent nature of the moisture intrusion issue.
05. Mold Testing
Depending on the circumstances of the client and/or the home, mold testing may / may not be warranted. For those folks with no apparent mold related health issues, a visual assessment may be sufficient. But for folks with young families, immuno-compromised or mold sensitized individuals or folks just wanting a thorough investigation, then mold testing is warranted. The size of the area and complexity of the space will dictate number of samples needed.
Note: When sampling is called for, taking 1 to 2 mold tests are normally not adequate.
06.Hydrology Inspection (Exterior & Interior)
The heart of any Mold Inspection is the Hydrology (Moisture) Inspection. Identifying a mold problem and not providing the source of the moisture intrusion issue is only providing half the service they were hired to undertake. Any Mold Remediation is worthless if the moisture intrusion problem is not corrected or properly managed. Otherwise, the mold will just return.
Note: Moisture management is key to a Mold Remediation. Otherwise the mold will just return!
07. Mold Inspection Report
A Mold Lab Report is not a Mold Investigation Report! A complete Mold Investigation report will include all of the above items (to some degree) where a solid conclusion will be drawn up detailing the extent of mold intrusion and it’s water trigger. A very thorough Recommendations section then detail what needs to be done to correct the moisture intrusion and mold growth. The remedy will contain a detailed Scope of Work (SOW) so that any mold remediation firm can use the findings to prepare a proposal to correct the mold problem and return the site to Normal Fungal Ecology.
Note: Lab results without a report is a waste of your time and money
Frequently Asked Questions
Not really. While sometimes, you can have a good idea if a piece of pipe wrap is asbestos or if a spot on that wall is mold. But all of these items are microscopic and require some degree of testing to identify what they are.
Mold inspection is often not necessary. If family members are healthy and there are no visible signs of mold growth, then a mold inspection isn't really necessary. But most folks often can't distinguish between mold-based health issues and often can't visually spot mold growth. In those cases it's a good idea to have a mold inspection just to be safe.
A certified and experienced firm well versed in moisture management and mold remediation. The best inspectors are well experienced in mold remediation and know where the mold hides.
A Basic Mold Sampling package including 3 samples is $725. A thorough assessment, including inspection and sampling (LMI), can cost on average $895 plus mobilization fees.
Just give us a call, and we can help with the numbers. Of course, it's best to have a formal mold assessment/inspection done first delineating mold impacts. But if it appears to be a minor issue, we can usually figure it out pretty quickly. There's no fee to prepare a quote if you own your home. For Home Buyers, we have a small fee that we credit back when you engage us.
While the State of New Jersey does not require any specific certifications, anyone you work with should have an NJHICL & proper general liability insurance. There are numerous mold certification firms that offer training; any contractor you work with should have mold training and participate in ongoing continuing education.
Many times moisture makes its way into the wall cavity and stimulates molds to grow. Given time they will start to “Bleed Through” the outside wall and at first look like a small dark area. If the moisture source is not obvious, further investigation by a pro is recommended.
Many folks have (or develop) sensitivity to molds and chemicals that are immediately noticeable. Other times it takes longer as we age, and our immune systems start to decline. Everyone is different. But when one room in your home gives you such immediate discomfort, there is almost always a hidden microorganism to blame. Better bring in a mold specialist.
It depends. It’s been our experience that if you are planning on selling your home in the near future, yes! Mold is on everyone’s mind these days, and knowing if you have a mold issue can only be determined by a mold test. If negative, the test can be used to assure prospective buyers that there is no mold to worry about.
There are many allergy-like symptoms (like sore throats, sneezing, itchy/watery eyes, sinus infections, headaches) that also come from mold exposure. So ask yourself, when you leave the suspect area, do your symptoms get better? If so, some air tests to identify possible mold contamination would be a good idea.
Cleaning mold often does not address what is causing the mold to grow in the first place. And that’s what we call the “Moisture Trigger.” While we often think of moisture as a “puddle,” in this case, molds don’t like puddles, and they like elevated humidity, which is hard to detect on your own. Better call a mold pro.
Most definitely. But a basic mold inspection isn't adequate. When you consider the house has been prepared for sale with fresh paint, repairs, and a top-to-bottom cleansing, you will need an expert who knows how to find "hidden molds" that often go undetected by basic mold inspections.
Who did the test? If you used one of those over-the-counter tests, they recommend that you need a mold professional to interpret the results. Any mold pro should be able to tell you about the molds detected and the water trigger, but you might need to do an additional control test to see if your molds are beyond Normal Fungal Ecology and pose a health risk.