“Air samples only & skip the inspection?”

air sample infrared image

We often receive calls for general inquiries about mold inspections. We understand that a mold problem is not a common occurrence so we are ready and willing to answer multiple questions from potential clients. One question that comes up often is “can you take air samples for mold only and not perform a full mold inspection?”.  This blog post will answer this question and also provide some information on our typical mold inspections. 

Air Samples Vs. Full Mold Inspection

In short, we generally do not recommend only collecting air samples in a property and not doing an inspection. Our typical mold inspections include a moisture scan of the property with an infrared camera and moisture meter. We use these tools to determine if there are potential leaks or other moisture issues in the property. This is a non-invasive step that is crucial in determining if there is a mold problem in a property. Mold needs moisture to grow so if we identify areas that are damp we can find areas that can potentially harbor mold growth. We also take a measurement of the relative humidity with a hygrometer which can help us identify humidity-related mold problems.

In addition to looking for moisture, we also perform a visual inspection for mold. This means that we look for physical mold growth throughout the property. Identifying sources of mold helps determine what areas of the property need remediation or cleaning. Our inspections may alert property owners of moldy areas that may have been previously overlooked.

Reporting

We also provide a written report for our mold inspections. The report includes pictures from the infrared camera of damp areas or pictures of moldy areas that were identified. In our reports, we provide an explanation of the laboratory results for air or surface samples that were collected. When doing air sampling, it is common industry practice to collect a minimum of 3 air samples for mold. One sample is typically taken in the area of highest concern, the second sample is taken in an area without concerns as a control, and the third sample is taken outside also as a outdoor control. However, more air samples can be taken depending on need, the size of the property, and the complexity of the situation.

If we simply collect air samples, there is not much we can report on besides the results. For example, if we only collect air samples for mold without performing an inspection we would not be able to provide insight into the potential causes of the elevated mold levels. With a thorough moisture and mold inspection, we typically provide likely causes of the elevated mold levels. Additionally, our reports offer recommendations for corrective actions for moisture and mold problems. We can also provide a separate remediation protocol, which we call a “Written Mold Remediation Plan.” For more information on this type of report please follow the link. 

Cost: The Value of Information

Sometimes potential clients may want air sampling only and not an inspection because they believe it will save on cost.  There is a base cost for an experienced project manager to go out to a project whether it’s to only take air samples or do a full inspection. Typically, our clients find that the information they receive from doing a full inspection is worth the nominal increase in cost. At Indoor Science we structure our pricing to financially encourage clients to do the right thing: a full mold inspection.

Air Samples Vs. Mold Inspection Conclusion

To sum up, Indoor Science can take air samples for mold and not perform a mold inspection, but it is not recommended and we will try to dissuade you from this course of action. The information you receive from doing both air sampling and an inspection provides you with much more insight about the moldiness of your property. In fact, if you are looking to save money, we would rather you perform an inspection with no air sampling rather than air sampling with no inspection! If you have more general questions about mold, the EPA has a good resource called “Ten Things You Should Know About Mold”.

Joel Silva

Joel Silva

Joel Silva is a Project Manager that performs indoor air quality assessments with a specialty in mold and bacteria. Mr. Silva holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology from Aurora University and he is a Certified Indoor Environmentalist (CIE) which is a certification from the ACAC. Prior to working at Indoor Science, Joel did microbiology work in the quality assurance department for a food manufacturer. During school, he also interned for the Chicago Department of Public Health. In his words... “As a child, I had an interest in science specifically in the biology of the natural world. Besides working for Indoor Science, I enjoy running outdoors, competing in races, lifting weights, practicing yoga, reading, and visiting breweries all over the country.”

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