Interpretation of Mold Tests

In Chicago and beyond, there are some mold inspectors that don’t really do an inspection at all.  They do basic mold testing, such as collecting a few air samples, and neglect to do a visual inspection of the home or evaluate the moisture problems leading to the growth.

To make matters worse, these inspectors typically hand you a laboratory report and make you fend for yourself to figure out what their mold tests mean.

In this blog post, I intend to freely assist anyone that had a sub-par mold inspection and is left with more questions than answers.  Post your questions at the bottom of the page in the “Leave a Reply” section.  Please note that it asks for your email address, but it will not be displayed on the blog.

Although this designed for people in the Chicago area, I would happy to answer everyones questions.  The more details you provide, the better!

Finally, if you would like to speak with us directly, you can purchase a 30 minute phone consultation for $98.  Or if you are looking for a mold test in Chicago, give us a call at the phone number at the bottom of the page.

 

UPDATE 9/18/17:  Although I’m not accepting or responding to new questions here, Dylan McIntosh at our office started a new blog post where he is actively responding to questions: More on the Interpretation of Mold Samples.

Ian Cull

Ian Cull

Ian Cull is a nationally recognized expert in the field of indoor air quality. He is the President of Indoor Science, a company he started in 2004. He speaks around the world on air quality topics and is a training provider of the Indoor Air Quality Association. Mr. Cull is a Licensed Professional Engineer (PE) and Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH). His degree is in Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign. Mr. Cull has developed 50 air quality related courses for the IAQA University and is the author of the book, “Fundamentals of Mold Remediation”. In his words… “Besides being passionate about indoor air quality, I enjoy cycling, music, the Chicago Bulls, and having fun with my three kids.”

167 thoughts on “Interpretation of Mold Tests

    I have the following results in my “basement.” The house is at Lake Wedowee, Alabama.
    Penicillium/Aspergillus……….15,000
    Basidiospores……….120
    Ascospores………360
    Curvularia……….40
    Cladosporium………80
    Should I be worried about any of these readings?

    @Kevin,

    You haven’t given me many details about the situation. Nevertheless, I would say that there is a mold problem in your basement. The Pen/Asp reading are much higher than what is normally found.
    You’ll want to identify and solve the moisture problem that lead to the mold growth. You’ll also want to clean up the mold growth.

    Good luck!
    -Ian

    Hello I was wondering if you could possably give me some insight to if this mold report looks like a serious issue to you. I had a mold inspection done to my landlords dismay, because he kept insisting there was no mold but our apartment floods. I had flooding in there for months and the walls were bowed out and everything. I have a 9 month old, a 15 year old with severe asthma that cant even visit and a 9 year old autistic son. I am going to try to attach the results, what caught my eye specifically was the Stachybolrys numbers, Im not sure what is too high.

    Here are the findings

    Mold Type Outside Inside Direct microscopic exam
    (control) (elevated) (Unusual)
    Living room Baseboards

    Chaetomium Raw 4 Raw 84 Present
    Spores per cubic meter 40 Spores per… 840
    Percentage of total 14 % of total 4

    Basidiospores Raw 8 Raw 8 not present
    Spores per… 80 spores per… 80
    % of total 29 % of total < 1

    Penicillium/Asperguilus Raw 16 Raw 1,728 Present
    Spores per… 160 spores per… 17,000
    % of total 57 % of total 86

    Stachybotrys Raw 0 Raw 176 Present
    Spores per… 0 spores per… 1,800
    % of total 0 % of total 6

    Hopefully that posted as I wrote it if not it may be confusing lol. I hope that is enough info for you!! I would love to get some insight, Seems high to me, but I am no mold specialist!

    @Summer,

    These numbers from your mold tests indicate chronic water damage. Your county’s health department probably has a code requiring the landlord to fix water leaks (here in Chicago we have those rules). You should contact them to understand your rights.

    Dampness and mold can affect your health so corrective measures need to be taken.

    Let me know how things end up.

    It didnt post like I wanted it to The first raw is outside (control) the second raw is in the livingroom the “present or not present” is the direct swab results. Im sorry it posted jumbled it is the same with the spores per cubic meter and percentiles as well. Thank you again.

    Hello Ian, I spent my entire pregnancy in this small condo and am now raising my twins whom are now almost 5mts old. I’m wondering if these levels could affect my babies in any negative manner. I myself have mold allergies and have never been allowed penecillium as a medical remedy. I had this test done because of a severe leak at the beginning of my pregnancy that I had to fight w my buildings mgmnt company to “remediate” however the leaks continued through the electrical outlets.
    Sample  Description  #1  Test  The  Loft  #2  Test  kitchen  counter  between  sink  and  oven    Sample  Type  Culture  Plate  Culture Plate  Sampling  date  04/09/2015  04/10/2015                    Fungal  Taxa  RAW  count  of  fungal  colony/  culture  plate  RAW  count  of  fungal  colony/  culture  plate    Alternaria  species  1  1    Aspergillus    and/or  Penicillium  type  of  spores  1 1    Cladosporium  species  4 10    Paecilomyces  species  2  1    Penicillium  species  2  5    Ulocladium  species  1  1    Unclassified  non-‐sporulating    colony  1  1    Yeast  3  1    Total  Fungal  Colonies  15  21    Total  Fungal  Species  8  8    
    Thank you so much, for any response is appreciated!

    @Johnelle,

    The results came out a little jumbled, but what I could see was a single colony forming unit of Ulocladium. This type of mold is a water damage indicator, but finding one spore is not statistically significant. Make sure all the water problems are addressed immediately and that all visible mold is remediated. Dig deeper if you smell musty odors that don’t go away.

    Best wishes!

    Hi Ian,

    We just bought a place and recently had mold remediated in our basement. There was mold along the perimeter of the entire basement then went up three inches or so from the floor. the entire sub floor also had mold and was removed. We removed all of the drywall and flooring, but the company didn’t use procedures to keep the remediation contained–i.e. closing vents, using air pressure machines, venting windows. We then hired a mold removal company to do post-cleanup. We got the air test and the report found the following:

    Raw count/m’3
    1st Floor
    Aspergillus 13/540
    Chaetomium 1/40
    Cladosporium 2/80
    Stachybotyrs 1/40
    Unidentifiable 1/40
    Total = 740

    2nd Floor
    Ascopores 1/40
    Aspergillus 12/500
    Basidiospores 1/40
    Cladosporium 1/40
    Unidentifiable 1/40
    Cercospora 1/40
    Total = 700

    Basement
    Alternaria 1/10
    Aspergillus 26/1,100
    Basidiospores 4/200
    Chaetomium 3/100
    Cladosporium 15/620
    Epicocum 1/40
    Unidentifiable 8/300
    Total= 2, 370

    We are leaving the air pressure in the basement on for a few more days to filter the air further. Part of the moisture problem is because of poor ventilation in the basement. I am concerned if we are okay to be living here. The outdoor samples didn’t show much of a mold count because it was windy the day the test was given. Do you see any cause for concern?

    @Ivy,

    I’m not a doctor so I can’t provide a medical diagnosis. Some people are very sensitive to mold and others have no sensitivity. The mold levels are slightly elevated. In other words, I can’t say if the numbers are “safe”, but I can say that the numbers are slightly higher than “normal”.

    The most important item is that you address the underlying moisture problem. There is no use doing all this work, only to have mold come back and grow again. I suggest you leave the basement unfinished for several months prior to building back the finished walls of the basement. That way you can see if the walls or floor seep any moisture during heavy rain storm.

    Regards,
    Ian

    Hello Ian, I’ve been in contract to sell my house since March 15, 2015 and the buyer requested an air analysis less than 10 days before April 30 close (subsequent to home and termite and radon inspections, appraisal, etc.). The laboratory report summary states:

    Were elevated mold level(s) found in the indoor air?
    YES

    ..and the detailed data are (sample/raw count/spores/m3):

    outside —> Cladosporium 31 /1,650
    Pollen 1 53
    living room —> Cladosporium 3 /160
    Pen/Asp group 3 /160
    basement —> Cladosporium 14 /747
    Pen/Asp group 8 /427
    Ascospores 2 /107
    Basidiospores 1 /53
    Chaetomium 1 /53
    Epicoccum nigrum 1 /53
    Stachybotrys 1 /53
    Pollen 2 /107

    Now the buyer wants out after the laboratory report declared “elevated mold level(s).” This is after a FHA inspection wrote the basement is dry and after the FHA appraiser found no perceivable musty odors or visible mold growth.

    I’ve lived here 13 years and there has never been water penetration; however the water well supply line does form condensation from time to time. And, even with that I’ve never experienced visually perceivable mold growth.

    My question is does the laboratory air analysis report summary (namely, “Yes” to elevated mold levels in the indoor air) indicate sufficiently that there is a mold issue with the house – as the prospective buyer claims?

    Please forgive me in if I’m asking a rhetorical question.

    Thank you.

    @Barry,

    The purpose of the air samples in this situation is to better understand the probability of there being a hidden mold problem. The problem itself isn’t really the elevated mold spores in the air. The problem itself is the mold growth and associated dampness. So the air sampling results don’t prove there is a problem, they merely point to the possibility of there being a problem. You have a single spore of Chaetomium and Stachybotrys, both being water damage indicator types. You can focus on the fact that it’s just a single spore, or you can focus on the fact that they are water damage indicators. Your perspective will influence how you interpret the results.

    Let me know how it all shakes out.

    Thank you very much for the reply and useful information. It is very helpful.

    To be sure, I prefer to have no mold types that are water damage indicators so I will focus on the condensation that can sometimes occur.

    To help prevent future growth and to remove the airborne mold spores would investing in a HEPA air purifier and a dehumidifier help, assuming they have sufficient capacity for the space?

    Thanks so much.

    @Barry,
    Running a dehumidifier is a good idea if the HVAC system isn’t able to keep things below a relative humidity below 60%. In some places (e.g. Chicago) keeping RH below 60% is easy most of the year, but in other areas (e.g. Miami), it’s more difficult. Of course if there is seepage and foundation cracks etc., those should be fixed rather than relying on a dehumidifier.

    A HEPA air cleaner would remove any spores entering into the machine. There is a lot to be said regarding HEPA air cleaners… deserving of their own blog post! Generally they would help your situation.

    Hi

    These are the numbers found in report.
    I am a prospective buyer in Mason, OH
    Please suggest should I ask for mitigation or walkaway with the deal.

    These are basement sample where mold was detected by Inspector.

    I have been told:
    Aspergillus/Penicillium Raw count is 289
    12200 count mm3, 87%
    Total Fungi: 333,13950 count mm3

    Pasting whole report.
    Please suggest ASAP.

    First 3 levels are from outside Air and Other 3 are indoors

    Spore Types Raw Count Count/m³ % of Total Raw Count Count/m³ % of Total – – –
    Alternaria 1* 7* 0.4 1* 10* 0.1 – – –
    Ascospores 21 440 22.7 1 40 0.3 – – –
    Aspergillus/Penicillium 3 60 3.1 289 12200 87.5 – – –
    Basidiospores 9 200 10.3 5 200 1.4 – – –
    Bipolaris++ – – – – – – – – –
    Chaetomium – – – 1* 10* 0.1 – – –
    Cladosporium 43 910 47 30 1300 9.3 – – –
    Curvularia – – – – – – – – –
    Epicoccum 1 20 1 1 40 0.3 – – –
    Fusarium – – – – – – – – –
    Ganoderma – – – – – – – – –
    Myxomycetes++ 9 200 10.3 3 100 0.7 – – –
    Pithomyces – – – – – – – – –
    Rust – – – – – – – – –
    Scopulariopsis – – – – – – – – –
    Stachybotrys – – – – – – – – –
    Torula 2 40 2.1 – – – – – –
    Ulocladium – – – – – – – – –
    Bispora – – – 1* 10* 0.1 – – –
    Cercospora 1 20 1 – – – – – –
    Nigrospora – – – 1 40 0.3 – – –
    Oidium 2 40 2.1 – – – – – –
    Total Fungi 92 1937 100 333 13950 100 – – –
    Hyphal Fragment – – – 2 80 – – – –
    Insect Fragment – – – 2 80 – – – –
    Pollen 268 5660 – 1 40 – – – –
    Analyt. Sensitivity 600x – 21 – – 42 – – – –
    Analyt. Sensitivity 300x – 7* – – 13* – – – –
    Skin Fragments (1-4) – 1 – – 1 – – – –
    Fibrous Particulate (1-4) – 1 – – 1 – – – –
    Background (1-5) – 2 – – 1 – – – –

    @Kapil,

    The numbers are a bit jumbled, but it looks like one of the samples has an elevated Aspergillus Penicillium count.

    Before purchasing the property, I would make sure you have a handle on the extent of the underlying moisture problems and resulting mold growth.

    Any suggestion on levels mentioned above.
    Looking for some Guidance before deciding on this house, I have offered full price of the house.
    Please advice

    Hi! I am so grateful to have found this website and Ian! I have been living in my new house for a month now. A week into living here my husband and I started sneezing and having sinus problems. We live in Arizona, house was built in 1950, but renovated pretty heavily…. original hardwood floors, there is a reclaimed wood wall, a water stain in the attic the inspector said they have no idea if its 50 years old or one month or old or dealt with or not… Other than that, there is ZERO indication of mold in the house (who knows what is hidden) We had a mold test completed- the indoor air sample from our kitchen that are worthy to note:
    Type/Count/Spores m3
    Alternaria 2/32
    Asp/Pen 13/208
    Botrytis 3/48
    Chaetomium 10/160
    Nigrospora 1/16
    Stach 1/16

    Does this make sense?
    These numbers seem awfully low compared to other comments…. although the mold company wants more extensive testing of course.
    Any help is SO appreciated.

    @Lea,

    My apologies for missing your question. The last few weeks have been hectic as we moved houses.

    The presence of Chaetomium and even a little Stachybotrys indicate a moisture problem in the kitchen. I suggest you sleuth around, paying special attention to areas around the sink and dishwasher. You may want to pull the dishwasher out completely if you can’t get a good view behind or below. Are any of the hardwood floors warped near the dishwasher or sink?

    Your results warrant digging a little deeper. Good luck!

    Ian

    I work with students. In classroom:
    Ascospores raw count. 3 Countim 60.
    Aspergillus/Penincillium. Raw. 5. Countim. 30
    Basidiaspores. Raw 1. Countim. 20
    Cladosporium. Raw 1 Countim 20
    Curvularia. Raw. 2. Countim. 40
    Myxomyceles. Raw 1. Countim 20
    Total. Raw. 13. Countim. 190

    Also included. Hyphal raw. 1. Countim. 20

    Classroom bathroom:
    Basidiospores. Raw count 1. Countim. 20
    Cladosporium. Raw 1. Countim 20
    Nigrospora raw 1. Countim 20
    Total Raw 5 Countim 100

    Also included :
    Hyphal Fragment : raw count 3 Countim 60

    Analyt. Sensitivity 600x in classroom Countim 21
    Analyt Sensitivity 300x in classroom Countim 7*
    SkinFragments ( 1-4) in classroom Countim 2
    Fibrous Particulate ( 1-4) in classroom Countim 1
    Background (1-5) in classroom Countim 2

    Analyt. Sensitivity 600x in bathroom Countim 21
    Analyt. Sensitivity 300x in bathroom Countim 7*
    Skin Fragments (1-4) in bathroom Countim 3
    Fibrous Particulate (1-4) in bathroom Countim 1
    Background (1-5) in bathroom Countim 3

    Please respond to what all the results mean to a classroom of preschoolers and staff.

    A wall of mold removal done in the last month to a room next door.

    Thank you

    @Darlene,

    It looks like I missed responding to your comment. Heavy rains in Chicago have made life very hectic.

    No concerns jump out at me with your results.

    Hi,

    Im purchasing a 1953 single family house in south florida. The inspector provided us with a report and the findings are a little unsettling, it shows high levels but i dont have anything to campare it to or to know if this is even normal for south florida.

    The samples were collected around 5PM, the day was a little cloudy (dont know if this matters for the results). It did rain a couple of days before as well.

    This house is lifted.

    Please find the report in this link.
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/w9vn95rvnzshrgp/MoldReport.pdf?dl=0

    – Is it safe to live here?
    – Are the high levels ok for the area and age of the house (1953)?
    – Is there a way we can compare the standard amount of Spores/cu. m against what was found during the inspection?
    – What is your recommend action to take?
    – How can I make this environment better in the future?

    Thank you so much for any insight.

    Leandro

    @Leandro,

    Your levels are slightly elevated above the outdoor background. Most notably, Aspergillus/Penicillium in the Laundry Room was 760 spores per cubic meters vs. 80 outdoors. See my comments to @Ivy regarding “safe”. Comparisons are made to the outdoor sample and to other indoor samples, looking for differences in the types and concentration.

    Why was a sample collected in the laundry room? Is there a history of water problems there? Do you see visible mold growth? Action items are always to identify the underlying moisture problem and physically remove the mold (rather than just killing it).

    Ian

    @David,

    Your Aspergillus/Penicillium levels in the single indoor air sample (310 counts per cubic meter) was higher than the outdoor sample (None detected). However, 310 is not a level uncommonly found in the outdoor air. Remediation is best done when there is visible mold to clean up. I get very sceptical of remediation work when there is no visible mold growth. With no visible mold growth, remediation contractors are basically doing glorified cleaning. Take the money to be spent on remediation and invest in a good filtration system for your house and/or a central vacuuming system that exhausts to the outdoors.

    Ian

    Hello Ian, I’m in the process of buying an old house and I requested a mold inspection and I just got the results back as all samples being “not elevated” but I’m not sure if I should worry. The inspector got samples from two areas of the house and one outside.
    Room #1:
    Alternaria (0 spores per cu meter)
    Cladosporium (53 spores per cu meter)
    Other Basidiospores (27 spores per cu meter)
    Penicillium/Aspergillus (80 spores per cu meter)
    Pithomyces (27 spores per cu meter)
    Rusts (0 spores per cu meter)
    Smuts, myxomycetes (27 spores per cu meter)
    Total Spores (214 spores per cu meter)
    Cellulose Fiber (27 spores per cu meter)

    Room #2:
    Alternaria (0 spores per cu meter)
    Cladosporium (27 spores per cu meter)
    Other Basidiospores (0 spores per cu meter)
    Penicillium/Aspergillus (0 spores per cu meter)
    Pithomyces (0 spores per cu meter)
    Rusts (0 spores per cu meter)
    Smuts, myxomycetes (27 spores per cu meter)
    Total Spores (54 spores per cu meter)
    Cellulose Fiber (27 spores per cu meter)

    Outside:
    Alternaria (27 spores per cu meter)
    Cladosporium (53 spores per cu meter)
    Other Basidiospores (27 spores per cu meter)
    Penicillium/Aspergillus (0 spores per cu meter)
    Pithomyces (0 spores per cu meter)
    Rusts (27 spores per cu meter)
    Smuts, myxomycetes (27 spores per cu meter)
    Total Spores (161 spores per cu meter)
    Cellulose Fiber (53 spores per cu meter)

    Thank you! I would really appreciate your opinion

    @Christian,

    I don’t see anything in the numbers that concerns me. Enjoy the home!

    Ian

    Ian- Great Website! I was wondering if you could help me interpret these results…

    Spore Trap Report: Total Counts

    Ascospores 1,100
    Basidiospores 420
    Cladosporium 80
    Epicoccum 80
    Myxomycetes++ 40
    1 10 100 1,000 10,000 100,000 1,000,000

    Spore Counts per m3

    Thanks!
    Ryan

    @Ryan,

    Ascospores and Basidiospores are outdoor-type fungi. I have only seen them growing indoors when there were mushrooms and other macro-fungi present. All others were at insignificant levels. Nothing here concerns me.

    Cheers!

    Ian

    Please provide input on these results

    Outside:
    Ascospores (outside): Raw count =32 Spores/m3 =224
    Ascospores (inside): Raw count =10 spores/m3=70

    Basidiospores (outside): raw count = 66 per/m3=462
    Basidiospores (inside): raw =41 per/m3 =287

    Cladosporium (outside): raw = 40 per/m3 =280
    Cladosporium (inside): raw =27 per/m3= 189

    Pencillium/Asp (outside)- none
    Pencillium/Asp (inside) = raw = 3 per/m3 =21

    From what I have learned here and elsewhere, these levels do not indicate an issue, especially with the Pencillium/Asp numbers. Is it possible to have no reading for Pencillum/Asp outside?

    ALso, this reports contains a percentage. Can you explain what the percentage column means?

    @Martha,

    Nothing in your results indicates a problem to me. I’m not sure where you’re at, but in Chicago we periodically get no Penicillium/Aspergillus outdoors.

    The percent column that many laboratories include is calculated as follows… it divides each line item by the total. If Pen/Asp was 100 spores per cubic meter and the total was 1,000, Pen/Asp would be reported as 10%. It can be useful when interpreting some mold results.

    Regards,
    Ian

    3 sick kids, one in Ped ICU with Viral Pnuemonia and RSV

    Did a mold test, struggling to interpret them for risk factors:
    Ascospores 13per cubic Meter
    Apergillis Penicillium 40 per Cubic meter
    Bipolaris/Drechslera 13 per cubic meter
    fusarium 20 per Cubic Meter
    Myxomycetes 7 per cubic meter
    Ulocladium 53 per cubic meter

    @Bobby,

    Ulocladium and Fusarium are generally found where there is chronic dampness. Does the home have water problems?

    Ian

    Thank you so much for your help so far

    There was a tile missing in one of the showers for a while, A neighbor has a leak under the guest bathroom that caused problem in their house. Both of our houses have the same builder and construction date. There was some sketchy plumbing under the bath that caused a massive problem for him. I think we have a similar issue with the bath drain in the slab. I think it is causing the mold, and possibly the kids respiratory infections. thoughts?

    @Bobby,

    Plumbing leaks cause some of the nastiest mold problems because they supply a constant stream of water (unlike window leaks that only cause problems when it’s raining).

    I recommend you channel all you super sleuth skills to ensure there is no dampness.

    Ian

    found a leak in the bathroom behind the fiberglass bathtub. It will be pretty big $$ to replace the shower tub unit, i plan on replacing it eventually anyways. With the mold levels i have, are there any health issues that could stem from the mold that will necessitate the remediation immediately? or is there no health concern with the type of mold and i can just get to the tub replacement whenever? Thank you again

    @Bobby,

    Based on what you’ve said in your posts, perhaps there is a large amount of mold behind the fiberglass tub. The results of your air samples weren’t too terribly high, but you had some water damage indicators such as Ulocladium and Fusarium. If that is the case, your biggest risk is when you take out the fiberglass tub. You should consider hiring a professional mold remediation contractor and ensure that they isolate the area with containment and have negative pressure in the work area. Should you have the work done now, or just do it later? I would always recommend doing it now… but I don’t know your economic realities. If you have the money, YES, get it all cleaned now.

    Ian

    Helllo Ian. Great site by the way. I really appreciate the accessible information. Thank you. My predicament is as follows:
    We bought a house a couple years ago. We knew that it was flooded a few years prior, but were told that the previous owners repaired the damage. We went against our better judgement and listened to certain individuals by not getting a mold test. During escrow the house flooded. Again. We went ahead with the purchase of the house and did our due diligence at cleaning and drying the foundation and drywall. Replaced some baseboards, and removed/air dried the others. Carpet was removed in all rooms, leaving the concrete foundation exposed to help with the air drying. Unfortunately we did not get a mold test at that point either. What we did do was replumb the entire house and replace all the carpeting, and we thought we dried out the baseboards and walls enough.
    2 years later, after having gone through each hot California summer smelling evidence of mold in our home with evidence of a musty odor greeting us at the door, we finally pursue a mold examination.
    The readings were this:
    Living Room:
    Ascospores – count per cubic meter 80
    Basidiospores – count per cubic meter 40
    Cladosporium – count per cubic meter 40
    Myxomycetes – count per cubic meter 40
    Son’s Bedroom:
    Ascospores – count per cubic meter 80
    Cladosporium – count per cubic meter 200
    Epicoccum – count per cubic meter 80
    Myxomycetes – count per cubic meter 200
    Rust – count per cubic meter 40
    Master Bedroom:
    Ascospores – count per cubic meter 40
    Aspergillus/penicillium – count per cubic meter 100
    Basidiospores – count per cubic meter 40
    Cladosporium – count per cubic meter 40
    Myxomycetes – count per cubic meter 80
    Rust – count per cubic meter 40
    Trichocladium – count per cubic meter 40
    Outside:
    Ascospores – count per cubic meter 40
    Basidiospores – count per cubic meter 200
    Cladosporium – count per cubic meter 1300
    Ganoderma – count per cubic meter 40
    Myxomycetes – count per cubic meter 300
    Rust – count per cubic meter 80
    Torula – count per cubic meter 40

    We were told by the company running the mold exam that the reading of the Aspergillus/penicillium in the master bedroom is at a slightly higher level than the company standard and being that it was not present outside he believes it to be of a health concern. After doing some research of my own I have come to the realization that levels below 500 spores per cubic meter are completely normal and it looks like it is not of a real health concern until well over 1500 spores per cubic meter.
    So, naturally, I am a bit confused and I am trying not to be taken advantage of in the unfortunate situation that we have found ourselves in. We have already had the short stick given to us and we would like to avoid any further bad luck. Your expertise and advise would be appreciated.
    Thank you.
    Sean Cohea

    @Sean,

    According to data published by a large laboratory (EmLab P&K), the average outdoor concentration of Aspergillus/penicillium in California is 213 spores per cubic meter. The same data suggests a level of 107 sp/m3 to be “low”. In Chicago we regularly have outdoor counts above 100 and it looks like the same is true in California.

    Ian

    Hi Ian,
    I am relieved to find a site like yours. We have a major mold problem as a result of a hot water leak in the crawl space of our home. We discovered the problem when the floor (hardwood/tile/vinyl) started bulging and moving up in almost every room of house. Then we opened an unused closet in bedroom my newborn and I slept in to find mold covering door frame, shoes, a warm sauna smell, and damp clothes.
    No one has advised us to leave the home, but no one will say either if it’s safe or unsafe.
    Mold report shows:
    Aspergillus/Penicillum
    Inside air count Front room 130,000 m3 vs outside count 200 m3, middle of house 80,000 m3 vs outside 200m3 and back bedroom 58,000 m3 vs outside 200m3.
    I’m allergic to mold and have had one allergic reaction which resolved in 12 hours and with minor treatment, some repeat headaches but that’s about all.
    My newborn has been seen twice since we have known and no symptoms or health concerns. (He had his 2 month immunizations today which makes me concerned about his immune system)

    This is frustrating that we can not get advisement.

    Contractor today said he wouldn’t be in the house without a respirator.

    Please are these numbers big enough to vacate (notice other people’s #s not this high) and incur great financial strife but stay healthy? Or if we are not symptomatic after two weeks of this probably okay to stay?

    I know you can only lightly advise, but this passive don’t worry from doctors (who also say this isn’t their specialty, and that they don’t know if it’s good to be environment) to the extreme contractors wanting to wear a respirator and saying it’s horrible.

    Please help us navigate this, as I said if we leave it will be financially hard but our health is worth it if that’s what is recommended.
    Thanks so for your help.
    (By the way contractor estimates this to be a $80,000 clean up with all new floors for 1100 square foot home)

    @April,

    I’m so sorry to hear about the serious mold problem in your home. Beyond just mold spores in the air, there are other concerns with living in a damp home.

    “Should I move out?” is one of the hardest questions to answer, especially not having seen the situation with my own two eyes.

    A few questions for you:
    1) have you fixed the water leak?
    2) is any wood rotting?
    3) are there structural problems with the home?
    4) do you have family or friends nearby that can house you?
    5) could you sleep near large open windows?

    As an aside… I suggest you get a second/third opinion because $80,000 is a huge investment.

    There is not an established level of mold that is considered “Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health” (IDLH). You’ll need to go with your gut instinct on this one. Someone with bountiful resources would move out because the cost is minimal to them. Someone on the brink financially may not have the option to move out. Only you know your financial situation and the symptoms you are experiencing, so you’ll need to use your best judgment and make a decision. No easy choices here.

    Let me know what you decide.

    Ian

    Hi Ian,
    Just saw your response. Thank you so much for your time and quick response.
    To answer your questions:
    1.Water leak was fixed about 2 weeks ago (about a week after we found hot moldy closet). It was a hot water leak which completely saturated and ruined all wood (structural and flooring). Guessing it went on for possibly a couple of months.
    2. Per contractor wood is saturated for a long time and rotted.
    3. Yes structure is affected and needs to be replaced.
    4. Yes, thankfully I do. I won’t be going back into home until this issue is resolved.
    5. Yes, we have ability to leave windows open.

    I was able to consult with a friend who is a Pediatric Infectious Disease Physician. He advised that chronic exposure could over time cause pulmonary problems such as asthma, etc.. Which means this may not affect us now but could in future.
    Still no definite don’t stay or stay.

    So since I’ve decided not to return and have been advised vaguely not to remove anything from home I have a new concern/question.

    I am housesitting for a couple homes this month, and will stay at a friends. Can I transmit mold from our clothes, bodies, possessions such as: car seat, baby blankets, diaper bag, etc..? Up until now I haven’t decontaminated any of it. A lot of this stuff has been transferred in my vehicle, used at medical office, and other places, including home Im housesitting at now. (Fish tank at their house looks like it has a white growth in tank that seems new since I started a couple days ago.) Knowing this will help me decide on how to take out all of his belongings to store elsewhere.

    Thanks again for any non official advice,

    April & Seth

    @April,

    As an added precaution, you would wash clothes, wipe down hard surfaces, vacuum difficult items outside (e.g. couch). If you followed those measures, I presume the levels of mold on your belongings would be no different than the average amount of mold spores on everything. Some people have a hypersensitivity to a specific species or group of mold, but that is the exception rather than the rule in my opinion.

    Ian

    I just moved into an NYC pre-war apartment, and I”ve been overcome with symptoms for two months (closed nasal passages, dry and irritated eyes and nose, crushing headache, sore throat, and asthma attacks). The apartment was repainted before I moved in, but I do see some small dark spots bleeding through the bedroom interior wall paint already, and the bedroom agrometer shows humidity that is 60-80%! It is not warm enough here to try to run the HVAC unit which seems dusty anyway. I have asked my neighbors if they have poor air quality, but they give me blank looks. They do not live in the same line that I occupy. Any thoughts? Thanks.

    @Mary,

    With that level of humidity, you may want to consider purchasing a portable dehumidifier. You don’t want relative humidity to get much higher than 60%.

    Let me know if that helps.

    Ian

    Thank you so much for publishing this site! Super helpful :)

    We just moved into our home and noticed a urine smell in the bathroom. After a ton of cleaning, we felt like the smell was still there (not as strong) so we called in a mold inspector.

    They marked Aspergillus/Penicillium as a potential issue. There is no visible mold, so they were only able to conduct an air test.

    Outside Details: Aspergillus/Penicillium
    Raw Count = 18
    Count /m3 = 760
    % of Total = 14%

    Inside Details: Aspergillus/Penicillium
    Raw Count = 66
    Count /m3 = 2800
    % of Total = 85.1%

    This was found near the base of the shower wall and the bottom of the wall next to the toilet. The suspected source is grout damage and leak at toilet.

    Is this something we should be concerned about? The wall is completely tiled and would be a great expense to remove and treat. With that said, we want to do the right thing. Also, not sure if it helps…but we live in Austin, TX.

    Thanks again!!

    @Sarah,

    Did the mold inspector use a moisture meter or infrared camera to see what areas, if any, were wet? You mentioned a toilet leak. The most important thing is for you to fix the toilet leak.

    It’s my opinion that you would need more information before warranting tearing out a bunch of tile. Especially because you said it was a urine odor, rather than a musty odor. Something is going on, I’m just not convinced it is happening behind the tile.

    Ian

    They used a moisture meter, but I am not convinced there is a toilet leak. I agree with you and will get a second opinion.

    Thanks so much!!!
    Sarah

    Ian, you are doing a wonderful thing with this site! It is so confusing to know whom to trust and whether numbers are actually concerning.

    I recently had my son’s room tested for mold. There has been an odor which is stronger at some times than others, my mother thinks it might be the wood furniture we picked up second hand, his bedroom wall shares a wall with the bathroom, but there is no visible sign of mold anywhere (not on the furniture, walls, or floor). We also have a wall AC unit.

    The remediation estimate is pretty steep and I’m not sure these numbers warrant it! Please let me know if you see anything concerning…while I realize that the indoor concentration of the aspergillius/penicillium is much higher than that of outside…is it high enough to think there is some sort of mold hidden in walls/floors? I’m not sure I understand how they would even remediate if it isn’t visible.

    Here were results from Air Cassette
    Count/CountM3/%

    Ascospore- 206/2747/61 outside; 38/507/45 inside
    Aspergillius/Pen- 4/53/1 outside; 10/133/12 inside
    Basidiospores- 71/947/21 outside; 15/200/18 inside
    Cladosporium- 54/72/16 outside; 16/213/19 inside
    Curvularia- 1/13/1 inside only
    Smuts/Myxomycetes- 3/40/4 inside only

    Thank you so much for your help!!!!

    @Cara,

    You said, “I’m not sure I understand how they would even remediate if it isn’t visible.” BINGO! What they are proposing could be considered a SCAM.

    You can’t remediate mold that hasn’t been found. “Oh, well, ma’am, we HEPA vacuum and HEPA air filter the spores that you can’t see”. That approach doesn’t find or solve the underlying moisture problem, nor remove the mold colonies producing the spores. It’s a band-aid approach that, by itself, probably provides no long-term benefit.

    Move the furniture and all the other belongings to a different room. Does the odor move? Let me know!

    Ian

    Hi Ian, I have been having an allergic response to something in my house. I had my air tested using fungal spore counting (aerocell) here are my numbers:
    outside inside(basement) upstairs
    alternaria 2 2 0
    ascospores 16 3 1
    aspergillis 5 4 2
    cladosporium 107 5 1 80
    epicoccum 0 0 1
    smuts 3 0 0
    these are the raw counts.
    the analyst said those levels are normal. Are they?
    I live surrounded by evergreen trees
    Help!!!!!
    (the air volume was .075 m3)
    thank you for reading this.
    Kyla

    I have a report that I would really like your opinion on.
    Is there a private email that I can send an ERMI report to so that you can read it and give your opinion?

    Hello Ian,
    I am interested in purchasing a home and had it tested for mold. The home is located in Conroe, Texas where it is hot and humid. The following were the results.

    Inside Temp: 78º Inside Humidity: 56%
    Outside Temp: 91º Outside Humidity: 63%

    Ascospores: Inside — Raw-1 Count/M3-40 Percent-2.2
    Outside — Raw-60 Count/m3-2400 Percent-40.1

    Asp/Pen: Inside — Raw-40 Count/M3-1600 Percent-88.9
    Outside — Raw-52 Count/m3-2100 Percent-35.1

    Basidiospores: Inside — Raw-1 Count/M3-40 Percent-2.2
    Outside — Raw-11 Count/m3-440 Percent-7.4

    Bipolaris: Inside — Raw-(-) Count/M3-(-) Percent-(-)
    Outside — Raw-1 Count/m3-40 Percent-0.7

    Cladosporium: Inside — Raw-2 Count/M3-80 Percent-4.4
    Outside — Raw-23 Count/m3-920 Percent-15.4

    Pythomyces: Inside — Raw-1 Count/M3-40 Percent-2.2
    Outside — Raw-(-) Count/m3-(-) Percent-(-)

    Stachybotrys: Inside — Raw-(-) Count/M3-(-) Percent-(-)
    Outside — Raw-1 Count/m3-40 Percent-0.7

    Should I not move forward with the purchase? My daughter has asthma.
    Is this common in the area? There were no leaks found, windows seemed to be sealed. The home is 6 years old. When first built, a/c unit had leak and carpets, baseboards of cabinets, etc. had to be removed. It seems that was taken care of, I believe the asp/pen count after that remediation was 570 or so. What should I do? Please help..
    Thank you, in advance!
    Claudia

    @Claudia,

    I don’t see anything concerning in these results. Good luck!

    Ian
    Chicago Mold Inspection

    Hi!

    I’m looking to buy a home around O’Hare (North Chicago suburb)

    The windows are not opening, and I got an elevated mold reading.

    An inspection of the roof shows it is a solid roof, no moisture up there.

    Mold test took place with a sample done outside and 1 sample in basement and 1 in living room. Outdoor sample was done just before a rainstorm, and the remaining two were done during a rainstorm. There was no musty smell from the crawlspace, so that is good.

    Information from report:

    Outside:
    Spore raw ct spores/m3 %
    Ascospores 122 1590 58
    Basidiospores 83 1080 39
    Cladosporium 6 78 3

    Basement sample:
    Chaetomium 1 13 1
    Cladosporium 14 182 19
    Penicillium/Aspergillus 56 728 78
    Smuts/Periconia/Myxomy 1 13 1

    Living room sample:
    Basidiospores 6 78 23
    Chaetomium 3 39 12
    Cladosporium 17 221 65

    Should I be worried about this?

    @Bob,

    Hello my Chicago neighbor. You do have some red flags in these results. For example, Chaetomium is a water damage indicator and you have that both in the basement and in living room. Also you have high Aspergillus/Penicillium in the basement, which I typically find in chronically damp basements in the Chicagoland area. Did the basement have flooding in the past? Does the basement have a sump pump? Do the downspouts from the gutters have extensions?

    You downtown for the Chicago Blackhawks victory parade today? It’s a mad house down here!

    Ian

    we are in the process of selling our home and the prospective buyers had a home inspection that revealed mold. They have requested mold remediation. The two molds that they identified as problemTic are as follows:

    Aspergillium/penicillium. Basement. 41, 547, 22%
    Living Room. 4, 53, 2%

    Ciadosporium. Basement. 82, 1003, 45%
    Living room. 5, 67, 9%

    Outside Air. No Aspergillium/penicillium
    Cladosporium. 55, 747, 11%

    Wé had had an occasional flooding of the basement bit fórom sources other than outdoor leakage (overflowing washer). There was a dry well where the washer emptied and recently backed up and wet the floor, 3 days before the inspector came. We sealed that off this week and moved the washer upstairs where it will now empty into the septic system.
    Do these counts indicate remediation is necessary?

    @Rita,

    Remediation is a term I use for removing visible mold growth. It sounds like nothing is visible. Is the basement finished? If not, perhaps you just need to clean it out and scrub it clean.

    Ian
    Mold Testing in Chicago

    Hello,

    We recently had a mold test that showed evidence of black mold. We are actually moving anyway and were wondering if it is possible to transport any airborne spores with us on our furniture, toys, etc. We are moving to a dry climate, and the results for the airborne test in our family room were:

    Stachybotrys: Raw Spore Count: 14 Count/m3: 93

    Is there anything we should do to lessen the risk of transporting the mold with us? How serious are those results?

    @Erin,

    Exposure to mold is typically via inhalation (by breathing in the mold spores). However, the health effects are a function of the number of mold spores breathed in.

    Presumably, there will not be a moisture problem in your new house and the spores on your items will not grow into colonies and give off more spores. A single spore can grow into a colony that produces over 1,000,000 spores. I get much more worried about that exponential growth when compared to some settled spores on items.

    You may breath in a few extra spores, but still way less than if you were doing some gardening activities.

    If you wanted to use an abundance of caution, you could vacuum all of your belongings outside, but that would only be if you have extreme sensitivities to mold.

    Ian
    Chicagoland mold inspections

    I have a mold report which shows no evidence of Stachybotrys in airborne samples. However, one swab sample was taken in an exterior wall that was cut open in order to take a single sample and indicates category for Stachybotrys as “rare”. I am being told that the space needs to be remediated because there is “toxic black mold”. There has been some roof leaks in the area in the past. Only level indicated as “high” was cladosporium. Three other mold species indicated rare or low. Roof is being repaired. Thoughts?

    @Sue,

    Before you let anyone do remediation, you should first understand the extent of mold. The problem with interpreting surface sample results is that I don’t know if this was a sample from 1,000 square feet of thick mold, or taken from a single dime-sized colony growing superficially on a wall.

    Yes, you always want to remediate mold, but HOW you remediate it is a function of its extent. You don’t need a mold remediation contractor to wipe off a small amount of superficial mold growth from a surface.

    Ian
    Chicago Mold Testing

    Hello Ian,

    I’ve been experiencing respiratory health issues after living in my apartment for 16 mos. No signs of mold or visible leaks in apt or excessive moisture picked up at time of testing. Please review the following air sampling results:
    Outside-Raw Ct.,Spores/m3
    Ascospores 32, 320
    Basidiospores 1, 10
    Cladosporium 39, 390
    Myxomycetes 5, 50
    Penicillium/Aspergillus 19, 190

    Living Room
    Ascospores 61, 610
    Basidiospores 3, 30
    Cladosporium 12, 120
    Myxomycetes 10, 100
    Penicillium/Aspergillus 20, 200
    Curvularia 1, 10

    Kid’s Room
    Ascospores 28, 280
    Basidiospores 1, 10
    Cladosporium 18, 180
    Myxomycetes 9, 90
    Penicillium/Aspergillus 5, 50
    Epicoccum 1, 10
    Alternia 4, 40

    Master Bedroom
    Ascospores 55, 550
    Basidiospores 2, 20
    Cladosporium 26, 260
    Myxomycetes 17, 170
    Penicillium/Aspergillus 8, 80
    Alternia 3, 30
    Scopulariopsis 1, 10
    Stemphylium 1, 10
    Culvularia 1, 10
    Bipolaris 1, 10

    So far I’ve been the only one with respiratory concerns. Financially I cannot move immediately, will cleaning, vacuuming and air purifier help our living conditions?

    @Lisa,

    I don’t see anything that clearly indicates an indoor mold problem. If you have respiratory problems, keeping your indoor air quality as good as possible should benefit based on research. How best to improve your air quality is on a case by case basis. I think enough research shows that sleeping next to a HEPA air purifier would be beneficial.

    Ian
    Mold Inspection Chicago

    Hello Ian, thank you for providing such a great forum. We are on the cusp of purchasing a 1980 home, and had the basement inspected for mold. It has visible signs of green colored mold on doors, ceiling tiles, walls, etc. There is a negative slope from street level to the front of the home, and the seller has allowed erosion to leave some of the lowest land points at the front of the home. There are obvious signs of moisture, and of flooding at some point in time (maybe in the mid-90’s when hurricanes dumped rain in the area); the basement block walls are also cracked at the mortar lines. If we purchase the home we will have a swale built to redirect. With that said, below are the values from the lab test:
    Ascospores (indoor) – – -(outdoor)64 2700 42.3
    Aspergillus/Penicillium (indoor)64 2700 98.2 (outdoor)8 300 4.7
    Basidiospores (indoor) 1* 10* 0.4 (outdoor) 23 970 15.2
    Bipolaris++ – – – – – – – – -(none)
    Chaetomium – – – – – – – – -(none)
    Cladosporium (indoor)- – – (outdoor) 54 2300 36.1
    Curvularia – – – – – – – – -(none)
    Epicoccum – – – – – – – – -(none)
    Ganoderma (indoor) – – – (outdoor) 2* 30* 0.5
    Myxomycetes++ (indoor) – – – (outdoor) 1 40 0.6
    Pithomyces (indoor) – – – (outdoor) 2* 30* 0.5
    Scopulariopsis – – – – – – – – -(none)
    Stachybotrys – – – – – – – – -(none)
    Ulocladium – – – – – – – – -(none)
    Unidentifiable Spores – – – – – – – – -(none)
    Zygomycetes – – – – – – – – -(none)
    Cercospora (indoor) 1 40 1.5 (outdoor) – – –
    Total Fungi (indoor) 66 2750 100 (outdoor) 155 6380 100
    Hyphal Fragment – – – – – – – – -(none)
    Insect Fragment – – – – – – – – -(none)
    Analyt. Sensitivity 600x – 42 – – 42 – – – –
    Analyt. Sensitivity 300x – 13* – – 13* – – – –
    Skin Fragments (1-4) – 1 – – 1 – – – –
    Fibrous Particulate (1-4) – 1 – – 1 – – – –
    Background (1-5) – 1 – – 2 – – – –
    Volume (L):
    Alternaria – – – 1* 10* 0.2 – – –

    One of our kids has exercised induced asthma, and is actually also allergic to mold. The Mold Inspection company is recommending remediation with a cost of $7800.00. Any input? Should we “keep looking”? Thanks in advance for any input.

    @Mark,

    It sounds to me that the inspection company is also the remediation company (or at a minimum, they have close ties). If that’s the case, you’ll need to second opinion. Several states have laws that prohibit this. Why? Unscrupulous companies exploit consumers, especially when discussing spores that you cannot see with your naked eye.

    First spend the money on solving the moisture problem, then get a few different quotes on the remediation. I suspect some funny business.

    Ian
    Chicago Mold Tester

    I received a mold test which has left me concerned. I did the mold test only because I found out my son who has constant allergies/congestion is highly allergic to various molds. The inspector didn’t see any actual mold, but we have had roof leaks in the past – nothing now. He did a sample indoors, outdoors and in the attic of our air. He suggestions mold remediation because the attic is so high, my son’s bedroom is higher than outside too.

    I live in SoCal, it was a warm (80 degree) day with 55% humidity outside, and 46% inside when testing was done.

    Aspergillus/Penicillium m3
    420 = OUTSIDE
    510 = INSIDE
    1200 = ATTIC

    Cladosporium
    1400 = OUTSIDE
    1300 = INSIDE
    2400 = ATTIC

    Do I need to mold remedy the house? the attic?

    @Brandy,

    Does your laboratory report also provide a “debris rating” for each sample? It is possible that the inspector just stirred up a bunch of settled dust while scurrying around in the attic prior to taking the sample.

    Your indoor numbers don’t appear to be high, especially if you are in SoCal and keep your windows open regularly.

    Ian
    Mold Sampling Chicago

    Can you PLEASE interpret this test? The remediate suggested I wipe down everything in my house and shake my clothes off outside.. Only after I prompted him for an answer. I have three young children who gave all had random issues, excema, allergies, pneumonia, fungal skin infections, red eyes, asthma, rash, considered highly atopic according to hematologist. I Have been throwing things away. I feel a little crazy, I just need an educated answer. PLEASE PLEASE HELP

    I can’t figure out how to put results here…

    Basidia spores..in different rooms
    raw count. Per m3
    9. 240
    5. 130
    20. 530
    11. 290
    15. 1400
    Baseline test was 153. 8500 respectively
    Stachybotrys
    2. 13 ( in room with 14 400)
    Peniccillin/aspergillosis type
    4. 110
    2. 53
    12. 320
    3. 80
    8. 210
    No baseline

    Cladosporium
    3. 80

    11. 290
    15. 400

    Baseline. 22. 590

    Others
    1. 27
    14. 130
    9. 180

    12. 140
    13. 170

    @Cynthia,

    Unfortunately, your results are unintelligible. See how Brandy typed out her results above and please do the same here.

    Ian
    Chicago Mold Test

    We had a sorority looking at one of our properties as a house for their members. They requested the opportunity to have mold testing done prior to committing a move in. The result is as follows for the unfinished portion of the basement:
    600/M^3 Ascospores
    1,120/M^3 Aspergillus/Penicillium
    360/M^3 Fusarium
    2080/M^3 Total
    We weren’t told how to alleviate the problems, if these are problems, etc. I have the report that I can send you if that helps. This is just the results.

    Thank you!

    @Julie,

    The Aspergillus/Penicillium looks a little high compared to what I would expect outdoors, at least in Chicago. Also Fursarium is considered a water damage indicator so that also is a red flag.

    To alleviate the problem, you need to find it first! Look for water staining, visible mold growth and musty odors. If you don’t find any of that, consider just cleaning out the basement and giving it a good scrub.

    Is there laundry in the unfinished portion of the basement? Maybe some water issues there?

    Ian
    Inspections for Mold Chicago

    Hi, I am having a problem with the landlord. concerning mole. Now he says its that I don’t keep the house clean and I certainly do. I had an inspector come out and run a mole test but I am not sure how serious the problem is. Can you tell me what you think? Here are the readings.,, And whats rights do I have as a tenant in Berwyn IL

    Pithomyces 120
    Penicillium /Aspergillus 200000 Inside
    Other Basidiospores 560
    Other Ascospores 700
    Cladosporium 800/ 120 inside

    Thank you for your time

    @Genie,

    Your Penicillium/Aspergillus levels are very high indoors. Clutter does not cause mold… moisture does. And typically, moisture problems are the responsibility of the landlord.

    Tenants have certain rights, so you should contact the county public health department to better understand what codes are in force.

    Ian
    Mold Inspection Chicago Suburbs

    They did a spore trap on a home inspection ion the basement and found the following Spore Counts per m3:
    Alternaria 40
    Ascospores 2,100
    Aspergillus/Penicillium 3,000
    Basidiospores 4,200
    Chaetomium 40
    Cladosporium 710
    Epicoccum 40
    Ganoderma 40
    Myxomycetes++ 40
    Stachybotrys 40

    We have no signs of moisture whatsoever. It is also a finished basement. We had an infared test done a few years back which found no dampness.

    Could you assist in interpreting the results since we are selling our house and need to resolve if this is an issue or not.

    @Don,

    Detecting moisture problems is difficult in finished basements. Infrared inspections are a good start, but unless they are done just following a heavy rain storm, they may not find the problem.

    Your results have some red flags, such as high Asp/Pen and the presence of Stachybotrys and Chaetomium.

    You could buy an inexpensive moisture meter at the hardware store and measure all surfaces the next time you get a heavy rain.

    I strongly suspect a moisture problem somewhere in the basement. Finding it without tearing everything up is the challenge!

    Ian
    Mold Test Chicago

    Hi,
    I am going to buy a house. The Mold inspection report gave me the following numbers. The inspector is not really telling me in common language if this is good to go or not. I am confused. Any advise would be deeply appreciated !!! I have to get back to the seller by tomorrow regarding any remediation , if needed.

    OUTSIDE: (Raw Count, Spores/m3, % )
    —————–

    Alternaria (8, 53, 5)
    Cercospora (4, 27, 3)
    Chaetomium (- – – )
    Cladosporium (28, 190, 18)
    Epicoccum (- – -)
    Ganoderma (8, 53, 5)
    Oidium/Erysiphe (4, 27, 3)
    Other Ascospores (48, 320, 31)
    Other Basidiospores (40, 270, 26)
    Penicillium/Aspergillus (8, 53, 5)
    Smuts, myxomycetes (8, 53, 5)
    TOTAL SPORES (156, 1046, 100)
    Cellulose Fiber (4, 27, – )
    Pollen (- – – )

    ROOM#1: (Raw Count, Spores/m3, % )
    —————–

    Alternaria (- – -)
    Cercospora (- – -)
    Chaetomium (52, 350, 59)
    Cladosporium (12, 80, 14)
    Epicoccum (8, 53, 9)
    Ganoderma (4, 27, 5)
    Oidium/Erysiphe (- – -)
    Other Ascospores (- – -)
    Other Basidiospores (- – -)
    Penicillium/Aspergillus (- – -)
    Smuts, myxomycetes (12, 80, 14)
    TOTAL SPORES (88, 590, 100)
    Cellulose Fiber (24, 160, – )
    Pollen (8, 53, – )

    ROOM #2: (Raw Count, Spores/m3, % )
    —————–

    Alternaria (- – -)
    Cercospora (- – -)
    Chaetomium (- – -)
    Cladosporium (- – -)
    Epicoccum (4, 27, 6)
    Ganoderma (4, 27, 6)
    Oidium/Erysiphe (- – -)
    Other Ascospores (12, 80, 19)
    Other Basidiospores (20, 130, 31)
    Penicillium/Aspergillus (4, 27, 6)
    Smuts, myxomycetes (20, 130, 31)
    TOTAL SPORES (64, 421, 100)
    Cellulose Fiber (12, 80, – )
    Pollen (- – -)

    @RoseAK,

    The Chaetomium in Room #1 is concerning. Is anything interesting happening in that room? Water stains? Musty odors? Visible mold growth? If not, dig a little deeper.

    Chaetomium is a water damage indicator and known to be toxigenic.

    Ian
    Chicago Mold Assessment

    Any help you can offer me would be so helpful! We recently started seeing yellowing/orange areas in our master bath we were advised by water damage specialist to have an air quality test done. We’re tenants and insisted our landlord have one done as I’ve had chronic allergies and we have three kids under 5. Here’s the results:

    Penicillium/Aspergillus: 350
    Cladosporium: 270
    Ascospores : 67
    Basidiospores: 67
    Smuts/Myxomycetes: 67
    Rusts: 27
    Stachybotrys:27

    We’re moving out in 5 1/2 weeks so my main concern any health risks. Also, the bathroom right next to the master (they share a wall) has had a very funny odor to it since we moved in 15 months ago. Should we ask to have this bathroom tested as well? It is the main bathroom for our kids. Thank you so much for any help!

    @Hannah,

    The Penicillium/Aspergillus may or may not be high compared to the outdoors. You had a single Stachybotrys spore too.

    I would put more stock in the funny odor. Try and hunt down where it is coming from. It may lead you to the source of the slightly elevated numbers.

    And I almost forgot, always run that exhaust fan when you shower!

    Ian
    Chicago Mold Inspector

    We had lots mold in our basement about 12 years ago. We replaced all of the studs and bleached anything left (we now know that was wrong), and then remodeled – hanging new dry wall, new studs, etc. We also built up the landscape around the affected walls. We had reason to suspect we still had mold, so we had a certified mold inspector come out recently and he tested our basement air. The alarming count was basidiospores. Raw count 446, count/m3 9410.
    The counts of the other molds are:
    alternaria (1/20)
    ascospores (45/950)
    aspergillus (26/550)
    cladosporium (13/270)
    ganoderma (13/270)
    myxomycetes (2/40).

    We’re waiting for a call back now to see where to go from here. Please tell me your thoughts on these counts, especially the basidiospores. I understand that is usually found outdoors?

    @Linda,

    Did the inspector take an outdoor air sample? I suspect these Basidiospores came from outside, unless you have mushrooms and other macro-fungi growing in your basement.

    Ian
    Chicago Black Mold Testing

    He did not test outside but is returning to do another indoor test – this time with the windows having been closed for 48 hours. He said he doesn’t test outside air due to the variations. We’re newbies and just crossing our fingers. Thank you!

    Hi Ian

    I live in a 91 year old house in northern nj. We recently had central AC installed and the air handler was out of level causing the condensate to overflow the drain pan. The air handler is above my sons bedroom and we noticed water leaking thru his ceiling almost immediately, and the unit was leveled and the water issue was solved. I assumed the ceiling was plaster and would dry itself out.

    Fast forward 2 months (water issue was Mother’s Day,
    now it’s early July) and I began to remodel my sons bedroom by removing wallpaper and I noticed the ceiling had some water spots on it and was a bit spongy, and I discovered there was drywall screwed to the plaster ceiling, so I removed approx 1.5 sheets of drywall and found mold growing in between the sandwich of drywall and plaster (and btw none of my drywall take down was down under negative pressure nor was debris bagged upon taking it down the stairs and out of the house).

    This was all happening the day after a new baby was born and coming home the next day, so I had a mold test company come just to see what was up and here are the test results.

    insulation sample from joist bay in ceiling
    1060 raw count, 6574 m3, 98% (asp/pen like)
    Hyphal fragment: 283 raw, 1755 m3

    Attic air test
    130 raw, 867 m3, 94%

    Bedroom air test
    71 raw, 473 m3, 84%

    First floor air test
    117 raw, 780 m3, 91%

    Outdoor control
    1 raw, 7 m3, less than 1%

    All of above is aspergillus/penicillium like.

    I paid $2k for the testing, and remediation company quoted an additional $9k for remediation including air duct scrubbing and putting in new insulation and re dry walking the ceiling.

    Being that I removed the contaminated drywall, and I am suspecting the contractors insurance will fight the claim, and I will be calling my own insurance company tomorrow.

    Based on the numbers what are your thoughts? Scrub air and ducts to get levels normal only? Or also rip ceiling down from bedroom and remove insulation and treat wood framing and replace the ceiling?

    Thanks!

    Brian

    @Brian,

    If you paid $2,000 to a testing company, they should be providing you answers to all these questions. A platinum level price should carry with it platinum level service. Ask them and let me know what they recommend. They have eyes on the ground and would be much better suited with providing you with a remediation protocol.

    Ian
    Mold Check Chicago

    Hi Ian, Your site is incredibly helpful in navigating the mysterious world of mold. Thank you so much. We had a roof leak after a bad storm came through our area and part of the ceiling fell in our bedroom. We hired a company to do a mold inspection of the bedroom before just putting up new drywall in the ceiling. Can you help us interpret the results?

    spores/m3

    Ascorpores:
    130 (outside)
    221 (bedroom)

    Basidospores
    949 (outside)
    1420 (bedroom)

    Cladosporium
    221 (outside)
    195 (bedroom)

    TOTAL
    1400 (outside)
    1840 (bedroom)

    Thanks so much, Ian!

    @Mark,

    Ascospores and Basidiospores rarely grow indoors, so their presence just indicates air exchange with the outdoors which is totally normal. I don’t see anything concerning here.

    Ian
    Chicago Mold Expert

    Hi Ian,
    My husband and I bought a newly renovated colonial built in 1976. The previous owner gutted it and redid it. We had tons of inspections done and there were minor problems. Mold air tests can back very low and normal. Outside mold was very high. There was mold in crawl space which we had remediated and then encapsulated with a dehumidifier. On one side of the house, where the master bedroom is. There is a mildew smell.we were in this house for weeks and hours at a time before we purchased it but no smell ever! Then first night we move in, turn the ac on on that side and boom-mildew smell. We replaced the hvac on this side but couldn’t get to all ducts due to them being inside Sheetrock. We also installed air scrubbers in all hvac units. Had those ducts cleaned. But smell is still there? Underneath these 3 rooms is the basement that is sheet rocked and conditioned. We have had everyone in and are throwing our hands up, we have to sleep upstairs due to the smell. I am very sensitive to mold. Our mold people said if the air samples are fine then there’s no mold but there is still an awful smell. We have not had the walls looked at or holes in them yet to look for hidden mold.

    @Jammie,

    I would recommend keeping a log to see what makes the odor worse. Is it worse on a rainy day, worse on a hot day, worse with direct sunlight, worse in the afternoon, etc?

    Also, sniff at all the electrical outlets and let me know if one is any worse than the others. My first place would be to look at the basement.

    Ian
    Chicago Mold Services

    Hi Ian,

    Today I got my results back from a basement air and outdoor sample and wanted your feedback. Using TSP, Shock wave, a garden sprayer, a brush, dehumidifier, and air scrubber I cleaned by basement which was very dusty and muggy reducing the Pen/Asp group from:

    Indoor
    Raw/c Spores/cu.m %
    1,886 101,000 99,74

    Outdoor
    – – –

    With a post test of what you see below. Please let me know if these are safe levels for my family. I use the dehumidifier on a timer now @ 35%.

    Outdoor Raw/C, Count/m3, %

    Mycelial Fragments 5, 50, n/a
    Ascospores 61, 610 ,29
    Aspergillus/Penicillium 2, 20 <1
    Basidiospores 53, 530 25
    Cladosporium species 76, 760, 37

    Total 208 2080

    Indoor Raw/C,Count/m3, %

    Mycelial Fragments n/a, n/a –
    Ascospores 3, 30, 6
    Aspergillus/Penicillium 32, 320, 59
    Basidiospores 16, 160, 30
    Cladosporium species 1, 10, 2
    Ulocladium species 1, 10, 2

    Total 64 640

    @Quentin,

    Those numbers look a lot better. By keeping your basement dry and clean, I’m sure you’ll see the Aspergillus/Penicillium levels go down below 320 sp/m3 as time goes on.

    Ian
    Mold Specialists in Chicago

    Ian, I really appreciate your feedback.

    Is the current level of Aspergillus/Penicillium 32, 320, 59 considered safe without any additional precautionary measures of cleaning.

    *Excluding basic ongoing measures like a dehumidifier & keeping a clean dust free basement.

    Quentin

    @Quentin,

    It sounds like your concentration is 32 raw, 320 spores/m3, representing 59% of the total sample. If I’m reading your cryptic numbers correctly, these are slightly higher than what I normally see outdoors. However, sometimes I see Asp/Pen over 1,000 spores/m3 outdoors.

    Ian
    Mold Testing Chicago Suburbs

    Hi ian
    About two days before closing, there was a refrigerator leak at our new house, which leaked to the basement. We had an air mold test done, and the kitchen has very low levels, but the basement has 11,000 spores per meters cubed and a raw count of 286. This is after they placed two commercial dehumidifiers and fans in the basement. Should we still buy the home?

    @Lily,

    This is a classic problem… water damage restoration contractors focus on drying (which is a good thing) but they neglect to think bigger picture (regarding mold). There is a possibility that the elevated counts were just from the fans stirring up all the settled spores. You should do some detailed cleaning in the basement and as always make sure you address any moisture problems.

    Whether or not to purchase a home is a complex question. Those levels are very high but it can all be cleaned and removed. Good luck!

    Ian
    Chicago mold testing

    Hi, I am facilities manager at my office building. The building is part of a large complex of buildings and some of the other buildings have had mosquito problems in the buildings. The county sent out someone to address this and she needed to look under our building. When I opened the access hatch which is in an employee bathroom I could smell a strong odor of mold and the underside of the wooden access hatch was covered with green mold. What would be the appropriate steps to take next? Is mold under a commercial/office type building a concern? Thank you

    @Chris,

    Mold is a concern no matter the type of indoor environment. I suggest you download a free copy of the EPA publication titled, “Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings”. It will give you the appropriate steps to remediate the mold in an acceptable manner. Of course, don’t forget to address why the mold was there in the first place. Otherwise, you’ll end up with the same problem again in a few months.

    Ian
    Mold inspector Chicago

    I am concerned about the reading of the mold test in my daughters “rented” home. She is 8 months pregnant and they have had her kitchen ripped apart for over 2 weeks now — “treating” the mold.

    The inside reading is

    Aspergillus/Penicillium
    600X Mag. Counts 7
    Calculated counts./m3 93
    Approx. Calc. Percentage 87

    Is this dangerous?

    @Deb,

    Aspergillus/Penicillium at 93 spores per cubic meter is a level commonly found outdoors. Put another way, this doesn’t show a level indoors that you wouldn’t expect to see outdoors.

    Hopefully the test was conducted by someone other than the company doing the remediation work themselves. They have a conflict of interest and are unable to impartially evaluate their own work.

    Ian
    Chicago mold inspection

    You are doing such a wonderful thing in having this blog. I personally want to thank you for this information. I am trying to decipher my air quality test that I had done on property that I have a “pending contract” on to buy in SW Florida and time is of the essence. Could you please give me your thoughts the following results?

    Cladosporium (in): 7 raw / 280 per m3 / 13%
    (out): 0
    Penicillium/Asper: (in) 26 raw / 1,000 per m3 / 45%
    (out) 0
    Curvularia (in): 2 / 80 / 4%
    (out): 2 / 80 / <1
    Gandoderma (in): 9 / 360 / 16%
    (out): 26 / 1000 / 4 %
    Other Basidiospores (in) 11 / 440 / 20%
    (out): 600 / 24,000 /94%

    Note that during the inspection it was found that the water heater under the stairwell had visible mold on the wall behind it, but looked like it had been recently replaced. So it's possible that there was a bad water heater issue that has since been remedied, but my concern is the possible unseen mold issue that could be in the entire stairwell. Thank you in advance for any assistance you may be able to provide.

    @Tammy

    Just like in my response to Quentin, your Asp/Pen is elevated.

    It’s impossible to tell if the elevated Asp/Pen was from the visible mold found, or if is from a hidden mold issue.

    Ian
    Chicago Mold Tester

    Ian,

    Thank you for providing this blog for us consumers. I own a condo in Miami. The unit above mine had a leak from her toilet that landed on my ceiling. I noticed it a month ago as a stain and reported it to management. Subsequently, the building turned off the air conditioning for repairs that lasted in my space several weeks while away. When I returned I noticed the ceiling turned black over a 1 sq foot area. I called maintenance and they cut open the ceiling and confirmed the mold. My neighbor had fixed the leak and the building had a air sample done. Without getting into too many specifics the mold count m3 was around 400 (collected was much smaller of course) in the bathroom area and 250 in two other areas of the home. The testing company said the concern. Was the counts for black mold of 4 collected and 37 m3 in bathroom. The count was zero elsewhere. They wanted 6k to remediate. I did it myself. The area that had mold was about 5 sq feet in my ceiling. I cut out the drywall and bleached the surrounding area for good measure. It took me about 2 hours. Should I suspect these counts to now decline and should I be worried that I could of contaminated the space further since I did it myself without much fanfare? Thanks

    @Wayne,

    The best approach was probably somewhere between a $6,000 scam and a DIY project. For others out there contemplating a Do it Yourself project, you should reference the EPA’s document, “Mold Remediation in Schoools and Commercial Buildings”. The sound advice would also work in a home.

    Ian

    Ian, you site are very helpful! These nubmers are really confusing.

    We recently tested our condo for mold.

    Here were our results from the test.

    Count/CountM3/%

    Alternaria- 0/0/0 outside; 4/27/6 inside; 4/27/1 basement
    Aspergillius/Pen- 0/0/0 outside; 0/0/0 inside; 264/1800/68 basement
    Cladosporium- 0/0/0 outside; 12/80/19 inside; 52/370/14 basement
    Curvularia- 0/0/0 outside; 4/27/6 inside; 0/0/0 basement
    Epicoccum- 0/0/0 outside; 0/0/0 inside; 4/27/1 basement
    Ganoderma- 0/0/0 outside; 0/0/0 inside; 4/27/1 basement
    Other Ascospores- 0/0/0 outside; 0/0/0 inside; 4/27/1 basement
    Other Basidiospores- 0/0/ outside; 8/53/12 inside; 0/0/0 basement
    Pithomyces- 0/0/0 outside; 16/110/26 inside; 20/130/5 basement
    Rusts- 0/0/0 outside; 8/53/12 inside; 12/80/3 basement
    Smuts/Myxomycetes- 0/0/0 outside; 12/80/19 inside; 24/160/6 basement

    Could you pls comment on it and let us know if we need a treatment?

    Thank you so much for your help!!!!

    @Larry,

    Thank you for organizing your data. However, it looks like the total for the outdoor sample was zero. Is that correct? That would be highly unusual.

    The Aspergillus/Penicillium level in your basement looks high. Why is the basement damp? Seepage or a crack through the walls? Identify the moisture source and control it. That might mean a perimeter drainage system or something as simple as operating a dehumidifier in the basement.

    Ian
    Chicago Mold Inspections

    170,000 sp/m3 is pretty bad, right? We’re a little worried. The context:

    We own a small, old apartment in NYC. In May, a pipe burst in our bathroom, flooding our hallway. It took about 5 minutes to realize what happened and turn off the water, and 45 minutes to mop up the water, some of which leaked into the downstairs neighbor’s ceiling and walls.

    The pipe was promptly repaired. No leaks since then. We haven’t smelled anything since shortly after the incident, but the super said the apartment still smells musty, so we had a mold inspector (not a remediator) take air samples. Results are here: http://1drv.ms/1Ld6qCR

    The Pen/Asp sample from under the hallway floor seems *crazy* high (170,000 sp/m3, vs. 360 sp/m3 outdoors), while the sample from the hallway (above the floorboards) seems okay (160 sp/m3).

    There’s no visible mold or water damage in the apartment. The inspector checked the floorboards with a moisture meter and said they were fine (*maybe* a tiny bit of bulging).

    Other details that may or may not be relevant: the samples were taken a few hours after a heavy rain; and the under-floor sample volume was only 5 liters, while the other samples were 25 liters.

    It seems we’ll have to call in remediators and rip up the hallway floors — and maybe all of the floors in the apartment, if the mold has spread to the space under other rooms.

    We’re trying not to panic. We’re hoping the mold is contained under the floor, and not in the air we (and our toddler) are breathing (yet?). But the repair and expense will be enormous. So we’re hoping you can tell us if the interpretation of the test results seems accurate, and see if you have any general advice.

    Huge thanks for helping people with their test results like this. It’s very kind and generous of you.

    @Joe,

    Yes, 170,000 sp/m3 is very high. However, let me put things in context. One square inch of mold can have over a million spores. So if the inlet to the sampler was placed very close to a mold colony, you could end up with really high numbers.

    The numbers indicate a problem, but alone they cannot tell us how extensive the problem is. Look for an honest remediation contractor who will start in the area that is known to have visible mold growth and work your way out from there. It will be hard to know how large the affected area is without opening up the floors so I would work from ground zero outward.

    Ian
    Chicago Mold Testing

    Planning to buy a house north of Detroit, MI. Am very allergic to penicillin. Should I be worried about the following air test results?
    aspergillus/Penicillium: Raw: 20 Ct/M3: 267 44% of total
    Cladosporium: Raw: 7 Ct/M3: 93 15% of Total
    Pithomyces: Raw 10 Ct/M3:133 22% of Total
    Myxomycetes: Raw 3 Ct/M3: 40 7% of Total
    Thanks for your help!
    Terri

    @Terri,

    I’m not aware of connection between Penicillium and penicillin allergy. I have always understood these to be different, but this is beyond my expertise.

    Ian
    Mold and Mildew Testing Chicago

    Just got back test results.

    Our kitchen with mold on subfloor and hardwood flooring is in process of getting removed. My flooring guy at first saw the mold, thought it was mildew on the subfloor, and sanded it, with no plastic up or anything. How bad was that? Now we have the following scores. Counted/ cts/m and %of total

    Aspergillosis/penicillium outdoor: 3/20/9% , indoor 4/27/57%

    Inside on main floor:
    Chaetomium: 1/7/14%
    Stachybortis 1/7/14%

    Also our basement has a score of chaetomium : 4/27/50%,
    Stachybortis 1/7/12%
    with no visible mold anywhere.

    Is it safe to stay in the house with these scores? How dangerous is the stachybortis ? Will air scrubbers work after we have removed subfloor and flooring with visible mold.

    Scott,

    Although you never like to see any Stachybotrys or Chaetomium, you only had a single raw spore of both in the main floor.

    HEPA air scrubbers will do a good job of filtering the air. HEPA vacuuming may be helpful too.

    Ian
    Mold Testing Chicago

    So the one spore count is not enough to be overly alarmed about with the airscrubbers and mold removal? What abut 4 and 1 in the basement. Is that cause for concern? If there is no visible mold anywhere in the basement do you have any suggestions? Thanks

    Hi, we are so confused. Client buying new construction (vacant for 6 months) Did have water leak in basement which will be rectified by the builder. Had mold test. Here are results:
    penicillin/aspergillus 273 middle of bedroom 3rd floor
    1760 in same bedroom wall 3rd fl
    1310 downstairs living room 2nd fl
    cladosporium 741 downstairs living room.

    no test conducted in basement because testor said no air conditioning and not controlled environment?

    On 3rd floor moisture readings at 100% on drywall. We have remediator company come out his reading is 39%, but no staining no sign of water damage. He opens up the wall under the window where Penicillium read 1760 and it’s dry as a bone.

    Please help us we do not know where/how to proceed. The builder is having his own mold test.

    The mold tester said it’s a 50K remediation issue in that home. (large home 5500 square ft)

    @JoAnn,

    I’ve been terribly busy, so sorry for the delay in responding. Wow, you have a lot going on here. Let me know if you got things straightened out. If not, let me know if you have any unanswered questions.

    Ian
    Chicago Mold Inspection

    Just saw your blog and this post. Awesome. Wondering if it’s not too late to get your opinion on my mold situation. My dad has MS, had doesn’t have the strongest immune system. I feel like I should preface that to begin with. So, to make a long story short, a handy man left a pipe leaking under his caretakers bathroom sink and it wasn’t discovered till 2 weeks later when the carpet from the caretakers room (the room backing up to the bathroom) was soaking wet. I noticed mold on the back wall behind the sink and got an official mold test done. It said they found 5600 Penicillium/Aspergillus in bathroom and 8600 Penicillium/Aspergillus in the bedroom. They recommend work being done to the tune of $3500. Is this something we need to do? Thanks you very much for any answer you can supply. You Rock. Ryan

    @Ryan,

    Yes, I would recommend having the wall remediated. $3,500 seems expensive to remediate a single wall. Having been wet for two weeks, I suspect there will be significant mold growth in the wall.

    Ian
    Mold Testing Chicago

    Hi Ian,

    My son and his wife have been sick with sore throats, asthmatic symptoms and bronchitis since moving into their apartment. Recently, they had a professional perform a mold test with the following results:

    Basidiospores
    Bedroom: 10 raw ct…70 spores/m3…%29
    Kitchen: 8 raw ct…56 spores/m3…%33
    Living Room: 13 raw ct…91 spores/m3…%34

    Cladosporium
    Bedroom: 23 raw ct…161spores/m3…%68
    Kitchen: 13 raw ct…51 spores/m3…%54
    Living Room: 22 raw ct…154 spores/m3…%58

    Outdoor Counts
    Basidiospores: 17 raw ct…21spores/m3…%39
    Cladosporium: 15 raw ct…195 spores/m3…%34

    These counts seem high considering they both have had recent health problems. Can you give me some insight to the numbers and if we have reason to be concerned. My son’s wife is pregnant and they are not staying in their apartment do to their breathing problems.

    Thanks for any help you can provide! Tara

    @Tara,

    Nothing in these numbers really stands out to me. All the indoor counts and types are similar to the outdoors.

    Ian
    Mold Inspector in Chicago

    My mother painted drywall with “spoiled” zero-VOC Banjamin Moore Paint (Natura). It was 5-year old paint, which had been opened/used years prior without a problem. The result was serious allergies and an odor. Ben Moore said paint probably grew mold and bacteria bec. zero-VOC paint has no fungicides or biocides. (There is nothing visible tho.) There are still allergies and odor 1 year later, even after painting over it with Zinsser mold primer and Caliwel paint. Question: Have you heard of this working: using a smoke and odor sealer like Zinsser BIN primer (550 VOC, or their synthetic shellac is 12 VOC- doesn’t work as well though) or Fiberlock Recon (60 VOC) to seal in what is apparently growing in the paint? I wonder if the sealer actually kills what is growing in the paint tho?

    @Jennifer,

    Now that the paint is dry, the microorganisms would no longer be growing. Therefore, there is nothing alive that you need to kill. You are smelling the residual by-products of the growth. You should be looking more for odor sealers rather than mold sealers. There is very little peer-reviewed research related to sealing odors, so it is usually a process of trial and error with different products. Please let me know if you find something that works for you.

    Ian
    Chicagoland mold inspections

    I’m considering purchasing a house in Pittsburgh and had it tested for mold. The house has mostly been empty for the past 5 years, so there has not been a lot of air circulation or traffic. The results were:

    Basidiospores (inside) 975 spores/m3
    Basidiospores (outside) 1870 spores/m3

    Cladosporium (inside) 2110 spores/m3
    Cladosporium (outside) 702 spores/m3

    Penicillium/Aspergillus (inside) 3940 spores/m3
    Penicillium/Aspergillus (outside) 468 spores/m3

    Pithomyces (inside) 637 spores/m3
    Pithomyces (outside) 39 spores/m3

    No instances of Chaetomium or Stachybotrys

    Any advice on where I can look for the source of these? The recommendation is a HEPA Vacuum, Air scrubber, and HVAC System Cleaning, as well as just a good general cleaning because it is very dusty. Is that enough

    @Jessica,

    It can be difficult to interpret mold air samples in a vacant property. Are the elevated counts because of a mold problem, or is it just the accumulated dust that gets stirred around when the mold inspector was walking around?

    The Cladosporium and Penicillium/Aspergillus numbers are much higher inside when compared to outside. If you don’t see any mold, water stains, or perceive a funky odor, it may just be due to accumulated dust.

    I know you don’t own it- otherwise I would recommend to do a thorough cleaning of the space and have it re-tested. When they are testing it, make sure they do a thorough inspection for moisture too.

    Ian
    Mold specialist Chicago

    Hi Ian,
    We are in the process of purchasing a 1934 home with slab foundation and no air ducts. Inspector found no visible signs of mold, though there are some concerns in the report, listed below. First number is raw, second number is per cubic meter and third number is percentage of total.

    Outside
    Alternaria – none
    Aspergillus/Penicillium- 11, 240, .1
    Bipolaris / Drechslera / Exserohilum- none
    Cladosporium- 13, 280, .1
    Curvularia- none
    Epicoccum- 1, 7, 0
    Myxomycetes/Smut/Periconia- none
    Pithomyces- none
    Pestalotia- none
    Spegazzinia- none
    hyphal fragment- none

    Downstairs:
    Alternaria – none
    Aspergillus/Penicillium- 55, 1200, 7.7
    Bipolaris / Drechslera / Exserohilum- none
    Cladosporium- 8, 200, 1.3
    Curvularia- 1, 7, 0
    Epicoccum- 2, 40, .3
    Myxomycetes/Smut/Periconia- 7, 100, .6
    Pithomyces- 12, 260, 1.7
    Pestalotia- none
    Spegazzinia- none
    hyphal fragment- 8, 200

    Upstairs:
    Alternaria – 1, 7, .1
    Aspergillus/Penicillium- 120, 2560, 40.5
    Bipolaris / Drechslera / Exserohilum- 1, 20, .3
    Cladosporium- 23, 490, 7.7
    Curvularia- 1, 20, .3
    Epicoccum- 5, 100, 1.6
    Myxomycetes/Smut/Periconia- 9, 200, 3.2
    Pithomyces- 16, 340, 5.4
    Pestalotia- 1, 20, .3
    Spegazzinia- 2, 40, .6
    hyphal fragment- 11, 240

    These are just the results for anything that yielded a slightly elevated or elevated result. Again, no visible damage. Also, I am having a hard time understanding where the pithomyces is coming from since it was not detected outside, any ideas there? Thank you so much! We are first time homebuyers and not sure if we should continue with the deal.

    They actually did find 3 areas of small patches of mold growing on the plaster walls, but no signs of a leak. What kind of moisture problem could we be dealing with? Something as simple as running a dehumidifier? Or could the entire structure be rotting behind the walls? I’m also still really puzzled and concerned about the Pithomyces in the house… Thanks!

    @Amy,

    Although Pithomyces can grow indoors, it’s not very common in my experience. Generally it is more of an outdoor fungi. Your results are a bit out of the ordinary as there isn’t much diversity in the outdoor sample. Aspergillus/Penicillium at 2,560 sp/m3 is high, so I would recommend inspecting upstairs, including an inspection of any attic right above it. Maybe you’ll find signs of a roof leak.

    Ian
    Mold Consultant Chicago

    Dear Ian,

    Great site. Thank you. Recently we had a mold inspection and some air sampling done in our 4 story (including basement) house in NJ. The lab results are as following

    BAsement
    ascospores 1/7/<1
    aspergillus/Penicillium Like 86/573/79%
    basidiospores 3/20/3
    chaetomium 1/7/<1
    cladosporium 12/80/11
    pithomyces 1/7/<1
    smut/myxomyces/Periconia 2/13/2
    stachy 3/20/3

    control sample outside
    Ascospores 13/87/8
    asp/pen 24/160/15
    basidiospores 56/373/34
    cladosporium 56/373/34
    curvularia 2/13/1
    ganoderma 1/7/1
    pithomyces 6/40/4
    rust 3/20/2
    smut/myxomyces/periconia 2/13/1

    While other floors seem to have acceptable scores…The inspector and contractor have proposed a very intense protocol for the basement, airscrubbing, negative pressure, removal and replacement of some wallboard, <where there is apparently visible stachy, etc) cleaning, sealing everywhere, etc. cleaning the airconditioning systems (airhandlers and vents)

    no one in the house is complaining of symptoms.
    the house is old and while we never get water in the basement except during sandy had a little as we lost power to sump pump, I would classify the basement as "moist" or "damp"… no musty smell though. lastly we did get some standing water recently when the pump which pumps the condensation out of our airconditioning airhandler failed.

    The basement is large, 1500 plus squarefeet some of which is new and newly renovated and some of which is very old … the new part does not seem damp but the old part is.

    What are your thoughts about…
    1) the stachy is reported in two locations… Could we just clean those areas or even just remove those walls
    2) the elevated ASP is I guess a problem. is it possible to just completely clean everything… and then wait and see.

    Anyway, am looking for a less intensive protocol here…if there is one.

    THoughts
    Thank you

    Hi Ian! We recently started a remodel on our converted attic bathroom and found water damage and mold growth behind the wall tile and under the floor tile. We had mold testing done, and here are the results:

    The air sample taken in the upper level bathroom had an overall lower airborne mold spore count 2 times lower compared to the outside baseline sample, overall counts – outside 1,547 spores per m3, bathroom 1,013 spores per m3.

    There were 347 Penicillium/Aspergillus type molds spores inside and 67 outside.

    The sample contained 107 spores of Stachybotrys mold with 0 spores outside. There were 53 hyphal elements (mold rooting structures) inside and 13 outside.

    There were 67 spores of Chaetomium mold in the room with 0 outside.

    The sample also contained 13 spores of Aureobasidium with 0 outside, 133 spores of Chaetomium mold spores with 0 outside, 67 spores of Petriella mold with 0 outside.

    A remediation company wanted to charge $15,000 to remediate the converted attic (includes the bathroom, and alcove, and two bedrooms). We opted not to go that route and my husband used a respirator and suit and bagged all mold-covered material to remove. He then treated all remaining bathroom materials with concrobium twice. We are wiping everything down with antibacterial wipes, painting all walls and ceilings, and replacing the carpet before rebuilding the bathroom from the studs.

    We have two small children and no one has shown signs of illness, other than the occasional cold we pick up from friends and family.

    I am asking for your professional opinion. I’m starting to second-guess our decision for not using a professional remediation company and wonder if we have caused unseen health damage based on the results taken from the sampling.

    Your opinion is greatly desired and appreciated.

    Thank you for this site!

    @Kindra,

    You have touched on a problem I see in the mold industry: some remediation contractors have exorbitant pricing that isn’t in line with reality. I’m surprised how many cities don’t have a high quality, reasonably priced mold remediation contractor in the area.

    I probably could have provided you with some detailed advice on how to do remediation yourself while still following standards.

    You may want to hire a 3rd party mold assessor to come in and evaluate the space and independently confirm that the remediation was successful. His report would then be shared with any future purchasers of the property.

    Ian
    Indoor Science mold testing in Chicago and suburbs

    Hi Ian.

    I closed on a small house on June 5th, which I’ve been unable to move into because of an odor issue that I have been unable to diagnose and mitigate. I’ve had lots of different trades people in and have done everything I can think of short of tearing out walls and floors.

    Here are some basic facts: There are no visible signs of water infiltration. House foundation is an on grade slab. All brick house with mostly plaster walls. 850sq ft. Flooring is tile (kitchen/bath) and wood laminate over linoleum tiles. Roof is in good condition but I’ve noticed that the shingles do not hang over the edge of the roof by more than 1/4 inch, if that in some spots. Stand up attic where the water heater and HVAC are, does not have the same odor that the house has. The odor is strongest at the south side of the house which gets the most sun and heat. The odor is strongest in the kitchen and adjoining living room along the south wall. An ozone treatment did knock out the odor for a few weeks, but a bacteria treatment fogging did nothing. The odor strength changes from low to high, and seems to be worse when it is hot or humid, but we’ve had moderate temps lately and low humidity and the house is on the higher end of smelly now, so I can’t say that there is a pattern. The driveway along the south wall did have a low spot where rain water would puddle. I recently had the drive lifted to drain away from the house. On two occasions I poured bleach along the drive/house gap after the lift. I have taped the gap but not yet resealed it (waiting till I find the odor source.) The guy who owned the company that did my driveway lift said that he’s seen cases where mold grew in voids under drives (under slab?) and caused interior odor issues. The remediation guy is dismissive of that theory. I’ve had all interior walls, baseboards and ceilings painted. Air ducts have been cleaned. The house is clean (used vinegar/water on floors and kitchen cabinets.) I’ve run the washer, dishwasher and sinks, etc. to keep traps filled.

    My most recent attempt was to call in a mold remediation expert. (I’d had an air quality expert in many weeks ago, but she insisted that testing wasn’t called for since there weren’t any water indicators.) The test results came back late Friday and I have them, but we’ve not been able to talk about them yet in detail, but he indicated in a voicemail message that the results did indicate that there is “something going on” that will require a search of wall cavities, etc. The report indicated the interior levels are “Elevated.”

    These are the counts from the test: Chaetomium 4/160, Epicoccum 4/160, Penicillium/Aspergillus 28/1,100, Pithomyces 2/80, Rusts 12/480, for a total of 50/1,980. Plus measurements for Cellulose Fiber 2/80 and Fiberglass 7/280.

    The guy who owned the company that did my driveway lift said that he’s seen cases where mold grew in voids under drives (under slab?) and caused interior odor issues. The remediation guy is dismissive of that theory.

    I detected an odor when I saw the house but it wasn’t very strong and since the house was on a slab and the attic didn’t smell I thought the odor would go with the prior owners. On the final walk through, the house smelled and I thought about bailing on the close, but I let me sense of decency get the best of me and I went through with it so the sellers could close on their new house immediately after. What a huge error that was!

    This has all been a very stressful and possibly financially ruinous experience, and I am terrified of being taken advantage of by someone doing unnecessary work, only to have the odor problem not be solved. Any advice you can give me about what I’ve shared will be greatly appreciated. Thanks. 09/26/15

    @Anna,

    My first thought was that moisture may be wicking up through the concrete slab and getting trapped under the kitchen’s tile and linoleum.

    I would suggest pulling up a few tiles and linoleum in an unobtrusive location and sniff around after the floor is up.

    Let me know if that turns anything up!

    Ian
    Mold Inspection in Chicago

    Hello,

    I’m so glad to find your site.

    My son has been wondering if there is a mold problem in his small one-bedroom apartment, and I paid to have a mold inspector come out to his apartment, but I really don’t know what to make of the report.

    There is a chart with numbers that I, not being a scientist, of course don’t understand (and the company has not responded, at least yet, to my request for clarification), and I could arrange a session with you if you think it would make sense. But I’ll just share the summary here.

    The report says that no visible mold was detected, and no elevated moisture was found. But in the summary, it points to mold spores as an issue. Here is that summary:

    Air Sample Analysis Summary
    Based on analysis of the air samples taken at the property, the following observations have been made:
     Highly elevated levels of fungal spores were found in samples taken at the time of the inspection. Elevated levels of mold indicate a high likelihood of mold growth in the area tested at the time of the inspection.
     Elevated background debris was identified in one or more of the air samples taken, which can hinder the analyst’s view of the slide and potentially hide smaller mold spores such as Penicillium/Aspergillus. The true level of contamination may be greater than what the sample revealed. Excessive background debris also indicates poor air quality; decontamination is recommended.
     Some types of molds have species associated with an indoor environment are considered to be toxic and may cause serious health risks. If mold growth is in fact present, it should be remediated using appropriate controls and precautions by a trained professional and any associated water source that led to the problem should also be corrected.
     Please see the attached results for further details and recommendations.
    Moisture Content Analysis Summary
    Based on the analysis of the equipment readings taken at the property, the following observations have been made:
     No elevated levels of moisture were identified at the time of the inspection.

    Oh and by the way, I couldn’t find a clear recommendation, other than an estimate for some expensive work that would cost 2K.

    Anyway, I would very much appreciate your take on this.

    Thank you!

    @Madeline,

    I’m always suspicious when someone is told they have a mold problem and given a quote by the same company to remediate that problem. This “conflict of interest” is illegal in some states. It’s not always unethical, but it would be best to use two separate companies: one for inspection, one for remediation.

    If you share some of the numbers, I can let you know if they truly are elevated.

    Ian
    Chicago Testing for Mold

    Hello again,

    Update: The mold inspection company did get back to me, but I would still be interested in a 3rd party opinion on the report that came back indicating mold spores, but no actual mold. Would you recommend an air purifier with a HEPA filter?

    Thanks.

    @Madeline,

    I would recommend getting to the root of the mold problem rather than just using a HEPA air cleaner. Usually the root cause is a moisture problem.

    Let me know if you still want me to look over your mold report.

    Ian
    Chicago, Aurora, Joliet, Naperville Mold Testing

    I recently had a spore trap analysis done and the results that came back showed a high concentration of Aspergillus/Penicillium in the air sample of living room and the carpet sample of living room. Air sample had background of 2, Living room carpet had background of 4. No visible mold or water or moisture. Heath complaint is headache and nausea and smell? I am unable to smell. Results were as follows:
    Outside control count/M3 120
    Living Room Air count/M3 3040
    Living Room Carpet count/M3 468000
    I am not sure how to read this. I don’t know where this is coming from. And I am curious if the counts are accurate in the living room since the background debris is 4. Bedroom Carpet was also tested but they can’t analyze due to too much debris. Do you have some suggestions or guidance? Thank you.

    If this company did what I think they did, they are totally incompetent. While it is possible to collect a dust sample on a specialized cassette, it appears they took the sample with a cassette for AIR samples only. Your living room air sample was high, but I would disregard anything this company is advising.

    Does this report show a house that is “free of mold”?
    Interior
    Sample Identification Raw Count Spores/cu. m Percent(%)
    – Fungi –
    Basidiospores 56 2,240 45.16%
    Cladosporium 34 1,360 27.42%
    Pen/Asp group 28 1,120 22.58%
    Ascospores 2 80 1.61%
    Rust 2 80 1.61%
    Curvularia 1 40 0.81%
    Mitospores 1 40 0.81%
    Total Fungi 124 4,960 100.00%
    – Other –
    Hyphal Fragment 1 40 100.00%

    Exterior Control
    Sample Identification Raw Count Spores/cu. m Percent(%)
    – Fungi –
    Basidiospores 600 24,000 78.33%
    Cladosporium 124 4,960 16.19%
    Pen/Asp group 18 720 2.35%
    Ascospores 10 400 1.31%
    Epicoccum nigrum 3 120 0.39%
    Nigrospora 3 120 0.39%
    Ganoderma 2 80 0.26%
    Mitospores 2 80 0.26%
    Smuts/Periconia/Myxomycetes 2 80 0.26%
    Cercospora group 1 40 0.13%
    Chaetomium 1 40 0.13%
    Total Fungi 766 30,600 100.00%
    – Other –
    Hyphal Fragment 4 160 100.00%

    I’m not sure what you mean by “free of mold”. Obviously there are mold spores in the home (as there are with every home) so in that sense it is not mold free. You could also ask if it is ” free of mold growth”. To determine that requires a thorough visual inspection. It is possible to have mold growth in a house, yet not have elevated spore counts in the air.

    Hi,

    I had a some samples taken in an area where I have been noticing an odd odor. There is a small water stain on the ceiling that is damp, but doesn’t appear to be progressing. There is no visible mold and general humidity in the area has been below 60%.

    The results are as follows:

    ID/Spore Count/Count m3
    Basidiomycetes/14/747
    Cladosporium/12/640
    Penicillium-Aspergillus/21/1120
    Myxomycetes-Smuts-Rusts/0/0
    Mycelial Fragments/3/160
    Drechslera/0/0
    Ascospores/4/213
    Alternaria/7/373
    Stachybotrys/2/107
    Pithomyces/0/0/
    Chaetomium/0/0
    Fusarium/0/0
    Torula/0/0
    Epicoccum/0/0

    Other rooms in the house were negative for Asp/Pen and Stachy. As were outdoor samples.

    I live in a condo and so far, calls to the management haven’t produced any action regarding the potential moisture problem. Do these results indicate a developing mold issue? Is there any way to tell the extent of the problem without opening the wall?

    Also, at what point does one need to employ a someone with specific training in remediation to prevent creating a bigger problem as the moisture issue is repaired? I imagine this will be a point of contention as its typically cheaper to have a handyman just fix the leak without doing any real cleanup.

    Without opening up the wall, options including cutting a small pencil-diameter hole in the ceiling and viewing it with a borescope. Another option is to collect an air sample through tubing placed into a small hole in the wall.

    If the wall has been wet for a few days, you should presume mold is in the ceiling and take necessary precautions (set up plastic sheets around area, HEPA vacuum, etc.).

    Hi,

    I just had a mold test done on an old group house in Washington DC. The house was built around 1910, and has been a group house since 1960. The water damage is likely significant, since few people have ever lived here long enough to care. I live here on the 2nd floor of the 3 story house, and recently saw very dark mold growing under a mirror I had laying on my desk. I checked around the house, and found more dark mold growing behind cracked paint on the first floor.

    The mold inspector said we had a problem, and that our levels of Penicillium/Aspergillus are 5,190 sp/m3.

    How concerned should we be, specifically for health reasons?

    Thank you so much for setting this up, it is so confusing to get the results and to be told we have a problem, but have very little idea of what exactly it means.

    Hope this finds you well.

    Best,
    Anna

    It sounds like you have some pervasive moisture issues in the home. Your counts are high relative to a normal outdoor reading. Hire someone, such as a home inspector, with an infrared camera and dual-mode moisture meter to figure out the moisture issues.

    My work office tested at a total concentration of 1,600S/m3. I am having serious red itchy eyes. Is this at a dangerous level? Thank you, Janice

    Please let me know what type of mold is present. That would influence my opinion. Of course, I’m not a doctor so I cannot provide a medical diagnosis.

    I just found out that I have a PEN/ASP number of 147 in my house. Can you please tell me if remediation is needed or not. I really need an experts advice since the local companies are giving me two different answers. Also, is this a toxic situation. Thank you so much for your help.

    That information alone does not justify remediation. That is a level that is probably found commonly in your outdoor air, although I have no idea where you live. There may be additional information you didn’t mention (E.g. water damage), but if that number alone is the basis of their recommendation, I recommend you write a scathing review about the company online.

    You didn’t test for mycotoxins, so I can’t comment on their presence. Your pen/asp wasn’t very high relatively speaking.

    Can you please help with these results. There is no visible mold in the mostly unfinished basement (there is a little drywall showing no signs of visible mold, can see both sides) except for peeling paint and discoloration on side of painted chimney. Other side of unpainted chimney does show effervescent, so thought is that there is some moisture possibly getting traped between paint and mortar on painted side causing mold. There is a workbench that was never examined and I do wonder if there is some mold hiding back there. The remediation company gave us a proposal of scraping and cleaning chimney with wire brush and Hepa vacuum, applying Epa registered sealer and registered eps anti microbial to all foundation walls, chimney and drywall in basement, applyin dogger anti-microbial to upper level and a Hepa filter scrubber upstairs and in basement. Our fear is the workbench may be a problem and when they examined the chimney they didn’t think it was mold. Now they think that could be causing the higher numbers. We want to resolve the issues due to our sons illnesses. But we want it done right the first time. Thanks!

    Sample volume 75 liters
    Limit of detection 13 spores/M3
    Background/fragments 2/ND (except for outside sample – 2/40/m3)
    Outside – raw count/ count-M3/%of total
    alternaria – 7/93/5.6
    Ascospores – 23/307/18.4
    Aspergillus/Penicillum – 3/40/2.4
    Basidiospores – 16/213/12.8
    Cladosporium – 61/813/48.8
    Epicoccum – 6/80/4.8
    Myxomycetes – 9/120/7.2

    Basement – raw count/ count-M3/%of total
    Alternaria – 2/27/<1
    Aspergillus/Penicillium – 288/3840/95.7
    Chaetomium – 1/13/<1
    Myxomycetes – 9/120/3
    Pithomyces – 1/13/<1

    1st floor – raw count/ count-M3/%of total
    Ascospores- 2/27/2.9
    Aspergillus/Penicillum – 63/840/91.3
    Cladosporium – 2/27/2.9
    Epicoccum – 1/13/1.4
    Fusarium – 1/13/1.4

    You can’t remediate mold growth that you haven’t found. Your counts could just be from a dusty, damp basement. Not sure, but maybe your basement just needs a good cleaning. Don’t have remediation contractors do the cleaning. Consider buying a $500 certified HEPA vacuum at a hardware store and have someone more reasonably priced do the cleaning.

    Hello,

    Hoping you can help me out. I had some water damage and it resulted in them finding mold. I unfortunately had to remove the whole exterior of my house in order to remove the firewall which was the majority of the damage/mold. $39,000 later for construction + $15,000 for remediation + $5,000 for mold testing + living in a hotel for 3 months = mid-life crisis. The initial test 4 months ago was:

    spores/m3 – penicilium / aspergilus = 1,700
    Chaetomium = 10
    (one sample)

    spores/m3 – penicilium/aspergilus = 1,000
    (second sample in different location)

    My question is, after many google searches this doesnt seem that high to me. Are there regulation in Texas regarding what is sufficient and what isnt? I’ve had 3 tests done now and all end up being around the same as the initial test….they just keep cleaning and adding more scrubbers. I think it’s a scam to tell you the truth… Any thoughts? It would be much appreciated!

    Oh man, sorry about the serious damage. Pretty frustrating that after all that work, the numbers are the same. Texas, nor any other governmental agency, has clear guidance on interpreting mold spore trap results. It’s higher indoors than outdoors, so it seems like there were some faults in the remediation. If you’ve paid this much money, I would expect better results!

    sorry…forgot to add that those are air samples and the quality of the outdoor sample was:

    Penicillium/Aspergillus – 80
    Chaetomium – 0

    Thanks Ian!

    Hi again,

    Well, they said there was no moisture, and no actual mold.

    Here are the numbers they gave for the mold spores:

    KITCHEN:

    Ascospores
    Raw Count: 45
    Spores/m3: 450

    Basidiospores
    Raw Count: 1
    Spores/m3: 10

    Cladosporium
    Raw Count: 14
    Spores/m3: 140

    Penicillium/Aspergillus
    Raw Count: 8
    Spores/m3: 80

    BATHROOM:

    Alternaria
    Raw Count: 2
    Spores/m3: 20

    Ascospores
    Raw Count: 193
    Spores/m3: 1930

    Basidiospores
    Raw Count: 4
    Spores/m3: 40

    Chaetomium
    Raw Count: 1
    Spores/m3: 10

    Cladosporium
    Raw Count: 46
    Spores/m3: 460

    Myxomycetes
    Raw Count: 9
    Spores/m3: 90

    Penicillium/Aspergillus
    Raw Count: 37
    Spores/m3: 370

    LIVINGROOM:

    Ascospores
    Raw Count: 121
    Spores/m3: 1210

    Basidiospores
    Raw Count: 7
    Spores/m3: 70

    Cladosporium
    Raw Count: 10
    Spores/m3: 100

    Myxomycetes
    Raw Count: 13
    Spores/m3: 130

    Penicillium/Aspergillus
    Raw Count: 33
    Spores/m3: 330

    BEDROOM:

    Ascospores
    Raw Count: 87
    Spores/m3: 870

    Basidiospores
    Raw Count: 7
    Spores/m3: 70

    Chaetomium
    Raw Count: 1
    Spores/m3: 10

    Cladosporium
    Raw Count: 17
    Spores/m3: 170

    Myxomycetes
    Raw Count: 1
    Spores/m3: 10

    Penicillium/Aspergillus
    Raw Count: 37
    Spores/m3: 370

    Stachybotrys
    Raw Count: 1
    Spores/m3: 10

    Also, when I spoke with them and asked about the HEPA air filter, they did say yes, that it would get rid of mold spores. (But perhaps they don’t typically mention things one could do oneself unless specifically asked, because they’d like followup work.)

    Thanks again.

    Bedroom sample has a single spore of Stachybotrys and Chaetomium, which are water damage indicators. Something may be going on, but I can’t tell from these results alone.

    I had my condo’s air tested. The condo had water in the finished part of the basement once but the unfinished part get a little nearly every time it rains.
    1) First floor. 2) Finished basement lower level 3) Unfinished part of basement lower level.

    1) first floor
    Asper/Penic: Raw Count 9; 400C/m3;
    Basidiospores: Raw Count 6; 300C/m3
    Chaetomium: Raw Count 1; 40C/m3
    Cladosporium: Raw Count 13; 540C/m3
    Myxomycetes: Raw Count 1; 40C/m3

    2) Lower Level Finished Part of Basement
    Asper/Penic: Raw Count 37; 1500C/m3;
    Basidiospores: Raw Count 2; 80C/m3
    Chaetomium: Raw Count 1; 40C/m3
    Cladosporium: Raw Count 18; 750C/m3
    Myxomycetes: Raw Count 18; 750C/m3

    3) Lower Level Unfinished Part of Basement
    Asper/Penic: Raw Count 25; 1000C/m3;
    Basidiospores: Raw Count 4; 200C/m3
    Chaetomium: Raw Count 0; 0C/m3
    Cladosporium: Raw Count 12; 500C/m3
    Myxomycetes: Raw Count 1; 40C/m3

    Should I be concerned about these levels. Are these levels ok to live with or should I take some action of making a few holes in the walls of the finished basement?
    The basement had water once when the hose was left on too long. The unfinished part of the basement gets water frequently when it rains or snow thaws.

    Your website is wonderful and thank you for the services you provide. I posted yesterday but not sure if it went through as I don’t see the post. Here it is again.

    We live in a rather different area which unique challenges, Hawaii (Oahu). We moved here in June and bought a house built in 1968 with plans to renovate the interior. We’ve had a record breaking hot and humid summer. We also live on the windward side of the island and receive much more rain and humidity than other parts. Humidity levels can range from 60%-98% and never drop lower. Dew points have ranged from 68 to 76 degrees F. Most homes, including ours, were build without air conditioning, so we have no ability to control humidity in the home.

    A few weeks ago, we started noticing a musty odor in our front room, which probably gets the least airflow from outside. We have an antique reupholstered (less than 1 year ago) sofa in there, 2 reupholstered chairs, a cow rug, and a wool runner rug. I haven’t seen any mold on the furniture, but we have pulled several items away from walls (pictures, books, etc) with mold. Same for the newly renovated guest room except a piece of furniture grew mold and several items in the closet. We’ve pulled a few items out of other closets with same issue.

    We’re hearing from multiple people on our side of the island that this is an issue. People are pulling leather belts, shoes, clothes out of their closets with mold. Our real estate agent came home from a trip to find mold on her cabinets. So, it’s not too uncommon here, I suppose.

    I hired a mold inspector because I was getting concerned. He came out, did a visual inspection of the downstairs, IR moisture assessment, and didn’t find anything concerning other than a small amount of moisture (and tiny amount of mold growth) on a newly placed piece of drywall (which had been up for 2 months).

    Air sample as follows:
    Guest room 48,000 spores/m3
    93% Aspergillus/Penicillium sp.
    02% Cladosporium sp.
    01% Ascospore sp.
    01% Basidiospore sp.
    01% Hyaline spores, e.g. Acremonium sp.
    01% Miscellaneous Unidentified fungal spores
    <1% Coprinus sp.
    <1% Myxomycetes sp.
    <1% Nigrospora sp.

    Raw spore count 496.

    Living room
    110,000 spores/m3
    96% Aspergillus/Penicillium sp.
    01% Ascospore sp.
    01% Basidiospore sp.
    01% Cladosporium sp.
    <1% Chaetomium sp.
    <1% Coprinus sp.
    <1% Curvularia sp.
    <1% Hyaline spores, e.g. Acremonium sp.
    <1% Myxomycetes sp.
    <1% Pithomyces sp.
    <1% Trichoderma sp.
    <1% Miscellaneous Unidentified fungal spores

    Raw spore count 1117.

    Given the background information, our climate, and the fact that we have absolutely no ability to control humidity in our home, do you have advice for remediation? They are recommending vacating the premises and having professional remediation (they do not do remediation themselves), so I'm unsure what that would entail, and I'm concerned that the problem will just recur since no actual source was found and we have no ability to control the factors that promote mold growth, other than buying more fans to improve air circulation.

    No outside air sample was taken for comparison.

    Ian, After a roof leak caused water damage around a sliding glass door in a bedroom, we removed the surrounding drywall and found some mold on the drywall. The contractor then contained the area around the door with plastic. We had a hygienist come in to do air quality samples and they found the following:
    Outdoor control .. 40 spores/m3
    Containment area .. 120 spores/m3 (Chaetomium)
    General area in room .. 80 spores/m3 (Chaetomium)

    This doesn’t seem significant to me but my wife is panicked! They recommended an extensive remediation program. Should we worry about it or forget about it now that the problem drywall has been removed?
    Thank you.

    Greatly appreciate this service. A mold test on a rental home we owned showed no mold in house but concentration in basement was 2000 spores per cubic meter of air. After remediation cleaning total concentration is 210. Test company and remediation company have both said there was no visible sign of mold either before or after test but after the cleanjng there is one spore of stachybitrys . They Recommended that we detach all cedar cabinets in garage and reclean and rescrub the basement! They don’t know where spore came from was not found in first test.

    What are the right questions for us to ask before taking the drastic step of tearing out beautiful cabinets in older home? Isn’t this a guessing game since they don’t know why spore popped up? Is one spore in basement a health hazard when nothing was present in house? House is very well maintainec home built kn 1930s.

    Look forward to your answer. Thank you.

    Great site with lots of good information/feedback

    I’m selling a home and the buyer had an air quality test performed in the basement. The basement has had minor moisture issues over the years but has been dry for many years recently. A small spot (about 1 sq ft) of moldy drywall was noted during the home inspection. The air quality results are back and the aspergillius/penicillium concentrations were 40 c/m3 outside and 1320 c/m3 inside. I believe these are results from a single indoor and outdoor sample. Is the elevated value a concern? They are requesting a big remediation. I wanted to remove the moldy drywall myself and clean the affected area since is was so small. Is that a good idea? Looking for some suggestions/guidance on how to tackle the proposed problemm.

    We are looking at a home we want to buy in central Florida. My wife is sensitive to mold, has allergies, and asthma. I wonder now if we shouldn’t buy the home. It is a ranch style house on a concrete pad. Here are the test results… in amount/m3
    Ascospores 300
    Aspergillus/Penicillium 200
    Basidiospores 80
    Bipolaris++ 40
    Cladosporium 80
    Curvularia 460
    Myxomycetes++ 40
    Total fungi 1200
    Hyphal fragment 100

    What is your opinion of these measurements?

    Thanks.

    Thank you for doing these! I read through every post but didn’t see anything similar to mine. My husband and I are renting a home that we have lived in for 6 months now. I’ve always had allergies in the morning since we moved in and suspected air quality issues. It wasn’t until our 2 youngest children (3 and 5) were regularly becoming ill and everyone had a cough only while in the home that we decided to have testing done.

    We live in Houston Tx with high humidity and a lot of downpours in the last few months. We noticed a leak around an exhaust vent two months ago and brought it to the landlords attention. He dismissed it and said it was an old stain we just didn’t notice before. Last week, we had a very large storm and I videoed it dripping. I could also hear a drip behind the drywall in the closet.

    After testing, here’s the results:

    Inside Master Bathroom:
    Ascospores raw 1. Count/m3 13. % of total 7.5%
    Bipolaris|Drechslera raw 2 count/m3 27. % of total 15.5%
    Cladosporium raw 2. Count/m3 27. % of total 15.5%
    Curvularia raw 5. Count/m3. 67. % of total 38.5%
    Myxomycetes raw 2. Count/m3 27. % of total 15.5%
    Pithomyces raw 1. Count/m3. 13. % of total 7.5%

    Outside near garage:
    Ascospores. Raw. 23. Count/m3. 307. % of total 41.0%
    Aspergillus|Penicillium. Raw. 2. Count/m3 27. % of total 3.6%
    Basidioapores. Raw. 14. Count/m3 187. % of total. 25%
    Cladosporium raw 15. Count/m3 200 % of total. 26.7%
    Myxomycetes. Raw. 2. Count/m3. 27. % of total 3.6%

    Do we have anything to be concerned about? If not, we’ll stick through the rest of the lease and not worry about the dripping ceiling.

    Thanks for your help!

    A few months ago my son who was just released from the hospital for an open heart surgery got an upper respiratory infection shortly after moving into our house. Later we found that the house had been previously flooded and was inadequately cleaned. The lab results came back with Aspergillus/Penicillium 94,968 spores/square in and Chaetomium 269,032 spores/square in. Additionally it was found that Hyphae and Fruiting Structures were observed. Could this have adversely caused my immunocomprimised son health issues?

    Really concerned parents to be, my wife is 6 months pregnant. Story goes as following, moved into a new construction apartment just under 2 years ago. 5-6 weeks ago an odd smell began in the master bath (master bed attached). Plumbers came/went and then we spoke with others (my contractor) who believed the smell to him was moisture. So had a report prepared by specialist. The specialist detected moisture in shower walls and the air test revealed as follows:

    Outside – total raw count of 83; count/m3 of 3,590
    Master Bath – total raw count of 14; count/m3 of 660
    Master Bed – total raw count of 18; count/m3 of 770

    Outside – A/P raw count of 5; count/m3 of 200
    Master Bath – A/P raw count of 0; count/m3 of 0
    Master Bed – A/P raw count of 4; count/m3 of 200

    Outside – Badiospores raw count of 64; count/m3 of 2800
    Master Bath – Badiospores raw count of 8; count/m3 of 400
    Master Bed – Badiospores raw count of 5; count/m3 of 200

    Outside – Chaetomium raw count of 0; count/m3 of 0
    Master Bath – Chaetomium raw count of 0; count/m3 of 0
    Master Bed – Chaetomium raw count of 1; count/m3 of 40

    Outside – Stachybotrys raw count of 0; count/m3 of 0
    Master Bath – Stachybotrys raw count of 2; count/m3 of 90
    Master Bed – Stachybotrys raw count of 5; count/m3 of 200

    There is no visible water damage in either the bathroom or the bedroom and obviously no history of water damage given that it is brand new. We have had an IQ air filter running in the master bedroom frequently as well. What is particularly concerning to me is the presence of Chaetomium and Stachybotrys in the master bedroom where we have never smelled anything other than when the bathroom door was open; I understand from some reading that those can be considered elevated levels. We have had an issue with the HVAC in the master bedroom (basically have been unable to service the unit, ie. change filter or access the drip pan). We have not used the bathroom in two weeks and have had the door closed. Not sure what to do here. Specialist has recommended remediation of the bathroom which I am happy to do but how do solve the bedroom problem? Your help would be greatly appreciated.