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

    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!

    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

    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

    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 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

    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

    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

    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 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

    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

    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

    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,

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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?

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    @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

    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

    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! 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

    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

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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 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!

    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 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.

    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