August 1, 2017, posted by Dan Rouse
If you need your home checked for excessive mold or fungi growth, you want to be sure that the company you choose is professional, diligent in their testing procedures and uses the most up-to-date equipment available. At Healthy Home, our mold testing services are second to none.
Rainy winters make Portland and its surrounding areas havens for mold growth. This season, we’ve had the most rainy days ever recorded. Back on April 27, The Oregonian reported a record total of 146 wet days since October 1, 2016, and the number has only grown since then.
Portlanders sometimes suspect an overgrowth of mold in their homes when they start experiencing unrelenting stuffy noses, sneezing, and throat irritation after the rainy season begins.
That’s when they call us, like our client Jo did, to assess the potential for excessive mold growth in their home.
Jo had been experiencing allergy-like symptoms for about four months, beginning in November. She was worried she may be exposed to excessive indoor mold spore concentrations in her apartment on the 18th floor of a highrise apartment building.
First, Healthy Home professionals performed a visual assessment of readily accessible areas in Jo’s apartment. We looked for visible evidence of fungal growth, any evidence of water intrusion, or any moisture-related issues such as leaks or excessive humidity.
Our visual inspection didn’t reveal any areas of concern for these issues.
Visual inspections can tell us a lot about whether mold is in the home, but we don’t stop there. Mold isn’t always visible. Mold can be flourishing inside walls and ceilings and in damp, dark areas such as under kitchen and bathroom sinks.
We use the latest technology to detect the presence of mold spores in the air. We also check for the presence of moisture and humidity issues that can exacerbate potential mold growth.
Three key instruments we used to help in our assessment of Jo’s home are:
Our trusty Surveymaster Protimeter helps us assess moisture levels and find moisture-related issues we can’t see with the naked eye. We used our Surveymaster Protimeter to determine the moisture levels of the building materials in Jo’s apartment up to ¾” beneath their surfaces.
We then compared these moisture readings with readings taken from other areas in the building and with industry moisture level content standards.
Our FLIR One infrared camera can see a visual spectrum of thermal energy. This handy piece of equipment can detect temperatures from -20 degrees Fahrenheit up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and has a thermal sensitivity of 100 mK.
That means our little FLIR can see a wide range of temperatures and is really good at detecting very small differences in the temperatures between two objects.
Air-O-Cell sampling cassettes can rapidly collect a wide range of airborne aerosols including mold spores, pollen, insect parts, skin cells, fibers (such as asbestos and fiberglass) and inorganic particulates.
We used Air-O-Cell cassettes to perform microbial air sampling in Jo’s apartment and check for the presence of mold spores in the air. We collected a control sample from outside the apartment and a sample from inside Jo’s kitchen.
The Air-O-Cell samples were sent to an accredited laboratory and analyzed by light microscopy.
Mold and fungi are always present in the environment, indoors and outdoors. The surface and air sampling we performed are useful for determining if there were elevated levels of mold or fungi that would warrant additional testing.
All the temperature and relative humidity readings, as well as moisture content measurements inside Jo’s home, were within acceptable industry standard ranges. The microbial air sampling results showed that fungal spore concentrations were no higher inside Jo’s kitchen than they were outside her home.
It seems that Jo’s ailments were likely not caused by elevated mold growth. She could relax knowing that she’d had her home thoroughly tested by professionals using the latest methods and most up-to-date testing equipment.
If you suspect mold may be an issue in your residence, contact the pros at Healthy Home to set your mind at ease.