Types of Mould Testing We Do
Volatile Organic Compound (VOC)
This is a specific type of test that will give you an assessment and audit of the chemicals in the air as well. VOC’s are emitted by chemicals from solids, liquids, gases and mould. A VOC test can indicate if there is a VOC problem in the premises. The test can identify up to 400 VOC’s such as formaldehyde and active mould growth.
Viable and Non-Viable Mould Air Testing (Spore Traps)
This type of testing uses a vacuum pump that sucks in the air into a cassette with a special “sticky tape” inside it. It runs for 5 minutes in the affected area and we can send the laboratory and we can do a spore count, culture it and do testing which will allow us to find what sorts of mould are growing in the environment. Please review the video below which I produced a few years back which shows the different type of air samples which we do:
Certain species which can be identified include the following
Acremonium, Alternaria, Ascomycetes, Aspergillus/Penicillium, Basidiospores, Bipolaris/Dreschlera, Chaetomium, Cladosporium, Curvularia, Epicoccum, Fusarium, Pithomyces, Stemphylium, Trichoderma, Stachybotrys, Ulocladium and Torula.
What is the objective of a mould air test?
Mould air testing completed by a professional mould inspector can help determine whether the active mould growth is caused by a water intrusion. They do this by taking a mould air sample outside the property as a control as well as a sample was taken on the inside of the property. The two samples are compared and determined if they are out of alignment. It could be possible that one mould group (Aspergillus) is higher indoors than outdoors. Since there is a misalignment, you could assume the indoor mould growth is attributed to some water damage problem. If they are not out of alignment, you could assume the mould damage is caused by the exterior environment of the property.
Finding mould inside a wall cavity
As in the video above, we can also do an air test on the wall cavities to find out if the mould problem exists inside a wall.
Spore Traps can also determine
- Whether the property is normal mould ecology
- Can determine if the mould in the property is immuno-compromising, allergic or mycotoxin producers
How are the results analysed in the Lab?
The laboratory technicians will use a stain to make the mould stand out under the microscope. The tech will count the number of spores which he can see on the screen within a certain area. There is a special formula that is applied which represents an estimation of the total number of each spore type per cubic metre of air. All this information is tabulated in a report.
Mould Tape Lifts
Using a Biotape to take a mould sample
The main purpose of this type of test is to find out the different types of mould growing on a surface. It is also used to determine if it is even moulded which is growing in the first place. Many people want to know the types of mould growing in their property. Some moulds can be more dangerous than others. This is an inexpensive test that can help determine this.
DNA Mould Testing
This is a relatively new testing procedure (since 2006) that is steadily becoming a standard. I will not go into specifics here, suffice to say that ERMI testing will give a score based on DNA testing of mould as to how mouldy the property is. This test can also give defensible evidence of whether the mould issue was caused by water damage or not.
Advantages of ERMI Testing
- It is far more accurate — it will give you a mould spore analysis down to the subspecies level. This type of accuracy is important if trying to establish whether the cause of the mould is from water damage and also is important if you are suffering health issues.
- It can have cost advantages — sometimes a single ERMI sample is enough to produce the desired result.
- Great for people suffering health effects — If you are more susceptible to mould, it is beneficial to educate yourself, and ERMI can glean a lot of useful information.
- Can be used to find some history of water damage in the building
How We Do an ERMI Test
We wipe a cloth on the surfaces where there is suspected mould. The results are sent to the lab and a score is produce on how mouldy the building is. Usually one test sample is enough.