\ Tests for Mold in Insulation in Basements, Crawlspaces, & Other Building Insulation: How to Find & Test for Mold in Insulation

Photograph: moldy fiberglass insulation contaminated with Aspergillus sp. mold spores - © Daniel FriedmanMold-contaminated Insulation Test

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Mold-contaminated building insulation detection & testing guide:

This document gives advice on how to find, test, and cure moldy building insulation. We discuss the causes of mold contamination in insulation, the difficulty in seeing insulation mold by the naked eye, mold test methods for insulation, and how to clean up or cure moldy insulation problems.

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How to Inspect &Test for Mold contamination in building insulation

Photograph moldy fiberglass insulation in a basement - it looked clean but it was not - © Daniel Friedman

Even when there is no visible mold on building surfaces or on visible areas of building insulation, don't ignore fiberglass insulation as a possible mold reservoir.

A basement which was previously moldy or wet, or a basement which stored a collection of moldy boxes [photo]

or cartons of moldy papers and files [photo] may have been may have left behind a large mold reservoir in the basement fiberglass insulation and in settled dust.

In the first photo shown here the basement insulation looked clean to the naked eye, but a history of basement flooding led us to test the insulation.

We often find very high levels of Aspergillus mold spore contamination in this fiberglass insulation (such as in this photo) even though to the naked eye, the insulation looked quite clean.

If there is visible mold on other basement surfaces, don't forget to also check the condition of basement insulation that your insurance company, mold consultant, or mold remediator may want to leave in place because it "looks clean".

In the photograph shown here, not only was there extensive Stachybotrys chartarum contamination visible as "black mold" on the basement drywall, a special vacuum test of the fiberglass insulation in this basement ceiling disclosed high levels of Aspergillus versicolor, Aspergillus sp., & Penicillium sp.

Photograph of extensive basement Stachybotrys chartarum contamination - © Daniel Friedman

It would have been smart and simple to discard all of the fiberglass insulation in this basement ceiling, given its exposure to high levels of problem building mold from other sources.

Photograph of extensive basement Stachybotrys chartarum contamination - © Daniel Friedman Photograph of extensive basement Stachybotrys chartarum contamination - © Daniel Friedman Photograph of extensive basement Stachybotrys chartarum contamination - © Daniel Friedman

These three photos of fiberglass insulation, drywall, and a wall cavity which was cut open show the value of exploring building cavities where there may have been leaks from above, regardless of whether we're exploring in above-grade level living space or below-grade level basements.

A roof leak had wet these wall cavities, leading us to test the insulation for mold and to inspect further for moldy drywall. The photos also illustrate that luckily not every building leak into every building cavity is going to cause visible mold growth on the hidden surfaces of drywall.

This article is part of our series:
MOLD in BUILDINGS which describes how to find mold and test for mold in buildings, including how and where to collect mold samples using adhesive tape - an easy, inexpensive, low-tech but very effective mold testing method.


Continue reading at TEST CHOICES for MOLD in FIBERGLASS - Cause & Detection of Mold Contamination in Fiberglass Insulation in Buildings, or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see FIBERGLASS INSULATION MOLD - topic home, Cause & Detection of Mold Contamination in Fiberglass Insulation in Buildings


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