Photograph: Mold under carpeting on tack strips indicate history of water entry, suspect moldy carpet - Daniel Friedman How to Look for Mold, Where to Test for Mold Contamination in Buildings

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How to find mold contamination in buildings: This is a 'how to' photo and text primer on finding and testing for mold in buildings using simple clear adhesive tape on suspect or visibly moldy surfaces.

Choosing the Right Spot for Mold Testing Makes an Enormous Difference in Mold Test Results - here we start with a discussion of surface sampling of visible mold, settled dust, or any other dust, debris, or surface to be tested for particle identificvation.

We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.

How to Choose the Right Mold Test Sample Location:

Photo of mold on roof sheathing undersider in an attic - white mold (C) Daniel FriedmanChoosing the Right Spot for Mold Testing Makes an Enormous Difference in Mold Test Results - here we discuss Where to Collect Tape Samples of Surfaces

This document 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.

This procedure helps identify the presence of or locate the probable sources of mold reservoirs in buildings, and helps decide which of these need more invasive, exhaustive inspection and testing.

Separately at AIR TEST FOR MOLD: ACCURACY we describe similarly critical decisions about where & how air tests for dust, mold, other particles may be conducted.

People collect surface samples of visible mold or of settled dust to be screened for mold testing using clear adhesive tape to identify a visible mold on a surface, to screen settled dust for mold/allergens, or to test the cleanliness of a surface after mold cleanup.

Mold on framing in a crawl space (C) Daniel FriedmanRegardless of the reason, the adhesive tape mold test method can be very effective, in fact more reliable than spot checks of airborne particles (which vary widely minute by minute) and far more reliable than culture samples (which only grow a small percentage of all possible molds).

But everything depends on the selection of the sample location - "where you stick the tape."

This document explains where and where not to "stick the tape" when sampling for mold.

Random mold samples, tape sampling of arbitrary surfaces, or sampling the obvious "black mold" when investigating a building are practices which increase the risk of a serious error - missing what's important and finding what's not very important. The result of these errors is the waste of time and money as well as the possible failure to find and address the real problem, leaving a health or cost risk in a Building to be handled again, and again, until it's addressed properly.

Mold is everywhere. You can't eliminate it. If you could we'd all be in trouble as nothing would ever decay and we'd all be so buried in junk and debris that nothing could grow on the earth. But we don't much like to see mold indoors and certainly not on our walls, ceilings, or furniture.

There we remove it or clean it off. This paper describes the detection of mold in buildings by visual inspection of mold-suspect surfaces. A thorough building investigation for problematic mold needs to address hidden mold reservoirs, for which our approach is to complete a detailed inspection and building (leak) history as well as to record occupant observations and complaints.

Knowing what molds are likely to be present indoors on building surfaces or in building materials, what they look like, and what they like to eat, in other words, knowing some mycology, can make a significant difference in what a building inspection for mold actually turns up.

See MOLD GROWTH on SURFACES for an index of what mold genera/species are frequently found on various building surfaces and materials.

Most common mold testing errors: the difference between what molds are found in buildings and what molds commonly grow on various building surfaces is that most mold tests and mold reports involve samples collected by people who are not expert at recognizing and sampling mold in buildings.

So easy-to-see molds are over-reported and hard-to-see molds are under-reported in many consumer-generated mold tests and samples. This reporting error also confounds attempts to correlate mold related illness and sick building complaints with specific genera or species of indoor mold.

Simple "mold screening methods" which omit the inspection, and "test only" sampling methods, such as air and culture methods can produce very unreliable results when used quantitatively - as we discuss at IAQ Methods and at other articles at this website.

See TEST KITS for DUST, MOLD, PARTICLE TESTS for added about how to use clear adhesive tape to collect surface samples of mold or dust or other materials.


Continue reading at MOLD APPEARANCE - WHAT MOLD LOOKS LIKE or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.



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