Is mold testing necessary?

I read this article about the necessity and legitimacy of mold testing. Read it and let me know your thoughts.

Caoimhín P. Connell used to frequent this MB often a few years back. Try a search.

If you want to state something like “suspected microbial growth” and not be prepared to back it up with a lab test, you are in over your head to start with. Then again if you aren’t sure about what you do and don’t know, then get your EO… Upgraded.

Did you read it? I know it’s lengthy.

I’ve read this before. Someone posted it on Nathan Thornberry’s forum a couple months ago. The author is pretty adamant.

It test for it, I charge for it, I know how to write it up and identify the “areas of concern” and, I know how to up-sell it and pass it along to the appropriate labs to substantiate it.
No problem.

After reading the article, looking up Caoimhín P. Connell, and watching a few of his videos I think I’ll start looking at mold in the house in a different way.

From what I gathered (still learning so go easy on me) mold growth changes throughout the day. Also, measuring on a hot day with low levels of humidity will have different result from a warm day with high levels of humidity. Testing could be performed on the areas of suspected mold growth, yet lab results will vary on the amount of spores present due outside influences throughout the day.

If minor, most mold problems could be cleaned up and treated with OTC products if it hasn’t penetrated through the walls and structure.

As always, recommend a professional service provider that is has experience cleaning up mold to further evaluate and verify areas of concern.

Yes I did, again!

I have a pending job that I am to give 3rd party opinion on an industrial hygienists mitigation project…


Which came first? The Bird or the egg?

I don’t care about your mold readings. If you have moisture, you got a problem.

Adding de-humidification to the process, just increases the passage of water vapor through the building envelope at a greater rate…

Look up: vapor pressure (different spelling for you Canadians).

Address that one.

My point being, this seems to be a very controversial subject.

Tell me a subject that does’nt have controversy! :wink:

If I see suspected mold I’ll do a direct sample.

Otherwise air sampling if need be.

Does mold change from day to day? Of course.

Would you get different results from one day to another? Of course.

Whats the big deal?

Lets switch to radon for a moment, one of these days I want to
do an “experiment”.

I’ll take my Sun 1027, my Corentium, a Pro Lab kit ( canisters ) and an EMSL kit ( canisters ) and put them all in the same room for the same length of time and see what the results are from the 4.

Will they be the same? Of course not!

I would imagine one could write the same crap about Home Inspections

Or anything else for that matter.

Here is an interesting story along those lines that just happened a couple hours ago. I got a call Friday from a big, newer Law Offices building. The building guy was concerned about mold in the ductwork, mainly in the main Lawyer’s office, and wanted some samples. The building guy was going to be out of town this morning, so I arranged to come there and take air samples and or tape lifts.

Once I got there, we discussed the situation. His humidity levels in the building were 57%. He said they have contracted an HVAC company to remove all the ductwork, and install a dehumidifying system in the building. I gave some recommendations, looked inside that nasty ductwork, and told them they were on the right path. I was there for about an hour, and I didn’t charge a red cent.

Here is the email conversation from moments ago:

Him: I would like an explanation as to why you did something other than what I asked.
Me: I gave a consultation, which is above and beyond what I was asked. I’m confident you can find dishonest company to come and take unnecessary samples, and collect a substantial fee, then provide some completely irrelevant information. That’s not my business model. Instead, I offered advice based on conversations with Mr X and Mr Y. They will call me once they have replaced the ductwork, to see if the testing would be relevant.

Him:** You gave your opinion. I didn’t hire you for that. I wanted to know what, if any, kinds of mold I’m dealing with. I thought you understood that.
**Me: My opinions are based on hard facts. There is obvious mold inside the ductwork. Knowing the type is of no benefit. It needs to be rectified, which they are doing by replacing the ductwork. After conversations with the occupants and the maintenance personnel, I deemed that testing would be unethical and unnecessary. I realize my honesty may not have been lucrative for my business, but my integrity has no dollar figure on it. I will be more than happy to help, when you actually need help. Thank you.

My wife says I was rude, and should have done the tests. I told her testing was of no value to anyone other than me, given that particular situation.

I’m wondering, is there an inspector here who would have carried out the tests?

Exactly what I would have done Michael.

Then maybe you’re a rude, arrogant person like me, Frank! Welcome aboard! :mrgreen:

That’s how my wife describes me. I prefer blunt. :slight_smile:

I’m confused, in your quote below, you refer to “he” or “him” at differents points and I can’t tell if you are referring to the same person or not.

As for not doing the mold samples, it may be that “he” “him” needed samples and documentation of existing mold levels for some reason related to the work involved in replacing all of the ductwork.

Its impossible for me to say whether you were right or wrong here without being involved in the situation personally.

From what I do understand of the situation, I would have done what I was asked to do and taken mold samples. Or talked to the “him” that asked you to do the samples and discuss whether or not to proceed.

The “he”, or “him”, is the guy in charge of building maintenance. He was out of town this morning, so once I got there, per his instructions, I talked with another maintenance guy, as well as the Lawyer whose name is on the side of the building. The three of us had the conversation, and they revealed their action plan to me. It was through this discussion I decided a mold test wasn’t necessary.

However, since then, while I was on an afternoon inspection, the original guy who hired me over the phone, called back. He wanted to know if I can draft a letter stating that what we see is, in fact, mold. Of course I told him I cannot definitively say it is definitely mold without a lab report. So that was his “AHA, Got you” moment. That’s why he wanted me to test. So they can go back and sue the HVAC company who installed the system, didn’t upkeep the system or ductwork properly, and through their negligence caused this condition, and people and the building to get sick.

Made me really, really, thankful I had the foresight to turn the whole thing down and not get involved.

Who would ever think a multi-million dollar law firm would sue someone over mold? :roll:

In commercial settings testing may be needed for many documentation reasons. Air samples done properly will be used by an IH after forming a plan or purpose for the tests. The number of tests will be significant since greater numbers are needed to overcome the inherent variability present in air sampling. The AIHA has an excellent example somewhere online of testing which was performed in a government building. The breadth of the testing was fascinating.

In a residential setting the answer to your question is most often no, testing is not needed, especially not air samples. But there are plenty of inspectors who will promote and make money from mostly useless testing and come up with many creative reasons why it “benefits the client”. In the end if you discuss it long enough with them it will always come back to “the client wants it and we can make money doing it, so why not.”

What the article says is something I suspected, one reason I won’t get involved in mold testing.
An accurate test with valid data depends on following rigorous procedure collecting and equally rigorous procedure at the lab. The lab assumes the person doing the collecting is following procedure, and the person reading the report assumes the lab followed procedure.
Given that neither can control the other, I am skeptical, mold is everywhere, confine reporting to the conditions that will cause it to grow, and visible signs of ‘suspect organic growth’.