Mold Testing

Mold Testing in San Francisco and Los Angeles

​Thinking about mold testing? You're not the only one, but you probably have a lot of questions. You'll wonder whether or not you really need testing, how to choose the right company, and how mold testing can benefit you. The truth is that mold spores are everywhere. They've been around since long before humans have existed. They're usually not a problem on their own, but once those spores contact moisture, mold will start to grow. Since mold can have some serious health consequences, it's always best to know your home's or building's mold status. Still have questions? Then keep reading, and feel free to contact us at any time.

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Prevent & eliminate mold today!

At A-1 Environmental Testing, we provide mold testing for your home or office. Our indoor air quality testing will ensure that you do not have harmful mold in your air. We also perform meth lab testing in homes to ensure that no illegal activity is taking place in your residence. What we do in our mold inspection: 1) We test for the presence of elevated mold conditions within your indoor environment. 2) We test for the presence of toxic mold within your indoor environment.

Do I Need Mold Testing?

Let's start with the biggest question: Do you really need mold testing? It depends on your situation. Of course, just about anybody can benefit from knowing their home's mold status. The peace of mind will certainly help you breathe easier, and mold problems are incredibly common. However, some people can benefit from mold testing more than others. Do any of the situations below describe you? If so, it's probably time for you to test for mold.

- You have an older home or building. Older structures come with a bigger mold risk than newer structures. They've had more exposure to moisture over the years, and they often have more cracks and other places where mold likes to hide. If your home or building has been around for a long time, it probably has a mold problem. Testing will let you know for sure.

- You have a lot of moisture. As previously mentioned, mold grows once moisture is involved. Homes and buildings in the San Francisco and Los Angeles regions can pick up moisture from the sea. Rainy seasons and humid months also bring a higher mold risk than dry seasons. If you've just been through a humid spell, you should absolutely check for mold.

- Someone in your home or building has health problems. Mold can aggravate a lot of health problems, especially respiratory issues. If someone in your building has experienced a lot of health problems, mold may very well be the culprit.

- You have a complex ventilation system. Commercial buildings often have more complex vent systems than homes have. Think about the air that circulates through your building. If that air has come into contact with mold, then that mold is spreading all across your building. One way to make sure that you have healthy air is to make sure that air is free of mold.

- You have an attic or basement. This applies to virtually every homeowner, but plenty of commercial buildings have these spaces, too. Mold prefers damp, dark places. As a result, attics and basements are often full of mold. Have a crawlspace? It could also have mold. The more dark, hidden corners you have, the greater your risk for a mold problem. Testing will help you keep these spaces as clean as possible.

- You've just had your building remediated. Maybe you've already dealt with a mold problem. You've had a professional clean the space, but you want to make sure that they did a thorough job. If you get the space tested, you can tell whether or not you've truly gotten rid of the problem. Choose a testing service that isn't connected to your remediation service for the most unbiased results.

How Dangerous is Mold?

You've heard that mold can be dangerous, but just how dangerous is it? It depends on a couple of factors. First of all, it depends on just what kind of mold you may have. While some mold is relatively harmless, black mold causes health problems. Unfortunately, black mold is also one of the more common types of mold. If you have any amount of black mold in your home or building, you'll need to get rid of it as soon as possible.

When discussing VOCs, one is so much more common than others that all households should have specialized testing done to determine their risk and exposure to it: formaldehyde.

Second, keep in mind that mold is more dangerous to some people than it is to others. Those who have allergies, asthma, or sensitivities to mold face more risk than those who don't. People with immune system issues are also vulnerable. Black mold can cause health problems even for those who aren't allergic, but those with allergies and asthma will have the most problems. These problems often include the following:

• Nasal congestion
• Irritated throat
• Coughing
• Wheezing
• Itchy eyes
• Skin problems

Unless you remove all the mold, it will continue to grow, and so will these health problems. It's best to get your home or building tested and remove the problem while it's still manageable.

For additional information, contact us at: 888-217-2719

It is very important to understand and realize that everyone is exposed to mold throughout their lives. Exposures to mold are virtually inevitable in everyday life because mold of one kind or another is ever-present in the outdoor and indoor environment. Such exposures can be considered “tolerable,” “unavoidable,” or “acceptable” for the majority of healthy people.

Mold grows throughout the natural as well as the built environment. Tiny particles of mold are present in both indoor and outdoor air. Mold produce microscopic cells called “spores” which are extremely tiny and spread easily through the air. This is how they reproduce. Mold spores are present through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. There are mold that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods. When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or un-addressed. There is no practical way to eliminate all molds and mold spores in the indoor environment. The way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.

Controlling Moisture The most critical step in solving a mold problem is to accurately identify and rectify the moisture sources that allowed the growth to occur. In order to prevent mold from growing, it is imperative that water damaged areas be dried within a 24-48 period. If mold is a problem in the home, the mold must be cleaned up and the excess water or moisture removed. There are many common sources of excess moisture that can contribute to indoor mold growth. Some of the primary means of moisture entry into homes and buildings are water leakage (such as roof or plumbing leaks), vapor migration, capillary movement, air infiltration, humidifier use, and inadequate venting of kitchen and bath humidity. Temperature must also be considered because of its role in moisture transfer and condensation. The key is to reduce indoor humidity and identify the molds’ point of origin.

Mold Testing and Indoor Air Quality Testing in San Francisco and Los Angeles

How Does Mold Testing Work?

Now that you know why you need mold testing, let's talk about how the process works. Thankfully, when you work with a mold testing professional, the process is simple and straightforward. Best of all, it won't take too much time from your already busy day. Mold testers can use two main ways to get samples from your home or building: surface testing and air testing. Your mold testing professional may use either of these methods, depending on your situation. Surface testing involves taking samples from different surfaces. Your tester may use swabs, wipes, or even strips of tape to collect samples from your surfaces. Air testing involves collecting air samples into tightly sealed containers. Your testing professional will send these samples to a lab to be tested for mold spores.

How to Choose a Mold Testing Company

Of course, you don't want to let just anyone test your home or building. You'll want to make sure that you make the right choice. So, how do you choose the right mold tester? Start by searching for testers in your area. Then, you can narrow your search based on your criteria. Look for an unbiased mold testing service. Some mold testing companies also provide mold remediation. These options may seem convenient at first. However, these companies may also tell you that you have a mold problem even if you really don't. Their goal is to get you to use their remediation service. With these companies, you may spend far more money than you should. An unbiased company is a company that only offers testing. These companies have no connection to any remediation service. Whether you have a mold problem or not, these companies will be honest with you. You won't spend any more money than you need to spend.

Next, look for professionals who have a lot of experience. The more experienced your mold tester, the more accurate and efficient the process becomes. Check company websites for mentions of experience. You can also call or email the company to ask.

Finally, ask about customer satisfaction. Online reviews are a great place to start. See what past clients have to say about your chosen company. Check the website for a satisfaction guarantee.

Once you've gone through this checklist, you'll find the perfect mold testing service. Soon, you'll have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your building's mold status. There's no reason to keep guessing. Take your building's health into your own hands. It's time to get proactive.

A-1 Certified Environmental Services, LLC

What Else Can I Do?

How else can you protect your home or building from mold? You have several options. First, you can make mold testing a regular part of your maintenance routine. Check for mold once every few years or so. Ask your professional tester how often you should check. You may need more or fewer mold checks depending on your situation. Second, keep your spaces clean and dry. This especially applies to spaces like the attic and the basement. Remember that mold will keep growing unless you remove it completely. Second, make sure that you keep your home and/or building properly ventilated. The right amount of airflow will work wonders for your building's overall health. Dehumidifiers will reduce moisture in the air, preventing further mold growth.

You can keep your home or building clean and healthy for everyone who uses it. It all starts with getting the place tested. The sooner you know your mold status, the sooner you can breathe easy...

For additional information, contact us at: 888-217-2719


Indoor Air Quality Testing

Mold Sampling Methods:

Surface Sampling Surface sampling can be useful for differentiating between mold growth and stains, for identifying the type of mold growth that may be present and, in some instances, identifying signs of mold growth in a general vicinity. Surface sampling can improve the accuracy of the results and interpretation of the inspected environment if sampled correctly, although not required. The following are the different types of surface samples that are commonly used to perform a direct examination of a specific location:

Swab These are very similar to tape samples except for a sterile wipe (looks like a long Q-tip) is used to test an area of suspected mold. Samples obtained using this method can be analyzed using culturing or direct microscopy.

Tape (or tape-lift)

These samples can be collected using clear adhesive tape or packing tape. For microscopic examination of collected particles, adhesive tapes must be of good optical quality and compatible with any stains the analytical laboratory may use on the specimens. Easily removed material is collected by touching the tape gently to a test surface and removing the tape with a steady force.

Bulk These are portions of environmental materials (e.g., settled dust, sections of wall board, pieces of duct lining, carpet segments, or return-air filters) tested to determine if they may contain or be contaminated with biological agents. The objective of such sampling is to collect a portion of material small enough to be transported conveniently and handled easily in the laboratory while still representing the material being sampled. Samples obtained using this method can be analyzed using culturing or direct microscopy.

Air Sampling Methods

Air samples are possibly the most common type of environmental sample that investigators collect to study bioaerosols. The physics of removing particles from the air and the general principles of good sample collection apply to all airborne materials, whether biological or other origin. Therefore, many of the basic principles investigators use to identify and quantify other airborne particulate matter can be adapted to bioaerosol sampling. Common to all aerosol samplers is consideration of collection efficiency.

The following are the two most common forms of air sampling methods:

1. Micro5 The Micro5 Microcell uses spore trap cassettes in conjunction with a portable air pump to rapidly collect airborne aerosols including mold, pollen and other particulates. Air is drawn through a small opening at the top of the cassette and spores are trapped on a sticky surface inside the cassette.

2. Air-O-Cell These are similar to the Micro5 spore trap cassettes in that they are also used in conjunction with portable air pumps. The difference is in the air flow sampling rate. Mold Testing Purposes

Contamination Sources If the source of moisture is not easily detected, mold testing can prove beneficial. Often a roof leak or a plumbing leak can be identified as the source. The difficulty arises when there is an odor present or when an occupant shows signs of mold exposure but no visible mold is discovered.

Scope of Remediation/Restoration The area that is contaminated and the extent of the contamination will determine the scope of the remediation required. Following the completion of the remediation process, mold testing should be performed to obtain clearance.