Mold is a common indoor air pollutant that can cause severe health damage. Conduct an inspection and acquire an indoor mold test kit to check for and prevent mold. When performing a test, follow the instructions exactly to determine if your air has dangerous mold levels.
Indoor air quality often lies at the heart of Sick Building Syndrome. In the United States alone, up to 50% of commercial buildings suffer from poor indoor air quality, which can drastically lower the average life span of building occupants and damage to the building itself.
Bad indoor air quality is a symptom of several issues, and unseen mold is one of the usual suspects. An unaddressed mold colony releases toxic substances known as mycotoxins into the air. Even short-term exposure to these spores can trigger asthma attacks, cause pneumonia, inflame allergies, and increase the chance of neurological disorders.
You can conduct a regular indoor air quality test for mold to ensure the safety of your indoor air. But you need to know how to properly test the air for mold to get the most accurate results. We'll walk you through preparing for an indoor air quality test so you can promptly eliminate any mold threats in your building.
Why Indoor Air Quality Testing Is Essential for Health
Mold causes many health issues and can remain undetected for long periods. There are standard methods of mold control, starting with air quality assessments.
These assessments identify the concentration of mold spores within an indoor space. Given the severe health effects that accompany a high level of mold, you need to identify and address mold problems as early as possible.
Don't put it off. Frequent mold testing is vital to maintaining a safe living environment. This is why many building managers use indoor air sensors, which constantly track mold levels.
Common Types of Mold Species and Their Impact
Mold develops in damp, dark spaces. There are a few common types of toxic molds found indoors, each with different levels of concern.
- Black Mold (Stachybotrys chartarum): Grows in damp, dark places. It is a common but toxic mold. Even short-term black mold exposure can cause severe respiratory problems, skin irritation, lung disease, and neurological issues.
- Aspergillus: A powdery mold that grows on food or drywall and causes allergic reactions, lung infections, and inflammation for those with weak immune systems.
- Penicillium: Typically grows on damp surfaces or areas with water damage, causing respiratory problems and allergies.
- Alternaria: Grows on building materials, like drywall, or in damp places and exacerbates asthma symptoms.
How To Prepare for an Indoor Air Quality Test
Mold tests are easy to conduct, but achieving the best results requires preparation. Without accurate results, it's hard to identify and solve the problem, giving the mold an opportunity to spread.
Identify Potential Mold Growth Areas
Visual mold inspections are the first step. Pay attention to key identifying factors that signal clear signs of mold:
- Musty smells
- Damp areas or water damage
- Warped floor or walls
Mold is commonly found in bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and cupboards. Check these spaces thoroughly as you investigate indoor mold growth. If you find any, you can skip the testing phase and move straight to mold removal.
There are also a few common symptoms that might indicate mold growth. Test for mold if you or building occupants are experiencing any of the following:
- Inflammation of the nose or eyes
- Allergic reactions
- Watery or itchy eyes
- Breathing difficulties or coughing
Gather Necessary Equipment and Supplies
The two most common methods used to identify a mold problem are mold test kits or air testing sensors. These kits include the necessary air test devices, chemical strips, or Petri dishes and are available at department stores or online. They'll also come with an instruction manual for any brand-specific guidelines.
Additionally, you'll need a filtration mask and safety gloves for protection.
How To Conduct Your Indoor Air Quality Test
It's time to learn how to run the mold test.
Step 1: Prepare the Test Area
When testing a room for mold air, close any doors, windows, or vents for at least 24 hours before sampling the air.
Step 2: Follow the Mold Test Kit Instructions
Always follow the instructions carefully. Most kits direct you to place the air sampling device in a room and leave the Petri dish or airstrips to collect samples for a specified period, usually a few days. Make sure the room is sealed off with tape while testing, and place the device where you suspect mold growth. If you're not sure where the problem is, place the test in an area with poor ventilation.
Step 3: Label and Document
Follow the instructions to label the indoor air samples according to the manufacturer's directions, usually including the location and date. Clear documentation will keep your test from getting mixed up with other samples.
Step 4: Wait for the Results
Some mold kits provide immediate results. Others take a few days or even weeks if you have to send the samples to a laboratory for analysis.
Step 5: Interpret Results
When reviewing your results, closely examine the concentration levels of mold spores in each sample. Elevated levels may indicate a critical mold problem. Typically, the kits will instruct you on how to proceed if mold is present. Follow these instructions as directed.
Get Real-Time Mold Warning Alerts and Simplify Your Air Tests
Testing for mold is a great way to determine if mold is present in your building, but taking a preventive approach is much wiser. A series of smart air quality monitors are the best way to handle mold control. These sensors track key metrics concerning indoor air quality in real time, including the presence of mold spores. As soon as mold levels spike, you receive a direct alert to your smartphone. You can call for mold removal before it can harm your building or its occupants.
Air quality sensors are essential for maintaining fresh, breathable air and avoiding the severe health consequences of mold, mildew, humidity, and more. Attune's IoT monitor systems offer an array of cutting-edge indoor air quality sensors and are among the most accurate, precise, and user-friendly on the market. Our IAQ solution includes a specific mold detection solution that can spot spores as small as .3 microns in diameter.
If you're interested in investing in the top mold prevention technology for your building, visit our website today to schedule a demo.