Mold Testing Portland
There are over 100,000 species of mold, and because it is a fungus, it spreads by releasing spores into the air. When people think of mold, it doesn’t incite positive feelings, but in nature, mold is the earth’s microscopic decomposer. Outside of your home or business, mold helps break down waste and other organic material like in a compost pile. But once those spores get indoors, things can become more complicated.
Mold needs moisture and a food source to survive. Inside of buildings, mold will typically feed on wood, paper, and sometimes glue. This food source can be found pretty much anywhere in a modern structure. The other part of the equation is moisture. Relative moisture is the amount of humidity found in the air; this should typically be between 30%-50%. Any more than that can lead to fungi/mold growth.
At Advantage Environmental Inc, our team helps to quickly inform Portland and Vancouver home and business owners of the presence of mold. Since mold needs moisture to grow, during an inspection, common places to look for mold are bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. Mold can also be found on walls behind furniture. After a thorough inspection, our team of environmental consultants can inform the property owner of the severity of mold growth and discuss a plan of action to move forward. Identifying the type of mold helps determine the level of remediation needed. Certain types of mold can require expensive removal, while others need only improved cleaning techniques to remedy.
Mold Testing Kit
Generally, you can visually identify mold by its growth, but there are mold testing kits that home and business owners can buy to test the presence of mold throughout the property. There are a variety of ways to test for mold. At-home kits are a simple and effective way to do this; other methods include having professional mold inspectors come out to the property and run air samples. This procedure is more complicated and requires more extensive equipment.
The two most popular at-home mold testing kits are the swab test and the tape test. Both of these at-home testing methods are inexpensive and will accurately let you know if there is mold growth in the areas that you tested. If you suspect mold, it is a good idea to test multiple areas of the property to ensure the source isn’t coming from somewhere else.
How To Collect A Mold Sample
The premise for using the swab or tape mold test kits are fairly similar. Using a sterile swab, you wipe side to side a 1-inch square area; this can be on a wall, around a toilet, next to a window, or anywhere else you suspect mold might be growing. These tests work best on porous or irregular surfaces. The swab gets placed into a tube and sealed in an envelope, which you can then ship to a lab for testing. The other option is the tape test. This method is by far the most simple way to test for mold but is recommended for use on flat smooth surfaces like walls or floors. A piece of specially made tape comes in a little plastic container that you then stick to any surface of concern and place it back in the container. Same as the swab, package this back in the envelope and send it to the lab for testing.
Mold remediation includes the removal, treatment, and cleaning of mold within a property. The first stage of mold remediation is an assessment. A specialist will come to your home or business to assess the severity of the mold growth, run tests, and gather any necessary samples. Moisture is the number one cause of mold growth; therefore, finding the source of this issue and remedying it is the best way to prevent future problems. A leak in the roof, poor ventilation, or bad plumbing can all cause mold to form and spread.
Because mold spores are easily transferred through the air and spread to other areas, it is essential to keep the identified mold source isolated and contained. Most often, negative air chambers are used to prevent the spores from spreading. A negative air chamber is created by sealing off the area from floor to ceiling and having a vacuum sucking air out of the area through a filter and pushing that air out of the property, generally through a window. In addition to this, the HVAC system and other vents are sealed off.
When it comes to the actual removal and treatment of mold, non-porous materials like toilets, bathtubs, tile, and metal can be cleaned and treated with biocide. Biocide is a chemical used to kill mold, bacteria, algae, and other unwanted organisms. Porous materials like drywall, carpet, stuffed animals, and bedding that are affected by mold need to be removed and disposed of properly. For porous materials that can’t be removed like wall studs and other structurally essential materials, the mold specialists will treat them with antimicrobials to prevent future growth.
During the final stages of mold remediation, the specialists will begin to clean up and preventative measures. Specialized high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuums are used to clean all the surfaces in the affected area. This vacuum removes any remaining moisture, mold particulates, and residue from microbial sprays ensuring all the surfaces are now completely dry. Once this is done, the specialists can now treat the surfaces with a special paint that aids in preventing future mold growth.
Preventing mold growth is not as complicated as it might sound because mold only needs one thing to survive. Reducing the amount of moisture will keep mold from growing and spreading. But humans, as a species, live in pretty humid conditions. The air we exhale has moisture, the steam from showers, and cooking all creates moisture in the air. When there is too much moisture in the air, often you will see condensation form on the windows, similar to a cold drink in a glass. Seeing this condensation should be a warning sign that other surfaces like the walls have excessive moisture on them as well. A relative humidity gauge will help you keep an eye on the humidity level in your home. 30-50% is the optimal range.
Home ventilation systems should help maintain this. If you don’t have one of these systems, simply opening the doors and windows for a few minutes will help reduce the humidity. Other mold prevention tips include bathroom ventilation fans and dehumidifiers. The best way to prevent mold growth is to prevent moisture build-up.
Certified Mold Removal Specialists
Work like this should only be performed by specialists with the training and experience to do so. Improper mold removal can cause your problems to come back quickly. At Advantage Environmental Inc, we understand how unnerving it can be to have mold in your home or business, that is why we take our jobs very seriously. Our technicians follow industry-standard guidelines. Our inspectors are AHERA (Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act) accredited, and mold certified. Our goal is to provide our clients with quick and accurate lab results. The sooner these results are back in your hands, the sooner a plan of action can be made. Finding mold can be a startling discovery, but luckily for home and business owners in Vancouver and Portland, Advantage Environmental Inc is here to help. Give us a call when you need mold testing done for your home or business. We also provide mold testing in Vancouver.
Our environmental consultants also service most of SW Washington, Portland, and most of Oregon State and SW Idaho. Please call for further information on availability in your area as we are licensed in all three states.