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Mold Sampling and Remediation Protocols

Mold is typically collected in air or surface samples. Air samples consist of running a known quantity of air through a sample. The sample contains a sticky surface (spore-trap) or auger media (impactor) where the mold spores become embedded. The samples are then sent to a laboratory where they determine the number and kinds of mold present. The sample results are then compared to the control sample to determine if the air quality inside the residence was impaired by microbial growth at the time of sampling. There are numerous spore-trap sample manufacturers; however, Air-O-Cell cartridges are most common. Auger media samples are typically supplied by the laboratory. Auger media samples are cultured and provide the added benefit of determining if the collected spores will grow if the right conditions are present (viability). Air samples are susceptible to inaccuracies if the samples are collected over too long or short a time period. Air samples are essentially useless without outdoor controls.

Surface samples can be collected in several ways through tape-lift, swab, or bulk samples. Tape-lift samples utilize a sticky tape that is pressed to a surface where the mold spores adhere to the tape. The tape is then applied to a glass microscope slide. Swab samples utilize a moistened Q-tip type swab to collect spores from a surface. Bulk samples consist of the removal of a small piece of the material that supports microbial growth. The samples are typically sent to a laboratory for analysis; however, qualified professionals can read the samples in the field with a microscope. The laboratory will provide the genus and count of the microbial growth observed along with the coverage area in the sample. Homeowners typically request air sampling when they have a mold concern; however, the licensed Mold Assessor should explain the limitations of this sampling technique before completing the samples.

Air samples can tell you if there is an above normal quantity of mold in the air that is impairing the indoor air quality; however, they cannot tell you the location of the mold. If a homeowner believes there is a mold concern in the residence, they typically already suspect an area to be the source of the mold concern. In this case surface sampling may be more cost-effective to address the concern. If the client’s goal is to confirm the absence of mold impaired air quality than air samples along with a thorough examination of the residence may be the best course of action. Unnecessary mold samples cost the client money and American Building Sciences is sensitive to how we spend your money. If you have mold concerns and would like to discuss the best way to address your concern, please contact us. We would be proud to earn your business.

Leak Source Detection

Leak Detection utilizes observations and instrumentation to identify leaks. The first step to identify a leak source is observation of the materials and components in the area of concern. Careful observation can reveal water meter movement, sounds, staining, discoloration, and deterioration that was not readily apparent. After careful observation instrumentation should be used to further narrow down the location of the leak.

Moisture meters can be used for moisture mapping of the residence to help identify the area of the leak. Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) thermal imagery is used to identify temperature gradients typical of the presence of moisture to help identify the leak source. Infrared thermometers can be used to determine the temperature to identify condensing surfaces. A psychrometer is used to identify the dew point temperature and the Relative Humidity (RH) in the residence. With proper use of these and other instruments a picture of the leak area will start to develop.

As many components do not contain water or water pressure unless they are in use, testing may be necessary to confirm the leak source. The testing has to be done in an appropriate way to prevent failure of unrelated components. Correctly identifying the leak source is dependent upon the knowledge and expertise of the professional evaluating the concern. This process will reliably identify the leak source so that repairs can be made properly the first time. If you need help identifying a leak source, we would be honored to provide our assistance.

Water Damage Investigations

Water damage tells a story. Materials react to moisture in known predictable ways. When a specific material is exposed to moisture it will become damaged the same way each time. If the person examining the water damage materials understands this process, useful information can be derived that is otherwise not apparent. In many cases the pattern of material deterioration provides a map to show where the source of the moisture is located, the nature of the moisture source, and the duration of the moisture exposure. Additionally, the information can be utilized to provide a more appropriate and effective remediation protocol. This information is widely available; however, the knowledge and expertise of your professional will determine if your project benefits from it. If you have questions about water damage and would like to benefit from our expertise, we would be proud to earn your business.

Post Remedial Verification (PRV) Sampling

In Florida there are two licenses that pertain to mold: Mold Assessors and Mold Remediators. These two licenses work together to achieve proper mold remediation. If a homeowner believes they have a mold problem, a licensed Mold Assessor should assess the concern and determine if there is mold. Additionally, the Mold Assessor should determine the source of the mold and if the mold needs to be professionally remediated. If remediation is necessary, the Mold Assessor should prepare a Mold Remediation Protocol. The Mold Remediation Protocol will provide site specific directions for proper remediation of the mold. A Licensed Mold Remediator from a separate company will then follow the Protocol to remediate the mold.

After the Mold Remediator has completed remediation the Mold Assessor should return to the property and verify that the mold was properly remediated. To confirm remediation of the mold the Mold Assessor will use visual observations, moisture measurements, air samples, and verify that the Mold Remediation Protocol was properly followed. The Mold Assessor should prepare a report that verifies remediation of the mold. If these steps are followed, homeowners can rest assured that their mold problem has been properly remediated. At American Building Sciences we specialize in Mold Assessments, if you have concerns about mold in your home, please contact us so that we can help you resolve the issue.