Indoor Mold Detection: A Closer Look

Mold is ubiquitous in nature. Filamentous fungi often produce indoor mold in various environments. Excessive moisture, a carbon source, a moderate temperature (25ºC), and dampness, besides other factors, are supportive elements for the growth of indoor mold. The nature and characteristics of indoor mold is more variable. Sometimes one can see mold growth in indoor environments with the naked eye. However, it is hard to assess health and hygiene effects just by looking at it. Therefore, it is essential to study the indoor mold in order to understand its impacts.

There are a number of techniques available nowadays to isolate and identify the mold from indoor environments. No one technique fits in every scenario, but rather, it should be case specific. Although mold can be examined and evaluated in various ways, an integrated approach to detect mold in indoor environments is described below:

Indoor Mold Sampling

To study the airborne fungi from indoor environments

I         Air samples, air samples are collected. Some popular mechanisms are described below for collecting mold/fungal samples from the ambient air.

a.      Drum Trap (DT)

Airborne fungal elements are collected on an adhesive tape mounted on a rotating disc powered by an electric motor in an air sealed drum with an orifice. The rotation of the disc is fixed with that of the exposure time. Hirst spore trap, Tilak air samplers, etc. are some common commercially available samplers in this category.

b.      Electrostatic Trap (ET)

Fungal/mold samples are collected by drawing air with a constant flow rate and exposure time over media under the influence of an electrostatically charged environment. Charged particles are collected on their positively charged electrode. An Electrostatic Sampling Device (ESD), SASS® 3100, Portable Biohazard Sampler, etc. are good commercially available samplers under this technique.

c.       Filterer Trap (FT)

Air samples are drawn on a filter mounted within a closed, airtight chamber by pulling the air through it with a constant airflow rate and exposure time. Micro-orifice uniform deposit impactor (MOUDI), filter made out of cellulose ester, polyvinyl chloride, and polycarbonate are widely used for mold/fungi sampling.

d.      Impinger Trap (IP)

In this method, the sample is collected by dissipating the air into an air tight flask containing the media with a constant airflow rate and exposure time. Some common IP samplers include, but are not limited to, Greenberg-Smith impinger, AGI-30, etc.

e.      Pore Trap (PT)

Air samples for mold/fungal evaluation are collected on media in an air-tight cylinder by collecting air through a perforated metal plate with a constant airflow rate and exposure time. Anderson’s, Burked, Bio-culture, and Button Aerosol Samplers are routinely used based on this technique.

f.        Rotorod Trap (RT)

The airborne fungal particulates are collected on a strip of sticky tape or surface mounted on a mechanical arm/surface attached to a spindle powered by an electric motor that can rotate with a specific number of rotations per minute for a determined exposure time. Rotorod sampler by Sampling Technology, Inc. is one of the most widely used samplers of this category.

g.      Spore Trap (ST)

Commonly in this method, a gel-coated glass slip is employed inside an air sampling device and air is pulled out with a constant air flow for a predetermined exposure time depending on the project goals. Flow rate is verified in the field utilizing an in-line flow meter.  Air is passed over the coated slide causing airborne fungal particles to adhere to the gel. Some commercially available devices of this category are Air-O-Cell, Micro 5, Allergenco-D, M2, Burkard volumetric samplers, etc.

h.      Thermal Trap (TP)

The air samples are collected on a glass slip by placing it around a hot body into ambient air.

II     Surface samples

Environmental surfaces are collected to evaluate the mold/fungal infestation in and around indoor environments. Some practical methods for collecting a surface sample are given below.

a.      Bulk Sample (BSAM)

Bulk samples are made by collecting, scraping, or cutting a representative of the material/dust suspected for mold/fungi by using aseptic techniques. These samples are transferred to the laboratory in a sterile container for further analysis.

b.      Surface Imprint Sample (SISM)

Environmental samples are collected with the help of sticky tape. The sticky side of the tape is placed over the test area and an imprint is taken in order to collect a surface sample for a mold/fungal evaluation. Bio-Scan400is the most accurate (cts/m2) and one of the more commonly used products for collecting surface samples for mold/fungi.

c.       Swab Sample (SSAM)

Swab samples are made by swabbing a selected area by using sterile techniques. The collected specimens are transported to the laboratory for further enumeration. A number of companies make cotton or polyester swabs which are available in the market for environmental surface sampling for collecting mold/fungi samples.

d.      Vacuum Sample (VSAM)

Dust samples are collected from environmental surfaces suspected for indoor mold with a dust collecting cassette and/or a vacuum sample device under aseptic conditions. The collected samples are transported to the laboratory in a sterile container for further evaluation. Dust sock®, Dust collector, etc. are available in the market for collecting environmental surface samples for mold/fungi.

e.      Wipe Sample (WSAM)

Environmental surface samples are collected by means of wiping the selected area suspected for mold/fungi with a sterile gauze pad by following sterile techniques. A leak proof container should be used for transporting these aseptically collected specimens to the laboratory for mold/fungi evaluation. Sterile gauze can be procured in test kits, drug stores, and various other sources to collect environmental samples for testing mold/fungi.

No one sampling method can be used as an absolute standard for collecting environmental samples for the detection and identification of indoor mold. The best way to select a sampling method is to explore the performance of the sampling mechanism and its suitability for the intended project.

Mold Examination and Identification

Isolation of indoor mold collected from environmental samples is challengeable.  Depending on the project needs, the trapped particles are isolated by using a suitable buffer such as phosphate buffer saline (PBS), distilled water, etc. Sometimes the collected specimens are directly examined. Some common methodologies are described below for the isolation and identification of mold/fungi from samples collected from the environment.

a.      Non-culture method

Microscopic techniques are used to examine and identify the mold/fungal elements from the collected sample. This is a rather inexpensive method with a quick turnaround time. However, many times identification of the indoor mold is limited to a particular taxon.

b.      Culture method

In this method, the isolated indoor mold or fungal inoculums on microbiological media are incubated at a required temperature and time for growing the culture. After obtaining the developed culture, microscopic or biochemical techniques are employed for the identification of mold/fungi. While this may be a time taking process, the identification of fungi is often possible both on the genus as well as the species level. Some fungal organisms are media specific; therefore, the selection of microbiological culture media may influence the outcome.

c.       Molecular method

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) or other molecular diagnostics methods are used for the identification of mold/fungi from environmental samples. The advantage to this method is a higher accuracy in the identification with a faster turn around time. However, experimental set up is expensive and requires specific training.

d.      Biochemical method

In this method, the isolated mold/fungal elements are subject to react with certain biochemicals and after a reaction is observed, a pattern is obtained. In other words, a “Metabolic Fingerprint” is obtained in order to identify the targeted indoor mold.

Article Source: https://pureaircontrols.com/indoor-mold-detection/

Health Board finds mold in 4 schools

Person Touching Rock

The Hancock County Health Board discussed reports of mold in the county’s schools during Tuesday’s meeting. The board has found mold in four of the county’s seven schools.

Sanitarian Chelsea Everly announced they have received reports of mold in Oak Glen Middle, Oak Glen High School and New Manchester Elementary. Carolyne Baker, registered sanitarian reported she found mold in Allison Elementary during the school’s inspection, which occurs every two years. Everly and Baker theorize there could be mold in the air ducts.

“It’s definitely an issue, and I think part of the issue is the temperature fluctuates so much in those schools, and the air is being turned off and turned on and turned off and turned on. It’s just causing a lot of problems. And some of the rooms are completely covered in mold,” said Everly.

There have been a total of three reports of mold in Oak Glen High School, two at Oak Glen Middle and one at New Manchester Elementary. The health department is unsure of who is making the complaints, but they have investigated each one. When mold is found the department advises the school to clean it up, and then conducts a follow up inspection to make sure the mold was cleaned up.

“We tell them how they should clean it, but if it’s even being cleaned the proper way, we have no idea,” said Everly.

The board fears the source of the mold is not being taken care of, and that children are going to become ill from mold exposure.

Children and adults with existing allergies will be more sensitive to the molds, and those with immune suppression or underlying lung diseases are more susceptible to fungal infections. Children with asthma inhaling mold spores may experience more frequent attacks. Mold allergy symptoms vary from sneezing and coughing to headaches and nausea. Black mold mycotoxins create irritation and burning sensations in the nasal cavity, mouth and throat.

The health department is unsure which types of molds have been in the schools and cannot determine the toxicity or health hazard of the molds.=

The board voted to write a letter to the Hancock County Board of Educatio encouraging a professional abatement. It will be up to the school system to take the health board’s recommendation. The health board could shut down the schools if the violation becomes severe enough, but that is not an avenue they want to take and are not considering it.

In other business, the board:

¯ Announced the state has approved the Health Department’s new service fees. The state gave confirmation the fee increases were approved, but the department has not received the official letter.

¯ Health Department Administrator Jackie Huff gave an update on the carpet removal in the clinic. She provided the received bids for review.

¯ Approved the recommended wage increases for the Health Department’s employees.

¯ Voted to keep John Plesa as the board’s chair and Anthony Palavis as the vice chair.

¯ Recommended residents get their flu shots. The health department has flu shots available. They will hold flu shot clinics and will have the department’s van out offering shots. It is recommended residents get their shots this month.

¯ The health department will hold a one-mile Breast Cancer Walk on Oct. 19. Registration will be at 9 a.m. at the health department and the walk will start at 10 a.m.

Article Source: https://www.heraldstaronline.com/news/local-news/2019/10/health-board-finds-mold-in-4-schools/

Molds that thrive in and around your Refrigerator

Molds are capable of growing everywhere- even in the most constricted area inside the borders of your home. It comes in a variety of shapes and colors that may bring a threat to your health and home. As much as it differs in appearance, it also comes in a variety of musty smells too.

Some people are more sensitive to the presence of molds. As a result, they may suffer from allergic reactions, irritations, nasal congestion, or even trigger asthma-related symptoms. Aside from its health impacts, molds also feed on the surfaces of your home appliances.

Even your refrigerators could not escape from this threat of mold! Molds can get anywhere as long as there is a presence of moisture and water. Can you imagine how crucial it is when your fridge, your daily food storage area is being invaded by these molds?

To top it off a fan starts and pushes mold around the inside or the outside of your refrigerator.

Chimney and Fireplace Mold Prevention and Tips

One of the most troublesome issues to identify in any house is the development of mold. Mold damage happens gradually. You may never see it until it’s past the point of no return. Did you know when mold spread entirely to your house it can harm your family?

Like any other home exterior, mold can also develop and multiply in your chimney when dimness, poor ventilation, and sogginess exist. To prevent issues like this, start looking for these visible signs.

In addition, chimneys can create negative pressure inside your building envelope and cause the dynamics of moisture to shift and be drawn into your home. It may seem unlikely, but the fireplace in your home may have several ways to fail and ultimately produce water damage and mold in your home.

•    Check Your Ventilation

Poor ventilation traps condensation, which promotes an environment conducive for mold build-up.

•    Maybe the Chimney Crown Is Broken

If your chimney crown is damaged, water can pass through creating a damp environment, resulting in mold growth. A tiny crack is enough for mold to build up around your chimney and fireplace.

•    Bricks and Mortars Are Not Waterproof

Check if your brick and mortar are correctly waterproof with sealant. Water will leak through it if your brick and mortar are sealed improperly.

•    Smokestack Cap Failure

If the pipe on your chimney is damage from an unfavorable weather condition, or not correctly installed, most likely it cannot keep the dampness out.

•    Eliminating Mold from Your Fireplace Is Not an Easy Job

Once you notice mold in your chimney, set up an immediate appointment for a fun guy inspection if you cannot do it on your own. Health risks associated with molds are dangerous and might cause more trouble for your family. Skilled professionals from Fun Guy Inspections can remove all your mold problems completely.

The Unpleasant Negative Health Effects of Mold to Your Family

Mold can cause breathing issues, such as common cold, coughing, headache, sore throat, and wheezing. On the other hand, mold spores when inhaled can cause serious ailments. An asthma attack, for example, followed by some allergic reactions, sinusitis, and the worst possible disease you can get from a mold is pneumonia.

Mold Prevention Tips for Your Chimney and Fireplace

•    Fixing the primary source of dampness is the ideal approach to avoid mold growth. Without moisture, mold won’t develop.

•    Proper waterproofing of your chimney is the answer to prevent mold growth. It should be done after it’s been examined and fixed by a professional. Fixing it will prevent water from leaking.

•    Schedule your chimney for a consult and inspection regularly. You can also set an appointment schedule to check your chimney for any damages after suffering from bad weather. This technique will prevent future problems.

The simple tips mentioned above will help you save money in the future and can keep your chimney and fireplace mold-free.

Fireplace Safety Guidelines – review

Regardless of how bad the season is, you can always find your inner peace and happiness in cold weather. Especially when nestled in front of the warmth of your fireplace. Certainly, cuddling in front of the lovely and warm fireplace is one of the few superb things that you can do in a cold winter day.

As beautiful as flames can be, you should not disregard the fact that a fireplace, when not properly maintained, can pose a serious health risk to you and your family. According to a study, 42% of home accidents were fireplace-related.

Enjoy the warmth that your fireplace gives you in the winter season by maintaining and keeping safety precautionary measures before and after using it.

Ensure that your cold nights can be filled with warmth with these simple tips on how to keep your fireplace safe.

  • The Fire Must Not Be Left Unattended

A fire when left unattended may cause harm to every member of your family. Make sure that you extinguish the fire before tucking in your bed.

  • Children Must Not Get Too Close To The Fire

Do not allow your children to play near the fire even if you were there watching them. A fire is one dangerous thing, and children should keep their distance.

  • Don’t Ever Try Burning Trash And Used Home Supplies In Your Fireplace

Trash and some used home supplies such as glues and empty inks can produce toxins when burned in the fireplace. These toxins, once inhaled by your family, can cause breathing problems.

  • During Cold Months, Your Firebox Must Be Cleaned At Least Once A Week

Cold weather is bed weather, and it makes a person lazy. It is a struggle to do your daily routine, but you must do your best to get up in bed and clean your firebox at least once a week.

  • Keep One Window Open When Using The Fireplace

In this way, you can prevent the smoky feeling in your room. The air coming from the open window helps push the smoke up to your chimney.

  • A Nonflammable Rug Is An Essential

Keeping a nonflammable rug near your fireplace is a must so that sparks won’t melt and damage your carpet.

  • Always Keep A Fire Extinguisher Near Your Fireplace

Keeping a fire extinguisher near your fireplace is a smart move, and can be used in emergencies.

  • Never Operate Appliances That Vent To The Outside

Bathroom vents, dryers, kitchen range hoods, and vacuum systems are one of the many examples of appliances that vent to the outside. Avoid using these appliances when you are using your fireplace as it may cause carbon monoxide build-up inside your home.

  • Set An Appointment Schedule To Clean And Inspect Your Home

If it is necessary, set an appointment to a professional chimney and fireplace inspector to check and clean your chimney. Chimney and fireplace are prone to mold build-up and can cause harmful effects to your family.

Following the precautionary methods listed above will not only make your family safe. However, being responsible for your own actions can help overcome many avoidable accidents that might happen in your home. For home inspection and assistance you can reach Fun Guy Inspections and Consulting, LLC in this number (866) 674-7541 or you can visit our website: https://funguyinspections.com/ for more information.

Attic Mold: Is it a Big Deal?

Have you ever wondered where mold could appear in your house? Well, you probably think that it only occurs in damp places like your kitchen, bathroom, and in your basement. However, it’s not just those areas. There is another commonplace that they love, and if you have one, you need to be aware of it. It’s the attic!

The attic might not be the area where people go up every day, so you may not be aware if your attic is safe and clean. You never know if mold is silently growing on it while you leave them undisturbed. It is also one of the common areas where mold mainly appears. Because of its wood sheathing, ventilation, and roof leaking, they tend to attack the attic.

Yes! It’s kind of rare for an attic to affect your home. They are at the top of your house, and people rarely go there. It’s just an attic, and it’s not a big deal. Well, then, you’re wrong. It’s somehow dangerous for your house, for you, and your family. Why is it so?

Attic Mold: The Issue

We are talking about your attic, and the issue here is the mold that spreads across the walls, ceilings, and roof by air. Moisture and mold are always partners because they grow from it. Some causes are:

  • Insufficient ventilation
  • Roof leaks
  • Exhaust vents

Attic Mold: The Deal

Depending on the amount of mold we can simply leave them be on your attic. For larger amounts of visible mold you may say that it won’t affect your home and your family since it’s up to the roof, but no one knows for sure! Some attic mold might not be harmful, normally considered lumber mold, but they can be dangerous if they impact the drywall and building materials of individual rooms. Here are some reasons why it is a big deal.

  1. It’s Dangerous

Mold could be dangerous to your health. Although with attic vents and gable vents it is unlikely that it concentrations of mold may build up. Some might be allergic if located in close proximity. Sometimes visual perception is a huge deal. Ultimately, people don’t want mold in their homes.

  • It Can Spread

It will be more of a problem if mold this type of mold could spread. Normal molds can travel anywhere because they spread through the air inside your home. If mold could find its way out of the attic, it will eventually spread to your living room, bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen.

  • It Might Damage Your House

It doesn’t matter how big your house is, or how elegant your interior is because you now know the mold is there in the attic. In reality, it has probably been on the building materials since the home was built.

Other times, we experience major roof leaks and water has damaged the materials. Extensive water damage can weaken roofs and cause mold to grow on the plywood and structural lumber. In this instance, a roofer and a mold remediation company are probably your best calls to make at that point. Try to coordinate the efforts of the roofer with the cleanliness of the mold removal company to ensure materials are removed, cleaned, and disinfected properly.

Molds can be everywhere in your house, and we know that all you want is to live peacefully with good health. You need professionals to help you with these problems and provide you a good quality service. Fun Guy Inspections will always be ready to help you in any situation. You can’t do it all by yourself. So, visit our website funguyinspections.com and schedule your appointment today!

Leaky Appliances Lead to Big Problems with Water Damage and Mold

Most people have, by now, heard about the dangers of mold growth in the home.  Toxic mold makes the news quite often, and is a real, meaningful threat to health if left untreated.  But where does this mold growth come from?  Why do some homes get dangerous mold growth whereas others never have to deal with it?  In almost all cases, it comes down to moisture.  So, naturally, we must ask ourselves – where is all this moisture coming from that leads to mold growth? 

One of the most common sources is from leaky or malfunctioning appliances, producing moisture in your home in places you might not even be able to see or access.  Over time, this moisture leads to water damage and mold growth, which can then spread like wildfire.  Read on to learn more about how leaky and malfunctioning appliances create moisture problems in your home, some tips on how to avoid these problems, and some advice on periodic inspection and remediation to keep yourself and your family healthy and safe.

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Common Appliance and Fixture Sources of Moisture in a Home

There are numerous appliances, fixtures, and systems in your home that produce or deal with moisture.  Some are fairly obvious, such as those that deal with water as part of their operation.  Others are far less obvious and hidden.  Below, we’ve briefly described some of the most common culprits as sources of home moisture and water damage, and where, specifically, malfunctions and leaks in their systems can lead to moisture and water damage in your home. 

Washing Machines

Washing machines have several pathways from which moisture can leak out.  Water lines in, drain lines out, and the various seals where they meet the machine itself are often locations from which a leak can spring.  The wash tub, pump, and other aspects of the machine itself also have seals, gaskets, and internal piping that can become compromised over time.

Driers and Duct Work

Driers are one of the home appliances people often overlook as a potential moisture culprit.  The vents and ducts out of a drier to the outside of the home contain warm, moist air.  If they develop leaks, it’s a perfect vector for moisture to get loose in your walls, ceilings, and inaccessible spaces in your home, leading to mold growth.

Dishwashers

Like washing machines, dishwashers can be a common source of water damage and leaks.  Hoses, fittings, and fixtures can result in leaks.  Even a faulty or damaged door seal can allow small amounts of moisture to leak out during the dishwasher cycle, seeping into the cabinets, floors, or sub-flooring and leading to mold.

Water Softeners/Heaters

Obviously, water softeners and water heaters are two systems that deal directly with high volumes of water in the home.  Leaks in any parts of these systems can rapidly cause serious water accumulation and damage. 

Sinks and Plumbing Fixtures

Smaller leaks can often develop around sinks, drains, toilets, and plumbing fixtures.  These may only be evident on use, and be intermittent in nature, but can still cause damage and lead to mold development in walls, cabinets, floors, and similar.

Refrigerators/Ice Maker Water Lines

One of the most common, and often hidden sources of water damage is a leaky or malfunctioning water line running to a refrigerator/freezer unit.  As they are usually behind the refrigerator during normal use, you don’t see the water leaking out of the line.  But it can accumulate and seep into flooring and walls quite easily, and almost always leads to significant, and often hidden, mold growth. 

Tips for Preventing Moisture Leakage and Accumulation

Not all moisture leaks and malfunctions of home appliances can be prevented.  However, there are some useful tips to follow to help reduce the risk of this kind of problem happening to you.  Even if you do have water leakage, there are things you can do to reduce the risk of developing mold right away, too.

  • Ensure your home appliances, fixtures, plumbing, and any accessible pipes or duct work are maintained, with annual check-up appointments on major appliances from a qualified service technician.
  • Periodically inspect your appliances, piping, and similar, especially when the weather changes, as different humidity and temperature conditions can greatly alter the condensation and non-leak-related moisture content that can develop.
  • Make sure that any work done in your home on appliances, piping, or similar is done by a qualified professional rather than on a DIY basis.  Cheaper is not always better!
  • If you notice a water or moisture leak or problem, shut off the water to that appliance or fixture, and try to absorb any standing water from the leak with a towel or towels.  Use a fan to circulate lots of air to help promote fast drying of remaining water.  Open windows in the home to increase airflow.  Then seek out a qualified inspector for water damage and mold growth.

Professional Inspection and Monitoring for Water Damage and Mold

The best way to tell if you have water damage and mold growth in your home is to call on the services of a professional inspection service.  In the greater LA area, the premiere home inspection company that offers these services is FunGuy Inspections.  Mold, mildew, water damage, and even lead, and asbestos can all be detected by FunGuy Inspections, who can then provide remediation advice and information as well.  FunGuy Inspections uses the latest technology and equipment, and has extremely well-trained expert team members, who will help ensure you know what’s going on in your home – even behind the walls and under floors – and can take appropriate action to fix the problem.  For more information, visit https://funguyinspections.com/.

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