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Environmental testing can help to identify certain allergens in the air, and the overall air quality of a home. This is also referred to as Indoor Air Quality sampling, which is necessary to identify the types of mold spores and other debris in the air, that is too small to see with the naked eye.
The types of testing, performed by A Second Look Home Inspection, LLC, are:
- Air Sampling - This is accomplished by the use of a sampling pump with a specially designed impact collection cassette. Second Look uses Allergenco-D cassettes. The Allergenco-D sampling cassette was developed for the sampling and collection of aeroallergens and bio-aerosols for quantitative analysis of mold spores, pollen, skin fragments, insects, combustion particles, toners, environmental dusts, construction dusts, and other airborne particulates. The Allergenco-D employs a patented laminar flow venturi which provides higher readable collection efficiency as well as a more well defined impaction trace, helping to reduce analysis time.
- Tape Lift - These are adhesive strips that are pressed to a suspected substance, placed on a slide, placed in a protective container, then sent to the lab for complete analysis.
- Swab Sampling - Second Look uses completely sterile swabs that can be used to collect samples on surfaces, and are used when the tape lift samples are not practical.
Environmental testing may be necessary for many reasons. These reasons can include (but are definitely not limited to):
- Visible , unknown substance growing in the residence
- Recent declining health, especially respiratory related
- Recent water damage or flooding
- Detection of musty odors inside the residence
Below is some basic information that has been taken from the United States Environmental Protection Agency website, regarding mold and indoor air quality. This site can be helpful in researching the right steps for you and your family. Be sure to check out the links at the bottom of the page for more information.
Ten Things You Should Know about Mold
- Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complaints.
- There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
- If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
- Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
- Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by:
- Venting bathrooms, dryers and other moisture-generating sources to the outside
- Using air conditioners and de-humidifiers
- Increasing ventilation
- Using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing and cleaning
- Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
- Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
- Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
- In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
- Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.
How do molds affect people?
Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions) and irritants. Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash.
Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing.
The above does not describe all potential health effects related to mold exposure. For more detailed information, consult a health professional, your state or local health department, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mold website.