Frequently Asked Questions
See our Mold Guide for mold descriptions, health effects and mycotoxins produced.
What is the Difference Between Air Quality Testing and Surface Sampling?
The method of air quality testing is used to help determine if you have elevated levels of mold indoors. This method gives us a snapshot of what the air is like within your property at the time of testing. This test can be used as a guide for health related issues and more. This method is also useful when you cannot see visible mold. It shows exactly what types of mold are found and the levels in which they are found.
The method of surface sampling is slightly different as it only determines the type of mold that is visible. This method is useful if you only want to determine what type of mold it is you see growing. However, you will not be able to determine if you are being exposed to it in elevated levels within your indoor air through surface sampling. There are two methods for surface sampling; swab sampling and tape lift sampling.
What Are the Advantages of Air Quality Testing?
Air quality testing can be very beneficial in helping determine what types of airborne mold you have within your property. This type of test also shows if any of the molds found are elevated or not. If you are getting sick this test can be extremely beneficial for you. If you can’t see mold but think you smell mold, this test can sometimes help. And any time you are ever concerned about mold exposure, this is the only test that can determine if you are truly being exposed to toxic mold or mycotoxins.
I See Mold, Can’t I Just Clean it Myself?
No. Never take the chance of causing a much bigger problem. If you see mold, it doesn’t mean that you have elevated levels of airborne mold yet. However, as soon as you spray something on it, or wipe it down, you immediately make it airborne. This will only cause a much bigger issue. And, you don’t know if you are dealing with a toxic mold or mycotoxins. Therefore, be safe and have it tested first. Then, only clean the mold when you have the proper containment put in place and the proper air scrubbing machines to filter the air as you clean. It is very important to get all the mold spores out of the air even if the mold spores are dead. Many people don’t realize that dead mold spores can cause just as many health problems as live mold spores can.
What Are Common Symptoms of Mold Exposure?
Mold exposure causes many upper respiratory issues and allergic reactions. However, dependent upon the type of mold, some can cause extremely serious health complications and even death. Some of the most common symptoms of mold exposure include:
- Stuffy, runny nose
- Nose bleeds
- Itchy, watery, or burning eyes
- Coughing and / or tightness in chest
More Serious Issues Include:
- Wheezing or asthma
- Skin rash
- Hair loss
- Chronic Sinus Infections
- Lung Issues
- Neurological Issues
Are Some Molds More Dangerous Than Others?
Yes. While some molds may cause allergic type reactions, there are some molds that you should not expose yourself to at all. Various types of molds cause toxins, called mycotoxins. However, mycotoxins may not develop in every case. Several factors have to be in place for this to occur. But when mycotoxins are present, whether alive or dead, they can cause serious health issues that will need to be treated by a doctor with special medications. Then there is the toxic mold that can be deadly. You should stay away from this mold at all times.
Can My HVAC System and Ducts Get Contaminated with Mold?
Yes. It is very easy for an HVAC system and duct work to become contaminated with mold. This can be from dirty air filters, over-humidification, a clogged air conditioning pan or by cross contamination.
I See Mold Growing On Personal Belongings and Furniture. What Can I Save?
In the mold industry, there is a general rule of thumb. Any type of porous surface that has mold growing on it should be discarded / thrown away. This includes drywall, paper products, wicker, unsealed wood, prefabricated wood, electronics, cardboard, leather, mattresses, couches, etc. You can save products like plastics, metals, sealed woods, textiles (clothes, drapes, stuffed animals, etc., must be washed 3x and dried well), hardwoods, stainless steel, etc. These should be cleaned at an off-site location with an antimicrobial agent before returning them to the property.
My Landlord / Property Manager Won’t Do Anything About the Mold. What Can I Do?
Unfortunately, there are only a couple of states in the US with laws to protect tenants against mold. Georgia is not one of them. However, there is still hope. The first step is to get the proper documentation first. Outline your issues and get a mold test to prove that you do, in fact, have a mold problem. This test along with your documentation can be used in the court of law to get you out of your lease and your deposit back. It also helps protect your credit along the way. Apartments are famous for painting over mold to cover it up. However, with our air quality tests, we can still prove you have a mold issue. You can’t paint over or cover up airborne mold.
There is Always Mold Growing in My Basement. What Can I Do to Stop It?
Basements are notorious for growing mold. They are usually, dark and humid areas, which make them prime locations for mold to grow. The ideal relative humidity levels in a basement should be between 30% to 50% to keep mold from growing. A dehumidifier will help keep excess moisture out of the air and solve many basement mold issues. If you are unable to use a dehumidifier, try using several fans and lots of light. Note: Have professional mold remediation performed before you use fans, if you see mold growth.
My Window Look as If They Are Sweating. What Can Cause This Problem?
When indoor moisture levels are excessively high, you will usually see condensation build up on your widows. You can easily solve this problem by running your HVAC system on a regular basis. The HVAC system is actually a dehumidifier too. It should be kept no higher than 75 degrees; however, between 72 and 74 degrees is optimal temperatures for keeping excessive humidity and moisture levels within a property down.