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Do Mildew Odors Mean I Have Mold?

Black Mold and air sampling

When mildew odors or “musty” type odors are detected, some type of mold or other fungus is typically actively growing within a building.  When mold is in a “growth cycle” many types of molds emit microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOC’s). It is these types of compounds (gases) which emit detectable orders.  Typically , mold spores themselves do not emet detectable odors.

Visual mold assessments alone are a unreliable  method of ascertaining the microbial condition of the structure. There are many concealed cavities in a building which might contain mold. The best strategy to determine the current condition of a property is to perform mold sampling.  This is accomplished by collecting air samples, surface samples or dust samples,  or some combination thereof. Samples  collected are then submitted to a laboratory for analysis.  There is a wide range in the quality of testing laboratories. Due to the importance of obtaining accurate data,  use of a high-quality laboratory is recommended. Quality laboratories are typically “Accredited”,  which means a third-party accreditation service has performed routine inspections of

Air sampling the interior of a house

the laboratory to ensure minimum testing standards are met.

It is very important to have a properly trained  and experienced microbial inspector. The inspector should be  competent in the various proper microbial collection techniques of mold spores (particulate matter) and dust sampling. A high-quality microbial inspector will also have a thorough understanding of environmental sciences as it relates to building construction.

Asking questions about the microbial investigators background, training and experience before hiring the person. cannot be  overemphasized. Particular attention should be paid to the investigators use of technical terminology and familiarairty with molds,  moisture and water intrusion issues.  If a potential investigator seems to be struggling in these areas it may be a clue to the limitations of their professional capabilities.  In our experience, there is no substitute for a highly trained, ethical and competent microbial investigator. The costs associated with improper or unnecessary mold remediation far exceed the costs and getting a proper mold assessment.

If mold is discovered, a mold remediation protocol is typically written by the microbial investigator. The remediation protocol outlines the recommended steps to eliminate the mold and prevent a mold reinvestigation. If the mold assessment is done properly, and the mold remediation is performed correctly, then  there should be no worries or concerns about the structure.

 We hope this article was helpful.