Molds are found everywhere in nature and frequently indoors as a component of household dust. However, when mold spores are present in large amounts they can pose a health hazard to humans through allergic reactions and respiratory issues. Additionally, some molds also produce mycotoxins that can pose serious health risks to humans and animals.
Striving to serve you in a courteous and professional manner, we are adamant in conducting our mold inspections with the care and concern as if it were our own home. The following points are provided as a foresight to make your mold inspection as seamless as possible:
• The initial client relationship commences over the phone, whereby we learn about your mold concerns and you learn more about our services. After an overview of the situation, we will ask you some more specific questions such as square footage followed by scheduling a day and time which is at your best convenience.
• After arriving on-site promptly and introducing ourselves, we will reiterate the inspection process and present you a hard copy paper file of our engagement contract.
• The stage is now ready for the initial inspection process. Digital images of preventative maintenance and suspect conditions areas will be taken in addition to the use of moisture meters and humidity identification devices. The inspection is as thorough as possible, with the aim to assess the presence of mold growth, how it originated, and how it can be prevented in the future.
• Following the initial inspection process, we will present the findings with you. In areas where suspect conditions are observed, we will recommend air sampling and/or swab sampling. These two sampling types are in turn sent to an AIHA-certified laboratory, wherein they will be analyzed and the results promptly dispatched.
• If sampling is chosen, the samples will be safely packed, accompanied with a chain of custody and mailed in a timely manner. Following any sampling measures, we will thank you for your time and inform you of the timetable for receiving the sample results.
• As soon as the lab findings are received, we will send you a PDF file copy via email in addition to reviewing the results with you over the phone. If remediation is necessary, we will recommend different mold remediation companies to you at this time.
• Finally, a hard copy color report is generated for you and sent to you via email.
Air samples are collected by extracting an established amount of air, 15 liters per minute (lpm), via a mechanical pump through a Zefon Air-O-Cell™ Cassette. This method of sampling allows for a rapid collection of viable and nonviable mold spores and subsequent analysis through direct microscopy by a certified lab.
• The air flow travels through an inverted, conical sample slit and impacts an adhesive glass slide. The mold spores and other particulates are ‘trapped’ on the glass slide and the air exits through a cavity on the opposite end of the sample slit.
• The 15 lpm is the optimal speed for collecting air samples. Lower rates may occasion a decreased level of collected particulates in the air. At higher rates, particulates slated for collection may change structural formations due to the heightened air flow.
• A chain of custody accompanies each air sample.*
*VM3 Environmental conducts routine calibration on its Air-O-Cell™ equipment using a soap bubble meter to calibrate the flow rate to a constant 15 lpm.
In accord with IESO Standards, VM3 collects all its swab samples using a wetted wash solution that will not amplify microorganisms. Once the swab has been stroked across the intended mold area, the swab sample is placed inside the transport tube and labeled accordingly. As with air sampling, swab sampling carries a respective chain of custody. Swab sampling affords the persons involved with the residential structure under examination an avenue to rapid qualitative and quantitative analyses. These analyses are conducted via direct microscopy.
Protimeter Moisture Meter Readings
To measure the moisture level of non-conductive and porous building materials, VM3 utilizes GE Surveymaster Protimeter Dual-function Moisture Meters. The meters’ dual modes of search and measure fortify VM3’s ability to ascertain the extent and profile of excess and to assist in detection of moisture related issues. A digital display offers the actual or relative moisture level of the material in question. In addition, VM3’s Protimeters contain an LED scale which measures the state of the material’s moisture.
• GREEN represents a safe, dry air state
• YELLOW indicates a marginal state
• RED alerts VM3 of a damp condition
Temperature Humidity Meters
To measure the relative humidity (RH) and temperature of a particular area,VM3 operates Fluke Model 971 Temperature Humidity Meters. This device affords VM3 the ability to rotate from ambient temperature readings to wet bulb readings to dew point readings and back again to ambient mode. In reference to relative humidity, the Fluke 971 ranges from 5 to 95% relative humidity (accurate ±2.5% RH) and produces accurate readings within 60 seconds.
Generally, an RH level of 60% or higher indicates a high water vapor pressure presence. Lower temperatures coupled with a high RH level can lead to condensation on the materials in the area. This wet condition can support a viable environment in which mold can grow. VM3 adheres to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), which promotes healthy indoor air ventilation among other topics. Particular to mold, RH levels, and temperatures, ASHRAE specifies that indoor temperatures should range 68-74º F in the winter and 73-79º F in the summer.
Indoor Environmental Standards Organization (IESO) Standards of Practice
At VM3, we adhere to the guidelines provided by the IESO, an organization that offers a national forum to develop and publish consensus standards for the analysis of indoor environments. IESO’s Standards Volume I lists basic standards for sample collection and the assessment of indoor environments for mold contamination. Currently, IESO Standards require ISO 17025 qualified laboratories *IESO standards currently call for ISO 17025 qualified laboratories to perform analytical work. To comply with this standard, VM3 employs EMLab for all of its sampling analysis.