Home Mold Testing

Hello,


I have been suspecting a mold infestation in my Condo for a few months now due to a leak that came from the common patio area of my building into my master bedroom. I have have just been able to get the HOA to spring for a mold testing. The company said they did not find any toxic mold (they only did a tape test) and as a result, the HOA will not pay for any mold remediation. 


 


I don't have much in the way of money to pay for a testing myself and I am wanting to get an opinion as to whether it would be worth it. I called American Air testing and they stated that the company should have tested inside the wall in question and quoted me around $500-$1000 for testing. 


 


I cannot rent this condo out because of all this and am losing money every month that goes by.However, I do not want to rent the room out if there is a mold infestation. Caught between a rock and a hard place. 


 


Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


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Comments

  • Find someone with Lyme. Have em visit your house. They'll let you know pretty quickly whether there is mold or not :)


  • romansbromansb BulletResistant

    There's products like this with hit or miss reliability.


    Where I post my research:
    buildingabetterhuman.com


    "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" -Leonardo Da Vinci

  • GeijutsuGeijutsu
    edited June 2014
    I suspecting that I have a mold problem as well. The house I live in has a very shitty plumbing system and there are constantly leaks going on. The house has a central AC system and I noticed that during summer, my lungs are constantly irritated, I couldn't figure it out at first but then it hit me that there could be mold spores coming out of the AC and I'm breathing it. I ordered one of those mold testing kits that come with a patri dish from amazon and tested the air, and the results came out negative. So i'm still preplexed to say the least, I guess the best way to rule it out is to test myself for mold exposure.


    Needless to say it's a very frustrating situation.
  • Have you looked into plants, ones which filter mold & other things, as something to be taking advantage until you figure it out further? It could just be that you need some plant friends in your house.




    I suspecting that I have a mold problem as well. The house I live in has a very shitty plumbing system and there are constantly leaks going on. The house has a central AC system and I noticed that during summer, my lungs are constantly irritated, I couldn't figure it out at first but then it hit me that there could be mold spores coming out of the AC and I'm breathing it. I ordered one of those mold testing kits that come with a patri dish from amazon and tested the air, and the results came out negative. So i'm still preplexed to say the least, I guess the best way to rule it out is to test myself for mold exposure.


    Needless to say it's a very frustrating situation.



  • GeijutsuGeijutsu
    edited June 2014
    I don't know man. I'm thinking maybe I should clean/replace the AC filter. I don't think I did that ever since I moved into the house, which was like 3 years ago. Will do that and report back about the symptons.


    Have you looked into plants, ones which filter mold & other things, as something to be taking advantage until you figure it out further? It could just be that you need some plant friends in your house.

  • Maybe clean/replace the AC filter AND get plants?


    Plants are good for you, regardless. Get those muthafugga's into your house. They provide oxygen for you! Plus they'll clean the air! win/win/win. 




    I don't know man. I'm thinking maybe I should clean/replace the AC filter. I don't think I did that ever since I moved into the house, which was like 3 years ago. Will do that and report back about the symptons.

     




  • Maybe clean/replace the AC filter AND get plants?


    Plants are good for you, regardless. Get those muthafugga's into your house. They provide oxygen for you! Plus they'll clean the air! win/win/win.




    Thanks garrett. Will defintely look into it. Is tere any kind of plant that I should look for, or any large size will suffice? I do have two small plants in my house aling with the "click and grow" herb garden in the kitchen.
  • GeijutsuGeijutsu
    edited June 2014
  • So, I made the same petri dish sampling method I mentioned earlier, but this time I did it in the room I sleep in. I stuck it on the opening where the AC air comes from for 10 minutes and then let it incubate for about 5 days, this is what I got:


     


    mlku2e.jpg


     


    Should I be worried?


  • You can have your AC cleaned they can do it by just vacuuming or they can actually run a machine that blows the air out of your system with a hose from a van from the street.


     


    I am having this guy do it next week. It is going to cost me $850 bucks but I would rather be high end on something like this than a cheap @#$% with my health. My wife is not happy that I will not turn on the AC till this is done but Dave has successfully mind controlled me ;-)


     


    Call this guy, I am sure he is not in your area but you will know what you are looking for if you talk to him.


     


    http://www.peabodycleaning.com/

  • Danno RedDanno Red Practical Man
    edited June 2014

    Depends on how sensitive you are. Air conditioners (or anyplace you have ANY standing water) is going to be a mold growth potential. Refrigerators & freezers (evaporators get cold and usually have a drip tray nearby), dehumidifiers, combustion appliances with condensation drain lines, a shower, washing machine, leaky faucet, cold water lines in your basement, poorly/inadequately vented soffits/attics/crawlspaces (for the homeowners), inefficient windows if you live in a cold climate (water can condense and create a mold haven), and on and on and on. Your petri-dish experiment is only proving what is already true: mold is ubiquitous. Making your space healthy is about making sure there aren't any places that are ideal colonization sites.


     


    Open your AC up, if you can, and look at the condensation drip tray...any black stuff? Is there a hose? If so, is it securely connected at all junctions. Is it properly collecting off the evaporator? Is the evaporator covered in dust? That should be kept clean...if it's linty, look for the filter that's supposed to keep it clean, it may have fallen off or ripped. A soft bed of lint/pet hair makes a good trap for moisture, preventing constant drying which can lead to mold colonizing. Same with your fridge...look underneath for a drip tray or even a puddle of water. Water in the tray is normal but it shouldn't pool up unless it's running too much. And make sure it's not moistening your floor...damp wood = ideal mold substrate.


     


    Your best defense is a dry home. Mold inside is a sign you've got (or had) a moisture problem. And, you can kill mold by taking away their moisture so make repairs as SOON AS YOU SPOT A PROBLEM! So many people neglect this aspect of home maintenance. Water damages far more homes than fire. (I'm not saying you're neglecting either...you have to know the problem exists before it can technically be neglected)


  • Thanks for the link, but I actually don't live in the US. But this helped me to look around for air conditioning duct cleaning service near where I live.


     




    You can have your AC cleaned they can do it by just vacuuming or they can actually run a machine that blows the air out of your system with a hose from a van from the street.


     


    I am having this guy do it next week. It is going to cost me $850 bucks but I would rather be high end on something like this than a cheap @#$% with my health. My wife is not happy that I will not turn on the AC till this is done but Dave has successfully mind controlled me :wink:


     


    Call this guy, I am sure he is not in your area but you will know what you are looking for if you talk to him.


     


    http://www.peabodycleaning.com/



  • GeijutsuGeijutsu
    edited June 2014

    Thanks Dan! Presently, my humidity meters reads at about 37% which I'm guessing is on the low side. My AC is unfortunately a central AC system which makes it very hard to clean. I took the AC filters out 2 days ago and cleaned them, but the lung irritation problem persists. I'm sure as langdj pointed out that the air duct needs cleaning as well. I really hope it's just some dust/dirt problem rather than mold. 


     


    Does anyone know what kind of test should I ask for if I want to see if I have mold/mycotoxins exposure? I think this would be the best way to find out whether the problem I'm facing is mold or just dust related.




    Depends on how sensitive you are. Air conditioners (or anyplace you have ANY standing water) is going to be a mold growth potential. Refrigerators & freezers (evaporators get cold and usually have a drip tray nearby), dehumidifiers, combustion appliances with condensation drain lines, a shower, washing machine, leaky faucet, cold water lines in your basement, poorly/inadequately vented soffits/attics/crawlspaces (for the homeowners), inefficient windows if you live in a cold climate (water can condense and create a mold haven), and on and on and on. Your petri-dish experiment is only proving what is already true: mold is ubiquitous. Making your space healthy is about making sure there aren't any places that are ideal colonization sites.


     


    Open your AC up, if you can, and look at the condensation drip tray...any black stuff? Is there a hose? If so, is it securely connected at all junctions. Is it properly collecting off the evaporator? Is the evaporator covered in dust? That should be kept clean...if it's linty, look for the filter that's supposed to keep it clean, it may have fallen off or ripped. A soft bed of lint/pet hair makes a good trap for moisture, preventing constant drying which can lead to mold colonizing. Same with your fridge...look underneath for a drip tray or even a puddle of water. Water in the tray is normal but it shouldn't pool up unless it's running too much. And make sure it's not moistening your floor...damp wood = ideal mold substrate.


     


    Your best defense is a dry home. Mold inside is a sign you've got (or had) a moisture problem. And, you can kill mold by taking away their moisture so make repairs as SOON AS YOU SPOT A PROBLEM! So many people neglect this aspect of home maintenance. Water damages far more homes than fire. (I'm not saying you're neglecting either...you have to know the problem exists before it can technically be neglected)



  • Modern Life SurvivalistModern Life Survivalist Saturated Fat Truther ✭✭

    Best mold test is ERMI. It is the gold standard. Dr. Shoemaker uses it as his basis for whether you're going to recover or not. If you have trouble removing mold toxins, first of all, do a Welchol detox, which can be supplemented with Chlorella/Spirulina/Activated Charcoal. Then, the ERMI you're looking for is under 2. If you're okay at removing toxins, I reckon you can do alright at up to a 7 or 8. 


     


    Also, please check out this documentary: www.blackmoldexposure.com


     


    It is very cheap to own at the moment (not available to rent), so I recommend you take advantage!


  • Danno RedDanno Red Practical Man

    The filter isn't really the issue because it's usually almost entirely warmed air coming back through the return ducts so water should be less prone to condensing here. Do you have access to the central air fan? If so, the evaporator will be sitting in a pan with a drain hole. Look underneath to make sure all surfaces are dry. An easy way to test is to bring a paper towel with and blot around the area underneath and see if it picks up any moisture; preferably do this when the AC's been working hard...perhaps right before dinner. Check to make sure the pan is tilted towards the drain hole or water will continue to stand in it preventing it from ever drying out. Make sure the drain hose is securely fastened at the pan and any subsequent junctions it makes along its route and make sure the discharge hose is pointed down with no low spots for pooling water to collect and puts water somewhere it can evaporate quickly or get drained away. Does your fan run continuously even when the compressor isn't actively running? If not, switch it to ON from AUTO. This can help keep humidity more uniform throughout the living space...although some mini split systems are too noisy for this. Are you in a cold climate? If so, you may want to scour the home for leaks around windows, receptacles, doors, etc. to make sure there are no places for cold air to meet warm humid inside air creating a wet spot that can surely mold up when warm weather arrives. Leaks in the ducting running through the attic can also draw in moldy attic air if you've had any frost build-ups in the winter or have any mold growing in the attic due to vapor barrier or roofing leaks. There's a reason this is expensive...a lot of time goes into crawling into icky spaces to cover all your bases!


     


    Or...


     


    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19943884


     


    Put a couple copper coins in the tray?


  • Here is the deal, I really have no idea how a central AC works or how to do maintenance by myself. I live in a compound of like 25 houses that has their own servicemen when you need them. They are completely useless and barely understand anything you say (their native language is Indian). Last time they came is when I asked them to take the AC filters off so that I can clean them, and after taking them off he made a hand gesture on the filer as to say "see? no dust there". I told him to give it to me anyway so that I can wash it. tons of mud came out of there, it was congested as hell. So I requested that they bring new filters asap to change the existing ones since there was a very obvious amount of damage to them.


     


    To add insult to injury, the compound owner refuses to pay for the major plumbing rework that's needed to fix the year-round water leakage going on in all of the houses. The best they can do is fix the faucet itself then repaint over the wet area, basically patch work. I am guessing if I can bring hard evidence that there is some kind of a mold problem in the house, I can convince them to initiate the repair work to fix the water damage. Moving out is not an option atm as I really don't have another place to go, and I can't afford to rent another place.


  • Can I do that ERMI test by myself? I highly doubt I'll find it where I live (Qatar). So ordering it online is my best bet, that is if you can order it online.


     


    Thanks for the documentary suggestion, will definitely check it out, though it kinda looks depressing, lol.




    Best mold test is ERMI. It is the gold standard. Dr. Shoemaker uses it as his basis for whether you're going to recover or not. If you have trouble removing mold toxins, first of all, do a Welchol detox, which can be supplemented with Chlorella/Spirulina/Activated Charcoal. Then, the ERMI you're looking for is under 2. If you're okay at removing toxins, I reckon you can do alright at up to a 7 or 8. 


     


    Also, please check out this documentary: www.blackmoldexposure.com


     


    It is very cheap to own at the moment (not available to rent), so I recommend you take advantage!



  • GeijutsuGeijutsu
    edited June 2014

    You know dan, regarding the condensing water. I remember back when I first moved in to the house, there would be a major water leakage coming out of the bathroom ceiling where the AC fan is. I don't have that now, and when they came two days ago to take the filters off I made sure to be there. There was no water leakage of any kind. Although, one problem persists is that the amount of humidity rises significantly after turning on the AC. I have a humidity meter and it always read around 37-38% when the AC is off, but goes all the way to mid 50s sometime even early 60s when I turn on the AC. It doesn't happen everyday, but it's common. For example, today was one of those good days where the humidity remained around 37% even with the AC on. Does anyone knows what could be the culprit?


     


    I'm so sorry Simone for highjacking your own thread.




    The filter isn't really the issue because it's usually almost entirely warmed air coming back through the return ducts so water should be less prone to condensing here. Do you have access to the central air fan? If so, the evaporator will be sitting in a pan with a drain hole. Look underneath to make sure all surfaces are dry. An easy way to test is to bring a paper towel with and blot around the area underneath and see if it picks up any moisture; preferably do this when the AC's been working hard...perhaps right before dinner. Check to make sure the pan is tilted towards the drain hole or water will continue to stand in it preventing it from ever drying out. Make sure the drain hose is securely fastened at the pan and any subsequent junctions it makes along its route and make sure the discharge hose is pointed down with no low spots for pooling water to collect and puts water somewhere it can evaporate quickly or get drained away. Does your fan run continuously even when the compressor isn't actively running? If not, switch it to ON from AUTO. This can help keep humidity more uniform throughout the living space...although some mini split systems are too noisy for this. Are you in a cold climate? If so, you may want to scour the home for leaks around windows, receptacles, doors, etc. to make sure there are no places for cold air to meet warm humid inside air creating a wet spot that can surely mold up when warm weather arrives. Leaks in the ducting running through the attic can also draw in moldy attic air if you've had any frost build-ups in the winter or have any mold growing in the attic due to vapor barrier or roofing leaks. There's a reason this is expensive...a lot of time goes into crawling into icky spaces to cover all your bases!


     


    Or...


     


    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19943884


     


    Put a couple copper coins in the tray?



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