How to Detect Mold in the Air

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If you have mold in the air that circulates in your home, it can cause a plethora of serious health problems, including allergies, skin rashes, nausea and neurological disorders. Because air mold spores cannot be detected by the natural eye, you can be experiencing these symptoms not knowing that mold is the culprit behind them. There are two types of air testing that you can perform at home. The first type is HVAC air sampling, which will test whether your air conditioning and heating system is blowing mold into the air. The second type is a settling plate method, which detects air mold in general.

Purchase a home mold testing kit such as the ones provided by ProLabs, Enviro Check and BlackMold.Com.

Open the testing kit packaging and remove the petri dish when you are ready to begin testing. It is important that you do not remove the dish from its packaging until you are ready to use it, otherwise your test might yield inaccurate results.

Place the petri dish right side up on a flat surface.

Remove the lid from the petri dish. Be careful not to touch the insides of the petri dish. Pour the “mold medium” content inside of the dish.

Replace the lid of the petri dish. Gently shake the dish until the medium content covers the bottom of the it. Let the dish sit for an hour. This will allow the content time to harden.

Locate a supply air vent if you would like to perform HVAC air sampling. Take the petri dish near the vent. Close all remaining vents except the one that will be used for testing purposes.

Take the lid off the dish. Use tape to secure the petri dish to the vent. The opening of the dish should be facing the vent so that air blows inside of the dish.

Turn the air-conditioning system on “high.” Allow the air to blow into the petri dish for a good 10 minutes.

Remove the petri dish and replace the lid. Allow the dish to remain covered. Examine the the dish after 48 hours and 96 hours to see if there is mold growth. Do not remove the lid while examining the content.

Follow steps 2 through 5 if you would like to test using the "settling plate" method. After completing steps 2 through 5, place the open petri dish right side up on a flat surface, such as a table or counter-top. Allow the dish to remain uncovered for one hour. Replace the lid after one hour. Examine the the dish after 48 hours and 96 hours to see if there is mold growth. Do not remove the lid while examining the content.

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