Indoor Air Quality Testing
Frequently Asked Questions
Moulds are part of the natural environment, and can be found everywhere, indoors and outdoors. Mould is not usually a problem, unless it begins growing indoors. The best way to control mould growth is to control moisture.
Q: Who needs an indoor air quality test?
A: Any one who would like to know about the air quality of a property.
Q: Is mould a health hazard?
A: Yes and no, it depends on the type of mould that is present. Have a look at some of the links in our resource pages for more information.
Q: What is a “Indoor Air Quality Testing”?
A: There are many different tests available to find out if mould spores are present in a property both in the air and on surfaces. Basic testing usually requires self analysis using a supplied data sheet. More advanced and informative testing will include follow on laboratory analysis and report.
Q: If I have mould in my property, is it better to kill it or remove it?
A: Live mould can be less of a health hazard than dead mould! Depending on where the mould is, it may be better to remove it then trying to kill it. (See advice of WHO and other international experts). The process of killing a mould results in the spore fragmenting into tiny pieces as small as 5 microns. These particles can be inhaled deep into the lungs resulting in an array of potential health issues. This can result in allergenic or toxic mould spore being transferred directly into the blood stream.
Q: What are toxic moulds?
A: Toxins are caused by moulds producing cytotoxic and neurotoxic toxins. The toxins are released into the air as spores and are inhaled as small fragments into the lungs.
Q: Is black mould dangerous or toxic?
A: The colour of a mould is not relevant to its toxicity. The colour of the mould, including white, blue, green and red can all be toxic or allergenic. Only a laboratory test can conclusively determine if a mould is toxic.
Q: Is it safe to wash off mould with bleach or fungicide and paint over it?
A: No. A small area of mould on a bathroom wall or ceiling can contain millions of spores. Scrubbing off mould can release thousands of spores into the air which you or your family could inhale.
Q: There is a small area of mould on the kitchen wall, is it dangerous?
A: This depends on the type of mould. If the mould is toxic a small area can have serious health consequences, while at the same time mould can cover an entire wall and have little health effects. The main thing to consider is that all mould is allergenic, but some are also very toxic.
Q: What is the main risk of mould?
A: WHO defines the main risk from mould growth as the inhalation of airborne spore fragments in addition to associated contaminates.
Q: Could there be other hazards occurring before I see any mould?
A: Yes, bacteria grows before mould and can release toxins. The mould will react with bacteria releasing toxins. Depending on the type of mould present, the resulting spores can produce allergens and toxins.
Q: How can I find out if a recent flood, moisture leak or damp issue has caused toxic mould to develop in a property?
A: An air quality airborne test will inform you of toxic mould presence. If you own the property and suspect toxic mould is now present a good gauge is if you or other family members are suffering symptoms now that were not there before the moisture leak.
Q: Is everyone in a household equally affected by exposure to mould?
A: Some family members may become sick and others may not. There can be many reasons for this difference, including individual immune system responses, a persons age, existing health problems and spending different amounts of time in a property. Extended periods of time in a property would result in greater exposure.
Q: Why do I feel better when I leave my home or office?
A: This can be an indicator for toxic mould. People normally feel better when they leave a building containing mild toxic mould if they only spend a small amount of time in these buildings. However if you are exposed to toxic mould regularly for long time periods this can lead to more chronic health issues.
Q: Will a swab test provide me with better information then an air test?
A: No, a swab test will most likely show up the dominant spores on a surface, and these are not normally the toxic moulds.
Q: Can I buy a culture Petri dish and measure the mould levels in my own property?
A: Yes, but bear in mind, based on WHO research that these types of tests may significantly underestimate the level of spores in a property. This type of test will only advice on live mould, and will give no indication of any dead spore fragments in the air or on surfaces.
Q: Is mould removal and mould decontamination the same?
A: Not necessarily. Mould removal normally removes any visual signs of mould, but not the airborne spores in the air. Decontamination is normally the removal of both surface mould and the removal of airborne contamination.
Q: What equipment is used to collect an air quality test?
A: We use portable battery powered air sampling pump equipment by a leading manufacturer. The sampling pump is used in conjunction with
Air-O-Cell® low back pressure sampling cassettes. The equipment is calibrated at a flow rate relevant to the current sampling.
Q: How does the equipment work?
A: The equipment uses a pump to draw air from the room being tested through a special cassette designed to trap any contaminants in the atmosphere for analysis in a laboratory.
Q: How much does an air quality test cost?
A: An air quality test cost for a typical single family residence varies and depends upon the type of test purchased and number of tests performed.
Q: How do I get an air quality test quotation?
A: A quote will automatically be emailed to you when your pre-purchase survey has been scheduled.
Q: How do I book an air quality test?
A: To book either click the “book now” link in the quotation email and customer services will follow up to finalise the booking or call customer services and they will take your booking directly.
Q: Can an air quality test be performed during a pre-purchase survey?
A: Yes, an air quality test can be added to a pre-purchase survey as an ancillary service. This is the most economical way of accessing the test as the engineer is already on site, and can take the required samples during the survey, without needing a separate visit.
Q: What information does an air quality test report provide?
A: Tests are sent to a laboratory for analysis and provide the client with a laboratory report of the findings. The report will include a Certificate of Mould Analysis, sampling information and identification of moulds present in the sample, a chain of custody table, and possible allergic potential of identified moulds. Click here to view a sample report.
Q: How soon can an air quality test be done?
A: This is dependent on availability at the time of booking and accessibility to the property. Customer care will provide a more specific idea when a booking is made.
Q: How and when do I pay for an air quality test?
A: Payment can be made by credit card, debit card, and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). Customer services will ask for payment details when the test is booked in, however credit or debit card payments are not actioned until the day the test is performed. Payment in full is required on the day of testing.
Q: Who arranges access for the testing?
A: If your survey is already scheduled the testing will take place at the same time as the survey. All access arrangements are organised by Property Health Check. We will contact the agency or vendor directly. Sometimes this can take a little time as the contact person is not always immediately available, and dates and times must be confirmed before scheduling can be completed. Clients are emailed confirmation of the date when scheduling for the testing is completed.
Q: Do I have to be present?
A: It is not necessary for you to be present for the testing.
Q: Can I attend if I’d like to?
A: We have no objections to a client attending an air quality test. (If the test is taking place during a survey it is best to attend towards the end of the survey so the engineer has time to inspect the property without distraction and with his full attention). You should however contact the agency directly to request permission to attend a survey or test as the property is their responsibility, and we are not at liberty to provide this permission.
Q: How long will the testing take?
A: Testing can take between 30 mins to 2 hours depending on the type and amount of tests required.
Q: What if the report reveals problems?
A: If the report reveals problems you will know in advance, and can decide if remediation work will be required. If family members have health problems associated with mould, this information will be extremely important to you.
Q: When will I receive my report?
A: The laboratory report is usually available 21 working days after sampling. The report will be emailed to you separately. It will contain a link to a secure site, where the report can be viewed and downloaded. The reports are provided in PDF format.
It is most important that the laboratory has time to analyse the tests fully to provide an accurate and informative report. We therefore do not make commitments to have the report fast tracked. We are very aware that clients are working within a strict timeline and that it is important that reports are received in a timely fashion. We provide an efficient service and always provide our reports within the quoted time scale, as client reviews confirm
Q: Where can I find out more information about this survey?
A: If you have further questions, please read our terms and conditions. These are written in layman terms and will explain what is included and not included in your report. Viewing the sample survey report will provide a visual illustration of how your report will look and what will be included in it. Our customer care team will provide any additional direction required.