Mold Equipment and Tools We Use
We use cutting-edge technology and industry-tested tools to reach unbiased conclusions during diagnostic inspections for mold, moisture, and other indoor contaminants.
When it comes to mold testing and inspections, we know that having the right equipment with us during the initial inspection is crucial to understanding hidden problems that may be affecting the indoor air quality of your home or office. The right combination of technology, experience and education helps us to confirm or deny the existence of any issues that need to be addressed.
Below are just a few examples of what you can find in the Pacific Decontamination toolbox:
- Moisture Meter
A moisture meter is a handheld device used for the detection of moisture in surfaces like flooring, drywall and ceilings. These precise tools help to non-invasively detect the presence of active or residual moisture within a building material.
When water is present within an organic-based material like drywall or wood, mold can form within 24 to 48 hours. Finding an active water source in your home can be the first step in resolving a serious issue!
Our moisture meters do not penetrate the material. Instead, they use a rapid, non-invasive method (radio frequency) to determine the relative moisture level below the surface of a material. This allows them to scan large areas relatively quickly without causing any damage to your property.
- Infrared Camera
Our infrared camera makes inspecting for mold faster, safer, cheaper and more accurate than most other methods.
We no longer need to crawl into every corner of your home, looking for black mold or leaky pipes leading to mold. We can scan the area in question and wait a few moments for the camera to produce a thermogram.
A thermogram is a display of colours representing the various heat signatures of all objects and surfaces in the camera’s view. Red indicates warmer temperatures, while blue indicates cooler temperatures.
By interpreting the results, we can pinpoint exactly where moisture and humidity levels are higher than normal, which puts you at risk for mold.
What’s more, we’ll do zero damage to your home. Because the infrared camera is so precise, there’s no need to break down walls or lift floor boards to find problems.
A hygro-thermometer is a device that measures both the temperature and moisture content of air simultaneously to calculate relative humidity (RH). Warmer air absorbs more moisture, so the relationship between temperature and relative humidity is a direct one. And the higher the relative humidity, the greater the chances of mold.
We use a robust, highly accurate hygro-thermometer in every mold inspection to give us a better understanding of your indoor environment and to determine whether conditions are favourable for mold growth.
Hygro-thermometers also measure dew point, the temperature at which moisture in the air will condense and form dew or frost. This is important because it shows how much moisture is in the air. The higher the dew point, the more saturated the air is with moisture. When trying to prevent mold, we want to keep humidity to a minimum, which is why it is important to monitor not just temperature and relative humidity, but also dew point.
- Particle Scanner
Particle scanners are used to assess air quality by counting and sizing the number of particles in the air. A reading taken from a room with a mold problem typically reveals a high number of particles that are 0.3 to 2.5 microns in size. These handheld tools are therefore, very useful in determining the amount of pollutants inside a building and in understanding the cleanliness level in a controlled environment.
At Pacific Decontamination Services, we perform a particle scan for air quality assessments, and as a precursor to help identify areas where air sampling may be beneficial.
- Air Sampling Tools (non-viable, viable sampling)
Air sampling pumps are used when you want to test your indoor air for the presence of various pollutants like mold and other fungi. We use the Zefon Bio Pump Plus air sampling pump to collect samples of air at various flow rates and compress it into a small cassette (Air-O-Cell® or Via-Cell®). We also have a remote tube extension and inner wall attachments to non-destructively access microbial contamination in a wall cavities and other hard to reach areas.
The sample is then immediately shipped to an accredited laboratory for detailed analysis, which reveals the type and concentration of microorganisms present in the air sample.
We use the air sampling pump for viable and non-viable testing for mold. This is one of the best ways to assess indoor air quality and identify today’s most common contaminants.
- Instant Swab Test – ATP Luminometer
Our instant swab test for mold is a simple test that takes only seconds to perform and give results. We use the Hygiena SystemSURE Plus ATP Luminometer Surface Bacteria testing instrument. We swab for ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) to help assess the potential for biological contamination on surface areas. These tests also serve as indicators for further testing, laboratory analysis sampling and/or establishing disinfection recommendations.
Although instant swab tests provide very quick results, they cannot be used to identify the species of mold types, understand toxicity levels, or establish hazard levels on surface areas. Any type of positive reaction to instant swab tests are only indicators of potential issues.
That said, instant ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) swabs for mold are perfect for testing hard-to-reach areas or for wet surfaces that cannot be tested using a tape lift.
- Tape Lift and Swabs
A tape lift or swab are methods used to test a specific area for mold. We use laboratory certified and approved swabs and tape lifts.
To collect a sample, we either swab or press the adhesive side of a piece of tape over the area in question and gently pull it off. Samples are sent to an accredited microbiological laboratory for testing. The results provide information on the types of mold present on the sample.
Similarly to swab tests, tape lifts for mold cannot be used to assess the overall health of the indoor environment as they provide information only on the surface tested.
A common non-destructive testing method, borescopes are snake-like devices that have a camera on one end and an eyepiece on the other. They are most commonly used during visual assessments to inspect the interior of small, otherwise inaccessible areas without causing destructive damage to the structure. What makes borescope such a valuable addition to our toolbox is their flexibility, which gives us access to some of the smallest, darkest, most hard-to-reach places in a building.
- Smoke Pen
Smoke pens emit dense white smoke that reacts readily to even the smallest of drafts, making it easy for us to locate air leaks around windows, doors and chimneys. We use smoke pens regularly to detect inefficient or malfunctioning ventilation systems as well as heat loss due to poorly sealed windows and doors. Best of all, this smoke is completely safe and non-toxic, so it won’t pose a risk to your health.
- High-powered Flashlights and UV lights
Most people can’t believe how something as simple as good lighting is crucial to diagnosing problems and recognizing potential threats to your property. This is why we always carry high-powered flashlights and UV (ultra-violet) lights (with yellow lens glasses) in our toolbox when inspecting dark places like crawl spaces, attics and cold storage rooms. Our high-intensity UV lamps are portable, easy to set up and provide 3,000 to 5,000 lumens of illumination.
- Laser Ruler
To ensure accuracy in our scope of work assessments, we rely on advanced laser rulers when measuring areas affected by mold. This may seem trivial, but having exact measurements of contaminated areas allows us to precisely schedule decontamination work, calculate costs, estimate material needs and provide customers with the lowest possible quotes.
Mold tends to grow on the north side of buildings. The logical explanation for this is that, in the northern hemisphere, the south side gets more sunlight, which allows water to evaporate and moisture to dry faster. Meanwhile, the north side is cooler and damper, providing the perfect conditions for mold growth.
A compass is, therefore, a great addition to the Pacific Decontamination Services toolbox as it allows our inspectors to conduct thorough assessments of areas that are known to be more prone to mold contamination.
- Instant (5 Minute) Surface Sampling for Black Mold
Our instant surface test for mold is a simple test that takes only 5 minutes to perform and give results. We use test strips for Aspergillus/Penicillium and Stachybotrys.
This rapid results examination includes specific antibody-based tests against more than 34 different Aspergillus/Penicillium and Stachybotrys mold types that cause discomfort and illness.
We test the settled dust in the room of concern or suspect areas of possible contamination. This test uses the same proven lateral flow assay technology employed in medical labs. It is validated in a U.S. EPA-licensed and AIHA-accredited environmental lab as the most sensitive and accurate rapid tests available.
This testing option saves you the initial, additional expense of laboratory analysis. Confirming mold present or not, maybe sufficient to satisfy your concerns and assist you on what action to take next.
- One Day (24 hr) Results - Air/Surface Sampling for Living Mold (Viable) – Dip Slide with Local Incubation
Our Dip Slide and local incubation method used to test Surface and/or Air Sampling testing conducted for actively growing mold only. We use a professional dip slide incubator to obtain results.
Samples are locally incubated for 24 hours, then analyzed and interpreted for the presence of living - viable mold.
You are provided with a report that will characterize the suspected mold samples as one of the following: (1) absent (2) light (3) moderate (4) heavy.
This test does not provide qualitative or quantitative results (types of mold, spore count). This test provides you with just the confirmation that living - viable mold is not present or not. If present, you are provided with the general concentration level of mold.