Mold Remediation Blog

Why It’s A Mistake To Use Particle Counters To Check Your Home For Mold

And The Hazards Of False Negatives

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One of the most important steps in the mold remediation process is to verify that you’ve got mold in your home. Most mold contractors in the DC area do this with a particle counter, but we don’t think that goes far enough. Mold can cause any number of health issues, so why would anyone use an imperfect method to check for mold?

How Particle Counters Work

A particle counter checks for the number of particles floating in the air and gives a good/bad result based on that number. The process doesn’t determine what these particles are or even whether these particles are safe or dangerous. Its only goal is to prove or disprove that you have a ‘safe level’ of particles in the air in your home, and that’s not good enough for our customers or us.
Another issue is that particle counters only go down to 10 microns, which is the size particles must be to lodge in your lungs. But mold spores can be as small as 2.5 microns, which is small enough to enter your bloodstream. Sound scary? Well, it should.

False Negatives

When the need for mold remediation is determined via the use of a particle counter, it’s still a coin-flip whether your home is safe or not. Due to the limitations of the particle count process, dangerous levels of certain mold spores can go undetected, especially if the problem is hidden from view.
Yet, you are assured that everything is fine based on the insufficient test, and you go back to life as normal. Except, things might not be normal at all, and your activities could be stirring up massive clouds of spores that are invisible to the naked eye.
A common situation is mold hiding in items like pillows and comforters. So long as they are left alone, the particle count is low. But when you get into bed, and every time you shift in your sleep, tens of thousands of mold spores are released into the air you breathe.
And you, confident in your remediation report, think of viruses instead of mold when you start getting sick again. It might take months before you investigate the possibility that there’s still mold in your home. Months in which your family can get sick as well.

Handling Verification The Right Way

False negatives are too big a danger for us to accept the limitations of particle counters and their results. That’s why we decided to procure one of only 70 InstaScope machines in the world. The machine is a mobile version of the system the UK government used to test for anthrax in their airports and train stations after 9/11 but set to look for mold spores instead.
This machine is like having a mobile lab with you wherever you go, except better. Instead of results that can change depending on which technician is staring at your slide (and whether it’s their 10th or 185th slide of the day), the InstaScope will give the same result for a particular sample every time. Results, by the way, that even your kids could read and understand.
The InstaScope can take an air sample and not only determine if there is a dangerous concentration of mold (mold is always present) in your air but identify the type of mold you have. It’s especially handy for finding mystery sources of mold spores because it is so mobile and gives instant test results.
So, if you have mold in your bedclothes, we can easily find it with just a slap of the material and a quick test of the air. And if the spores are down in the 2.5-micron range, we can still pick them up and identify them courtesy of the UV light system the InstaScope uses.
We have no interest in half measures, especially when checking our work, and there is no more accurate system for verifying that your household air is safe than the InstaScope. To us, it’s worth its weight in gold.

Accurate Mold Counts Are A Choice

Many mold contractors are driven by profit and cost suppression. Their goal is to get in and get out as quickly and as cheaply as possible. And low-cost particle counters are part of that equation. With limited accuracy, they tend to tell the contractor exactly what they want to hear.
We chose to invest in the best equipment money can buy because we care about our work and the families that ask for our help. Every choice we make is geared toward providing certainty to our customers.
When we seal a workspace, we use care and planning to make it as impervious to leakage as possible. When we protect our workers, we make sure they have the best equipment available. And when we check our work, we aren’t seeking to verify assumptions but to make sure that there is no question that the air in your home is safe.
If you are concerned about mold in your DC area home, contact us at Valor Mold Removal for a free estimate.

Why Choose Us

We remove mold the right way… and it would be an honor to hear from you.

96% Success Rate

96% Success Rate

Your home is in the best hands—our chemical-free remediation has the highest success rate in the industry.

Instant Mold Testing

Instant Mold Testing

You get the answers you need—our special mold testing provides 100% accurate results on the spot.

300+ Happy Clients

300+ Happy Clients

You can trust our process—we’ve performed over 300 successful projects since we opened in 2006.

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