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A Clean Air Test Doesn’t Always Means Mold Free
Jeff Bookout
September 21, 2022

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Often times, when people suspect mold they will do an air test in their home but the results come back clear and everything seems fine but that’s because that’s how mold works. It makes you sick in three different ways – the mold spore, mycotoxins it produces, and MVOC (mold volatile organic compounds) that it produces which is a musty odor. Just because you can’t see visible mold doesn’t mean it’s not lingering beneath the surface. In this article I’d like to share with you a recent situation I found my client in and the steps I took to find the mold and how to fix it.

Hidden mold in a rental property

Today, I walked into the property and as soon as I did I could smell a very musty odor. The client couldn’t smell it, which happens a lot for clients because they get used to it. She did an ImmunoLytics mold test and Candida showed up high and Cladosporium showed high in the report. Cladosporium is a type of mold that generally is just a spore contaminant, a nontoxic mold. But her doctor did a mycotoxins urine analysis on her and she had extremely high levels of Chaetomium, literally off the charts. Chaetomium is Stachybotrys sister, they travel together. Both produce mycotoxins. 

Looking at her environment, she has a crawlspace under the house. It’s completely wet under the house with visible mold growth and everything else that’s under there. The Chaetomium source is actually under there too but it doesn’t show up on air testing. There are a couple of reasons why it doesn’t show up on the air testing first is how mold works – mold works like a dandelion out in the yard. As soon as you disturb it, it blows spores and regenerates somewhere else. Secondly, because it’s a wet environment, you get mold that’s wet. It’s producing mycotoxins and MVOCS, even though it’s not producing mold spores in the air.

How do you resolve this situation?

To solve this situation you need to fix the crawlspace, put in a vapor barrier to completely seal that soil, vent the crawlspace properly to the outside and seal all the holes, gaps, and pipes underneath the tub. Those areas that the crawlspace communicates with is breathable air. When the HVAC system comes on, it’s going to bring so much negative air pressure inside of that property, it’s going to pull air from those crevices and cracks that aren’t sealed in that crawl space and bring it up into her breathable air.

Four step process

1. Find moisture intrusion and stop it – If not, mold is just going to come back. In this case, she had water underneath her crawlspace. Several reasons why – one, there are no gutters, drainage toward the foundation, and no gutter extensions. The condensate line is draining back into the crawl space. She has a spigot that’s dripping water. So all that water sitting is the foundation and going up underneath the house. 

2. Identify the small damaged materials – make sure they are removed or proper corrections are made. I can’t remove a crawl space, but I can make proper corrections to it. 

3. Treat the air to get those excessive mold spores back under control – clean the air. Get excessive mold spores under control.

4. Detox the body – We suggest consulting your doctor. You can do clay charcoal binders, glutathione, and saunas. There’s a list of things doctors can put you on to help provoke and get the mycotoxins out of your system.

Going forward she needs to find and fix the elephant, in this case, mold, or flee from the elephant in order to get better. In her situation, she’s renting a home so she needs to flee. 

Key Takeaways

If you have health concerns that sound like they could be from mold – You likely need to get a mold inspector. 

If you’re having a health concern that matches symptoms of mold, even if you’ve done preliminary testing, it’s always good to have a mold inspector come in and look at that property to find anything in that house.

If there’s a musty odor – it’s more than likely mold.

Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there, you can smell it. 

Just because you don’t see visible mold growth doesn’t mean it’s hiding from you.

Everyone is looking for the black hairy stuff on the wall, just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. If there’s a moisture source that’s been there for at least a month or more, you likely have mold.
Where to look for moisture

  • Hidden cavities 
  • Small leak behind a washer
  • Water behind your master shower
  • Crawlspace
  • Swamp cooler