Air Sampling as a Last Resort

A thorough air quality inspection is often better than air sampling.

Air sampling is certainly not harmful, but it can be expensive, and it’s important to first understand why you’re asking for it. What is it that you’re trying to find out? Before conducting air sampling, a hypothesis must be formulated and a plan developed to ensure the sampling protocol will answer the hypothesis. Otherwise, you could just be wasting money on something that you don’t need or won’t fix the problem.

Air Sampling Done Right

For an air sampling project to be successful, it needs to have the following components:

  • Hypothesis — what is being sampled and why.
  • Replication — an adequate number of samples to test the hypothesis.
  • Control(s) — samples from unaffected areas and outdoor samples for comparison.

Air Sampling is a Hot Topic, but for the Wrong Reasons

We noticed that air sampling was a hot topic while recently attending the IAQA conference. It seemed that everyone was talking about air sampling, but for the wrong reasons. Much discussion centered on the topics of when, where and especially how to sample.

No one seemed to ask the obvious question of WHY to sample the air in the first place. If mold is visible in a structure, then air sampling is almost always unnecessary. When mold is visible it needs to be remediated. It doesn’t necessarily matter what the species or spore count is.

Air Sampling As a Last Resort

You can waste a lot of money if air sampling is not conducted properly. Basically, air sampling generally fails to create the bigger picture of your indoor environment that is easier and more cost effective to achieve through a thorough inspection.

We advocate that air sampling should only come after an inconclusive inspection or in rare cases to confirm that a suspected source of contamination identified during an inspection is the actual source of the problem.

Start With A Walk-Through

Air sampling can get expensive fast, so if you suspect poor air quality in your home, start with a much lower-cost inspection. Our inspections usually identify the culprit without having to consult the lab folks in white coats to confirm the obvious.

If you think you’re breathing in mold or another contaminant, air sampling is likely not the best first move. What you really need is a more comprehensive inspection that considers the bigger picture of your home, its contents and even the surrounding outdoor environment to identify the source and correct the problem. We’re happy to schedule an appointment for an air quality inspection, just give us a call!