Water Testing For Swimming Pools

Water Testing Guide

  1. Water Testing Guide A guide to Testing your Water: Measuring pH, Conductivity, Dissolved Oxygen and Turbidity
  2. The importance of water testing Everyone in the global community is affected by the quality of our water resources. The water we drink should be free from harmful chemicals to ensure good health. The purity of ground and surface waters in our environment is vital to ensuring sustainable use.
  3. The importance of water testing The water discharged by municipal waste water treatment plants and industrial facilities must be monitored to ensure compliance with environmental guidelines. Process waters must be kept clean from contaminants to ensure product quality and acceptable exposure levels. It is for these reasons that water samples are collected and tested for pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen and turbidity.
  4. pH pH is the measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. Some of the areas in which pH is monitored are public drinking water systems, industrial and municipal wastewater plants, agriculture, aquaculture, environmental monitoring, winemaking, pool and spa water analysis, food and dairy industries, boiler and cooling towers, pulp and paper mills, acid mining and the chemical manufacturing industry.
  5. pH The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. A pH of 0-6 is acidic, a pH of 7 is neutral and a pH of 8-14 is alkaline. Pure water has a neutral pH and human saliva is close to neutral, while our blood is slightly alkaline. Seawater is between 7.7 and 8.3 on the pH scale, and products like hand soap, ammonia and bleach are more alkaline in the range from 9.0 12.5. Highly alkaline baking soda is often used to raise the pH of acidic water to a more neutral level.
  6. pH In agriculture, pH affects the ability of plant roots to absorb nutrients. Calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium are likely to be unavailable to plants in acidic soils. Plants have difficulty absorbing copper, zinc, boron, manganese and iron in basic soils. By managing soil pH, you can create an ideal environment for plants and often discourage plant pests at the same time.
  7. pH Aquarists rely heavily on pH measurements for proper fish keeping. Large bodies of water such as lakes and oceans have very little pH fluctuation, making fish intolerant to pH swings. Fish keeping is a delicate pH balancing act, as fish subjected to pH swings are prone to disease and early death.
  8. pH Due to chemical water treatment and other factors, tap water in many large cities throughout the U.S. tends to be alkaline with a pH near 8.0. Though drinking tap water with a high (alkaline) pH is not harmful, the declining quality of tap water over the years has resulted in many people opting for faucet or pitcher filters to remove chlorine, chloramines, pesticides and other substances. These filters do not alter the pH of the water. Alternately many people choose to buy purified bottled water or fresh spring water, more likely to have a pH closer to neutral.
  9. pH pH test strips, pocket meters, portable meters or bench top meters are used to measure pH. Meters range from simple and inexpensive pen-like devices to complex and expensive laboratory instruments with data logging capability and computer interfaces. Inexpensive models sometimes require that temperature measurements be entered to adjust for the slight variation in pH caused by temperature fluctuations of the sample.
  10. pH Today most models are equipped with Automatic Temperature Compensation (ATC) where adjustments due to temperature are done internally by the meter. Meters and specialized probes are available for use in applications such as environmental, quality control and laboratories testing.
  11. How do I use a pH meter? A typical pH meter consists of a special measuring probe (a glass electrode) connected to an electronic meter that measures and displays the pH reading. The pH probe measures pH as the activity of hydrogen ions surrounding a thin-walled glass bulb at its tip. The probe produces a small voltage (about 0.06 volt per pH unit) that is measured and displayed as pH units by the meter.
  12. How do I use a pH meter? Before testing your samples, calibration of the instrument should be done in accordance with the manufacturers instructions daily, though modern instruments will hold their calibration for around a month.
  13. How do I use a pH meter? Calibration can be done at one, two or three points on the pH scale depending on the meter. A buffer solution of 7 is used for one point calibration. Meters with two or three point calibration allow you to calibrate at 7 and then calibrate with buffer solutions of 4 and 10 to insure your meter is reading accurately in that range.
  14. How do I use a pH meter? After calibration, the probe is rinsed in distilled, deionized water to remove any traces of the buffer solution, blotted with a clean tissue to absorb any remaining water which could dilute the sample and thus alter the reading, and then quickly immersed in the sample. The pH value is then displayed on the meter. When testing acidic solutions a pH 4.0 buffer should be used as the second calibration solution to insure accurate readings throughout the range. Likewise, when testing alkaline solutions a 10.0 buffer should be used.
  15. How do I use a pH meter? Between uses, the probe tip, which must be kept wet at all times, is typically kept immersed in a small volume of storage solution, which is an acidic solution of around pH 3.0. In an emergency, pH 4.0 buffer, pH 7.0 buffer or tap water can be used, but distilled or deionized water must never be used for longer-term probe storage as the relatively ionless water ‘sucks’ ions out of the probe through diffusion, which degrades it. Always follow the manufacturers instructions for calibration and use.
  16. Conductivity Between uses, the probe tip, which must be kept wet at all times, is typically kept immersed in a small volume of storage solution, which is an acidic solution of around pH 3.0. In an emergency, pH 4.0 buffer, pH 7.0 buffer or tap water can be used, but distilled or deionized water must never be used for longer-term probe storage as the relatively ionless water ‘sucks’ ions out of the probe through diffusion, which degrades it. Always follow the manufacturers instructions for calibration and use.
  17. Conductivity Conductivity monitors the amount of nutrients, salts or impurities in water and is measured in many fields such as the chemical industry, agriculture, public drinking water systems, aquaculture, water conditioning and treatment and environmental monitoring.
  18. Conductivity Conductivity (EC) is a measure of a material’s ability to conduct an electric current. It estimates the amount of total dissolved solids or salts (TDS) or the total amount of dissolved ions in water. The more salt, acid or alkali in a solution, the greater its conductivity. Pure water does not conduct electricity.
  19. Conductivity In agricultural systems for instance, the conductivity of the nutrient solution needed for plant growth must be known. If it is too weak, plants will not get the vital elements they need to grow. If it is too strong, plants run the risk of root burn, especially as evaporation occurs within the growing environment. The nutrient solution needs to be measured or monitored regularly so you know when to add more concentrated solution or when to add fresh water. A high electrical conductivity will stress plants and cause productivity losses.
  20. Conductivity Concerning cooling towers and boilers, companies may be consuming more make-up water than necessary in rinsing their equipment. This contributes to extra water consumption, chemical consumption, generation of wastewater, and in the case of boilers, fuel consumption. In water rinse tanks, contamination is caused by residual surface chemicals being “dragged in” on the parts being rinsed. In HVAC equipment, water impurities occur as a result of minerals and constituents in the feedwater that remain even after pretreatment.
  21. Conductivity Water in rinse tanks, boilers, and cooling tower systems accumulate these impurities over time, requiring addition of fresh water and removal of a portion of the contaminated water to maintain optimal process or system conditions. Conductivity is an easy characteristic to measure, and in these processes, is typically very indicative of the total dissolved solids (TDS) concentration of the water.
  22. Conductivity With conventional meters, conductivity is obtained by applying a voltage across two probes and measuring the conductance of the solution. Solutions with a high conductivity produce a higher current. The conductivity unit of measurement commonly used is the Siemens/cm (S/cm) or microSiemens/cm (uS/cm).
  23. How do I use a conductivity meter? There are basically two types of conductivity meters – one is the small “stick” type meter and the other is the larger, more complex and more accurate bench top or portable model. Stick types can fit in your pocket and as such are quite useful. They are not as accurate as the larger models for the larger models often have a number of functions, are often combined with a pH meter and the electrode is separate and plugs into the instrument.
  24. How do I use a conductivity meter? It is very important to calibrate the instrument every time it is used otherwise it will cause inaccurate readings. Calibration means reading a solution of known conductivity and adjusting the meter to read the same. Calibrate the probe using a standard solution in the range of the samples being tested.
  25. How do I use a conductivity meter? Place the probe in a standard solution, condition, rinse probe in a second sample of standard solution, use a third sample of standard solution to calibrate, and then adjust the cell constant until the specified value is displayed. Recalibrate when ranges are changed, or if readings seem to be incorrect.
  26. How do I use a conductivity meter? To take a conductivity reading immerse the electrode/probe in the solution, move the electrode up and down a few times to remove any bubbles. Wait thirty seconds for the sample and electrode to come to the same temperature and then read the measurement. The instrument will usually do the temperature correction for you. The electrode should be immersed over the plates and reference electrode. With the stick type meter, immerse the pins to the level indicated in the instructions. It is important that the level of the liquid is not above the waterproofed section of the electrode or meter.
  27. How do I use a conductivity meter? The conductivity of a solution is highly temperature dependent, therefore it is important to either use a temperature compensated instrument or calibrate the instrument at the same temperature as the solution that you want to measure.
  28. How do I use a conductivity meter? Electrodes can be cleaned with mild liquid detergent and/or dilute nitric acid (1% wt) by dipping or filling the cell with solution and agitating for 2 to 3 minutes. Dilute HCl (hydrochloric acid) or H2SO4 (sulfuric acid) may also be used. When stronger cleaning is needed, try concentrated HCl mixed into 50% isopropanol (rubbing alcohol). Rinse the cell several times with distilled or deionized water and recalibrate before use. Always follow the manufacturers instructions for calibration and use.
  29. Dissolved Oxygen (DO) Industrial and municipal wastewater plants, environmental monitoring, aquaculture, winemaking, pulp and paper mills and boilers and cooling towers are some of the areas where dissolved oxygen is monitored. Dissolved oxygen is oxygen gas (O2) that is dissolved in water. Oxygen gets into water by diffusion from the surrounding air, by aeration (rapid movement), and as a waste product of photosynthesis. Oxygen is a necessary element to all forms of life. Adequate dissolved oxygen is necessary for good water quality.
  30. Dissolved Oxygen (DO) In the natural environment, the stream system both produces and consumes oxygen. Natural stream purification processes require adequate oxygen levels in order to provide for aerobic life forms. Respiration by aquatic animals, decomposition, and various chemical reactions consumes oxygen. As dissolved oxygen levels in water drop below 5.0 mg/l, aquatic life is put under stress. Oxygen levels that remain below 1-2 mg/l for a few hours can result in large fish kills.
  31. Dissolved Oxygen (DO) Wastewater from sewage treatment plants often contains organic materials that are decomposed by microorganisms, which use oxygen in the process. Other sources of oxygen-consuming waste include stormwater runoff from farmland or urban streets, feedlots, and failing septic systems. Dissolved oxygen can be monitored using an electronic oxygen meter or chemical test kit and is measured in parts per million (ppm) or mg/l or percent saturation (%) which is defined as the percentage of oxygen dissolved in 1 liter of water.
  32. How do I use a DO Meter? A dissolved oxygen meter is an electronic device that converts signals from a probe that is placed in the water into units of DO in milligrams per liter. Most meters and probes also measure temperature. The probe is filled with a salt solution and has a selectively permeable membrane that allows DO to pass from the stream water into the salt solution.
  33. How do I use a DO Meter? The DO that has diffused into the salt solution changes the electric potential of the salt solution and this change is sent by electric cable to the meter, which converts the signal to milligrams per liter on a scale that can be read. If you use a meter and probe, you must do the testing in the field; dissolved oxygen levels in a sample bottle change quickly due to the decomposition of organic material by microorganisms or the production of oxygen by algae and other plants in the sample. This will lower your DO reading.
  34. How do I use a DO Meter? Calibration is performed with a zero oxygen solution. Calibrating the instrument to a zero oxygen solution, referred to as zeroing the instrument, is accomplished by submersing the probe in a saturated solution of sodium sulfite. For full-scale calibration, the forced air method is recommended. This is done by placing the probe in the middle of a vortex so that the air can be forced through the membrane quickly.
  35. How do I use a DO Meter? Air can be forced through the membrane faster in a vortex than if the probe were simply sitting out in the air. A vortex can be created using a stirrer, stir bar, beaker of distilled water, and a probe holder to keep the probe above the water. Store a DO probe with the membrane covered by distilled water. Covering the membrane with distilled water prevents the KCl fill solution from evaporating through the membrane. Always follow the manufacturers instructions for calibration and use.
  36. Turbidity Turbidity is a water quality term that refers to the cloudiness of water. It is caused by suspended materials such as clay, silt, organic matter, phytoplankton and other microscopic organisms being picked up by water as it passes through a watershed. The greater the amount of total suspended solids in water, the murkier the water appears, the higher the turbidity measurement will be.
  37. Turbidity Turbidity is an important water quality indicator because contaminants such as bacteria, viruses and parasites can attach themselves to the suspended particles in turbid water. These particles then interfere with disinfection of the water by shielding contaminants from the disinfectant (e.g. chlorine). Turbidity is commonly measured in public drinking water systems, wastewater treatment systems, and environmental monitoring.
  38. Turbidity Public water suppliers are required to treat their water to remove turbidity and it must be virtually eliminated for effective disinfection (usually by chlorine) to occur. In all processes in which disinfection is used, the turbidity must always be low, preferably below 1 NTU. Turbidity is also one of the main parameters monitored in wastewater. Measuring turbidity at the end of the wastewater treatment process is necessary to verify that the values are within regulatory standards. Generally, the turbidity value has to be between 0 and 50 FTU, with an accuracy of +/- 3 FTU, depending on the phase of the wastewater treatment process.
  39. Turbidity Turbidity is an optical property that results when light passing through a liquid sample is scattered. A turbidity meter consists of a light source that illuminates a water sample and a photoelectric cell that measures the intensity of light scattered at a 90 angle by the particles in the sample. Turbidity will not give results for a specific pollutant but rather is a measure of how much the material suspended in water decreases the passage of light through the water.
  40. Turbidity The turbidity standard unit of measure is NTU (Nephelometric Turbidity Unit), the unit of measure adopted by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), or FNU (FormazineNephelometric Unit), the unit of measure adopted by the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) (1 NTU = 1 FTU). Turbidity levels can range from less than 1 NTU to more than 1,000 NTU. At 5 NTU water is visible cloudy and at 25 NTU it is murky.
  41. How do I use a turbidity meter? The basic instructions for using a turbidity meter are calibrating the meter to a set of turbidity standards by filling a cuvette (small, glass vial) with a known standard and inserting the cuvette into the chamber of the turbidity meter. Normally a meter can be calibrated with two prepared standards. The concentrations of the standards should be chosen from the low and high ends of the range of the meter.
  42. How do I use a turbidity meter? Once calibration is complete, individual water samples can then be tested by placing a water sample into a clean cuvette, inserting it into the chamber of the turbidity meter and reading the displayed amount on the meter. When a cuvette is inserted into the meter it should be dry and wiped clean of smears of fingerprints, as anything on the cuvette could lead to an inaccurate reading of turbidity. Always follow the manufacturers instructions for calibration and use.
  43. Commonly Asked Questions Q. If I order a pH meter, what accessories do I need to use with it? A. You need a pH electrode and at least two pH buffers, one at pH 7 and the other at either pH 4 or 10 and storage and cleaning solution.
  44. Commonly Asked Questions Q. Regarding pH, is automatic temperature compensation (ATC) really necessary? A. The necessity of ATC depends on the required accuracy of a pH reading. pH readings vary with temperature. For example, a sample with a pH of 7 at 25C, may have a pH of 7.08 at 5C and a pH of 6.98 at 60C.
  45. Commonly Asked Questions Q. How should I store my conductivity electrode? A. Rinse it in tap water when you are finished using it. You can store your electrode either wet or dry. If it is stored dry you will need to recondition the electrode before use.
  46. Commonly Asked Questions Q. I just received my DO meter and it does not work, is there a serious problem? A. No. This is common. The electrode must be allowed to polarize before any readings can be taken. In order to polarize the electrode must be connected to a meter. Polarization time varies from meter to meter so polarization could be from 10 minutes to 6 hours. Check your manual for the exact time. Also check the membrane. If air is trapped under the membrane you could get incorrect readings.
  47. Commonly Asked Questions Q. How often should I replace my DO membranes? A. Recommended service time is 2-4 weeks depending on the application.

 

A review of permissible limits of drinking water

Water is one of the prime necessities of life. We can hardly live for a few days without water. In a man’s body, 70-80% is water. Cell, blood, and bones contain 90%, 75%, and 22% water, respectively. The general survey reveals that the total surface area of earth is 51 crore km2 out of which 36.1 crore km2 is covered sea. In addition to this, we get water from rivers, lakes, tanks, and now on hills. In spite of such abundance, there is a shortage of soft water in the world. Physicochemical parameter of any water body plays a very important role in maintaining the fragile ecosystem that maintains various life forms. Present research paper deals with various water quality parameter, chlorides, dissolved oxygen, total iron, nitrate, water temperature, pH, total phosphorous, fecal coli form bacteria, and adverse effect of these parameters on human being.

Drinking water is one of the basic needs of life and essential for survival. Still more than one billion people all over the world do not have ready access to an adequate and safe water supply and more than 800 million of those unsaved live in rural areas

ground water is being used as raw water for 85% public water supply. (According to world health report 1998)water supply varies widely in terms of region and country. In 1970s, of the approximately 2.5 billion people in developing world, only 38% has safe drinking water. At the beginning of the 1980s, water supply coverage was 75% in urban areas and 46% in rural areas. In developing countries, 75% of the population had access to water supply.

So they are always prone to loss of their lives or cost a big toll to save themselves from the occurrence of different water-borne disease. Water contamination due to pathogenic agents, chemicals, heavy metals, pesticides water disinfectants, and thereby product as a consequence of industrial and agricultural activities leaching from soil, rocks, and atmospheric deposition and other human activities has become a hazard to human health in several regions of world.

Pesticides estimation method

Pesticides estimation has been done with gas liquid chromatography. Gas liquid chromatography is a partition chromatography in which stationary phase is liquid and mobile phase is gas where partition of compound takes place between two phases. The requirement of GLC is that compound or its decomposed stable product should be volatile at the working (column) temperature. The column, oven, and the detector are three important components of gas chromatography. The column is the heart of gas chromatography. It is used to hold the separating media in a fixed position relative to a constant carrier gas flow through media. It is composed of long narrow, metal, or glass tube filled with a packing material consisting of liquid stationary phase coated on a solid support. The liquid phase should have a boiling point more than over the working temperature (200-300°C). The stationary phase is mostly organic silicon.

 

The Beginner’s Guide to Aquarium Test Kits

Water quality

Just one problem…. In an aquarium setup, poor water quality and good quality water can look identical. Let’s say that the water in your aquarium has ammonia levels that are too high. The problem is that you cannot tell with your eyes.

But to your fish, the difference is obvious. Painfully obvious. Since poor water quality can cause your fish stress and also lead to disease and even death, it’s something that you want to monitor closely.

They look identical, right?

Well, the water on the right actually contains enough ammonia to kill most fish. While the water might look fine to you, your fish could be suffering! So, how do you test for something that your eyes can’t see?

What is an aquarium test kit?

An aquarium test kit is designed to measure a specific water parameter. I know, I know, measuring things is boring! But if you want to have any success keeping fish, then it’s something you must come to terms with. The reason a test kit is so important is that an imbalance in water parameters can cause chaos in your tank. For instance, take nitrites – if the levels in your tank rise too high, your fish are going to die.

To put it simply, you add both aquarium water and a few drops of testing solution to the test tube. Wait for the solution to change color and compare it to the color card to get a result. Sound confusing? Don’t worry, it’s really easy. I’ll guide you through the steps of using a test kit later in this guide.

 

Water Activity (aw) in Foods

The water activity (a w) of a food is the ratio between the vapor pressure of the food itself, when in a completely undisturbed balance with the surrounding air media, and the vapor pressure of distilled water under identical conditions. A water activity of 0.80 means the vapor pressure is 80 percent of that of pure water. The water activity increases with temperature. The moisture condition of a product can be measured as the equilibrium relative humidity (ERH) expressed in percentage or as the water activity expressed as a decimal.

Most foods have a water activity above 0.95 and that will provide sufficient moisture to support the growth of bacteria, yeasts, and mold. The amount of available moisture can be reduced to a point which will inhibit the growth of the organisms. If the water activity of food is controlled to 0.85 or less in the finished product, it is not subject to the regulations of 21 CFR Parts 108, 113, and 114.

SORPTION BEHAVIOR

The bacterial cell can only transfer nutrients in and waste materials out through the cell wall. The materials, therefore, must be in soluble form to permeate the cell wall. A portion of the total water content present in food is strongly bound to specific sites and does not act as a solvent. These sites include the hydroxyl groups of polysaccharides, the carbonyl and amino groups of proteins, and others on which water can be held by hydrogen bonding, by ion-dipole bonds, or by other strong interactions

The binding action is referred to as the sorption behavior of the food. The most successful method for studying the sorption properties of water in food products has been the preparation of “Sorption Isotherms,” or curves relating the partial pressure of water in the food to its water content at constant temperature. The same practice is followed to study curves relating water activity under equilibrium conditions to water content.

Two basic methods can be used to obtain the constant temperature sorption curves. In the first method, food of known moisture content is allowed to come to equilibrium with a small headspace in a tight enclosure and partial pressure of water activity is measured manometrically, or relative humidity is measured using a hyqrometer. Water activity is equal to equilibrium relative humidity divided by 100: (a w = ERH/100) where ERH is the equilibrium relative humidity (%). Relative humidity sensors of great variety are available for this purpose, including electric hygrometers, dewpoint cells, psychrometers, and others.

 

Water Temperature

Water temperature is critical because it is an important quality in environmental parameters. It is important to measure water temperature. By doing so, we can see the characteristics of the water such as the chemical, biological, and physical properties of the water, as well as the possible health effects. Water temperature is an important factor in determining whether a body of water is acceptable for human consumption and use.

The temperature in water governs the kinds and types of aquatic life that live in it.

It regulates the maximum dissolved oxygen concentration of the water.

Temperature influences the rate of chemical and biological reactions.

It affects the dissolved oxygen level in water, photosynthesis of aquatic plants, metabolic rates of aquatic organisms, and the sensitivity of these organisms to pollution, parasites, and disease.

TEMPERATURE: DEFINITION

“temperature is currently defined by the ‘International Practical Temperature Scale of 1968, amended edition 1975’ in terms of the electrical resistance of a standard platinum-resistance thermometer at three calibration points. (The triple point of water, the boiling point of water at one standard atmosphere, and the freezing point of zinc).”

This is because most consumers complain about tap water at 19°C or higher. The intensity of taste is greatest for water at room temperature and is significantly reduced by chilling or heating the water. Increasing the temperature will also increase the vapour pressure of trace volatiles in drinking water and, therefore, could lead to increased odour. It is also possible that micro fungi can grow inside the internal plumbing systems of buildings, leading to complaints of musty, earthy, or mouldy tastes and odours if the temperature rises above approximately 16°C. It is advisable to keep the growth of such organisms to a minimum by using cold water because certain organic growths have been shown to protect bacteria from the effects of chlorination.

In the Water Quality Guidelines, it states, “the temperature dependence of most chemical reactions stems from the activation energy associated with them. The rates of chemical reactions decrease with decreasing temperature. The relative concentrations of reactants and products in chemical equilibria can also change with temperature… Temperature can, therefore, affect every aspect of the treatment and the delivery of potable water.”

Mold Inspection Could Change Your Life

Things to Consider in Hiring a Mold Removal Company Vs. Trying to Remove it Yourself

Should I Try to Remove Mold from my Property Myself?

There can be a lot of confusion and anxiety around this question, hire a professional company or try to and clean/remediate mold myself? Some people say try and clean it yourself and others say never attempt to clean it yourself. These two options as stated can be confusing and worrisome

What is the First Course of Action?

Before addressing the cleaning/remediation process, first find and correct the cause. Since mold is mostly caused by a moisture/water issue

first check for the following intrusion/causes for the mold growth:

Plumbing Leaks

Ceiling/Wall Leaks

Recent Spills

Flooding/Puddling

Humidity

These are common water intrusions that cause mold to develop and grow. If you find one of these problems near your mold area, you have most likely found your primary cause. Once the cause is found it is imperative to fix the problem as soon as possible before addressing your mold problem or calling a mold remediation company. If you need to call a professional, ask them what you can do to keep the area as dry as possible while dealing with your mold issue. If you do not deal with the primary cause first your mold will most likely grow back in just a few days

What if I cannot locate the moisture intrusion?

If you cannot locate the source of your moisture contact a leak detection company first. These companies are designed to find the exact location of the source which can save you time damage and repairs. Usually they can fix the problems themselves however if it is a plumbing problem that requires a plumbing professional also, they most likely will give you some great recommendations.

 

Mold Inspection

Mold spores are a big problem for homeowners. It can grow anywhere in the house which has a plumbing leak, poor ventilation, and high humidity. If left for quite a while, mold spores will eventually spread to different areas and damage house structures. Not only are molds a danger to your house, they also pose health risks for all occupants.

Mold Assessment & Testing

Are you worried that your house is in danger of molds? Then, the first thing you need to do is to assess and test your house for mold.

How Do I Get My House Tested For Mold?

There are several ways to get your house tested for mold:

Mold test kits. Do-it-yourself mold test kits can be purchased in home improvement stores or online retailers. To use these kits, you will collect samples by yourself and then send it to a mold testing laboratory where the type of mold present is determined.

Multiple mold tests. There are three types of mold tests: air testing, surface testing, and bulk testing. The amount of mold spores can change from time to time so it is better to test different parts of your home.

Professional mold testing. The best way to get your house tested for molds is to avail the services of professional mold inspectors. Hiring experts will definitely give you more accurate results.

Mold Expert? Licensed Mold Inspectors

Services to do the following services:

Mold inspection

Mold testing

Mold remediation

Mold removal

Asbestos testing

Asbestos abatement

homeowners need not to worry anymore about mold problems in their homes. Catstrong ensures high-quality mold inspection, testing, and remediation services that will make your home mold-free

 

Mold

Molds are a large and taxonomically diverse number of fungal species in which the growth of hyphae results in discoloration and a fuzzy appearance, especially on food

The network of these tubular branching hyphae, called a mycelium, is considered a single organism. The hyphae are generally transparent, so the mycelium appears like very fine, fluffy white threads over the surface. Cross-walls (septa) may delimit connected compartments along the hyphae, each containing one or multiple, genetically identical nuclei. The dusty texture of many molds is caused by profuse production of asexual spores (conidia) formed by differentiation at the ends of hyphae. The mode of formation and shape of these spores is traditionally used to classify molds

Molds are considered to be microbes and do not form a specific taxonomic or phylogenetic grouping, but can be found in the divisions Zygomycota and Ascomycota. In the past, most molds were classified within the Deuteromycota

Mold had been used as a common name for now non-fungal groups such as water molds or slime molds that were previously classified as fungi.

Molds cause biodegradation of natural materials, which can be unwanted when it becomes food spoilage or damage to property. They also play important roles in biotechnology and food science in the production of various foods, beverages, antibiotics, pharmaceuticals and enzymes. Some diseases of animals and humans can be caused by certain molds: disease may result from allergic sensitivity to mold spores, from growth of pathogenic molds within the body, or from the effects of ingested or inhaled toxic compounds (mycotoxins) produced by molds

 

BLACK MOLD REMOVAL COST: SHOULD I BUY A HOUSE WITH MOLD?

BLACK MOLD REMOVAL COST

Dampness in any home can lead to mold and mildew growth, and in addition to being a health hazard, moldy conditions have the potential to cause rot, structural damage, and premature paint failure. If you’re considering buying a home with black mold in the unfinished basement (or the attic and/or crawl space, the two other most common places for mold to be found in homes

HOW DOES MOLD AFFECT THE VALUE OF A HOME?

Mold can affect the appraisal value of a home. For some buyers, this is a good thing because it makes a home more affordable. But if you’re hoping to move into a home in excellent condition, don’t make an offer on a home with mold until you’ve had an independent appraisal. FHA appraisers, for example, are required not only to note if mold is growing in a home, but also the type of mold and its location. If you find that the mold growing in the home is black mold, there are a few things you should know: toxic black mold can cause permanent damage to your health and in extreme cases has even lead to death.

Large overgrowths of mold and mold in unusual locations are especially likely to lower a home’s value. If the FHA appraiser finds that the mold overgrowth is dangerous, you might be required to remove the mold before you can get an FHA loan.

Before you buy any home, you should have it inspected for mold and other problems. During this inspection, you might learn what caused the mold as well as the black mold removal cost. Sellers also have to disclose if there is an ongoing mold problem in the house or if it has previously flooded, but they don’t always do so. Never take a seller’s or real estate agent’s word about the presence of mold. Even if you’re getting a steep discount, get an inspection. The cost of removing the mold could be greater than your savings.

HOW MUCH DOES BLACK MOLD REMOVAL COST? 💰💰

To properly remediate mold (and make sure it doesn’t come back), you’ll need to hire a mold remediation specialist. A mold remediation specialist will remediate the basement while making sure mold spores do not get into the heating and cooling system, which would otherwise get recirculated throughout the home, continuing to make occupants sick even once the basement itself has been cleaned.

 

Personal Safety During Mold Remediation

How do I protect myself from mold?

Mold remediation protection is important. The first Principle of Mold Remediation according to the IICRC regards Safety and Health. The full range of effects that mold exposure can have on humanity is unknown, and isn’t something that can ever really be understood in its entirety. A person with allergies to mold can be far more susceptible to the ill effects of it and its possibly toxigenic spores. The same caution must be given to those with asthma, respiratory problems or any immune compromising illnesses. It’s also possible that exposure to mold will have stronger effects on children or elderly people.

In any mold remediation project you must wear the correct mold remediation protective personal equipment for the job. A P100 or better rated respirator is essential. Never enter an area infested with mold without a P100 respirator. Breathing in molds spores can be dangerous even for completely healthy people.

Always wear gloves and protective clothing to limit exposure to your skin. Nitrile gloves are a favorite among professional remediators, but kitchen rubber gloves are just as good in many situations. A tyvek, or similar type of full body coveralls is recommended, but sometimes isn’t entirely necessary in the cleaning of smaller mold problems. The very least you should have in the way of clothing should be long sleeves, long pants, boots, respirator and goggles to cover your eyes.

In areas of heavy infestation, (especially in a basement, crawlspace or attic where ventilation could be poor and humidity high) or any situation where you’re cleaning a toxigenic, black mold, you WILL need more and better mold remediation protective equipment. You’ll need full body coveralls, (average, porous clothing can easily capture airborne mold spores, allowing them to reach the surface of the skin during the sometimes hot and tiring process of mold remediation), Strong rubber or nitrile gloves and a full face P100 respirator

Black molds require the right conditions (a large moisture source, poor ventilation, high humidity and plenty of cellulose material to feed on) for them to produce deadly mycotoxins. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) states, however, that all fungi most likely produce allergens that could cause disease depending upon one’s exposure to it. And of course, those allergic to any type of mold will be more susceptible. Standard practice in mold remediation is to take all the precautions one can.

What to Expect From a Mold Remediation Company

Mold remediation is the removal as well as cleanup of mold present in indoor environments. It is very important to tackle your mold problem head on before it starts to cause damage to your home and health.

Causes of Mold

Many building materials can sustain the growth of mold. It is mainly caused by the presence of moisture or water indoors and grows on organic materials. Organic materials consist of things that were once living. Most mold growth is found on wood floors or wooden studs. It can also be encouraged by a lack of drying of building materials like concrete. Leaky roofs, flooding, problems connected with plumbing, and building maintenance can result in the growth of mold indoors.

Hiring a certified remediation contractor is not required but when it comes time to sell your home, you are required by law to disclose any mold incidences in your home including floods. If the work was done by a licensed certified Remediator, they should require a mold clearance test for the area. This gives your buyer proof that the work was done by a competent mold remediation in Charleston, SC.

If you decide to hire one, it is generally safer and more effective than a “do-it-yourself” approach because they use special equipment. In either case, always follow safety precautions to reduce exposure to mold by using protective clothing, a respirator, and eye protection. I have seen lots of “Handyman Disasters of Mold Remediation” that go wrong and contaminate the entire house. Remember to always protect the rest of the house from contamination with the proper containment.

Addressing Mold Remediation and Mold Removal

First and most important to fixing the mold issue is finding and fixing the moisture issue. Likely this will be in the vicinity of where the mold has been spotted. If the source of the moisture is not fixed and only the mold is cleaned it will come back. The problem is only masked at that point. In fixing the issue it is important to resolve to gain control over the moisture levels. If the levels in one given room are over fifty-five percent the best option is a dehumidifier.

If a leak or flood has occurred the problem is more clear and defined. This will be a matter of removal of the excess water using a pump to clear the area of water. From there it is important to ensure that the area is completely dry. This is possible using fans to circulate the air and a humidifier. All wet items should be removed and properly taken care of. Problems that go unattended for over forty-eight hours can lead to the most complications. Immediate care and resolution are the best options in mold remediation.

The next step after removing and finding the source of the issues is to clean and remove the mold. Before this is even started it is advisable to prevent the spores from scattering. When the mold becomes airborne it will start to reproduce on whatever it lands on given the conditions are right. To prevent these areas of mold growth from spreading each area should be blocked off and cleaned separately. You can do this by sealing the room with plastic sheeting and place tape on the edges as a seal. Air purifiers are wise to run throughout the space.

Why Use a Mold Expert

Mold can just be wiped away and thrown out, so why go through the hassle of finding an expert and then paying for their so-called “expertise?”

Well, there’s more to removing mold than just wiping a polluted service. Sure mold can be wiped away, but it doesn’t stay away. By using the best resources that are accepted and used by hospitals, you can feel sure that the mold problem is being resolved.

Be sure to research the guarantees of mold remediation as well as the company offering the service.

Well Water Testing Reveals The Truth

Well Water Testing Guide

Why should I consider well water testing?

There are certain contaminants which may be present in your well which can be harmful to your health, damaging to your home, increase your energy costs, and/or create a nuisance. By knowing what is in your well water you may then address those issues, protecting your health and/or pocketbook. As a private well owner it is your burden to test and treat the water flowing from your well.

How do I determine my well water composition?

Your county water department will often test your water for free but those tests are typically limited to bacteriological contaminants. They will not tell you if you have other potentially life threatening elements or chemicals in your well. The most thorough way to determine your well water’s composition is to have a sample analyzed by a certified laboratory for a broad range of contaminants – a full laboratory water test. Do-it-yourself test kits are good non-life threatening applications like swimming pool maintenance, but should be considered with caution when contemplating their use on your drinking water supply.

How frequently should I test the water from my well?

After the initial test is performed on a newly dug well, the EPA recommends you test it annually for microorganisms and once every two to three years for harmful chemicals and elemental contaminants. Also, be sure to test your well water if there has been flooding, earthquakes or other land disturbances in your area, if there are known problems with well water in your area, or if you have replaced or repaired any part of your well water system.

How do microorganisms, chemicals and other contaminants get into my well water?

Germs and chemicals can get into your well water and contaminate it in different ways. Some germs and chemicals occur naturally. For example, heavy metals like arsenic, lead, and selenium are naturally found in rocks and soil and sometimes seep into ground water. Other contaminants come from human and animal waste resulting from polluted storm water runoff, agricultural runoff, flooded sewers, or individual septic systems that are not working properly. Ground water and aquifers can also become polluted from industrial activity.

Total Coliform

Coliform bacteria are microbes found in warm-blooded animals’ digestive systems, in soil, on plants, and in surface water. These microbes typically do not make you sick, but because microbes that do cause disease are hard to test for in water, “total coliforms” are tested for instead. If the total coliform count is high, then it is much more likely that harmful germs like viruses, bacteria, and parasites might also be found in the water

 

Is your drinking water safe? Here’s how you can find out

America’s drinking water infrastructure is aging and in serious need of modernization. Pipes are overdue for replacement, and water and wastewater treatment systems need upgrades to deal with new classes of pollutants. Changing a drinking water standard or adding a new substance to the list of contaminants regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency is time-consuming. Some water systems are having problems meeting current standards, much less upgrading to meet new requirements.

A 2017 Gallup poll found that 63 percent of Americans worry a great deal about drinking water pollution. And a recent report from the Natural Resources Defense Council, Threats on Tap, suggests that they have good reason. According to the report, community water systems – public systems that serve cities and towns year-round – registered more than 80,000 reported violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act in 2015.

As water resource educators with Penn State University’s Extension service, our role is to educate the public using research-based information. Most of our work is focused on private water systems – mainly wells and springs, which are used by over 15 million U.S. households. These private systems share many of the critical concerns about public systems addressed in NRDC’s national report

Clean water and proper sanitation have greatly improved life expectancy in the United States over the past 150 years. Now, however, we see an urgent need to upgrade water infrastructure, and to update regulations, enforcement and public education about drinking water safety. With many public and private water systems across the nation aging and under stress, it is important for everyone to understand the risks associated with drinking water contamination, and to know how to take simple steps such as having their water tested if they suspect there may be a problem

Land use and source water protection

Delivering clean drinking water starts with protecting sources, including groundwater and surface rivers and lakes. Many water quality problems that we see in Pennsylvania are based on local land uses. Nitrates from agriculture and development are a particular problem in water wells in the southeast and south-central parts of the state. Exposure to nitrates in drinking water can cause health effects, especially in infants, inhibiting their blood’s ability to carry oxygen.

 

Testing farm drinking water

Is my water safe to drink?

If you do not monitor your water quality by having it tested at an accredited laboratory, you cannot tell whether your drinking water is safe or not. Harmful bacteria, parasites, and viruses are invisible to the naked eye, so water that looks and tastes good may not necessarily be safe to drink. These microbes can exist in both ground and surface water supplies, and can cause immediate health effects if not properly treated for.

Tests for drinking water

There are many useful tests available to help determine the health, safety and performance of your water supply depending upon its type and location. Your local health department can assist you in selecting tests important for assessing your drinking water.

Basic tests

Coliform bacteria tests are used as an indicator test for the presence of microorganisms in the water that are potentially harmful to human health. Nitrate is a common contaminant found mainly in groundwater. High nitrate concentrations can be particularly dangerous for babies under six months, since it can interfere with ability of blood to carry oxygen. Ions such as sodium, chloride, sulphate, iron and manganese can impart objectionable taste or odour to water. Excessive amounts of sulfate can cause a laxative effect or gastrointestinal irritation, along with a noticeable taste. Excessive amounts of fluoride can cause dental problems. Total dissolved solids represent the amount of inorganic substances (for example: iron, salts) that are dissolved in the water. High total dissolved solids (TDS) can reduce the palatability of water or cause health problems if specific constituent elements are at high levels.

Microbiological Indicators

Laboratory results may provide information on levels of Total Coliforms, Escherichia coli (E-Coli), and Heterotrophic Plate Count (HPC) which are used as microbiological indicators of the microbiological quality of the water. This section will briefly outline the rationale for including these indicators and their significance.

Total Coliform (TC)

The presence of Total Coliform bacteria may indicate contamination in a water supply. The presence of Total Coliforms alone is not necessarily a health risk, but it does require a further investigation of the water system. The presence of any coliform bacteria indicates that the sampled water is potentially unsafe and unsatisfactory.

 

Well Testing

Overview

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rules that protect public drinking water systems do not apply to individual water systems, such as privately owned wells. As an individual water system owner, it is up to you to make sure that your water is safe to drink

What to test for

Several water quality indicators (WQIs) and contaminants that should be tested for in your water are listed below. A WQI test is a test that measures the presence and amount of certain germs in water. In most cases, the presence of WQIs is not the cause of sickness; however, they are easy to test for and their presence may indicate the presence of sewage and other disease-causing germs from human and/or animal feces. (Please see Water-related Diseases and Contaminants in Private Wells for a list of additional germs and chemicals in drinking water wells and the illnesses they cause.)

Total Coliforms

Coliform bacteria are microbes found in the digestive systems of warm-blooded animals, in soil, on plants, and in surface water. These microbes typically do not make you sick; however, because microbes that do cause disease are hard to test for in the water, “total coliforms” are tested instead. If the total coliform count is high, then it is very possible that harmful germs like viruses, bacteria, and parasites might also be found in the water

Fecal Coliforms / Escherichia coli (E. coli)

Fecal coliform bacteria are a specific kind of total coliform. The feces (or stool) and digestive systems of humans and warm-blooded animals contain millions of fecal coliforms. E. coli is part of the fecal coliform group and may be tested for by itself. Fecal coliforms and E. coli are usually harmless. However, a positive test may mean that feces and harmful germs have found their way into your water system. These harmful germs can cause diarrhea, dysentery, and hepatitis. It is important not to confuse the test for the common and usually harmless WQI E. coli with a test for the more dangerous germ E. coli O157:H7.

pH

The pH level tells you how acidic or basic your water is. The pH level of the water can change how your water looks and tastes. If the pH of your water is too low or too high, it could damage your pipes, cause heavy metals like lead to leak out of the pipes into the water, and eventually make you sick.

 

Well Water Testing

Is my well water safe to drink?

If your drinking water comes from a private well, it should be tested by a lab to see if it is safe for you and your family to drink. Unsafe drinking water can make you sick. Even if you are not sick right now, your well water may not be safe. Some contaminants found in well water can cause long-term health problems. All water suppliers in B.C. are required to test their water regularly. This includes including small private systems, such as restaurants or trailer parks, cooperatively owned systems, such as strata properties, and larger municipal systems owned by local govern ents. Water samples are sent to qualified labs for testing.

Why might my well water be unsafe?

Your well water may taste and look fine, however, there can be many harmful substances that you cannot taste, see or smell, such as bacteria and chemicals that could affect your health. These can enter well water both from the surface and ground, and can be from natural sources or human activities. For example, nearby farming and agricultural activities or septic systems, if built or maintained improperly, could lead to increased nitrates and fertilizers seeping into soil and contaminating your well water. Poor well maintenance may also cause contamination of your well water.

Bacteriological Testing

Bacteriological testing should be done 2 or 3 times a year. Two common types of bacteria found in water are: Total Coliforms and E.coli

Escherichia coli (E. coli)

  1. coli originates in the intestinal tracts of animals. The presence of E. coli in your well water may mean fecal matter has entered the well. Fecal organisms cause stomach and intestinal illnesses, including diarrhea and nausea, and may even lead to death. Babies, children, elderly or people with immune deficiencies or other illnesses may be affected more severely

Chemical Testing

Chemical testing should be done on a routine basis, typically at a minimum every 5 years. Chemicals commonly of concern in B.C. groundwater are: nitrates, fluoride and metals such as arsenic, lead, copper and manganese.

The Good Reason To Do Mold Inspection

How to Choose a Certified Mold Inspector and What You Should Pay

All told, mold inspection costs by a reputable company range from $150 to $250. There are other mold costs as well, known as mold sampling. Mold testing is necessary for several reasons: mold identification, mold concentration, and indoor air quality. The going rate for mold sampling is $100 per sample. The inspection company pays an accredited laboratory to analyze the mold samples helpful in determining the extent of a mold problem and establishing a scope of work for mold repair. The total number of samples varies for each job as the mold inspector makes sampling recommendations based on the factors associated with the building and its occupants.

How Much Should You Pay?

Once you know the difference between mold “test only” and mold test and repair, you have a better appreciation for the cost of mold testing. As stated in the mold test and repair paragraph, it costs $50-$100 just to show up. There is also the time factor associated with performing the mold inspection and providing a mold report.

Mold Test and Repair

For the purpose of being the first responder, several test and repair companies backload the cost of mold testing by offering low-cost or free mold inspections. Conventional wisdom holds that first responders will usually get the job. So, how do you think mold removal companies cover the mold inspection cost?  Naturally, they will find a mold “problem”.

Mold “Test Only”

In my opinion, mold inspection companies should only perform mold testing and not perform mold repair. It is considered a conflict of interest to do both because the test and repair company may exaggerate the problem in order to overcharge for a solution. Mold inspection costs for “test only” companies are paid at the time of the inspection.

Inspection Equipment

Every mold inspector should have the basics: a moisture meter, an air sampling pump, and a respirator. Several other tools should be at the inspector’s disposal including sampling media (swabs, air cassettes), flash light, gloves, knee pads, and a mirror. There are various types of each of these tools. Ideally, the mold inspector will have the latest technology available. There are other tools that are high tech such as a thermal imaging camera which is a tool designed to detect temperature variations typically associated with moisture.

 

Best Mold Inspectors Near You

Mold Testing Companies In Your Area

Mold inspections and testing are important when you suspect there may be toxic mold growing in your home. Mold can cause a variety of health issues, so it is crucial to understand if it is present and if it is of a harmful variety (not all mold is bad). A certified inspector will look for evidence of past or current growth inside walls and other areas. This includes areas where growth could be causing structural issues – like in crawlspaces. A mold test, however, will not include remediation. In fact, many inspection services will refer you elsewhere for mold removal.

Reasons you may need mold testing include:

  • If you have an allergic reaction when in a certain room. Reactions include a runny nose, sneezing, or itchy eyes.
  • To see if a known water or mold problem has been fixed.
  • To understand if there is a problem with a home you plan to buy.

If you are looking for mold inspectors near you, HomeAdvisor can help. Enter your zip code to be connected to mold testing companies in your area who are ready to inspect your property.

 

Tips for Hiring a Mold Remediation Contractor/Consultant

Tips on hiring

Many consultants and contractors providing mold inspections and remediation services are honest, reliable and skilled. Below are suggestions on how to find good consultants and contractors.  (This list is based on guidelines provided by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection.)

  • Get more than one estimate. Make sure all parties are bidding on exactly the same work. Make sure the contractor comes to the job site rather than giving a telephone estimate. Be leery of an extremely low estimate. Be cautious of a contractor or consultant that uses SCARE tactics to make you do more than you really need to have done.
  • Ask for the names of recent customers and call to see if they are satisfied. Would they hire the contractor again?
  • Get a written inspection report.  Did it include a summary of all the areas inspected, the cause of the mold growth, how to take care of the problem and any sampling results? Did the contractor show up on time, clean up afterward, perform follow-up service on warranties?
  • A building cannot be made mold free. Avoid a contractor who claims to remove all mold from your building.
  • Find out if complaints have been filed against the contractor or consultant by checking with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 800-422-7128, and the Better Business Bureau, 800-273-1002.
  • The firm that conducts the inspection or air sampling should not be financially related to a firm that conducts the mold remediation due to a potential conflict of interest. Consulting firms that have a financial tie to a contractor should disclose that relationship prior to any contractual agreement.  Ultimately, it is the property owner’s responsibility to ask about such a relationship.
  • Select a laboratory that is accredited by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) or by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

 

How To: Test for Mold

START HERE: HIDDEN SPOTS FOR MOLD

In order to grow, mold requires moisture, so mold is naturally found in areas that are damp and humid. Plumbing leaks, for example, often trigger mold growth and should be repaired as soon as one is noticed. Visible mold anywhere in the home should be removed promptly by following safe mold removal methods. But, what about that mold growth that you can’t see? In instances of a musty smell unaccompanied by visible signs of mold (black, white, or brownish coating), it’s likely that you’ve got mold growing in a hidden spot.

HOW TO USE A MOLD TEST KIT

Mold test kits are widely available from home improvement stores and from online retailers, but not all test kits are the same. Some are designed to only determine whether mold is present on surfaces. To test for mold spores in the air you’re breathing, you’ll need to purchase a viable mold test kit, which costs $20 to $45. The entire testing process will take a few days, and if the test you perform determines that mold spores are present in the air, you can send the testing materials to a lab that will perform another test to determine what type of mold is present. Lab analysis can run an additional $40 to $70.

 

How Much Does A Mold Inspection Cost?

Professional Mold Inspector Cost

Professional mold inspectors, also known as certified Industrial Hygienists (IH), will charge an average of $300 to $500 to test an average-sized property and home for toxins. They’re licensed to take a close look at your property and find both symptoms and sources of moisture damage.

Some businesses offer a free walk-through. These pros may require you to work with them on removal if they find any growth. Others charge a more comprehensive inspection that includes sample testing. Your range can go as high as $700 for a large property with many difficult-to-access spaces. That price does not include remediation.

Locating the Mold

Depending on its location, mold can be very easy or difficult to spot. If it’s difficult to access, the inspection can take longer and can cost up to $700. Common growth spots include.