Research Report Shows Promise of New Mold-Detection Method

May 19, 2006
Radar technology may be a cheaper and quicker way to detect mold behind walls

The Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology Institute (ARTI), a not-for-profit corporation established by the Arlington, VA-based Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI), has just issued a report about new mold-detection technology. In a release dated May 10, 2006, ARI explains: “Existing technology to detect mold behind walls requires stripping wallcoverings to inspect hidden surfaces visually or boring holes into numerous wall section to extract and culture samples. The disassembly and drilling must be done very slowly and carefully to avoid spreading mold spores and fragments through the building, which increases the cost of remediation.”

During the study, investigators from the Atlanta-based Georgia Tech Research Institute soaked gypsum wallboard in water infused with mold spores and allowed them to germinate. Then, a radar system was tested to see if it was effective in identifying areas of moisture behind the wallboard. The technology was found to be accurate, but ARI reports that more research is still needed so that it can unequivocally distinguish between mold growth and moisture.

“The economic problems created by hidden moisture are enormous,” says ARTI’s Director of Research Steve Szymurski. “Real estate property damage from mold growth has cost millions of dollars and the price tag for this problem is growing because of costly mold litigation. Therefore, developing better detection instruments that can locate hidden problems quickly, inexpensively, and nondestructively is an important research priority.”

To find out more, download the executive summary ( or full report (

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