Mold Inspection – What Is Involved?
What Is A Mold Inspection?
A mold inspection focuses on determining if there is water damage present within the home that is causing a mold problem. Because some sort of mold content is present in just about everyhome, a determination is made during the mold assessment if it was caused by water damage.
How Is A Mold Inspection Done?
A mold inspection consists of a visual inspection for mold growth, moisture mapping for hidden leaks, air sampling, surface sampling, and checking the air conditioning for mold. Every inspection can be different as some could be limited in nature.
When should a mold inspection and mold testing be considered?
- When visible mold is not present, but the smell of mold is. Here a mold inspection and mold test can reveal whether there is indeed elevated mold, and where it is located.
- There have been plumbing leaks or water issues and there is a suspicion that elevated mold may exist in the air and/or behind walls.
- Post Mold Removal Clearance Testing to ensure that the previous mold issue has been resolved and mold counts have returned to levels found in normal environments of the same type.
- Health Concerns: In some cases, a doctor or the patient has a health issue that they cannot pinpoint the cause but seems to be related to mold symptoms (coughing, sneezing, headaches, etc). Here, a mold inspection and test may help to confirm whether the doctor’s or patient’s suspicions that a mold problem exists.
- For real estate transactions for the protection of Buyers and Sellers.
- Landlord/Tenant disputes as to whether there is a mold problem.
- Someone thinks they see or smell mold but are not sure.
- Someone is interested in a general Indoor Air Quality test of their environment.
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR A MOLD INSPECTION?
While there isn’t really any prep work needed for a mold inspection, there are a few things you can do to make things easier for the mold inspector.
- Make sure that all areas of your home are accessible. A lot of people have their attic access inside closets. It is helpful to have the closet entry clear before the inspector arrives.
- Since the mold inspection process in both an interior and exterior inspection, try to move items away from the exterior of the home so the inspector can get a good visual.
- Be prepared to answer questions about your home. A good mold inspector will want to gather information about the history of your home including leaks, flooding, or other water intrusions.
- If you have pets, please inform the mold inspector ahead of time and let them know if they need to make sure the cat doesn’t get out or if the dog is leery of strangers. Mold inspectors may choose to wear protective gear. They also carry equipment that may startle a pet.
Why Should You Have a Mold Inspection?
There are several reasons to have a mold inspection performed in your home. Any one of these situations would be enough cause for an inspection:
- You frequently have allergy-type symptoms in one room of your house. Or you have allergy-type symptoms in your home that go away when you’re somewhere else.
- You’ve had a water leak or flooding somewhere in your home.
- You smell mold, but don’t see any.
- You’re about to make a real estate transaction.
If you see visible mold, you can typically proceed to the mold remediation process without having an actual inspection. However, if you’re unsure that what you’re seeing is mold, an inspection is wise.
Six Important Things You Should Know About Mold Inspections
- Mold inspections need to be performed by a qualified mold inspector who has formal training and experience with mold inspections. Training and experience are necessary.
- Mold inspections should look for evidence of past or current mold growth. Past mold growth may indicate a water problem which will come back when certain conditions return such as a recurring leak. Past mold growth may also cause sensitized individuals to have an allergic reaction or, conceivably, cause some individuals to start becoming sensitized to mold.
- Mold inspections should look for mold within the building, inside walls, and in other areas where mold growth is undesirable, including areas where mold growth could be causing structural issues such as wood decay in crawlspaces.
- Some mold growth in buildings may be perfectly normal. For example, Ceratosystis and Ophiostoma are two molds that grow on lumber (sometimes referred to as lumber yard mold) and are frequently found growing on two by fours or other structural framing within buildings. These molds grow on the sap of wood and stop growing once the wood has dried. Although they cause black staining on the wood, they do not cause any structural issues. If black staining is found on wood, the mold inspector can take a sample and send it to the mold testing lab for analysis to determine if it is one of these molds.
- It is very important (and some would say essential) that the mold inspection look for sources of moisture. Water is essential for mold growth. Without a source of water, you will not have mold growth. Consequently, if there is mold growth, it must be associated with a source of moisture. If this source of moisture is not found and eliminated, the mold growth will return and remediation efforts are of negligible long term value. The importance of looking for sources of moisture cannot be overstated and must be included.
- Mold inspections are a subset of investigations called “Indoor Air Quality” (IAQ) investigations. These investigations look at the broader question: “What irritants are present in the air causing discomfort to the occupants?” If you are having a mold inspection because you feel ill when you are in a certain building or room, you might consider whether other irritants may be causing the discomfort and include these in the investigation.