Mold Inspection and Testing

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When most of us think of mold, it evokes a negative reaction, but mold isn’t always bad! Outdoors, mold is an essential part of a healthy ecosystem, helping decompose dead trees, leaves and other organic matter. In our homes, however, mold is less than desirable.

Luckily, mold remediation is possible and can range from easy, DIY cleanup to a full-scale professional operation. It all depends on how extensive the mold growth is and the type of mold, but the bottom line is that the earlier you catch it, the better. This article will go over how to prevent mold and what to do if you find it in your home. 

What Is Mold?

The patches of mold you see growing on your ceiling, in windowsills, or damp corners are a form of fungus made up of millions of spores that are invisible individually but grow together to create what we see. Outdoors, mold is a healthy part of the environment and doesn’t cause damage. Inside, it can degrade our home and cause health concerns like allergies and respiratory issues. Mold damages what it grows on, so it’s important to clean it up as soon as you see it, or ideally prevent its growth by keeping things in your home from getting overly moist or humid.

Types Of Mold

Several types of mold are the most common indoors, including:

  1. Stachybotrys
  2. Mucormycetes
  3. Alternaria
  4. Aspergillus
  5. Aureobasidium pullulans
  6. Acremonium
  7. Chaetomium
  8. Cladosporium

How Mold Can Affect Your Health

The most common way that mold can have a negative impact on your health is the propensity it has to cause allergic reactions and respiratory system infections like lung and sinus infections. While most symptoms caused by mold are non-life-threatening, some types of mold can cause more serious conditions in certain people, making it especially important to deal with and prevent mold growth. 

Sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes are common reactions to mold exposure. Most of these are mild, hay-fever-like symptoms but can escalate to higher severity if people that are asthmatic or have other respiratory tract conditions are exposed to mold consistently. If you’re cleaning up a patch of mold on your own, make sure you’re wearing an N-95 mask and goggles with no vents so that you don’t breathe in any spores and they can’t get in your eyes. 

These symptoms generally don’t cause lasting damage and will clear up when the affected person is removed from the moldy environment. The amount of time that symptoms will take to abate will be individual, depending on the length of exposure and any complicating conditions, like asthma. 

How do I prevent mold?

Once you get an outbreak of mold in your home, it can get expensive to cleanup. Not only that but it can be dangerous for your health. There are a few tools you can use to help prevent mold before it even starts. Desiccants and dehumidifiers can help prevent mold before it starts by absorbing the moisture in the air.

What Is A Mold Inspection?

A mold inspection is a way for your to invest in your home and wellbeing by having a licensed mold inspection done by a professional. Some home inspectors may be licensed to do mold inspections as well — it’s worth it to ask and see. If not, a quick local search will give you the options you have near you. A mold inspector has several methods to provide you with a thorough picture of what’s happening both inside and outside of your home that might be causing mold to grow.

An inspector will use thermal imaging equipment to see where mold is flourishing in your home, even in hidden areas. They’ll measure the humidity levels, do a visual inspection of the exterior of your home to determine if there are mold-causing culprits present and send tests to a third-party lab. They’ll also likely recommend an Indoor Air Quality test to compare the level of mold spores inside your home with the air outdoors. If they find that mold spores inside your home are dangerously high, they’ll work with you to put together a remediation plan. 

You might be tempted to skip a mold inspection, especially if you’re thinking of buying a new build, but it’s always a good idea. Mold is sneaky — it grows in high-moisture places, not all of which are visible in your home. It can also be present without being visible – by the time you see the telltale mold patch, it’s been growing for a time already. 

Mold Inspection Cost

A mold inspection is separate from a standard home inspection and will generally cost about $300-$400 for a home under 4,000 square feet, and can be upwards of $600-$800 for a home over 4,000 square feet. 

Do I Need A Mold Inspection?

It’s a good idea to have a mold inspection in new and old homes. Mold growth isn’t tied to the age of materials but rather the environment’s moisture a mold spore finds itself in. For example, a brand new build built with damp drywall or a faulty building envelope can have mold just as easily as a 20-year-old home with a leaky basement. Likewise, a well-sealed and diligently cared-for home can be mold-free decades after being built. The moral of the story is always get a mold inspection, no matter the age of the home you’re thinking of purchasing.

One situation where you absolutely don’t want to skip a mold inspection is after a flood or major leak. If you experience an overland flooding situation or your dishwasher leaks and floods your kitchen and maybe even the level below, you will, 100%, without question need to do this. Mold thrives in moisture, and the cleanup and remediation from an event like a flood are extensive. The last thing you want is to go through the whole remediation process to find you have to open up your walls and floor again because there was mold that went unseen. 

Mold – it’s sneaky, but you can handle it. Whether you’re doing your due diligence and checking for mold in a home you’ve owned for 15 years or being a conscientious buyer and getting a pre-purchase mold inspection, it’s a worthy investment in your future health and wellbeing.