Mitigating Health Issues Caused By Mold
Typically caused by excess indoor moisture, mold spores can bloom and trigger allergies, respiratory illness and asthma. Many types of mold can trigger health problems like illness or allergies. Most notable among them is Stachybotrys chartarum, commonly referred to as “black mold.” Several factors affect the cost of having a professional mold inspection, but it’s definitely worth consulting an expert due to the health risks.
How To Do Mold Inspection Yourself
Specialized mold inspection professionals have both training and experience. However, that doesnt mean that you cant follow the recipe for mold inspection yourself, and save yourself some mold inspection costs.
You will need a flashlight and tools to open up floor tiles or even walls.
Here are the 8 steps of what mold inspection specialists do when conducting a routine house check:
This Leads Us To Our First Rule:
Mold testing can only evaluate large increases from the baseline
A 10%, 15% even 20% increase or decrease over the control is statistically meaningless.; Were looking for large changes typically an order of magnitude.; Technically you can derive meaningful conclusions from small changes.; However, to achieve this you have to collect a large number of samples.; In most cases this is impractical and cost prohibitive.
In general there are 3 approaches, the Inside Comparison Method, the Outside Comparison Method and the Fixed Standard method.
Inside comparison method
The inside comparison method of mold testing collects a sample in an unaffected portion of the home.; This technique is useful if the entire home is relatively dirty and unkempt.; In some cases, the entire house may have elevated levels of mold spores because of humidity problems unrelated to the area youre testing.; This must be identified in the beginning or the remediation contractor may have a hard time passing a clearance test.
If this pre-sample isnt collected, the remediation project might fail, simply because the mold spores from the rest of the home is contaminating the containment zone.
The outside comparison method
Fixed standard method
individual types of mold spores 500 spores per cubic meter as the cutoff.; Others reference the total number of mold spores, regardless of the type.
Read Also: How To Treat Black Mold On Drywall
Indoor Air Quality Testing
Indoor air quality testing uses a special machine to capture air onto a cassette. Typically, these tests can be performed by a home inspector.
The home inspector should take a sample of the outside air as a control followed by several interior samples of the air for different rooms/areas of concern.
The samples are then shipped to a lab for review under a microscope where a technician can report on the actual amount of mold and type in the air in comparison to the outside air.
If the interior of the home has higher levels of mold or a mold type that is not found outside, then in most cases, you will need mold remediation.
How Much Does Indoor Air Quality Testing Cost?
Indoor air quality testing cost depends on the size of the home, the number of tests, and if a home inspector is completing the test with a home inspection too. On average you can expect to pay anywhere from $150-$350.
Mold Inspections Identify Potential Future Issues
Moist environments breed mold growth and this is often caused in homes because of condensation. Condensation occurs when theres a major difference in temperature between indoors and outdoors. Mold thrives in moist environments where condensation is present, like around windows, doors, or walls with poor insulation.
So, if mold is identified during the inspection, it could be a sign of structural issues that need to be addressed. This could be as simple as re-sealing entry points but it could also require more intense renovations.
Identifying points of condensation before putting any money down gives you the chance to ask the owners to correct the issue before you purchase the home.
Recommended Reading: How To Tell If It’s Mold Or Mildew
A Mold Problem Is An Expensive Expense
Repairing mold damage can be expensive, especially if the cause is water damage. Think about it. You skip a mold inspection before buying the house you want. You think you saved up some cash by opting for a regular home inspection or no inspection at all.
You move in, only to find out mold remediation is needed after a few months of moving in. Of course, you cant just leave your mold issue alone.
Youll pay for the mold repair as well as the water damage to prevent future mold issue. You get to pay double if not more just to fix the damage. That is the kind of problem youll want to avoid.
The Basics Of Mold Within The Home
Mold is a familiar condition in many homes. Wetter areas of the country have moldier homes, and even homes in dry areas have certain rooms and spaces that are more prone to developing mold.
Where there is moisture in a home, there is undoubtedly mold. The most familiar example of mold is the type that develops in the grout between ceramic tiles. A simple form of homeowner-driven mold remediation happens each time you spray that mold down with a bleach-based cleaner and wipe it off. More critical mold, either from a safety or aesthetic standpoint, happens elsewhere.
Recommended Reading: How To Stop Mold Smell In Basement
What Affects The Cost Of A Mold Inspection
There are two main factors that affect the cost of a mold inspection: the size of the house being inspected and whether or not the inspector has to remove or destroy parts of the property, such as drywall or paneling, to complete the inspection.
Quite simply, a large house with a lot of square footage is going to cost more to inspect because the inspection is going to take longer. An âinvasiveâ inspection involving digging through drywall or digging under a crawlspace is also going to cost extra because of the extra time and work involved.
Watch Out For A Musty Smell And Visible Molds
Molds usually thrive in wet, moist, dark, and humid areas of a house. Even if you dont find black molds during an open house, you can still identify an existing mold problem with a musty smell.
Check if the house smells different or too good for your nose. The sellers might be hiding something by covering up the houses real odor.
You May Like: How To Get Rid Of Mold On Vinyl Siding
Lets Look At The Data
The first set of data is from the house with mold inside the walls.; Youd expect a house with mold throughout all the walls to result in compromised indoor air quality, right?; Look at the data.; The house is quite clean.; The mold spore counts are in line with a clean, well-kept home.; Why?; The mold growth was several years old.; Because it was not actively propagating, the mold spores were unlikely to spread.; Second, because the mold growth had occurred inside the wall cavities , the spores were relatively well sealed from the indoor air.
Now lets look at the data for the basement with the wet rug.; 340,000 spores per cubic meter for Penicillium/Aspergillus.; This is an extremely high spore count, close to 1,000 times greater than a typical outside sample.
This tells us a couple of important pieces of information.; First, the quantity of mold growth in a home is less important than the location of the mold growth.; Even though the second home we examined had mold covering hundreds of square feet, those mold spores were trapped within the walls and had no one of affecting the indoor air quality.; In the other example, even though the mold growth was limited to a small area rug, those spores were easily disturbed and therefore, readily distributed into the air.
*Heads up I earn a small commission on sales through Amazon links. This helps cover the expense of running the website
How Accurate Are Mold Inspections
Accurate inspections of the mold are necessary to avoid exposure and negative health impacts. Mold testing may not be an easy task. The main problem is that mold can grow in many places in a home, offices and other buildings. To do an accurate inspection, the inspector must find all potential mold locations and examine them for contamination.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of Airborne Mold In House
Mold Remediation: Basics Process And Possible Scams
Mold remediation helps homeowners and residents stay safe by identifying large-scale mold within the home and eradicating or encapsulating it. Mold remediation has also increasingly become a frequent component of selling and buying a house. Because of the critical nature of types of mold, some operators can take advantage of homeowners. Is mold remediation a genuine, worthwhile project or just a big scam?
Do I Need A Mold Inspection When Buying A House
Mold can proliferate in damp, humid environments. These may be caused by water leakage, poor ventilation, and even condensation. This is also true if the house is not adequately insulated. If it is not taken care of, it may lead to health problems like allergies and asthma. Mold inspection is one way to find out if there are mold problems in a house that you might want to buy. When buying a house, it’s always advisable to get a professional mold inspection done to ensure no major issues exist with the building materials, which could later pose health risks for future residents, as well as to determine whether the risks are worth the potential benefits. It is advisable to get a professional mold inspection done before buying a house. Mold can grow anywhere and in any building material, so you need to ensure that the materials used have no major issues with mold.
HOW TO GET A MOLD INSPECTION?
WHO TO CALL FOR MOLD INSPECTION?
Don’t Miss: How Do You Get Rid Of Mold In Your Body
Interpreting Mold Testing Laboratory Results
Youve got the data, now what?; This is where the frustrations begin.
Heres a typical mold testing scenario:
A homeowner hires an inspector to sample their house for mold.; They receive the results and are told everything is fine, the mold spore counts are well within the expected range.; But theyre a little unsure of the result, so they hire another firm to get a second opinion.; This inspector collects more mold samples, using the exact same techniques.; After a couple days the homeowner receives the results.; The spore counts are very similar, but the second inspector tells them to evacuate immediately their home is full of dangerous levels of mold.
Whos right?; Why the wild discrepancy?
The problem is due to a lack of understanding of how to interpret the results of mold testing.; ;Unfortunately, there are no agreed upon standards for interpreting this type of sampling.;The EPA doesnt have a guideline, nor does any other federal agency.; Other guidelines exist, but they vary tremendously in their conclusions.
It Protects Your Investment
Purchasing a home is one of the biggest investments most people make. Potentially buying a house with mold contamination is a major financial risk, as removing it completely can be quite costly. But you can protect your investment risk with a proper indoor air quality inspection.
All molds can affect the structural integrity of any building where theres an infestation. Mold will slowly eat away at the materials of a house, eventually causing dangerous structural damage if left unchecked.
This is because the underlying cause of mold growth is moisture. Fixing a moisture issue before you buy a house is much easier than fixing a severe mold problem a few months down the line. In the long run, this decision can save you a lot of money and ensure good health for your whole family.
Read Also: Is It Bad To Breathe In Mold
Why Mold Inspections Are Worth It Even In Pennsylvania
I have two children, and a wife who works in a hospital. So it doesnt happen for only one of us to be sick, usually we are all sick. Well today is the third day I am fighting a chest-cold. Glad I am alone, but the point is, what Im sick with must not be contagious. So I was exposed to something.
On Thursday, I was in an attic with the north side of the roof sheathing covered in black mold-like growth. The south side was only partially covered . The attic had completely blocked soffits, bathroom fans terminated into the attic, and condensation evidence was on the single window there. I thought worse case, it was Strachybotrys chartarum, black mold. From my understanding, the spores are typically not very air borne unless disturbed. So I spoke with the client, and explained what we were possible looking at, since he had no clue.
I messed up. There was a ridge vent in the attic, and it was windy & cold. The open attic hatch was pouring warm air into the attic. It was hitting the mold-like growth, so it was being disturbed, big time.
Mold is greatly underestimated, and for the cost of one small mold inspection, or in this case a home inspection, can result in fewer sick days, or even worse.
Im starting the feel better, running out of meds, and hope to have a Good Easter. Also wish you all a Happy Easter as well!
Tom <I share my mistakes so you dont have to repeat them>
There Is Mold Now What
The mold inspection test comes back positive for mold.; The licensed inspector will provide a report about the type of mold and the amount of space it covers. If it is less than 10 square feet or 5×2 area space, you can clean it easily.; However, if it is more than 10 square feet, there is an issue and mitigation may or may not be needed.; Knowing the answers to these questions will help you decide if it is smart buying a house with mold.
Read Also: How To Tell If You Have Toxic Mold
Who To Call For Mold Inspection
EPA specifically states that they do not have a certification program for mold inspectors or mold remediation firms. Everybody, even people who have not made 100+ house mold inspections, can call themselves experts. That presents a kind of a Wild West problem.
Some states have certification and training programs. When calling companies or individuals for mold inspection, do beck for what certification or training they may have. Industrial Hygienists or IH is a certification that is credible, for example.
Other questions you should be asking your future mold inspector should cover :
- Qualifications. For both individuals and companies.
- Number of mold checks per month and year. Specialized professionals should find no lack of work, and are expected to perform at least 100 mold inspections per year.
- Mold sampling and testing practices. If they tell you they can smell Penicillium spores from a mile away, you should best steer clear of them. Specific tests, mold species, and so on are expected in this answer.
- Cost, hourly rate, and payment terms. You have a pretty good idea of how much it should cost . Thats why asking about mold infestation hourly rate is a good idea. Also beware of contractors that need a 100% upfront payment. 50% before the inspection and 50% after the inspection is the industry standard.
Hopefully, with all this, youre well equipped with the mold inspection and testing knowledge.
Is Mold Inspection Worth The Money
A lot of homeowners forego getting their properties checked if there is visible mold in plain sight because they tend to assume that the visible area is the only infected area in the house, plus it saves them a few dollars by skipping the inspection. However, what theyre not aware of is that mold grows in a lot of places that are hiddeninside walls, ducts, pipes, HVAC or in your insulation. Worse, mold spores could be contaminating the air quality inside your home and this type of contamination is difficult to assess without proper testing, equipment and a qualified professional.;
You May Like: How To Eliminate Mold In Crawl Space
Not All Mold Is Toxic Mold
According to the Centers for Disease Control: “While certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins , the molds themselves are not toxic, or poisonous.” And while it is possible for toxigenic molds to produce rare health conditions such as pulmonary hemorrhage or memory loss, this rarely happens.
This is not to say that mold cannot produce health issues. People should be educated with a clear understanding of the risks of mold, but not made to panic or caused undue alarm.