Mold Inspections - Why They're Necessary
Mold inspections are often performed when home buyers or sellers see signs of musty odors, visible mold growth or water damage. They may also be needed if someone in the household is experiencing respiratory problems or is sensitive to mold. Mold can be difficult to remove, and if not handled properly, it can return. That’s why it’s important to have your mold questions before starting any cleanup work.
Homebuyers and sellers who are worried about a potential mold problem should consider hiring a certified professional mold inspector for a thorough examination. This will provide a written report that includes an analysis of the mold and moisture levels and recommendations for a course of action. The cost of a mold inspection depends on the size and scope of the property being inspected, and whether or not the inspector needs to access inaccessible areas, such as behind drywall and paneling, or remove samples for laboratory testing.
To perform a mold inspection, the inspector will first complete a walk-through evaluation of the property. This will include examining surfaces for visible mold growth, checking the condition of any insulation and looking for any signs of leaks or water intrusion. The inspector will then take surface samples to test for mold spores in the air. These can be collected with a simple tape sample or a cellulose swab that is dipped in a preservative. Several different samples are typically taken in various locations to ensure that the inspector has a representative sample for each area of concern.
The inspector will also take an outdoor air sample to compare with the indoor sample to determine if there is an unusual concentration of mold spores present. If the outdoor sample has a lower concentration of spores, this can indicate that the indoors has a problem.
In addition to detecting mold, the inspector will check for other potential irritants that might be causing discomfort for the occupants. These might include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulates.
Before the inspector arrives, it’s a good idea to shut off air conditioning and heating systems as well as any humidifiers or dehumidifiers. This will help to concentrate the spores and make them easier for the inspector to detect. It’s also recommended to close all doors and windows during the inspection period to maximize the amount of spores trapped in the interior of the home.
It’s not a good idea to have the same company that assesses and remediates mold do the inspection, as there is a conflict of interest. The company that does the assessment and remediation could exaggerate the severity of the situation in order to get more business through remediation. That’s why it’s important for home inspectors to have a partnership with a qualified remediation company to refer their clients when necessary. It’s also important to get quotes from a few companies before deciding who to hire for the inspection and remediation. Shopping around can help you save a few hundred dollars on the inspection and remediation costs.