Top Four Procedures That Occur During A Mold Inspection!
We take pride in the fact that we specialize in mold removal and work with third party Indoor Air Quality Professionals and Industrial Hygienists that refer many mold removal projects to us. One of the key benefits you gain from working with Valor Mold is our work is checked by third parties that do post mold remediation tests to ensure that our work has properly restored the fungal ecology of your property.
To date we have explained what mold is and why you should be concerned, educated you on how to determine if you are sick from mold and provided you with detailed information on what you should and should not to if you think you may have mold in your home. This article in our mold education series provides you with information on what you should expect if you hire a mold inspector.
Mold Inspectors Have Two Goals
The primary goal of a mold inspector is to determine why you have a mold problem. In short, what is the root cause, i.e. the source of moisture that is allowing mold to grow. Identifying the cause is the most important step to ensuring that mold does not continue to thrive. In short, if your home has leaking pipes, a leaky roof, seepage issues, and/or high humidity problems, the moisture problems must be fixed.
The second goal of a mold inspector is to determine how bad your mold problem is. Determining the extent of your mold problem, indoor spore count, and species of mold is important because it helps the mold inspector create an action plan in consultation with Valor Mold. Keep in mind, every mold situation is different so the plan needs to be specific to you, particularly if mold is causing health issues.
With these goals in mind, during the inspection, here are the top four procedures / actions that a mold inspector will take to help you.
#1 Visual Clues
Most mold inspectors will likely use a check list or software on their mobile device, tablet, or laptop, that allows them to follow a step by step procedure to inspect your home for mold.
Visual clues are used to determine the extent of moisture problems and also to verify visible mold.
Determining external sources of moisture intrusion is accomplished by examining the landscaping for seepage issues, and reviewing the drainage system to make sure water is flowing away from the property. Inspection of the facia, eaves, and drain spouts is also important because these can be sources of water intrusion into a property.
Once the external sources of possible moisture are examined, the next step is to look for visual clues of moisture inside the property, including water stains, under sinks, behind appliances, behind baseboards, window condensation, etc.
#2 Questions and Answers
Mold inspectors are detectives trying to determine why you could have mold issues. There are many questions that the inspector needs answers to about the building history, health of the occupants, and past moisture events. Questions that answers are sought for include the following:
- Does anyone have any negative health affects when in the building yet feel better when not in the building? Important to know because if occupants are suffering ill health, this could indicate that there are indoor air quality issues potentially caused by mold.
- What year was the property built? This question gives the inspector some idea of how old the the structure is and potential aging concerns that could lead to moisture issues.
- How long have you owned and or lived, worked in or been renting the house or building? If you have experienced ill health, the length of time in the building could give clues as to the extent of the air quality issues.
- Does the house have a sump pit and pump? Many homes have sump pits and pumps to prevent flooding, but it is important that they are functioning properly.
- Ever had any leaks such as dishwashers, water heaters etc? If the answer is yes, then this could provide further clues as to where the potential moisture issues originated from that caused the mold issues.
- Previous floods or sewer backups such as toilet overflows? Again, if the answer is yes, strong clue of the potential cause of mold concerns.
- Do the windows leak or sweat? If the windows leak or sweat this could indicate that there are moisture issues in the home causing mold.
- Are the windows original? If the windows were recently replaced and not installed properly, this could cause moisture issues leading to mold.
- What year was the roof last shingled? One of the most common causes of moisture in homes, is leaky roofs. If the home is older and the roof has not been inspected, this could be a potential source of the mold problem.
- Is the furnace high efficiency and is there a HRV heat recovery ventilation system in place? The HVAC system of the home is the lungs of the home. If it is not operating properly, the air quality could be poor.
- Do the bathrooms have exhaust fans? Bathrooms create significant amounts of moisture in the home. If there are no exhaust fans, this could be a significant source of moisture potentially leading to mold issues.
- Are the fans vented to the outside environment or just into the attic? Fans vented into attics is a common construction flaw that leads to mold problems in properties.
- Is the dryer vented outside? Dryers should be vented outside, if not, this will create significant moisture issues.
- Have any upgrades to the exterior been done within the past ten years? Important question because the potential moisture problems could have been caused by poor construction practices during the upgrade.
- Major upgrades to the interior? This is another important question because sometimes during interior renovations mold is discovered but not properly cleaned up and can result in cross-contamination throughout the home.
Answers to these questions help the inspector assess how and where the potential moisture concerns are originating from.
Keep in mind, any mold remediation that occurs should only begin once the underlying moisture problems are fixed.
#3 Measuring Moisture Levels
High humidity is one of the strongest indications that there are moisture problems in the property.
During a mold inspection the inspector will note down the relative humidity and temperature of each room.
If there are specific rooms that have higher levels of relative humidity, this could be a clue that there is a mold problem in the room.
#4 Sampling Suspect Mold
The last step is to try to figure out what type of mold is present. The sampling strategy of the inspector could involve taking actual swab or tape samples.
Some inspectors may also recommend an air quality test to measure the spore count in the home compared to the outside air.
The samples from such tests should be sent to an independent third party lab for examination.
As mentioned earlier, identifying the moisture problem is the main goal. If there are no visual clues identifying the source of the moisture, this means that you could have hidden sources of moisture. For instance, leaky pipes inside a wall could be causing moisture but not enough to cause visual water stains. If the inspector suspects this, then they may recommend a thermal imaging test to examine the hot and cold spots in the home which will help pinpoint the area where the leak is.
Mold inspections should not take 15 or 20 minutes. Credible mold inspection companies will take enough time to figure out the source of moisture, find where the mold is growing, and do proper testing.
The mold inspection process is the first part of dealing with a mold concern because this inspection is used as the basis for putting together a plan, also known as a scope of work, to effectively address your mold problem.
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