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Mold in your home poses a serious health risk. You need to have confidence that your mold inspection is going to produce accurate results.
But, here’s the problem: all mold inspection practices are NOT EQUAL.
You’ve really got to have a handle on how the particular mold remediation company works to know what to expect. Here at Valor Mold, we do things using a safe, ‘Customer First, Customer Always’ approach.
That said, when you have your home inspected, here’s what you need to know.
We are still learning about the many varieties of mold in the world and how they interact with our lives.
The truly toxic molds are relatively rare but have become a favorite boogieman of news cycles and advertising. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t worry, as mold can damage your home and your health, but there is no need to panic if you find mold in your home.
Mold spores are everywhere. Literally.
Most of them have no harmful effects on humans unless you have a particular allergy to their spores. If they do become too numerous in the air we breathe; however, they can cause discomfort similar to hay fever or a sinus infection.
Mold can cause problems when it colonizes your home. We tend to treat mold as an unpleasant plant, but the truth is that mold is a living organism with all the processes necessary to life.
This means that mold needs food to survive and will feed on:
Allowing mold to exist in your home will slowly reduce the structural integrity of whatever it is on. Most think of mold as growing when you need to recognize that it is eating; your wood, your drywall, or whatever it is living upon.
The pace is slow, but never doubt that mold is damaging whatever material it is using as its food.
Mold spores usually move through your home harmlessly, but certain conditions will invite mold to colonize. Mold needs moisture to live, but it takes very little to satisfy its needs. Condensation on any organic material is enough to nourish a mold colony.
So long as the conditions remain consistent, mold can live anywhere.
The most obvious sign that mold has infiltrated your home is the musty smell we all connect with old or abandoned properties. That smell is the vapor mold releases as part of its life cycle. If you notice that scent in your home, it’s time to take a look around or call for a professional.
A professional mold inspector like Valor Mold knows exactly what to look for when searching for mold colonies in your home. We are always the best way to address your fears but, if you prefer to check for yourself first, here are a few places you should look:
You can find mold anywhere there is a potential for moisture, low light, and organic material is present. Slow leaks and improper or worn seals are an especially good food source for mold, and something you may not detect until it has gone on for a long time.
Professional mold inspection services use two methods to look for mold, with varying degrees of success.
Each has its limitations and level of accuracy, but both are considered proven methods that are accepted by all home insurers to prove that a mold problem exists or has been eradicated.
The standard method of inspecting for mold is a visual analysis using moisture sensors and backed by samples that are sent to a lab.
Your inspector will go through your house like a detective, searching for mold colonies wherever moisture exists. If they find what they think is mold, they will take a sample of the material and send it to a lab for inspection.
They will also look for areas at risk of mold infiltration by measuring the moisture content of the material. Their sensors are exceptionally sensitive and don’t need to probe deeply to get an accurate reading.
Your inspector will show you anything obvious they’ve found, but the process isn’t complete until they hear back from the lab. This can take several weeks, as there are only so many labs in the country that process mold.
Once they have the results, they will either email you the results or return to go over them and discuss your options. This method of mold inspection takes a lot of time and will only include the areas of your home where they suspect moisture exists. An inspection can take up to 5 hours, and the time from start to finish will cover several weeks.
Air testing is a relatively new method of a mold inspection. Simply put, the inspector brings a mobile laboratory into your home and uses it to test the air that you breathe for mold spores.
There is only one piece of equipment capable of performing in-home air testing, the InstaScope™ produced by DetectionTek out of Boulder, CO. The InstaScope™ uses technology developed by the UK for anti-terrorism security, in response to the anthrax scare that occurred just after the 9/11 tragedy in 2001.
DetectionTek took that technology and placed it into a mobile unit designed to locate and identify mold spores. It is able to differentiate between species and give the results in simple “red-yellow-green” reports on the spot. Red for high levels of spores, yellow for elevated, and green for normal.
The inspection process with an air detection system is extremely fast.
Due to the speed of the process, your inspector will be able to check every room in your house. They will spend roughly five minutes in each room and print an instant report for each one. You will be able to see – and understand – each report as they move through your home.
Since most homeowner’s biggest concern is the air their family is breathing, this inspection technique offers immediate peace of mind if no problems are found or enables an immediate response if there is something you need to resolve.
Both standard inspections and air testing are viable options. The biggest difference between the two is the accuracy of the results.
One technician might see pollen where another would say that it’s a mold spore. One study found that the accuracy level of testing labs, regarding mold spore testing, is +/-75%!
With air testing, the results are instantaneous, easy to understand, and 99% accurate.
However, it only tests for spores in the air and will only point to rooms that may have a colony somewhere. So air testing will not answer structural concerns as reliably as a standard inspection.
The table below should help you decide which one is best for you.
Mold is a real danger to your home and the health of your family. Air testing for mold makes certain that you and your loved ones aren’t breathing spore-filled air, and will help you figure out where the problem lies.
If you’re concerned your home in the Northern VA, DC, or Southern MD area may have a mold colony, or you know you have mold, Contact Valor Mold Removal today to get your home inspected. And, if necessary, we can begin the remediation process to make your home safe and secure against additional damage. Thanks for your time today.
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