Hi-Tech Mold Testing and Inspections
- Thermal Imaging is used to help locate moisture problems
- Results in 2-3 business days
- Incudes a Digital Report with photos
- Professional Laboratory Analysis of every sample taken
- Recommendations for Remediation when appropriate
Why use a home inspector for mold?
Home inspectors are trained to detect the conditions that are conducive to mold growth. I find mold frequently when inspecting occupied and vacant homes. Why? Simple: there are so many ways for water to leak into a home from the outside or from an inside plumbing leak. Slow leaks are the worst! A slow leak may not be detected for a long time and can do a lot of damage to the home structure before anyone even realizes there is a problem. Mold is a common byproduct of water leaks, wet foundations, roof leaks and plumbing problems. People may experience illness or even respiratory problems long before they know mold is the cause.
Maybe you already suspect you have a problem but can't figure out why. I enjoy helping people find solutions to problems that may affect their health and the health of their family. Let me put my experience to work for you.
INSPECTING FOR MOLD
A Mold Inspection is very similar to a Home Inspection in scope with a few exceptions. The inspector is focused on conditions that promote mold growth and may use different instrumentation to measure the temperature and relative humidity in rooms or areas of the home where mold is suspected. This may include the whole home, attic, crawlspace and roof. The electrical system may not be inspected if there is no evidence of moisture intrusion in that system. We use our Thermal Imager or Infrared Camera as it is sometimes called, for Home Inspections and Mold Inspections. This is can be an incredibly valuable tool when searching for moisture related problems.
There are several different methods used for taking samples:
These methods allow the lab to determine if the sample is in fact mold, if the source of an airborne mold spore is present, and if mold levels are elevated compared to the outside at the time of sampling.
LIMITED MOLD INSPECTIONS
Limited mold inspections focus on a specific area or areas rather than the entire building and are suitable for most purposes. I bring all the same tools and equipment but this option is more affordable.
Limited mold inspections start at $279 and include 2 samples. More samples may be recommended depending on the condition and size of the home. Additional samples are just $50 each. These prices include laboratory analysis and recommendations for remediation when appropriate.
What are molds?
Molds are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. No one knows how many species of fungi exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more. Molds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by making spores. Mold spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, that do not support normal mold growth.
What are some of the common indoor molds?
How do molds affect people?
Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. Some people, such as those with serious allergies to molds, may have more severe reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Some people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs.
In 2004 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition. The IOM also found limited or suggestive evidence linking indoor mold exposure and respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children. Other recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mold exposure to development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies, but more research is needed in this regard.
Where are molds found?
Molds are found in virtually every environment and can be detected, both indoors and outdoors, year round. Mold growth is encouraged by warm and humid conditions. Outdoors they can be found in shady, damp areas or places where leaves or other vegetation is decomposing.
There are some areas of the home that are always susceptible to mold growth and should be part of routine cleaning to control mold growth. These are:
- Bathrooms especially shower stalls, bathroom tiles, and shower curtains
- Window moldings
- The seal on the refrigerator door
- Surfaces on and around air conditioners
How do I know if I have a mold problem?
You can usually see or smell a mold problem. Mold can appear as slightly fuzzy, discolored, or slimy patches that increase in size as they grow. Most molds produce musty odors that are the first indication of a problem. Mold can grow anywhere there is adequate moisture or a water problem. The best way to find mold is to look for signs of mold growth, water staining, warping, or to follow your nose to the source of the odor. It may be necessary to look behind and underneath surfaces, such as carpets, wallpaper, cabinets, and walls.
Ten Things You Should Know about Mold
1. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complaints.
2. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
3. If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
4. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
5. Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by:
- Venting bathrooms, dryers and other moisture-generating sources to the outside
- Using air conditioners and de-humidifiers
- Increasing ventilation
- Using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing and cleaning
6. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
7. Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
8. Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
9. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
10. Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.
Study identifies role of mold in asthma development
In a new study funded in part by NIEHS, researchers led by scientists at the University of Cincinnati (UC) found that mold exposure during a critical window of development was associated with a three-fold greater risk for asthma later in childhood. The study appeared in the August issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
Isolating an environmental trigger could lead to better informed preventive efforts to reduce the incidence of asthma, a condition on the rise nationwide and an important public health concern. According to previous studies, asthma is estimated to cause several thousand deaths annually and cost more than $15 billion per year in direct medical expense.
“Early life exposure to mold seems to play a critical role in childhood asthma development,” Tiina Reponen, Ph.D. [Exit NIEHS] , lead author on the study and a UC professor of environmental health, was quoted as saying in a UC Healthnewspress release[Exit NIEHS] . “Genetic factors are also important to consider in asthma risk, since infants whose parents have an allergy or asthma are at the greatest risk of developing asthma.”