What to Expect from a Mold Assessment?
01. Client Interview
Speaking to owners/occupants will be extremely helpful in determining extent of mold issues observed, health issues that may be associated with mold exposure, history of water intrusion / repairs, etc. Based on Client / family mold / chemical sensitivity and budget, testing may / may not be recommended. The biggest thing to remember when conducting the interview is that your client has a problem regardless of how colorful the story is. Takes notes and be inquisitive as to the ailments being reported.
Note: The client knows their environment better than anyone else and their accounting's are a valuable asset to your investigation.
02. Olfactory Investigation
Actively growing molds often emit a very identifiable aroma that a trained investigator should detect immediately upon walking into your home. This is very helpful especially if the suspect molds are not visible. But olfactory investigations are affected by the season, air transfer, ambient fragrances, etc. that often dilute or mask the moldy aroma.
Note: A moldy aroma is very subjective and not always present. Only the best investigators account for lack of smell in their investigations.
03. Mold Inspection(Visual)
A comprehensive visual inspection of the home will be completed in areas typically associated with mold growth: under sinks, in bathrooms, basements, crawl spaces, attics, etc. It's not unusual to not “see” mold growth in a mold compromised environment. Molds often live in dark, inaccessible areas making visual detection of early mold challenges difficult.
Note: Molds like to hide in dark, cave-like environments. When you see them in the open it's often just the "tip of the iceberg."
04. Mold Inspection(Tech Supported)
While performing a visual mold inspection, the investigator may use different pieces of technology to aide in the investigation. Moisture Meters help in assessing moisture content of building materials that help determine if suitable conditions exist for mold growth. A Thermal Imaging Device (Infrared Camera) helps identify temperature differentials often associated with water leaks. While technology has its limitations, it is helpful in proving hidden moisture issues that are hard to believe otherwise.
Note: Many challenging mold projects are devoid of moisture clues due to the seasonal and intermittent nature of the moisture intrusion issue.
05. Mold Testing
Depending on the circumstances of the client and/or the home, mold testing may / may not be warranted. For those folks with no apparent mold related health issues, a visual assessment may be sufficient. But for folks with young families, immuno-compromised or mold sensitized individuals or folks just wanting a thorough investigation, then mold testing is warranted. The size of the area and complexity of the space will dictate number of samples needed.
Note: When sampling is called for, taking 1 to 2 mold tests are normally not adequate.
06.Hydrology Inspection (Exterior & Interior)
The heart of any Mold Inspection is the Hydrology (Moisture) Inspection. Identifying a mold problem and not providing the source of the moisture intrusion issue are only providing half the service they were hired to undertake. Any Mold Remediation is worthless if the moisture intrusion problem is not corrected or properly managed. Otherwise the Mold will just return.
Note: Moisture management is key to a Mold Remediation. Otherwise the mold will just return!
07. Mold Inspection Report
A Mold Lab Report is not a Mold Investigation Report! A complete Mold Investigation report will include all of the above items (to some degree) where a solid conclusion will be drawn up detailing the extent of mold intrusion and it’s water trigger. A very thorough Recommendations section then detail what needs to be done to correct the moisture intrusion and mold growth. The remedy will contain a detailed Scope of Work (SOW) so that any mold remediation firm can use the findings to prepare a proposal to correct the mold problem and return the site to Normal Fungal Ecology.
Note: Lab results without a report is a waste of your time and money