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 is 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
Frequently Asked Questions
Mold inspection is often not necessary. If family members are healthy and there are no visible signs of mold growth, then a mold inspection isn't really necessary. But most folks often can't distinguish between mold-based health issues and often can't visually spot mold growth. In those cases it's a good idea to have a mold inspection just to be safe.
A certified and experienced firm well versed in moisture management and mold remediation. The best inspectors are well experienced in mold remediation and know where the mold hides.
Most definitely. But a basic mold inspection isn't adequate. When you consider the house has been prepared for sale with fresh paint, repairs, and a top-to-bottom cleansing, you will need an expert who knows how to find "hidden molds" that often go undetected by basic mold inspections.
A Basic Mold Sampling package including 3 samples is $495. A thorough assessment, including inspection and sampling (LMI), can cost on average $895.
Many times moisture makes its way into the wall cavity and stimulates molds to grow. Given time they will start to “Bleed Through” the outside wall and at first look like a small dark area. If the moisture source is not obvious, further investigation by a pro is recommended.
It depends. It’s been our experience that if you are planning on selling your home in the near future, yes! Mold is on everyone’s mind these days, and knowing if you have a mold issue can only be determined by a mold test. If negative, the test can be used to assure prospective buyers that there is no mold to worry about.
It’s always a good idea to be well informed going into your home’s sale. Having an inspection done yourself is a good way to pinpoint potential issues and be prepared for buyer's concerns.
Cleaning mold often does not address what is causing the mold to grow in the first place. And that’s what we call the “Moisture Trigger.” While we often think of moisture as a “puddle,” in this case, molds don’t like puddles, and they like elevated humidity, which is hard to detect on your own. Better call a mold pro.