Home Inspection

The Role Of Mold Inspection Before You Buy A House

Mold Inspection & Testing Services

In recent times, people have become much more aware of exposure risks to elevated levels of mold in their homes, schools and work environments. High levels of mold indoors can lead to air quality issues and health concerns. Its presence indoors can also result in property damage and expensive repairs.

Limited Mold Inspection

The limited mold inspection does not include a visual examination of the entire building, but is limited to a specific area of the building identified and described by the inspector. As a result, moisture intrusion, water damage, musty odors, apparent mold growth, or conditions conducive to mold growth in other areas of the building may not be inspected.

Indoor Air Quality Testing

Indoor air sampling should be made under closed-building conditions. Closed-building conditions are necessary for in order to stabilize the air that may contain mold spores or mVOCs, and to increase the reproducibility of the air sampling and measurement.

Contact & Swab Sampling.

A swab comes inside a plastic tube container. The cellulose swab is moistened with a liquid preservative stored in an ampoule at one end of the tube container. Any bacteria collected with the swab are transferred via the swab into a tube. The tube is sent directly to a laboratory for analysis.

Well Water Testing

Different problems can exist in your water, depending upon the type and source of water that is being supplied to the home. water services provide in-home testing to show you the exact condition of your water, within a budget that you can afford

 

WHAT SHOULD YOUR MOLD INSPECTION INCLUDE?

Not all mold inspections are created equal!

Anybody can claim to be able to do a mold inspection, but that doesn’t mean they’ll do a good job. Some mold remediation companies do a quick inspection that doesn’t really tell them much. They don’t use a lab to test for the species of mold and don’t bother testing the air quality. There are even some unsavory types that take advantage of people by exaggerating the problem and suggesting comprehensive mold removal services that aren’t really needed. So how can you be sure that it that will catch what it needs to? A quality mold remediation company should always start with a comprehensive inspection that will take a little bit of time to complete because of several types of tests they will run.

What does a typical high-quality mold inspection include?

Having certified mold technicians perform the work on your house already gives you a leg up against the microbe. Typically, a mold inspection will consist of a visual inspection, sampling visible mold, air quality tests and a mold lab test.

A visual mold inspection comes first

Quick, what’s the fastest way to check for mold? Just look! Of course, that won’t catch microscopic bits in the air, but it’s the best place to start. But an experienced mold tester sees things differently than other people. They know the telltale signs of mold like spots and stains on the walls and carpets and know what odors are usually associated with mold.

Checking for obvious mold and moisture damage

Clumps of mold obviously need to be removed and the sections cleaned. But large accumulations of mold often suggest a larger problem. Mold loves warm and moist areas, and because of this, water is often the culprit. It could be getting in through roof damage or a leaky pipe. If the mold inspector suspects one of these problems, they may recommend a full house inspection from a reliable home inspector.

Testing the mold levels in the air

The mold in the air can get into your lungs! While many kinds of mold are benign, some produce harmful mycotoxins that can cause health problems in some individuals. Part of the mold tests should include both indoor and outdoor mold levels. This gives a level of comparison and can also give clues to how the mold is getting in.

 

Mold

Molds are types of fungi found throughout the natural environment. Molds reproduce by generating tiny, microscopic spores, just like how plants reproduce by producing  seeds.

Mold spores can be found in both indoor and outdoor air, as well as settled on indoor and outdoor surfaces. In the outdoors, molds live in the soil, on plants, and on dead or decaying organic matter. They play an important and natural role in the breakdown of leaves, wood, and other plant debris.

Molds can grow on virtually any substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation.

Molds need three things to grow:

A wet or damp environment.

A food source such as leaves, wood, paper products, wall board, insulation materials, ceiling tiles, and other organic based materials.

A temperature range similar to the average residential household temperature

Health Effects

Exposure to molds does not always cause health problems. However, some people are sensitive to molds and are at risk for potential negative health effects. Public safety is the most important reason to prevent mold growth and to address any existing indoor mold.

 

Should I test for mold?

Molds are organisms that are found indoors and outdoors. They are part of the natural environment and play an important role in our ecological system by breaking down and digesting organic material. Molds are neither plants nor animals, but “fungi”. Fungi belong to a classification of their own.

Yeast, mold, mildew and mushrooms are common forms of fungi. Mold is essentially a description of fungi that grows on surfaces, such as the black substance on a moldy shower wall. Mold and mildew often refer to the same type of fungi. All mold is fungi, but not all fungi is mold. Molds grow in many colors, including white. “Black mold” is not a species or specific kind of mold, and neither is “toxic mold.”

Sometimes, the news media use the terms “toxic mold” and “black mold” to refer to molds that are a health hazard.Well water is often affected by chemicals or fertilizer bi-products leaching into the ground or streams that feed the aquifers that supply the well. Sometimes the source of the contamination is a chemical or mineral deposit deep in the ground that the aquifer runs through. It is also possible for well casings or heads to become damaged and allow chemicals or animal bi-products to pollute a well from the surface.

Where is Mold?

Mold spores are everywhere; they are found both indoors and outdoors. Mold spores cannot be eliminated from indoor environments because some of them will be floating through the air and could be on settled dust.

Should I be concerned?

Mold is not usually a problem indoors unless the spores land on a wet or damp surface and begin growing. As molds grow, they digest whatever they are growing on. Unchecked, mold growth can damage buildings and furnishings; molds can damage wood, damage drywall, and in extreme cases cause structural damage to buildings. The potential human health effects of mold are also a concern. It is important, therefore, to prevent mold from growing indoors.

Fungi in the indoor environment raises three major concerns:

  1. The potential health effects of exposure to fungi and their byproducts;
  2. The effects of fungal contamination on the structural integrity of a building; and,
  3. The negative aesthetic effects fungi can produce both visually and on the human nose (smell)

 

Common Causes of Attic Mold

Bathroom mold, kitchen mold, basement mold, these areas tend to get all the hype, but there is another area that property owners need to be aware of, too, the attic. Mold found in attic areas can be challenging at times when trying to pinpoint the exact cause and source of mold growth. However, there are some common conditions that we routinely find during our mold investigations that are leading contributors to mold growth in attics.

Roof Leaks

Yes, you guessed it, at the top of our list is roof leaks. Several issues can occur around the flashing or the area where the roof plane meets a vertical surface like a vent or a chimney. Missing, deteriorated, or improperly install flashing among other penetration points and inadequate roof repairs are the most common causes of roof leaks. Water seepage also occurs when the roof is beyond the end of its life span. An annual inspection of your roof by a roofing specialist and routine maintenance can prevent leaks in a roof system, effectively reducing the likelihood of mold growth in your attic.

Inadequate Roof Ventilation

Without adequate ventilation, moisture-laden air can remain in attic areas. Often, this will cause elevated moisture conditions around the roof framing and roof sheathing. During cold winter months, for example, condensation can occur on the cold roof sheathing creating this damp environment. You may think otherwise, but it is important to keep your attic cool during colder months.

Another common cause of inadequate ventilation is when your soffit vents are blocked by debris. This could be debris from trees, roofing materials, birds’ nest, or insulation – when it is blown into the attic. If proper care is not taken during this time, the insulation can end up blocking the soffit vents. Soffit vents are critical in a passive ventilation system to circulate air from the lower portion of the attic (intake vents) to the upper roof vents (exhaust vents).

Bath or Kitchen Exhaust Fans Vented into the Attic

Exhaust fans should be vented directly to the exterior of the home, and surprisingly we often find this is not the case. When an exhaust fan is missing its exhaust duct, or if the duct has become separated, the exhaust is then vented directly into the attic space, similar to the situation above meaning the warm damp air is trapped creating the ideal atmosphere for microbial growth. In this case, it’s important to correct the issue an re-route the vents to the outside.

Make A Good Water Testing In Your House

Ways to Find Out If Your Drinking Water is Safe

Know Where Your Water Comes From

If you live in a city or county where water is provided by a local water system, you can contact your water provider or visit their website to see where your water comes from, which can help you better understand the risks in your area.

Know Common Water Contaminants

There are over 150,000 public water systems in the United States, and more than 286 million people get their tap water from a community system. According to the CDC, these are the top ten most common public outbreaks in water systems.

Know How Your Water is Tested

The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the right to establish safety levels for contaminants in public water supplies. The CDC and EPA require your local water agency to regularly test water for safety. The frequency and type of testing depends on the size of the population using the system.

 

Drinking Water Testing Kits – Testing Evaluation Program

Quick Bacteria Test (Presence/Absence) – This is a quick test for the presence or absence of Coliform and E. Coli Bacteria in your drinking water or well water. Coliform is an indicator bacteria that public water supplies are required to monitor. The presence of Coliform could indicate the presence of other infection disease causing organisms. If Coliform is present, then we look for E. Coli. which is a known pathogen

First Flush and Flush Lead – The dual lead test will test for the lead contect in the water and includes sample containers and testing for a “first draw” and a “flushed” sample is perfect for public water systems or private water sources were you suspect corrosion or high levels of copper and lead may be impacting your drinking water

Water Check 1 & 2- This testing package covers 22 heavy metals and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, lead, arsenic, and mercury in your city or well drinking water. Additionally, analyzes other inorganic compounds and physical characteristics including nitrate, nitrite, chloride, fluoride, sulfate, alkalinity, pH and hardness.

Corrosion Check -An informational testing package that was developed for people who are experiencing signs of corrosion in their plumbing fixtures in city or well drinking water sources.  This test analyzes contaminants that can specifically affect corrosion.  This package can be used for well water and city water.

 

Quantification and Screening for PFAS Analysis

PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, and Gen-X. Recent estimates suggest that there are at least 6,000 variants of polyfluorinated, linear and branched compounds. Concern for perfluorinated organic compounds (PFCs) and PFAS have increased dramatically in recent years. The health risks are becoming well known across the globe. PFAS compounds have been linked to low infant birth weights, effects on the immune system, cancer (for PFOA), and thyroid hormone disruption (for PFOS). Also under investigation are chemical precursors and telomers developed by industry. Human exposure to PFAS compounds comes from a wide variety of sources, including food packaging materials, commercial household products, workplace environments such as the electronics industry, drinking water sources and living organisms in which these substances have been shown to accumulate and persist over time.

Thermo Fisher Scientific has the products and applications experience to help you achieve optimal analysis for PFAS compounds. Though analyzed for many years, recent developments have resulted in the need to quantify PFAS compounds for potential compliance monitoring in public water bodies to protect human consumption. Examples of methods developed by the U.S. EPA for drinking water are 537, and 537.1. Validated methods developed for additional water matrices include EPA 8327 and ASTM 7979. Due to the large number of possible PFAS compounds and lack of standards, PFAS analysis often involves screening unknowns. In such cases HRAM methods are the tool of choice. For example, the Thermo Scientific Orbitrap mass analyzer technology delivers a total possible maximum resolution (FWHM) of 1,000,000 at m/z 200 and a sub-1 ppm mass accuracy in a single, compact and easy-to-use instrument. These systems detect a wide range of compounds and small molecules during both targeted and untargeted analyses, without losing selectivity or sensitivity.

 

Smart tips for testing water

Using a handheld instrument is great for easy spot-testing with instant results.

Handheld equipment also comes in handy when in the field as a single meter can be used for multiple locations.

A total dissolved solids (TDS) meter first tests electrical conductivity (EC) and then converts the EC to the best estimate of TDS.

This type of device incorporates three non-linear conversion factor options for the best possible measurements.

Frequent resting, particularly of the TDS levels, will determine if and when a filter or membrane needs to be changed, ensuring optimum performance.

 

Tips for testing the quality of water from your tap

Reports of lead in drinking water have sounded alarm bells in several communities across the U.S. Maybe that’s got you wondering what’s in your tap water, and how safe it is. The answer isn’t always easy to find out. Consumer Reports reveals some tips for how to test the water from your tap.

Most municipal water in the U.S. appears to be safe to drink and free from harmful contaminants, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. But how do you know if water passing through your pipes into your tap is safe?

If you’re connected to a community water system and pay your own bill, you should receive an annual water-quality report called a CCR, or Consumer Confidence Report. If you haven’t been getting one, call your local water supplier. And if you rent, contact your landlord.

The Best Tips To Make Mold Inspection

Mold Inspection 101: How Much It Costs and When to Get One

What is mold?

Mold is a fungus, and like all fungi, it thrives in moist places. Mold spreads by emitting spores, microscopic particles often as small as a single cell. Spores float around in the air until they land on a surface. Mold spores are everywhere, outdoors as well as inside your house. It would be practically impossible to remove all mold spores from a house without installing some kind of massive industrial clean room filtration system.

When to inspect for mold

One good thing about mold- if you can see it, you have mold in your house. Seeing mold in the cracks and corners of your walls definitely means it is growing and spreading more spores. Keep in mind that mold may also grow in places you cannot see, such as in your ducts or between your walls. It may also form colonies so tiny they escape the eye. A few situations should make you look for any mold problems in your house.

Mold inspection vs. mold testing

If you are researching mold, you might come across different services and costs that list both mold inspection and mold testing. Mold inspection simply identifies the presence of mold and generally defines the size of the problem, usually in square footage.

What happens during a mold inspection?

Mold inspection is, for the most part, a visual inspection of a house. There’s no special equipment involved aside from a good flashlight and tools that are sometimes needed to access restricted areas (like removing grates to inspect HVAC ducts). Some mold inspectors may use cameras. A moisture meter might also be useful in determining if a particular area is wet, especially after remediation.

What affects the cost of a mold inspection?

There are two main factors that affect the cost of a mold inspection: the size of the house being inspected and whether or not the inspector has to remove or destroy parts of the property, such as drywall or paneling, to complete the inspection.

 

How Do I Find a Qualified Mold Inspector or Mold Inspection Company?

Important Tips To Find A Mold Inspector

Finding a good mold inspector is somewhat akin to finding a good doctor or mechanic. Some time and effort is required and even with that effort, sometimes mistakes and poor choices still happen. However, you can still put the odds in your favor. We would recommend calling at least two (preferably more) mold inspection companies and ask for a price quote. Within the price quote, we recommend you ask the following questions.

 

What is Professional Mold Remediation

Why is Mold a big deal?  According to the EPA, molds are part of the natural environment, and can be found everywhere, indoors and outdoors (including dry climates). Mold is not usually a problem, unless it begins growing indoors.  Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions) and irritants. Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash.  These reactions are common.

Indoor Mold Growth = A Water Problem.  If you have mold growing indoors, it means you have a water problem.  In order to eliminate mold and prevent grow-back your remediation company must identify and repair the water source.  This could be as simple as fixing a leaking pipe or more complex such as adding air circulation and venting to attics or crawl spaces, the lack of which is a very common cause of mold growth.

Don’t Skip Air Quality Tests.  Passing an air quality test following mold remediation is an essential step to make sure your mold issue has been properly addressed.  Some remediation companies will not include air quality tests in their services (this is a red flag).  Make sure that a post-mitigation, professional air quality test from a third party company is included in your mold remediation bid.  Without it you cannot know with certainty that the health risks of mold are gone and that it was mitigated properly.  If mold remediation is a condition of a home purchase, make sure you ask for a copy of the mold clearance test from the home seller.

How Should Your Mold Remediation Company Handle Your Mold?  There is a lot of mis-information about mold and how to best get rid of it.  Part of that comes from companies who do not follow industry standards or who are misrepresenting the use of certain mold remediation techniques.  This industry is pretty lucrative and many companies add-on mold remediation services without certification or proper training (we recommend using only Certified Mold Remediation companies).

Why is it so Expensive?  Professional remediation companies will follow industry standards to insure that the job is done right.  Those standards not only dictate the processes that must be followed but also the number and type of machines necessary (eg. air scrubbers, air movers and dehumidifiers) and how long they run to achieve necessary air quality (IICRC S-520).  OSHA also regulates the types of protective equipment that must be used during mold remediation (e.g. respirators, suits, supplies).

 

MOLD INSPECTION & MOLD INSPECTOR BASICS – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW & WHY

DO I NEED A MOLD INSPECTION?

There are a few schools of thought related to the necessity of a mold inspection. Some “mold experts” claim that if there is visible mold, you simply need to remove it and that there is no need for an inspection.  Others feel that even if there is visible mold, there are compelling reasons to move forward with an inspection. Almost all mold experts agree that if you suspect mold but do not have a visual confirmation, a mold inspection is always warranted.

HOW DO YOU FIND A MOLD INSPECTOR?

Finding a reputable mold inspector can be a bit daunting. You could check the internet for local mold inspectors. You can look at Yelp or Angie’s list. You can ask your friends and family if they know of someone. You can even check on your local neighborhood NextDoor app. If you have a trusted plumber, they may know of someone. Referrals are usually better than a blind hire.

Do you consider mold to be a health hazard?

If the inspector answers “no” or is on the fence about it, do not hire this person. A mold inspector should understand the health conditions associated with toxic mold exposure and not downplay their severity.

Do you take pictures as you make the inspection?

A quality mold inspector will document his or her journey through your home making it a point to take photos of any areas with visible mold, water damage, or areas that look suspect.

Find out about the lab the inspector uses.

You should inquire about what types of testing the lab does, how long they have been in business, what their qualifications are and how many locations they have.

 

Mold Inspection Expert Reveals All You Need To Know Prior To Hire

What Is A Mold Inspection?

A mold inspection focuses on determining if there is water damage present within the home that is causing a mold problem. Because some sort of mold content is present in just about everyhome, a determination is made during the mold assessment if it was caused by water damage.

How Is A Mold Inspection Done?

A mold inspection consists of a visual inspection for mold growth, moisture mapping for hidden leaks, air sampling, surface sampling, and checking the air conditioning for mold. Every inspection can be different as some could be limited in nature.

How Much Does A Mold Inspection Cost?

The price of the mold inspection could vary depending upon the size of the home, how many samples are taken, and what kind of report needs to be reports. You can expect to spend on average $500 for a mold inspection on a 2000-2500 sq foot home.

How Long Does A Mold Inspection Take?

The time required in the home can be up towards two hours depending on the size of the home. Once samples are collected, they are overnighted or dropped off at a third party laboratory for analyzation. Results from the lab are typically available within 48 hours and a report is generated by the inspector based on the visual findings and lab results.

What Is A Home Mold Inspection

A home mold inspection is an inspection that focuses on the presence of water damage and mold growth on building materials and personal contents throughout a home. Air samples and surface samples are generally taken to determine how mold is affecting the indoor building environment.