Our mold inspection and testing package includes:
A detailed physical inspection of both the exterior and interior of the subject property, with special emphasis made on areas that are or may be prone to water infiltration. Our mold inspections typically take approximately 1-1 1/2 hours on site. The inspection will include a detailed PDF report with digital photos and professional recommendations that will be emailed to the client the same day as the inspection.
The inspection will also include mold sampling in the form of air testing (unless otherwise specified) that will include one interior sample and one exterior sample to be used as a comparison. Additional samples may be purchased at the time of inspection depending on the size of the home and the clients particular needs. We will drop off the samples at a local EMSL laboratory after the testing is complete. The laboratory results and a summary letter explaining whether or not the air inside the home is deemed acceptable will be emailed to the client approximately 48 hours after the laboratory receives the samples.
The mold inspection process:
A qualitative assessment that identifies factors that support the growth of indoor fungi and makes recommendations for correcting these factors is the essence of a mold inspection. The certified mold inspector’s primary function is to identify sources of mold growth and to define the pathways in the environment that may bring mold and any associated toxins into contact with the building occupants . The objective is to find areas where mold is amplified (growing) and then disseminated into the breathing space.
Normally, people should not see or smell mold or mildew in their indoor spaces. A moldy odor or visible evidence of mold colonies or mildew on materials indicates the presence of mold. However, mold may be present even if not smelled or seen. It should be noted that the presence of visible mold is not in itself an indication of contamination. Mold growth in small isolated areas that has occurred in a surface layer of condensation on painted walls or non-porous surfaces and has not resulted from a wall cavity or other concealed area being wet, can usually be removed as part of a regular cleaning or maintenance program. But here may be no visible mold growth on surfaces and yet there may extensive mold growth present in the interstitial spaces or concealed areas.
The I.I.A.Q.C. believes that a thorough mold inspection is multi-faceted but can be organized into a process with 3 broad steps:
The interview process actually begins with the initial contact of the client, which is usually over the telephone. During this contact, we will want to learn as much as possible about the subject property and suspected problem.
The investigative process begins with a “walk through” or visual inspection of both the outside and inside of the property. During investigation, we will be taking detailed notes as well as digital phots to fully document the conditions.
Inspection of the exterior includes:
Checking the condition of the siding for obvious signs of water damage or moisture intrusion
Checking caulking for cracked or missing areas
Checking the condition of the roof
Checking downspouts and rain-gutters
Checking for failure of flashing around skylights, windows, vents, etc.
Checking for improper landscape drainage
Checking for landscape rubbish, dirt, or other debris piled up and touching the building exterior.
Inspection of the interior includes:
Checking the windows, doors and patio doors for signs of condensation or water damage
Checking flooring for dampness, bubbling, any sign of past moisture problem
Checking all rooms and closets (ceilings and walls) for visual signs of mold
Checking furniture for water stains or discolorations
Checking baths around tubs/shower, toilet, sinks, under sinks, etc.
Checking kitchen around sink, under sink, dishwasher, etc.
Checking around water heater
Checking all plumbing for leaks
Checking appliances and HVAC for leaks
Checking the attic for indications of moisture intrusion or previous leaks
Checking to make sure all appliances and bathroom or exhaust fans are to the outside
Checking the attic insulation for any signs of water intrusion
Checking the crawlspace for standing water or leaks from above and for adequate ventilation
Checking the basement for any evidence of water intrusion.
While a visual inspection can find mold or indicators of possible mold, it cannot conclusively tell an inspector whether mold is contaminating the indoor air. Only air sampling can help in finding what the eye cannot see.
The number of samples taken and the type of samples taken depend to a large extent on what is observed during the initial investigation, potential moisture sources, the type and extent of water damage, and the presence of visible mold.
Presently there are no nationally recognized sampling guidelines and good sense is the dictum to follow. Many in this industry, including ourselves follow the Industrial Hygienists standard for mold testing. Some general rules to consider are:
• If there is no obvious mold contamination or viably suspicious area, one air sample per 1000 sq. ft. of living/working space is considered adequate.
• It is advised to perform at least one air sample per floor.
• Due to the associated costs, it is not recommended to take air samples in every room of a building (unless requested by the client).
• Direct sampling using tape or swab should be used for the purpose of identifying visible mold only.
• If applicable, we will take the air sample within 10 feet of the cold air return (if there is no central HVAC, take the sample in a central location).
While we do perform tape and swab sampling, the most common form of mold testing is air testing. The quantitative data provided can often produce a clearer picture of mold contamination. Evaluation of indoor air samples are always based on comparison to outdoor levels. Therefore outdoor air samples should always be taken whenever an indoor air sample is collected. Air sampling involves collecting a known volume of air through a sealed cassette.
Air sampling is one of the most effective ways to sample for the presence of mold because it provides quantitative data that can be used to evaluate exposure and therefore possible indications of the level of mold spores being inhaled into the body. Air sample results are usually reported in cfu’s (colony forming units) or spore count per cubic meter. Air sampling can detect hidden mold problems, such as growth in carpeting, HVAC systems or inside confined air spaces.
Air sampling will also generally report more species of molds than surface sampling, often reporting as many as 30 types of mold as compared to surface samples between one and four species. However, it must be noted air sampling has its limitations, and negative results do not necessarily prove absence of mold exposure. For example, mold may be growing on walls and wallpaper, yet not be airborne at the time of sampling. This can be particularly the case with Stachybotrys who’s spores are more viscous and often do not become airborne unless they are disturbed.