True Quality Home Inspections

Dealing with Mold

When should you have an inspector do mold testing in your home?

Mold Testing should be done if you want to determine if mold is growing in you home.
Mold Testing should be done after any flooding or water damage event.
Mold Testing should be done whenever you find a leak that has been present for more
than 24 hours.
Mold Testing should be done whenever you smell a moldy odor.
Mold Testing should be done if residents of your home experience a long-term medical condition without a known cause.
Mold Testing should be done if unusual stains appear on furniture or building material.
Mold Testing should be done if you suspect mold but do not see any visible mold growth

There are nine essential steps to successfully dealing with a mold problem.

1. Find the source of the water. This is a key first step. If you do not correctly

identify the source of water that is causing the mold growth, then it will almost

certainly come back.

2. Determine the scope of the mold growth by measuring square footage of area

covered and/or performing air testing to determine the concentration of mold

spores in the air.

3. Have the mold tested to identify the type of mold(s) present and determine

the heath risks of the mold(s).

4. Identify the materials the mold is growing on to determine if materials can be

cleaned or if they must be removed and disposed of. Hard, non-porous

materials such as metal, plastic, tile, etc can usually be cleaned. Porous

materials such as drywall, insulation, fabric, paper, etc usually must be removed.

5. Decide who will do cleanup based on the amount and type of mold

present. Large mold growths or toxic molds should be cleaned by a


6. Determine method of cleanup based on type of mold and material

being cleaned. Refer to the EPA guidelines

or consult with a professional.

7. Eliminate source of water to prevent future mold growth.

8. Cleanup / Remove mold

9. Verify removal was successful by monitoring area for new moisture or mold

growth. A follow up air test is recommended to make sure that all the mold

was removed and there is no additional growth in any hidden areas.


Types of Mold Testing

There are several types of mold testing available. Here’s a brief explanation of

the different types and their uses.

Air Testing – Air testing involves collecting at least two air samples using

calibrated equipment. One or more samples are taken from inside the home and

compared to a control sample that is taken from outside the home. The samples

are sent to a lab and analyzed to determine the concentration of mold spores

inside the house compared to outside. The lab will also identify the general

families that the mold spores belong to.

Swab Testing – Swab testing is the general name used for taking a direct sample

of the mold using either a swab or tape. This sample is then sent to a lab to

determine the general family of mold.

Non-viable Testing – Most mold testing, both air and swab, is non-viable testing.

This means the sample of mold or mold spores is visually examined to identify

which family of molds it belong to.

Viable Testing – Viable testing is performed by growing a sample of the mold

in the lab to more accurately determine the type of mold present.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) deals with the content of interior air that could affect health and comfort of building occupants. The IAQ may be compromised by microbial contaminants (mold, bacteria), chemicals(such as carbon monoxide,radon}, allergens, or any mass or energy stressor that can induce health effects.

Often it is perceived that outdoor air is polluted, but indoor air is acceptable. Scientific studies illustrate the falsity of this perception, and, in fact, indoor air is often a greater health hazard than the corresponding outdoor setting.

Techniques the inspector uses for analyzing IAQ include: testing of air samples, collection of samples from building surfaces. The testing samples are analyzed for mold, bacteria, chemicals or other stressors, depending on the test type. These investigations can lead to an understanding of the sources of the contaminants and ultimately to strategies for removal of the unwanted elements from the air.

So you have a mold problem, now what do you do about the
mold removal and the mold remediation?According to the EPA, if the mold covers an area of less than ten feet (a patch of about three feet by three feet), then you can probably clean it yourself.
If the area of mold is larger than a 10 foot radius, you should probably consult a professional.

The EPA also suggests that if your mold is toxic mold, regardless of the size of the problem, you should again seek the services of a certified mold removal professional.

A variety of mold remediation methods that are available to remediate damage to buildings and furnishings caused by moisture-control problems and mold. The mold remediation procedures selected depend on the size of the moldy area and the type of contaminated materials. Budget may also be a concern.

It is impossible to remove all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors.

If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the area, remove the mold and fix the water problem.

If you clean up the mold, but don’t fix the water problem, then, most likely, the mold problem will come back.

Molds can gradually destroy the things they grow on.
You can prevent damage to your home and furnishings, save money, and avoid potential health problems by controlling moisture and eliminating mold growth.

Can Mold Cause Health Problems?

In general, mold spores cause an allergic reaction when they are inhaled from the environment.

Molds can be broken down into indoor and outdoor molds.
Both will thrive in moist, dark environments and are typically more prevalent in the summer months secondary to the increased humidity but are present year-round.

The outdoor molds, surprisingly, reach their peak levels in the evening when the temperature decreases.
Often, people will cut and water the lawn in the evening, which will dramatically increase the circulating mold spores in the air.

It is advisable to wear a mask when working around any grass, leaves or trees. Again, the mold spore count tends to increase in the evening hours, so it would be best to avoid yard work during these times.

Rain will also cause the release of mold spores, which is in contrast to pollen, which will decrease with rain exposure.

The indoor molds are present year-round, and will be found anywhere moisture collects.


(United States Navy Mold cleanup, Remediation, and Clearing Sample)


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