What kind of mold is in my house? Is it Toxic Mold?
Mold cannot be identified by sight and there are thousands of species of mold. My job is the first step, which is to collect samples and have them analyzed by a laboratory, then the lab can let you and your adjuster know if there is any cause for concern.
How did the mold get into my house?
Mold is everywhere and isn't uncommon to find in a home. It can enter the house through ope doorways, windows, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. Spores in the air outside attach themselves to people and animals, bringing mold indoors. Once the spores are inside and land on places where there is excessive moisture, the will grow.
Where does mold grow?
Mold will grow in places where any water leakage may have occurred, such as roofs, pipes, walls, plant pots, condensation, windows, or where there has been flood damage. Many building materials encourage mold growth once they gets wet. Wet cellulose materials, like paper and paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood and wood products, water based glue, are all conducive to mold growth. Many building materials can support mold growth once water has been introduced.
How can I tell if there is mold in my home?
Some mold problems are obvious..meaning you will see it growing. You can also look for areas that are consistently wet, or have been wet due to flooding, leaky plumbing, or roofing and areas of high humidity (bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens).
How can I stop mold from growing in my home?
- Look for visible signs of mold growth and signs of excessive moisture or water damage (water leaks, standing water, water stains, and condensation problems). The earlier the problem is detected, the better. Mold activity can begin as soon as 24 hours after a water loss.
- Search areas with noticeable moldy or musty odors.
- Search behind and underneath materials (carpet and padding, wallpaper, vinyl flooring, sink cabinets), furniture, pictures, stored items (especially things near outside walls or on cold floors)
- Check around your furnace for standing or stagnant water. Keep the unit serviced including regular cleaning of ducts and filters.
- Keep the relative humidity levels in your home below 65%
How is mold measured? How do we test for mold?
There are 4 methods that we us to test for mold:
- Air Sampling - Air samples are taken when any "red flag" conditions have been observed. Air sampling always includes inside and outside samples. The the amounts of mold inside the home are higher than outside, it is an indication of a potential problem. Air samples are taken by pulling air through a collection device with an air pump. The air passes over a slide which catches mold spores to be counted and identified.
- Swab Sampling - Where there is visible mold or stains, a swab is used to collect a sample of the mold. It is moistened with a preservative and then sent to the lab for analysis.
- Tape Lifts - Similar to swab sampling. If the surface is smooth, a flexible slide is used to collect a sample of the mold and is sent to the lab for analysis
- Carpet Sampling (the best method) - A carpet tends to contain a history of what has been in the air. If the carpet is at least 6 months old, a dust sample is collected and sent to the lab for analysis. The lab performs a DNA analysis and determines the presence of 36 species of molds which are divided into two groups. For more information follow this link to the approved EPA Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI) testing procedure.
What types of mold inspections are there?
There are 2 basic services we provide for mold sampling. In all these services, we collect samples according to established protocols. We charge a lab analysis fee for each sample taken. If you are planning on scheduling your home inspection with us and include testing in your offer to purchase, let us know when you call to schedule your inspection. We can save you money!
- Limited Sampling- The purpose of limited mold sampling is to detect the presence of microbial contamination in client defined areas of the property. This level of service consists of taking appropriate samples in specified locations. This service provides a fast, economical method to determine if and what types of mold are in defined affected area. The limitations of this service are that other sources of mold in the home may go undetected.
- Prices start at $299 for survey of the visible areas of the property. This includes 2 initial air, bulk, or swab (tape lift) samples and associated laboratory and shipping fees. One of these samples will be taken from the exterior of the building as a control sample. The other sample will be decided at the inspection. Subsequent samples are billed at $95.00 each.
- ERMI- The purpose of this test is to determine through DNA analysis the relative moldiness index of your home.
- Cost is $599 for the analysis, lab fees, and report
Are you an Indoor Air Quality Technician?
Yes, I am an inspector trained in proper mold sample collection and trained as an Indoor Air Quality Technician with Environmental Solutions Association.
What will you be doing in my home?
I will perform a visual assessment in all readily accessible area(s) of your home to determine the presence of microbial problems and collect appropriate samples as agreed upon during the initial assessment.
How long before we find out the results of your testing?
We can overnight your samples to the lab where a Mold Analyst will review them. One the analysis is finished, the Laboratory will issue their report directly to me. The report will identify types and levels of mold, a description of each mold discovered and a summary of the findings. The turn-around time is typically 7 to 10 days. Faster results can be achieved for additional expediting fees.
I have been sick for the past year, is it caused by mold?
Excessive mold exposure has many symptoms. Allergic reactions are the most common. Any health related issues should be addressed with the proper professional; in this case, your doctor.
Where can I get more information?
- Fungal Glossary
- Mold Information
If you would like more information or to schedule your test, call 920-451-4646.