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Mold Inspection

Mold Inspectors

By | Mold Inspection, News

For most homeowners, the first they know about mold infesting their home is when they either see it or smell its distinctive musty odor. Up until that point, they’ve probably never even heard of mold inspectors or mold abatement procedures.

However, in many cases the mold may have already been around for a while by the time it becomes noticeable and may even have spread to areas of the house that can’t easily be seen. If you’re concerned about potential mold problems in your home, the easiest way to put your mind at rest is to arrange to have the property inspected by a certified expert.

DIY testing kits are available and can save you huge amounts of money compared to the cost of a certified inspector, but while they can help identify the exact type of mold and how best to get rid of it, home testing kits can still fail to identify the full extent of the problem.

If there are elderly, infirm or other vulnerable people in your home, or if any members of your family have been suffering from unexplained illnesses and seem unable to get better, a proper inspection can either confirm or eliminate mold as a factor in their health.

Mold Inspectors

Although the services of certified mold inspectors don’t come cheap, it may pay off in the long run. You will either catch mold at an early stage and therefore save on clean-up costs or be given a clean bill of health and begin taking precautions to ensure you never have a mold problem. In fact, good mold inspectors will be able to highlight potential problem areas and give advice on how to keep your home fungus free.

You may be tempted to engage the services of an inspector who offers to check your home for free but, sadly, a few unscrupulous operators in the industry have made this a bad idea. Inspections are free but only if the same company is hired to do the clean-up. This means the inspector has a significant financial incentive to find mold in your home rather than remain objective.

By hiring an independent inspector who receives the same fee regardless of whether or not any mold is actually found, you can rest assured that you are getting a truly neutral viewpoint. The fee they charge should also include a return visit so that they can ensure the remediation company you choose has done its job properly.

Good mold inspectors can be hard to find and if you succeed in doing so, you can chalk it up as much to luck as you can to your fine good judgment. Although many training and certification courses exist there are no universal standards so it’s best to take the time to completely vet your candidates. If possible, seek the advice of friends or family who have had their own homes inspected. You should also ask any company for testimonials of satisfied customers to get their perspective.

In addition, try to obtain quotes from several competing mold inspectors and let them know that you are shopping around in an effort to get the best possible value.

An inspector will begin by making a visual survey of the home, looking for signs of mold, and follow this up by testing humidity, moisture levels in walls, floors and other materials, taking air samples to see if spores are present and finally taking samples of any visible mold.

A few days later you will receive a report of the mold inspection. This should detail all the areas of the house that were examined, explain whether or not any mold was found and give an estimate of how much it will cost to fix. This report can then be given to a mold remediation company and it can act as their guide while they are carrying out the work.

 

Black Mold Inspection

By | Black Mold, Mold And Your Health, Mold Inspection, News

Mold is bad news no matter what color it is.  But for many homeowners, black mold is considered to be the very worst of all.

Officially known as stachybotrys, it is this greenish-black variety of mold that has been most closely associated with the most serious health effects. However, the reality is that not all black molds are toxic, and not all toxic molds are black. And while you’ll probably be headed for a mold removal project of some kind, the only way to be absolutely sure exactly which kind you have is to have it tested.

If members of your household are having persistent health problems that do not seem to be responding to treatment, have them check with their doctor about whether black mold could be a contributing factor. If it is, this will help justify the cost of bringing in a professional to do a black mold inspection, especially if no mold has been seen during a regular visual inspection.

Until the results are known, however, the best strategy is to treat all mold as if it were potentially toxic and to take all necessary precautions to avoid excessive exposure.

Home testing kits are available and are relatively straightforward to use in helping you identify exactly what kind of mold is present. The kits cost between $10 and $15 and can provide much needed assurance about just how dangerous a particular patch of mold is. Where home testing kits fail, however, is that they cannot tell you exactly how big a mold problem you are dealing with.

All mold needs moisture in order to survive which is why it is particularly common in humid areas like kitchens and bathrooms or areas that can be susceptible to damp like basements and crawl spaces.

Mold also requires a food source. This can be dirt, wood, paper or even the detritus of everyday life like pet dander, dead skin cells and deceased insects parts. This means that mold that appears on floorboards may well have penetrated down to the subfloor and joists. It means that patches that appear close to window sills could also be eating away at the nearby wallpaper. A professional mold inspection will allow you to identify such problems as early as possible and allow them to be dealt with long before the remediation costs spiral out of control.

Black Mold Inspection

If you’re intent on doing the black mold inspection yourself, ensure you are as thorough as possible. Move pieces of furniture, peel back the edges of carpets and examine ventilation ducts and wall cavities as carefully as you can. Even if you can’t see any mold, it may be worth taking samples to send off so that your findings can be confirmed.

If black mold is present, there is no need to panic. Provided you wear the proper safety gear – gloves, goggles, a respirator and ideally a disposable pair of paper overalls – you can tackle the removal of small patches of black mold yourself. But this should only be done if you are completely confident that the mold is confined to this one small area.

The biggest danger during the clean-up operations is that you may spread spores elsewhere in the house so that eventually mold will begin growing in other rooms. And even if you do manage to kill all the mold, inert spores can continue to cause health problems for all those who are allergic to them.

If possible seal off the room where you are working and once you have cleaned away the mold, go over the area with a vacuum cleaner fitted with a HEPA filter which will trap any airborne spores before they can spread.

A thorough black mold inspection followed by an equally thorough clean up can ensure the problem quickly becomes a thing of the past.

 

Certified Mold Inspectors – Why the “Certified” Part Is Important

By | Mold Inspection, News, Videos

Recent studies have shown that most of us spend the vast majority of our time indoors – up to 90% for some people.   And that means that we are captives to the influences of our indoor air quality which can affect our health negatively if our homes are affected by toxic mold.  Mold, of course, is just one dangerous issue that may be affecting our houses, endangering the health of our families and, in some cases, lowering the value of our homes.  But it is also a situation that can be resolved, restoring your health and the health of your family, not to mention restoring your peace of mind and an appropriate resale value on your home.

Unfortunately, due to the recent heightened awareness of the adverse effects of mold, many disreputable people are marketing themselves as qualified, trained mold inspectors (and sometimes mold remediators as well) to worried and unsuspecting homeowners.  And, as most insurance companies do not cover mold remediation under a standard policy, some of these “inspectors” are swindling people out of their hard earned money by brandishing both the fear associated with mold infestation and the promise of complete mold removal.  In pursuit of a fast buck, many less-than-trustworthy companies sell themselves as seasoned experts when, in fact, they have no background in microbiology, mold testing or mold remediation planning.

Moldy homes, the possibility of ill health and con artists waiting in the wings … this all sounds like bad news.  But there is a silver lining: certified mold inspectors.   Certification is a guarantee that your mold inspector is highly qualified to fully investigate and identify the sources and causes of mold in your home, including training in and proficiency with the following:

  • Mold and the health effects associated with mold in your home
  • Sampling procedures, standard industry practices and minimum hands-on hours working with sampling equipment
  • Strategies for discovering hidden mold
  • Proficiency with sampling report analysis and remediation plan formation in accordance with recognized industry standards
  • Ability to create and present a remediation plan for the homeowner

Who is Not Considered a Certified Mold Inspector?

  • An individual or business whose sole purpose is anything besides mold inspection.  (You will find many generalized home inspectors who sideline in mold.  Run, do not walk, to find a certified mold inspector!)
  • A homebuilding tradesman (plumbers, HVAC contractors, fire restoration consultants) without specialized training in mold inspection and testing.
  • Anyone who plans to eliminate your mold problem with ozone, bleach, sand blasting, whitewash (or other anti-microbial surfactant) or aromatherapy.
  • An inspector who cannot answer your questions about mold, how to identify hidden mold, how to test for mold or how to formulate remediation plans.
  • Anyone without a certification from a reputable program (or, alternately, a degree in microbiology or environmental science).
  • Someone who holds a certification in mold remediation.  They may have a conflict of interest that could make the results of your mold inspection suspect.

Unfortunately, in most states, the mold inspection and remediation industry is not regulated so you do need to do your homework to make sure you are dealing with a qualified and certified mold inspector.  While there are a handful of certification programs in this nascent industry, you will need to do some due diligence to find out if their certification program is solid gold or not.  The good news is that you can, in general, count on companies that hold a verifiable, current certification from IAQA (Indoor Air Quality Association), NAMP (National Association of Mold Professionals) or NORMI (National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors).

Mold can be dangerous.  If you can smell it in your home or feel its ill effects but cannot see it (or if you can see it but it covers an area of your home that’s larger than 10 square feet), you need to hire a certified mold inspector to investigate the types, causes and extent of your mold problem before you take steps to remediate it.   You can trust certified mold inspectors to do a thorough inspection and generate a meaningful and comprehensive plan for remediation that will set your home and your family back on the road to good health.