All of our home inspectors are certified to test for mold, and we include a FREE Visual Mold Assessment with every Premium Home Inspection Package. We will alert you to conditions that are conducive to mold growth. If needed, and at your request, the inspector can take air, tape, or swab samples to be analyzed. There is a flat fee per sample, which will save you hundreds of dollars compared to hiring a separate mold inspection company. Our home inspectors are already there performing a thorough evaluation and testing for moisture. All samples must be collected at the time of the inspection, or additional trip charges will apply to return to the property.
Visual Mold Assessment
Our home inspectors are always trying to find moisture in the houses we inspect. That’s why all our home inspectors are equipped with expensive Infrared Thermal Imaging cameras and moisture meters. Finding moisture can be an indication of other problems. The most common moisture problems that we find come from excessive irrigation, plumbing leaks, and roof leaks. Other areas of significant moisture problems have come from ponds against the house, poorly installed showers, and lack of ventilation.
Mold requires three things to grow; moisture, a conducive surface to grow on, and air. Homeowners have little control over the air and surfaces in their home, but they can control moisture. Mold naturally occurs in the environment, and there are mold spores everywhere around us. Mold breaks down organic material like dead vegetation, food waste, and other organic material. Also, some people can have very allergic reactions to various types of mold. You can learn a lot more about mold from the US Environmental Protection Agency website.
When Should a Mold Test be Performed?
- Suspect Staining/Apparent mold growth – When you can actually see mold-like growth or staining.
- Odors – When you smell odors, that cannot be explained.
- Moisture intrusion/water damage – Any leaks from plumbing or exterior can cause mold growth.
- Buying a new house – Someone living in the house has allergies or other health problems.
If physical mold-like material is observable, surface or bulk testing is recommended to determine mold type. However, if present, the mold-damaged material needs to be remediated – either cleaned or replaced depending on the material in question.
Air sampling is used when odors are present or to determine the concentration of mold
spores or allergens in the air. If a family member has health issues, the results of a mold test can be sent to a doctor to see if the samples contain allergens for the individual patient. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and, in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). 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 (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. Also, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing.
Mold Inspection Services
We offer two types of mold testing for our customers, complete and limited.
Complete Mold Testing
A complete mold test involves far more than simply taking samples. An experienced professional needs to inspect the entire house and find any areas contributing to a potential mold issue. Our home inspectors are all certified to perform these inspections. They are also equipped better than most “mold inspectors” who perform a brief visual inspection. Our inspectors have seen it all and know where to look for moisture. The physical evaluation is a critical step in determining if a house has a mold problem. This is the service you need if you want us to search the entire house for mold or for your peace of mind knowing what mold levels exist in a house.
Limited Mold Testing
A limited mold test is limited to one or more areas suspected of having potential mold growth without inspecting the entire house. This is the service you want if there are specific areas of concern. You may see evidence of mold growth or smell an odor in one part of the house. In this case, we can take a bulk sample (tape or swab) in areas where you see something on the surface or air samples if you smell a musty odor without visible signs of mold.
There is no charge for the standard visual mold assessment when performed with a Premium Upgrade package. We only charge $100 per sample collected at the client’s authorization and at the time of inspection. For stand-alone testing with no home inspection, we charge a base fee for the service depending on whether it is a Limited or Complete evaluation.
There is a base fee of $250 plus an additional $100 fee for each sample taken for a Complete Mold Assessment. There is a minimum of 3 air samples required – more if the house has forced air heating, more than 2 levels or more 2,000 square feet. Two samples will be taken inside and at least one outside.
For Limited Mold Sampling, there is a base fee of $295, which includes 3 lab air samples plus $75 for each additional sample collected (tape or swab). Keep in mind that air sampling requires three samples minimum.
If the home inspector recommends additional sampling, the customer will be consulted and will have the final authority on how many additional samples will be taken.