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Mold Inspection

Whenever buyers hear the word mold, they get terrified! Most of the time Mold isn’t a big deal, even if there is mold- it just needs to be cleaned up.

I recommend to get a mold inspection if you can see mold, smell mold, or if there is evidence of water damage, such as water stains or efflorescence. Where there is water, there is mold. If you have strong allergies you are more sensitive to mold and you may want to get a mold inspection regardless of whether or not you can detect it’s presence just to be safe. If you have strong Allergies, you may want to have a Duct Cleaning. This will remove a lot of irritants that may be in your HVAC system. Typically homeowners never clean ducts, ever. They can build up with dust, mold, pollen, pet hair, and other allergies, and then recirculate them in your home. A Duct cleaning can greatly increase the air quality in your home.

There is no such thing as a mold free house. There is a certain level of mold that is present in our environment. The best we can hope for is a mold level inside the home that is the same as outside, or slightly lower (with the help of HEPA filters). The point of a mold inspection is to compare the outside level with the levels inside the house. Elevated levels of mold or inconsistent mold types indicate a problem.

The reaction to exposure to mold varies greatly from person to person. It can trigger allergic reactions as well as flu like symptoms such as chronic fatigue, headaches, fever, irritation of the mucous membranes, nose, throat and eyes, sneezing, rash, chronic coughing, nausea, vomiting, and allergic responses. It’s very unpleasant.

There are a variety of methods to test for the presence of mold. The most popular is spore trap air samples. Air Trap is the most popular because it is non intrusive, and it is a good measures our air quality. Sellers don’t like to have their walls drilled to have a sample taken, and don’t want to be responsible for any mold that may be inside the walls of their since it is trapped there and you aren’t breathing it. From a buyers perspective, if there is mold in the walls, then there must be a water problem causing mold (mold needs water and cellulose food source to grow), that will need to be fixed.

Outside Airtrap Sample

Outside Airtrap Sample

Kitchen Spore Trap Air Sample

Each Airtrap sample costs ~$150, so it can get expensive fast to test every room of your house. A mold specialist will  recommend which rooms to sample. They will also take an outside sample to use as the control. Common places for testing are bathrooms and kitchen because they have running water, and bedrooms, since you sleep there.

The spore trap samples are sent to a laboratory for a spore count – the lab will return a detailed report. Usually this takes a week start to finish.

Typically for California the outdoor spore count can be anywhere from 2,000-5,000 spores for any given time of the year. If your spore count comes back and a bedroom has 10,000 spores while the outside had 2,000 for sensitive people that might be a problem. As the number of spores goes up, more and more people will be affected. Around 20,000 spores it starts to become serious mold problem. There are houses I have seen with 50,000 or 100,000 spores or more! Houses that have a musty mold smell need mold remediation before they are livable. The purpose of a mold inspection is to find the presence of mold; the amount and variety.

The five most common types of mold found in homes are: Aspergillus, Fusarium, Penicillium, Stachybotrys, and Myrothecium.

Mold types have many different varietals, for instance Aspergillus has: Aspergillus candidu, Aspergillus carneus, Aspergillus clavatus,Aspergillus deflectus…. some are more pathogenic than others. Some types of molds produce mycotoxin – a poisonous chemical. The dreaded ‘Black Mold’ that everyone fears is a varietal of Stachybotrys.

During a mold inspection, the inspector also takes moisture readings of all the walls. Moisture level reading of 20%-25% or above are redflags that there is a leak behind the wall.

Whenever you see a waterstain on drywall, it is pretty safe assumption that there is mold behind the wall. In my experience I have found this almost always to be the case.

The above picture was taken of a water damaged ceiling in a condo unit. The scuppard on the roof of the building wasn’t flashed properly and that caused the leak. Behind the drywall there was a lot of mold.

Found mold and need to clean it up? SEE MOLD REMEDIATION


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