Mold Inspectors

There has been increasing concern that the unpredictability of weather patterns, the onslaught of natural disasters such as hurricanes and the general effects of climate change may be doing some kind of damage that may be internal, and not external.

Home-owners in New Orleans for example after the ravages of Katrina settled down and began the arduous task of rebuilding or fixing their homes and discovered that some of them had to contend with more than just broken windows and water-logged rooms. There were reported cases of mold infections, some of which were so severe as to cause immediate allergic reactions in some individuals.

For the rest of the country fortunate enough to have escaped nature’s wrath, you still have to realize that nature even in its calm state, still allows for the natural processes that makes mold flourish. And experts say that it’s more common than you think. With such chances, getting expert mold inspectors into your home right now may be the most prudent thing to do.

Industry experts cite the practicality of having your home inspected for molds and general indoor quality at a time when costs have significantly dropped. In some states, the value of a home being sold or bought sometimes hinges on the certification that it has passed indoor air standards. If you are a real estate agent, a building contractor or a simple homeowner, the next best people to have by your side may be mold inspectors.

The rule of thumb in getting competent mold inspectors is to look for those who have an extensive construction and inspection background. Be wary of mold inspectors who would simply tell you upfront that they could only do physical inspections for water intrusion and mold. This is not sufficient because you would need air testing as well to reveal airborne levels of mold spores which may pose dangerous health risks.

Look and check for other credentials as well such as an E & O and GL insurances, and membership with the Indoor Air Quality Association. Ask friends and other homeowners if they can refer mold inspectors that have already done satisfactory work for their homes.

Certified Mold Inspector

If you have found mold in your home or your family is showing the signs of sickness due to mold then you need to call a certified mold inspector as soon as possible.  Mold is present in your house at all times but can become active after such instances of flood or spike in humidity.  Your family can become very ill with symptoms such as lung infections, ear infections, skin infections or chronic fatigue.  It does not matter if you can see the mold or not because a certified mold inspector will be able to look at you home and detect the cause and rid you of poisonous mycotoxins.

Certified mold inspectors have been trained in the breeding causes of mold.  Mold becomes tricky because it does not always show itself on your walls.  Mold may grow on the inside of walls or in the carpet of your home.  Certified mold inspectors will have the tools to find the cause of your illness and return your home up to code. 

If there have been no signs of illness from your family but you are still concerned about mold then you should call a certified mold inspector.  It is a good idea to have a certified mold inspector out to your home at least once a year to make sure seasonal weather changes have not caused a detriment to your home.  The sooner you can spot the mold the more you will be preventing illness from causing your family heartache.  It is always easier to prevent mold then it is to repair a large mold growth problem.

You want to have a home that you can return to at the end of a long day and feel good about.  When you come home to a home that will make you sick you lose the respite after a long day and you will not only find yourself becoming physically sick you will also become stressed out and the health problems will only be exasperated.  Turning your worries over to the hands of a certified mold inspector will help clear up the sickness and the stress in your life.

Mold Damage

Mold Spores Are Always Around

Understanding what causes mold to grow can help to control mold damage.  Mold spores are found at all times, both indoors and out. Indoors mold spores are continuously found flying in the air, mixed with household dust or lying on surfaces. Outdoors mold breaks down dead organic materials as part of the cycle of life, but indoors mold causes damage to wood, walls, ceilings, floors and other building parts.  Uncontrolled mold growth will cause extensive and expensive mold damage to your home.  It is impossible to kill all the mold spores in your home so management is imperative to prevent mold damage. 

Mold Control

Controlling mold in the home is simple but can be time consuming.  Regular cleaning with detergent and drying completely any areas that get wet or are dampened regularly, such as bathroom fixtures, can keep mold under control.  Repairing a leaking pipe, weeping window or cracked basement floor as soon as any problem is found will prevent mold damage that is very destructive.  Mold spores float through the air or lay dormant on surfaces until warm, moist conditions initiate the mold growth.  Controlling all moisture causing situations will go a long way to controlling mold damage. For example, after proper repairs are made to stop a water leak in your home, any water spillage must be dried completely within twenty-four to forty-eight hours to prevent mold spores from growing.

Running the bathroom fan or opening the window when showering, cleaning the roof gutters often, making sure the ground slopes away from the foundation of your home and keeping air conditioning drip pans and water lines clean and unobstructed are all simple ways to prevent mold damage.  Cover cold surfaces, such as water pipes, with insulation to help prevent condensation and increase air circulation with the use of open windows or fans. Using a dehumidifier and raising the air temperature will also inhibit condensation from forming.

Water Damage Mold

Water damage is already enough of a problem itself without worrying about mold too.  But water damage mold occurs regularly along with the irritation of the water damage itself.

The first thing to do is inspect and treat your home for even subtle signs of water damage. Whereas dramatic water damage (such as you might get from a tub, toilet, or other plumbing problem) is quite noticeable, other water damage is subtle. Look for peeling wallpaper or faint brown spots (especially on your ceiling or the highest part of a wall).  A slight bubbling in latex paint, or a shiny appearance may also be a clue.  If the problem appears to be spreading, you may want to hire a contractor to examine it further (or do it yourself if you know your way around home repairs.) You’ll need to fix the troubled patch of drywall, and removing a small section may also give you insight into the root cause behind the damage. Also, check your house’s siding where the damage appears (and above, since water can flow down before it appears as visible damage).

Once you’ve identified the root cause of the water damage mold can be prevented.  Wherever the water damage occurred, use a mold-killing primer on the surface before you paint.  Wear a mask and latex gloves when you apply primer, as the fumes can be quite strong and the primer difficult to remove from skin.

If water damage mold has already appeared, it’s not too late. You can swab the moldy area with a diluted bleach solution (again, use gloves and a mask).  You can also remove the drywall (which you may need to do anyway, depending on the degree of water damage.

Be sure to dehumidify your house to prevent future mold growth.  Mold adores humidity, so don’t let conditions in your house be a mold haven.

If the mold reappears or seems particularly aggressive, get a mold testing kit to determine the type and potential toxicity of the mold. Be sure to keep an eye out for less evident types of mold (pale or pinkish molds).

Mold Prevention

Several varieties of mold can be quite aggravating those with allergies or labored breathing, but any issues can be avoided by following a few mold prevention techniques. The key ingredient in the growth life of mold is moisture, and there are several steps that can be taken to reduce the amount of moisture in a home.

During months in which the indoor air becomes humid, removing moisture from the air is a very helpful step in mold prevention. Both dehumidifiers and air conditioners are cable of extracting water vapor from the air, which will prevent mold from growing on interior walls. In the bathroom, a circulation fan with a system of ducts, venting to the outside of the living area, will remove the very humid air that is produced when the shower is used. In addition, a properly ventilated stove hood in the kitchen will take care of the vapors created while preparing meals.

Proper maintenance of the home itself is also a necessary step in mold prevention. Any time a large amount of water penetrates the structure of the house, a serious mold problem can occur. Water intrusion can happen when the roof leaks, when water supply and drain lines start to age, or when windows or siding are improperly installed or need replacement. Even if a minor problem is detected, it should be fixed as soon as possible.

When water does enter the home, more immediate mold prevention techniques will be needed. The source of the leak must be immediately fixed, and then any wet areas must be dried as quickly as possible. Wood, drywall, insulation, and other porous materials that have become soaked with water should be replaced. Any other materials should be dried with fans or other equipment. If the area is extremely large, it may be best to call in a professional service help with mold prevention, especially if one suspects there may be hidden damage.

Mold Insurance

In the year 2001, insurance companies spent over 1.2 billion dollars in black mold cases. The cost included the inspection and testing, remediation, attorney fees and punitive damages. Since this time the number of cases against black mold has continued to rise. Billions of dollars is paid out every year in lawsuits. Therefore, as a landlord, builder or property owner it is best to looking into the mold insurance option and know specifically what you are covered against.

As a result of the increase in cases many insurance policies now have a mold exclusion clause. If you find that your insurance does not have this policy then it would be a good idea to hold onto it. Because of these newer clauses it is becoming increasingly difficult to get mold coverage. Often mold insurance is a stand-alone policy or one that has higher premiums. You can even choose to have mold insurance added on to your existing policy, but the cost is often high.

It is a good idea to invest in mold insurance if you live in a humid area such as the Pacific Northwest. If is even more important to get mold insurance if you have an old property since older buildings have a strict guideline to follow when it comes to toxic black mold removal. Often you can reduce the cost of mold coverage by developing your own Operation and Maintenance plan. These plans often include a schedule for inspection and training for employees to deal with mold remediation.

The best then that any building owner can do is to take care of all mold problems when they occur either inside or outside your building. You need to keep an eye on any properties that have a history of mold. Communicate with any tenants and employees. Make sure everyone in the building knows how to check for mold and that they will notify you when they do find mold.

Mold Preventing

Mold preventing strategies should be on the top of the list for home owners, but often times mold isn’t recognized as a major health threat. Fortunately there are several ways to prevent mold so that you don’t have to worry about it becoming a problem. If you use a couple simple mold preventing ideas you can minimize the threat. Some of these strategies include things like monitoring your home humidity and heat levels, or using an air filtration system or dehumidifier. It’s best to get on top of a possible mold problem before it happens to avoid the hassle later.

The simplest way to work on preventing mold is to keep an eye on your living space. If you monitor certain aspects of your home’s climate control you can eradicate a mold problem before it ever becomes an issue. For example, take a tour of your home and try to note the difference in humidity levels between rooms. Sometimes a certain bedroom or family room is more humid than the other areas of the house. Be sure to note the difference in heat between the rooms, especially during the summer months. If you use these two pieces of information you can pick out the most humid and hot rooms as those to target with mold preventing devices.

What devices work best to prevent mold? Using a dehumidifier is always a safe bet. Although dehumidifiers can be loud they remove water from the air to dramatically reduce humidity in a room. There are various kinds of dehumidifiers and each kind is made for a different sized room. Some humidifiers are great for small rooms while others are especially powerful and can handle a whole entire basement. Make sure you use a humidifier that is powerful enough for the room you are targeting. Another strategy for mold preventing is the use of an air purifier. Air purifiers reduce pollutants and dust in the air so that you can be sure your home’s breathing space is safe. All of these techniques can beat mold before it starts.

Mold Assessment

You or a professional inspector have gone though your entire home and have found that your home may have a significant mold problem.  What could this possibly mean for you as a homeowner and your home’s profitability if you decided to sell?  How will this affect the health and wellness of your family?  Before you start to panic, you should first consider your options and your need for a professional mold assessment. 

A mold assessment is a service in which certified mold inspectors are specially trained in identification and removal of mold and mold friendly conditions.  These inspectors will investigate the whereabouts and causes of the mold in your home for a fee.  When considering a mold assessment for your home, it is always a good idea to check the credentials of the individual and company the inspector works for as fraud has been a problem in recent years and thousands of dollars were lost with no resolution to any mold issues in the homes.  A mold assessment should only be performed by a specially trained and certified inspector whose main focus is molds and not as a side project or odd job.  Remember, this is your family’s health and your home’s structural well being, don’t just trust it to anyone.

During a mold assessment, the inspector will first make a visual inspection to identify a possible contamination problem.  When a potential problem has been found, the inspector will perform bulk or surface sampling of the contaminated area.  The inspector will then monitor the air through a complex collection process in order to determine the types of fungi in the air.  Air monitoring is also useful in determining the concentration of the fungal spores in the air relative to health problems the occupants may be experiencing at the time of the inspection.

Stop Mold

With all that’s been in the news in recent years about mold and its potential effects on health, many are seeking information on how to stop mold. In principle, it is fairly easy to stop mold. However in practice, given the changes in how we use fuel and design and construct home today, it can be a bit more complex to stop mold from growing in your home.

The bottom line about mold is that it likes to grow in places that are moist, damp, and while it does grow in places that have light, it really flourishes well in dimmer places. It doesn’t take a whole lot of moisture for mold to appear, just a bit of condensation will the trick, as mold spores are everywhere, and nearly impossible to avoid.

Influenced by price and availability, we tend to be more conservative with heating fuels these days, and that desire to conserve has let to changes in the way homes are being built. Homes are much more airtight than they were in the past. Quality windows designed with new manufacturing techniques and materials prevent the drafts that used to keep a bit of fresh air moving through the home, drying up moisture and condensation. There have been many similar home building advancements that have reduced the amount of air coming out of and moving into houses and other buildings. This air-tightness, while good for the fuel bill, can make it a little challenging to stop mold.

Despite being a bit challenging, it is possible to stop mold. Cleaning the area of the mold with bleach will kill it most of the time. However, to prevent it from returning, the matter of the hospitable environment must be addressed. That may entail fixing a leaky pipe, finding a way to eliminate condensation in a particular area, or a solution geared to the specifics of a given location or mold situation.

The way to stop mold is to deal with the environment that enables its spores to flourish. Moisture is the primary culprit when it comes to making a particular site welcoming to mold spores. With the way homes are constructed today, eliminating condensation and other types of dampness may be challenging, but usually can be successfully accomplished.

Mold Lab

The health risks associated with airborne mold are well known to the public and the statistics revolving around the dangers of bread mold and toxic black mold are absolutely alarming.  With new types of molds being discovered every day and new symptoms developing due to allergies and ailments produced by inhaling mold spores, science must always strive to stay one step ahead of the game in preventing and treating the adverse effects of mold related ailments and in the identification of new species.  For answers and insight, we turn to the professionals in the mold lab.

A mold lab can perform any number of functions such as educational, legal, and research consultations, analytical services in the identification and examination of fungal and bacterial cultures.  A mold lab can also examine microscopic bioaerosol spore trap, tape-lift, swab, mushroom / macrofungus, and bulk/miscellaneous samples. 24-hour or 48-hour rush services are sometimes available for an additional fee.  Depending on which mold lab you choose, you may also be afforded an explanation of the test results, diagnosing the source of your problem, to developing a cost effective remediation plan for removal of the mold in your home. 

Though use of a mold lab may not be the most cost effective way to identify the mold you may have in your home, if you can afford the service, it may well save you much more money in future renovations, health care costs, and lost revenue from missed work days or depreciated property values.  If mold is left untreated for several years it has been found to eat though sheetrock, wood, and other surfaces and will constantly be in the air to be breathed in by your family.  If a mold lab is not a viable option then perhaps a home testing kit may be in which the samples are collected by the homeowner and sent to the lab in the mail.