When purchasing a new home, you should consider having a mold inspection performed. It is not the same as standard home inspections. The price will vary according to the size of the house. How much does a mold inspection cost? How do you know if mold inspection and testing are worthwhile?
Around 70% of homes have mold, and about 28% of the population suffers from health problems. Whether buying a new house or selling the old one, getting a mold inspection done will save you financial and physical health troubles in the future.
A mold inspection is necessary for several circumstances. Let’s look at when a mold inspection is required, what mold testing does, and how much it costs on average.
What is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is a non-invasive visual examination of a property. Home inspections reveal significant defects in the property that an untrained eye can miss. Inspections paint an accurate picture of the true condition of the property.
A home inspector will assess your house and provide valuable insights into the property’s interior and exterior, electrical systems, and more. Specialty home inspections, like termite, mold, and asbestos, are also done. One such inspection is the mold inspection.
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What is a Mold Inspection?
To answer this question, you should first understand what mold is and why you should suspect whether or not there is a mold problem in your home. Mold directly connects with water and high humidity levels. Wet surfaces can develop mold infestations when mold spores land there.
Basically, without any wet surfaces, mold will not grow. As a result, 100% of the time, mold growth is associated with water. It is impossible to eliminate mold and mold spores from the indoor environment. The best way to prevent indoor mold growth is by controlling moisture levels.
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What is Mold?
Mold is a fungus that, like all fungi, thrives in moist environments. Mold spreads by releasing spores, which are microscopic particles as small as a single cell. Spores float through the air until they hit a surface. Mold spores appear both outside and inside your home. It would be nearly impossible to remove all mold spores without a massive industrial clean room filtration system.
Mold spores, fortunately, only form mold when they land on a moist surface. That means if you can keep the inside of your home dry, you can avoid mold problems. Cleaning up spills, repairing leaks in your roof, plumbing, or HVAC inspections, and ensuring your kitchen and bathroom are properly venting moisture out of the house are the best ways to prevent mold in your home. Mold damages the surface it grows on, and mold can aggravate allergies or asthma.
When Should You Look for Mold?
One advantage of mold is that if you can see it, you have mold in your home. Mold in the cracks and corners of your walls indicates that it is growing and spreading spores. Remember that mold can grow in places you can’t see, such as your ducts or between your walls. It may also form colonies that are so small that they are invisible to the naked eye. A few situations should prompt you to investigate any mold issues in your home.
If your basement floods, your roof drips, or a broken pipe sprays water all over your kitchen, you should have the mold tested. Mold could contaminate any area that became wet and was not quickly dried (within 24 to 48 hours).
Buying a New House
When purchasing a home, a new home inspection is needed. There is no way of knowing what kind of water damage may have occurred in the house you intend to purchase. A mold inspection is the only way to determine whether or not mold is present.
If a house has been closed up and unoccupied for months or years, humidity may have accumulated inside, causing mold to grow. It is especially problematic in hot, humid climates.
If you have gone through the often costly and challenging steps to deal with a mold problem, then a regular mold inspection is a good idea to ensure that you have completely removed it.
You Notice Mold
If you notice any green, blue, black, or white growth in your home, conduct a mold inspection to ensure it is all gone. It may not be limited to a single location.
Which Areas are Checked in a Mold Inspection?
A mold inspector will check the house for obvious damp spots. The mold inspection process is generally done in three steps:
Step 1: Assess the exterior side of the house
- Deteriorated window caulking
- Cracking in the exterior walls
- Low-lying areas of the property where water can pool up
- Sprinklers that are too close to the house
Step 2: Mold Sampling
The next step is mold sampling. Here, the inspector shortlists the areas of the house that could have mold. This is not necessary for every home.
Step 3: Moisture Mapping
The house inspector will now check around doors, windows, plumbing fixtures, HVAC air handlers, and other areas where moisture can affect the construction/building. The samples collected during this assessment are sent to a laboratory. If the inspector is also a microbiologist, they may do this analysis themselves.
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What are the Types of Mold Present in my Home?
Mold can’t completely disappear because it is a part of the earth’s natural recycling process.
Mold spores can enter your home on clothing, shopping bags, and pets. They can also enter through leaking windows and roofs.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, once the invisible spores fall on a moist surface, they can begin reproducing within 24 to 48 hours (FEMA). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that “46 percent of examined houses demonstrated mold growth.”
Types of Mold
Mold is more likely to grow in regularly moist areas, such as an unvented bathroom or a sink cabinet with a leaking drainpipe. Though some molds are more likely than others to contaminate a home, they all require a damp atmosphere to flourish.
Researchers have found over 100,000 distinct mold strains, but they all fall into one of three types.
They can produce allergic responses and asthma attacks in persons with allergies and mild allergy symptoms in people who do not have allergies.
This mold often induces symptoms exclusively in those with immune system abnormalities or those who have or are recovering from a disease.
These molds are the most harmful and can cause severe health problems in healthy persons.
Other Categories of Mold
It is important to remember that some molds are more hazardous to human health than others, and some individuals may be more susceptible to health effects.
Those who have mold allergies or asthma may experience more acute symptoms. The following 12 kinds of mold can grow regardless of whether they are visible.
The toxigenic mold stachybotrys is sometimes called “black mold” because of its greenish-black color. It thrives in moist conditions and feeds on wood, drywall, and damp leaves.
It begins as little black patches that get larger and spread. Stachybotrys is a harmful mold that can cause severe headaches, unexplained nosebleeds, upper-respiratory irritation, and exhaustion. It may also induce pulmonary hemorrhage in babies.
The filamentous molds, called mucormycetes, begin as fluffy white or light gray puffs and grow darker gray as they mature. Mucor is plentiful in soil and plants, and as summer turns to fall, homeowners frequently bring the spores indoors.
The molds prefer to grow indoors on rotting fruits and vegetables, but they can also develop in air conditioner condensation lines and drip pans. Mucor is a highly allergic mold, and inhaling its spores can cause asthma episodes and difficulties breathing, even in healthy people.
Alternaria, an allergic mold, is typically found under sinks and around tub and shower bases where moisture can accumulate. Experts can immediately identify this mold by its velvet-soft texture and brown threads that resemble hair.
Aspergillus mold is widespread and will grow on any wet surface. But it’s tough to identify as there are over 180 aspergillus mold strains of varying colors.
This allergenic mold is frequently seen under wallpaper when removing it from the walls; it can also develop on bare wood and painted surfaces. aureobasidium, sometimes known as “sooty mold,” can hurt the skin if handled.
In humidifiers and air conditioners, toxigenic molds accumulate in moist condensation lines and drainage pans. Because the mold comes in several hues, including white, pink, and gray, it might be hard to identify without testing.
This allergic and pathogenic mold is most likely to grow after water damage or flooding. Since chaetomium thrives in damp, dark places, spores usually begin to develop within internal wall stud gaps before spreading to the outside wall.
Cladosporium species, another allergenic mold, prefers to grow indoors in fabrics such as carpets and upholstered furniture while residing beneath sinks and within cupboards.
Another form of mold that arises after floods or water damage is ulocladium. Although certain mold strains are dangerous, others are allergenic. The mold is black and may coexist with other molds, including Stachybotrys.
Some molds need warmth to survive, but fusarium develops and spreads in temperatures as low as near-freezing.
Fusarium strains may occur in almost any place. Most strains produce hay fever-like symptoms, but a few can cause severe poisoning, resulting in nervous system disease and internal bleeding.
Although penicillin is an effective antibiotic, one strain of the penicillium mold is both allergic and dangerous. It generates spores, which can cause allergy-like symptoms, including sinusitis, trouble breathing, and asthma attacks.
Trichoderma mold appears as little puffy spots of white and olive-green mold developing in wet regions, such as around a leaking window or a shower base. This allergic mold multiplies quickly and thrives in moist environments. Trichoderma can cause coughing, sneezing, and bronchial infections in the house.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), householders should clean tiny areas of mold on their own but consult a mold removal specialist if mold growth results in water damage or exceeds 10 square feet.
Mold treatment includes skilled mold cleansing and removal from the house. The demolition and removal of construction elements, such as drywall and carpets, may be necessary if they cannot undergo sterilization.
If your HVAC system or sewage has caused water damage and the mold is potentially poisonous, you should contact a professional.
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Mold Inspection v/s Mold Testing
When investigating mold, you may come across several services and rates that may include mold inspection and testing. In general, the inspection measures how much mold is present and the extent of it, usually in square feet.
A mold test determines the type of mold in your house and how many mold spores are in the air. However, bear the following in mind:
- It is exceedingly difficult to conduct a scientific mold test in a house under highly controlled conditions, so results will frequently differ from test to test.
- As mold spores drift in from the outside, mold tests typically reveal a wide variety of species, almost all of which are not present in your home.
- Furthermore, the EPA does not set guidelines for acceptable levels of mold or mold spores in homes. According to organizations like the Minnesota Department of Health and the New York State Department of Labor, mold testing isn’t always beneficial because of this, and experts are better suited to find colonies that are expanding. The results of the inspections are sometimes tested or sampled, especially in places where the practice requires by law.
What Happens During a Mold Inspection?
The inspector will begin by inspecting any locations that may have previously been likely to mold. As part of their inspection, they will also look for places where mold is known to grow.
To identify the presence of moisture in drywall or other inaccessible regions, the home inspector may utilize equipment such as moisture meters or an infrared camera.
It is also possible to establish the source of the moisture. As a result, a solution is possible.
Following that, the inspector will make a recommendation. The first step in the approach is to address the moisture issue. Some sources, such as leaky roofs, are known to the house inspector, while others require further investigation.
Removing mold without addressing the moisture issue is futile since it will regrow over time. You may be able to tackle the cleanup alone if the mold does not affect a wide area.
It would be wise to hire a mold cleanup professional if a larger area is contaminated. The specialists will have the necessary safety clothing and equipment to complete the task safely and correctly.
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What is the Cost of a Mold Inspection?
Mold inspection costs vary slightly from region to region, but the difference is usually minimal. Substantial differences between contractors in the same area are just as likely. Mold inspections cost about the same as standard home inspections, like those performed when you buy a house.
Mold inspections typically cost $300 to $400 for small to medium-sized houses (below 4,000 square feet). Above 4,000 square feet, the price ranges from $700 to $900. Don’t forget that these prices are only for inspection and do not always include testing. You can save money by avoiding unnecessary mold testing. Some mold remediation contractors will provide a free mold inspection in exchange for being hired to perform the remediation itself.
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What Factors Influence Mold Inspection Costs?
Mold inspection costs can vary based on a house’s size, age, and location. Typically, more substantial properties will cost more to assess, but full-service home inspectors that offer mold testing and inspection often offer package deals.
Homeowners and homebuyers can save money by bundling various home inspection services together in a package. Contact your local home inspector to learn how much a mold inspection will cost.
Home Inspection Near Me
It is impossible to overestimate the value of hiring a home inspection. A home may look gorgeous on the outside, yet it may have hidden issues in numerous places of the house.
Why should you employ a house inspector? Because they have the necessary skills and experience to assess homes for hidden defects.
Quickly locate the home inspectors near you to negotiate any needed repairs with the seller before purchasing.
How can I Prevent Mold From Growing in my Home?
Mold removal can prove challenging, and cleanup can be costly if the mold is pervasive. The easiest way to avoid mold problems is to prevent them altogether. Here are some mold prevention tips:
Repair Leaks Immediately
Maintain your home’s leaks and keep moisture out, whether you have a leaky roof or water pipes that have rusted out.
Things should be cleaned and dried as soon as possible. If your basement floods or moisture from your air conditioner drops into your carpet, you should dry it off within 24 to 48 hours. A quick drying process is essential to prevent mold from flourishing.
Maintain Humidity Control
Mold can occur on some surfaces as a result of excessively humid air. During the summer, use a dehumidifier in your basement and use air conditioning whenever feasible. Install exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom. As a result, humidity reduces, and moisture gets controlled.
Early detection of mold contamination may save you thousands of dollars. When purchasing a new home, the expense of a mold inspection is worth a few hundred dollars. Mold testing, on the other hand, is not necessary. The main thing to remember is that if you notice mold in your home, you must remove it as quickly as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does a mold test reveal?
Mold-based indoor air quality testing may identify your home's'moldiness' and suggest whether mold is the source of the problem.
How long does mold testing take?
On average, the time spent on-site might last up to an hour. The mold lab's results and presenting a comprehensive report might take up to 24-48 hours.
What are the signs of toxic mold in my home?
Toxic mold can also have a slimy, moist surface or a grey, soot-like appearance. You may even detect fuzzy orange or brown blotches in certain circumstances. Whenever you discover mold with these characteristics in your house, don't get too close and contact a professional immediately.
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