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8 min read Jun 23, 2023

Mold Inspection: How Does Mold Affect Your Home?

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 companies do, and how much it costs on average.

🚀 Key Takeaways

  • How Much Does a Mold Inspection Cost in 2023?: In general, mold inspections cost between $350 and $930. The national average cost for mold inspections is $600.
  • Types of Mold Testing: There are 5 types of mold testing. This includes HVAC, culture, stain, swab, and Air testing.
  • How Long Does it Take to Get a Mold Report: It typically takes between 24 and 48 hours for the lab test to be completed.

What Is Mold?

Mold is a fungus that 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, 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, and HVAC inspections are the best ways to prevent mold in your home.

What Is a Mold Inspection?

Mold inspection is a process where a qualified professional examines a particular area to assess the presence and extent of mold growth. The inspector visually inspects the property. And look for visible signs of mold such as discoloration, water stains, or musty odors.

They may also use specialized tools like moisture meters and thermal imaging cameras to detect hidden moisture sources. In some cases, they take samples of suspected mold for laboratory analysis.

Based on their findings, the inspector provides a detailed report outlining the location and extent of mold growth, the causes of moisture, and any associated issues. The report may include recommendations for mold remediation, which can involve professional cleanup and moisture control measures.

🤌 Home Inspection Checklist: Learn about the things in your home inspection checklist!

What Happens If Mold Is Found During Home Inspection?

If mold is found during a home inspection, several actions can occur depending on the severity. Here are some possible scenarios:

  • The home inspector may recommend a certified mold specialist to conduct a more detailed mold inspection. The inspection will give a better understanding of the mold’s type, concentration, and potential health risks.
  • The buyer and seller can negotiate repairs, remediation, or a reduction in the sale price to address the mold issue.
  • Professional mold remediation may be necessary if the mold growth is significant or poses health concerns. Hiring a qualified mold remediation specialist allows for safe removal and cleanup.
  • The presence of mold and any remediation efforts may need to be disclosed to future buyers or tenants. It is essential to keep documentation of the mold inspection findings for reference.

Consulting mold inspectors, real estate agents, and legal experts will help navigate the requirements related to mold.

When Should You Look for Mold?

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.

Water Damage

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.

Unoccupied House

If a house has been closed up and unoccupied for months or years, humidity may have accumulated inside. This causes mold to grow. It is especially problematic in hot, humid climates.

Mold Remediation

“If you have dealt with a mold problem, a regular mold inspection is recommended. This inspection ensures that you have completely removed the mold, even after the often costly and challenging steps involved.

You Notice Mold 

If you notice any green, blue, black, or white growth in your home, conduct a mold inspection.

What Happens During 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.

🤌 Best Home Inspectors: Find out the best home inspectors in the U.S.

Mold Inspection vs. Mold Testing

These are two related but distinct processes. Here’s a comparison between the two:

Mold Inspection

  • Purpose: Mold inspectors visually examine a property to identify areas affected by mold growth.
  • Process: Qualified professionals visually inspect the property, and looks for visible signs of mold, water stains, discoloration, or musty odors. They may also utilize specialized tools to detect hidden moisture sources.
  • Focus: Mold inspection emphasizes identifying the presence, extent, and potential causes of mold growth.
  • Benefits: Mold inspections provide comprehensive assessments of the mold situation. They help determine the need for further testing or remediation measures.

Mold Testing

  • Purpose: Mold testing involves collecting samples from the property for laboratory analysis. This determines the types and concentrations of mold present.
  • Process: Professionals collect samples through air sampling or surface sampling methods. Air sampling captures mold spores from the air, while surface sampling includes swabbing or tape-lifting samples from surfaces with visible mold growth.
  • Focus: Mold testing focuses on identifying the specific types of mold present and their concentrations. It provides information about potential health risks and assists in developing targeted remediation strategies.
  • Benefits: Mold testing offers detailed information about the mold species and levels, aiding individuals with allergies or sensitivities. It also helps assess indoor air quality and guides remediation efforts.

How Much Does a Mold Inspection Cost?

Mold inspections cost about the same as standard home inspections cost. The 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 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.

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:

Control Moisture levels

Keep moisture in check by promptly repairing any leaks and ensuring proper ventilation in the home. Use a dehumidifier in high-humidity areas.

Improve Ventilation

Enhance airflow to prevent moisture buildup. Utilize exhaust fans in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms to remove excess moisture. Open windows and utilize fans to enhance overall air circulation.

Clean And Maintain

Regularly clean and maintain areas prone to moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Remove mold growth promptly and properly clean affected surfaces with mold-killing solutions.

Early mold detection 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

Do home inspectors check for mold?

A home inspector inspects your entire house and finds any potential problems, including mold.

How does mold affect you?

Mold spores can cause allergic symptoms such as watery eyes, runny noses, sneezing, itching, coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, headaches, and fatigue.

Should I get a mold inspection when buying a house?

Yes, you should. Even if you don't see visible signs, you should schedule a professional mold inspection before securing a house. It will help you determine if there is mold in a home and how easy it is to remove.

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