Mold Inspections, Air Quality Assessments, and Remediation Protocols
Testing and/or Sampling for Mold and Humidity
Sampling for mold and humidity should be performed prior to restoring your flood damaged floors, walls, cabinets, etc. Sampling for mold and humidity should be conducted by professionals who have specific experience in mold sampling, humidity testing protocols, sampling methods, and interpreting results. Sample analysis should follow analytical methods recommended by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), or other professional organizations.
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- Ambient Air Readings
- Moisture Readings Non-Invasive
- Thermal Imaging Non-Invasive
- Borescope Invasive Investigations (if needed)
- Photo Logging with Markup
- Swab Sampling
- Laboratory Analysis Quantifying Microbial Levels
- Attic Inspections
- Crawlspace Inspections
- Landscape Inspections
- Drainage and Water Shedding
- Source Identification
- Hidden Mold Locations
- Remediation Clearance Testing
Following a Bernhardt site visit, our clients are provided with a thorough report that can be utilized by their association and insurance company. This report is for remediation practices, plumbing, roofing, and air conditioning just to name a few. BR investigation and reports are structured to help assist in the recovery of facilities from single family homes, businesses, and much more. It is our decades of experience that sets us above the rest!
When buying a new home, one should consider getting a mold inspection. Mold inspection is a more thorough process directed at locating water damage and mold infestation than a typical housing inspections. The cost will vary depending on the size of the house or business. There are a few different situations in which you should want a mold inspection. Let us review when a mold inspection is needed, what mold testing does, and the average cost.
What is Mold?
Mold is a fungus, and like all fungi, it thrives in moist environments. Mold spreads by emitting spores, microscopic particles, often as small as a single cell. Spores float in the air until they land on a surface. Mold spores are everywhere outdoors, and inside your house. It would be practically impossible to remove all mold spores from a structure without immense filtration air cleaners.
Luckily, mold spores only form mold colonies when they land on a moist surface. That means that if you can keep the interior of your home dry, and within ranges of relative humidity, you can avoid having any problems with mold. The best way to prevent mold in your home is to clean up spills, repair leaks in your roof, plumbing, or HVAC systems and make sure your kitchen and bathroom are properly venting moisture out of the house.
There are two major reasons to clean up and remove any mold growing in your house. Mold will damage the surface it is growing on and mold may aggravate allergies or asthma.
When Should One Inspect for Mold?
Seeing mold in the cracks and corners of your walls, baseboards, etc. definitely means it is growing and spreading more spores. Keep in mind, mold may also grow in places you cannot see. It can grow in your ducts or between your walls. It may also form mold colonies so small that they escape the eye. There are a few situations that should make you look for any mold problems in your house.
- Water damage. If your room flooded, roof leaked, or a broken pipe got water all over the kitchen, one should have an inspection for mold. Any location that got wet and was not quickly dried (within 24 to 48 hours) could become contaminated by mold.
- Purchasing a new home. There is no way to know if there were prior water damages that may have happened in the house you are planning to buy. The only way to find out if mold is present is to do a mold inspection.
- After a house has been unoccupied for some time. If a house has been closed up and unoccupied for months, or seasonally, humidity could have built up in the unit and caused mold to grow. This is especially a problem in warmer areas with high humidity. ie. South Florida
- After mold remediation. If you have gone through the often expensive and difficult steps to deal with a mold problem, a mold inspector should conduct a post clearance inspection to make sure the remediation efforts were successful.
- You see some mold. You notice some green, blue, black, yellow or white stuff growing in your house, do a mold inspection to make sure you locate it all. It might not be restricted to just one location.
Mold Inspection vs. Mold Testing:
If you are researching mold, you might come across different services and costs that list both mold inspection and mold testing. Mold inspection simply identifies the presence of mold and generally defines the size of the problem.
Mold testing attempts to identify what specific types of mold are in your home and how many mold spores are in the indoor air. Keep in mind the following:
- The carefully controlled conditions required to conduct a proper scientific test of mold are extremely difficult to achieve in a home. Results will often vary from test to test, regardless of remediation efforts.
- Second, all indoor spaces have mold spores that drift in from the outdoors, so mold tests will generally provide a long list of species, most of which are not actually growing in your home or business.
What Happens During a Mold Inspection?
Mold inspection is, for the most part, a visual inspection of a unit. There are specified tools and instruments used to identify if there is an issue. Some mold inspectors may use thermal cameras. A moisture meter might also be useful in determining if a particular area is wet, especially after remediation.
A mold inspection involves the inspector interviewing the property owner about any areas where they have seen mold, or where there have been moisture problems/ water damage in the past. The inspector reviews the house thoroughly, looking in places known to be prone to mold growth. If there is a chance mold is growing in an inaccessible space, the inspector may have to open a section of drywall for better access to review. If mold is detected, the inspector will attempt to locate the source of the moisture.
In South Florida mold inspectors must have a license and certification for mold.
Always look for an assessment contractor with experience in all categories for mold inspection, mold remediation, water damage, and structural drying.
What Affects the Cost of a Mold Inspection?
Quite simply, a large house with a lot of square footage, multiple AC units, multiple sources, etc. is going to cost more to inspect because the inspection is going to take longer. An “invasive” inspection involving accessing behind drywall or under a crawlspace/ inside an attic is also going to cost extra because of the extra time and work/ risk involved.
Finding the Right Mold Inspector:
Look for an inspector with specific experience and expertise in mold inspections and remediation. Ask them how many mold remediations they’ve completed since they have been in business. When were they licensed? Who are they accredited by? IICRC is the standard for the mold industry. Check reviews and speak with past clients.
After the Inspection:
If the mold inspection finds mold in your home or business, the next step is to request a protocol for the remediation plan.
If the mold contamination exceeds 10 square feet, the EPA recommends contacting a contractor experienced in mold remediation. Larger contaminations are better left to professionals with the correct safety gear, proper cleaning equipment, and engineering methods to contain the work area and protect from cross contamination.
Remediating mold in your house or business can be a major task, and remediation can be expensive if the mold is widespread. The best solution to mold problems is to prevent them from ever happening! Here are some tips on preventing mold:
- Repair leaks promptly. If there is a leak in your roof or a rusted out water pipe, fix leaks and keep moisture at bay.
- Clean and dry out promptly. If you have a flood or condensation from your air-conditioner drips onto the carpet, dry everything out within 24 to 48 hours. Mold needs moisture to grow, so prompt dry out is vital.
- Control humidity. Extremely humid air can provide enough moisture for mold to form on surfaces. The use of a dehumidifier and running air-conditioning, when possible and during the summer is important. Install vents in your kitchen and bathrooms. This will keep humidity low and keep moisture under control.
Post Remediation and Pre-rebuild Inspection and Testing:
Contact Bernhardt Restoration Inc. to schedule a post remediation inspection and testing to verify all contaminates have been removed and the remediation efforts have been completed to acceptable levels.
Post remediation inspection fees are not included in the initial damage inspection cost and will be invoiced at the time of the post remediation inspection. Typically, sampling will mirror the original inspection.
Mold is a serious problem and spotting mold contamination before it grows out of control can save you thousands of dollars. This makes the cost of a mold inspection well worth it.