QUESTIONS TO FIND A QUALIFIED MOLD INSPECTOR
CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR INSPECTION PROCESS?
This is such a simple question, but you can learn so much from their answer. The visual assessment is the most important part of the visit. Without a thorough and comprehensive inspection, how would they know where to sample? Here are some things to listen for. If they don’t mention these, then they likely aren’t the company for you.
HOW LONG SHOULD I EXPECT FOR A FULL HOME INSPECTION?
If their answer is anything less than 2 hours, then they are likely not performing a thorough and comprehensive inspection. Our average time for a full house inspection ranges from 2.5 to 5 hours depending on the size of the house. Sometimes we’ve been at homes for 8 hours!
WHAT PERCENTAGE OF YOUR CLIENTS SUFFER FROM LYME DISEASE, CIRS (CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY RESPONSE SYNDROME), MCS (MULTIPLE CHEMICAL SENSITIVITY) OR ANY OTHER SERIOUS MEDICAL CONDITION THAT CAN BE IMPACTED BY MOLD?
If the bulk of their clientele are people dealing with similar issues as you, then they will understand your situation and the need for a thorough inspection and complex sampling methodologies. About 75-80% of our clients suffer from these or other similar issues.
WHAT IS MSQPCR?
Mold-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction. This is a sampling methodology used to identify the species of molds that may be present within your home. It’s basically DNA formatting of mold. If they don’t know what this is, then they are not educated enough to provide the deep dive inspection you deserve.
WHAT ARE ERMI AND HERTSMI?
Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI) is a panel of 36 molds developed by the Environmental Protection Agency. It uses MSqPCR to identify species of molds that may be present, then compares those to an index to provide a score that rates the relative moldiness of your home. Some doctors prefer to see an ERMI score.
IS TESTING FOR MOLD A SCAM, OR WORTH IT?
My first house had obvious mold, so I had a professional mold assessment done. When the inspector finished assessing my house, I was provided a lengthy report showing the various mold strains and concentrations. While it was a relief to know I didn’t have the infamous toxic black mold, Stachybotrys chartarum, the conclusion that the house was full of mold came as no surprise.
However, what was valuable was the water assessment. The mold inspector went over the house from top to bottom with a moisture sensor, and he showed me exactly where water was infiltrating the framing of the house and causing mold and rot. It turned out that in addition to a problem with water in the basement, rainwater was seeping in around both chimneys and through some invisible roof leaks.
As we inspected the house together, I was also able to determine that it was structurally sound. Learning that my problem was more about cleanup, than carpentry, helped ease my peace of mind.
Despite how helpful the mold inspection was; if I were doing it again, I think I could skip the expensive assessment. Water damage and mold are pretty easy to spot, if you’re willing to crawl around with a flashlight, so I probably wouldn’t pay for another mold inspection unless.
Should I Get A Mold Inspection When Buying A House?
What Is A Pre-Purchase Mold Inspection?
A pre-purchase mold inspection is when a professional who is trained to look for mold — it may be a home inspector, contractor, or technician — performs such an inspection prior to a home purchase. The mold inspection may be purely a visual inspection of the property for mold, or it may include swabs and air tests that is sent to a laboratory.
What Are The Benefits Of A Pre-Purchase Mold Inspection?
As a licensed home inspector, I have seen many properties that had hidden mold issues — where the average person simply wouldn’t see it. I have seen mold growing in corners, under stairs, on windows, inside furnaces, in the air ducts, and a variety of other locations. With some states, a seller may not be required to even disclose that the home has or had mold contamination — check your state disclosure laws!
Do Home Inspectors Check For Mold?
Not all home inspectors check for mold — we are all a bit different — there isn’t a national standard for mold inspecting. There is also an extra cost for inspectors to buy mold detectors in the form of air pumps and lab testing. In my home state, there also is no state licensing for mold inspections or mold detection.
Inspecting The HVAC
Most of the time, mold is in the indoor air handler or furnace and on the air vent covers. In my home inspections, I would say about 90% of the time, I find mold in the HVAC system. Of course, this is also the most problematic, because the mold spores can circulated throughout the entire home — compared to mold growing in an isolated location.
Inspecting The House
It’s important to know if the professional will be inspecting the entire house for mold. During my home inspections, I am already thoroughly evaluating the entire home for mold, literally going over every square inch with a flashlight. Most mold professionals (not home inspectors) do not usually inspect an entire home the way a home inspector does — it will be much more brief.
Important information regarding mold inspections
Mold testing in southwest Florida, Bonita Springs. What Is Mold Testing? How Is Mold Testing Performed?
Broadly speaking, most mold testing involves taking a sample of either the air or a surface. Essentially, a mold inspector “tests” the air or surface to find out what kind of mold exists and/or if the mold found is able to grow in the area tested.
Mold Testing: Air Samples
Air samples can be taken and analyzed in a variety of ways. The most common method uses a “spore trap” and is called a “spore trap sample.” Spore traps work by having a known volume of air pass impact a sticky surface as it passes through the spore trap sampling device. Most of the particles in the air also impact this sticky surface and consequently adhere to, and are captured on, this sticky surface. Mold spores comprise a subset of these ‘particles in the air’ and also are captured on the sticky medium inside the spore trap. When the spore trap is sent to the mold testing laboratory for analysis, the mold laboratory opens the spore trap, applies some stains to the sticky surface that the mold spores can absorb, and then identifies and quantifies the types of mold spores captured during the sampling process. There are other methods of mold sampling, including culturing or growing the mold spores captured from the air, but these are less commonly used.
Residential Mold Inspections
Awarded by unanimous vote of a nationwide panel of industry peers, the Council-certified Residential Mold Inspector (CRMI) certification identifies a professional with at least ten (10) years of verified field experience in microbial sampling investigations.
Each CRMI has verified his or her knowledge of proper techniques for mold inspection, microbial investigations and sampling by passing an accredited, psychometrically rated examination based on peer-reviewed industry standards.
The CRMI examination ensures that certificants understand how to (1) distinguish among the significant types of microbial contamination, (2) identify, select and calibrate appropriate microbial sampling equipment, (3) design an effective sampling regimen, (4) employ proper sampling techniques, and (5) correctly interpret data collected from a microbial sampling regimen.
To maintain the CRMI designation, certificants must participate in 20 hours of professional development activities each year to ensure that they stay up to date with current trends in the field of microbial investigation and sampling.