What exactly is mold and why do we need mold testing?
Mold is a common type of fungus, typically found outdoors. Its main purpose is to break down dead leaves, plants, and trees. Molds reproduce by means of very small, lightweight spores that travel through the air.
We are exposed to mold every day, but typically in small, harmless amounts. Mold becomes a problem when spores travel into a home and land on a damp area. As it begins to grow, it can damage the material it is growing on and the spores can become easily circulated and inhaled.
Where can mold grow?
Mold mainly needs two things to grow: food and water.
Water comes in the form of plumbing leaks, roof leaks, window leaks, high humidity levels and condensation.
Food comes in the form of the surface the mold is growing on. Drywall, wallpaper, wood, cabinetry, carpet, furniture can all support mold growth.
There are several metric TONS of food for mold in a house. It’s not feasible to eliminate the food source, so controlling moisture is essential in preventing mold growth.
What are the effects of indoor mold growth?
Research regarding the health effects of mold is ongoing, however individuals who may be sensitive to mold report allergic symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, eye irritation, and rashes. More serious reactions can include shortness of breath or asthma attacks for individuals with asthma.
While medical research into mold’s role in our health may be ongoing, mold’s ability to cause aesthetic and even structural damage is well understood. Mold can cause a very unpleasant odor, can stain and damage cabinets and furniture, and can lead to damage and decay of important structural members.
How do we perform mold testing?
Mold testing can be done during a standard home inspection by a specially trained home inspector. There are two ways we test for mold growth in a home: in the air and on surfaces.
The first method is testing the air for mold spores. Air samples are taken indoors and outdoors, and there should be no mold present inside the home that is not present outside. The number of air samples needed for an accurate test is based on the size of the home. Generally, two outdoor samples and a minimum of one indoor sample per 1000 sq/ft is recommended.
The second method is surface sampling. If we can visually see what appears to be mold, we will take a physical sample. Samples can also be taken in areas where mold growth could be occurring but is not visually apparent (yet), such as where a sink might be dripping into a cabinet.
All samples collected are sent to EMSL laboratories in Phoenix AZ for testing. Easy to read test results are typically provided to the client within 48 hours, sooner if needed.
Please let us know if you have any questions about mold testing or would like to add it to your home inspection today! Contact us at 480-290-2225 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.