Mold does not always produce a musty odor and is not always detectable through a visible inspection. It is often hidden inside walls, behind wall paper, underneath flooring or behind built-in cabinetry. Mold inspectors are trained to find these infestations. Different mold inspectors have varying qualifications, equipment, experience, reporting methods and yes, pricing.
Certification of Mold Inspectors
In order to reclaim your costs from damages caused by mold you may need to have an official mold test results and analysis by Certified Mold Inspectors. The mold inspection and remediation industry is unregulated so you do need to some due diligence to make sure you are dealing with qualified and certified mold inspectors. The good news is that you can, in general, count on companies that hold a verifiable, current certification from IAQA (Indoor Air Quality Association), NAMP (National Association of Mold Professionals) or NORMI (National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors).
In Canada choose mold inspectors certified by the IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification) or an equivalent industry organization. We would recommend getting checking with the CMHC for mold inspectors and remediators.
Stay away from mold remediation companies offering inspections! Mold assessment should be done by an independent certified mold inspector in order to avoid conflict of interest. There is simply too much opportunity to abuse trust and provide misinformation leading to expensive remediations for an inspector to be anything but independent.
What is a Mold Inspection?
A mold inspection examines a property to evaluate the efficacy of water drainage and moisture control and/or to evaluate damage due to floods or plumbing leaks. The inspector will usually speak with the property owner about possible issues and then conduct a review of the property, including checking on ventilation, siding, roofing, attic, windows, doors, crawlspace, foundation,grade drainage and gutters.
Inside the property the inspector will check on humidity control, heating and cooling systems, ventilation and ductwork. Ideally relative humidity should be in the 35-40% range. Above 50% and the inspector will almost certainly advise on some kind of action to reduce the humidity.
The inspector will likely conduct a sampling of airborne mold. Airborne spores are present everywhere but a professional sampling and analysis will determine if there is a potential problem in your home. Whether there is a problem or not the inspector will conclude their investigation with a written report. The report will include recommendations on how to improve moisture control and information to provide to a mold remediation company if they are required. A good report can be helpful documentation when you put your house on the market for sale.
Finally, mold inspectors will provide a written report with recommendations based on industry standards that you can take to a separate mold remediation company … or, if you’re lucky, you’ll receive a clean bill of health that you can take to the bank when the time comes to put your home on the market.
Some of the methods mold inspectors use include:
• Visual Inspection for signs of mold or moisture intrusion.
• Tape lift sampling of mold and mildew for species identification.
• Thermal Imaging to look into wall cavities and identify moisture issue.
• MVOC meter (Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds meter) to check for mold off-gassing.
• Moisture Meter to identify moisture problems in walls, floors and attics.
• Air Quality Testing to establish relative humidity and spore concentration counts.
• Viable Laboratory Testing is testing for living mold spores done by pulling air into a petri dish in order to capture and grow mold spores.
• Non-Viable Sampling is testing for dead mold spores by drawing air into a spore trap which will identify type and concentration of spores.
• Airborne Laser Particle Counter to show the building’s dust density a percentage of which could be mold spores.
Mold Inspectors’ Cost
Depending on the size of the house, the extent of the mold growth, the types of testing done, and the equipment used the price can range from $300 to $1800. It is also important to realize that if any additional paperwork needs to be completed, such as to file an insurance claim, it could involve additional costs.