Mold is an issue that comes up often in a home inspection. And, it can vary from a very minor issue to serious black mold. We’re pleased to welcome our friend, Jeff Luther at Home-Probe , to weigh-in with a Q&A for home buyers going through the inspection process.
Q: Will my home inspection report include mold findings?
A: Mold, fungus, spores and mildew are typically outside the scope of a home inspection for several reasons. If our inspector finds visible mold, it will be reported in the Non-Scope section of the report as a “mold-like substance.” That’s because identifying and classifying mold is a specialized expertise that is best addressed by a qualified environmental consultant. That professional is equipped to test for any and all toxic substances and give you guidance on how to proceed.
Not all mold is visible. With water intrusion, mold may accumulate unseen under floors, above ceilings or behind walls. Mold can also form in as little time as 24 hours, so its lack of presence in a home inspection is not an indicator that it won’t be a condition later.
If anyone in your home has heightened sensitivity to indoor air quality, it’s a good idea to invest in an Indoor Air Quality Test (this can also be called a mold inspection).
Q: How will mold impact the inspection process?
A: Mold’s food source is water, so finding and addressing the water source is necessary in addressing the mold. Unwanted water sources could come from a leaky roof, a malfunctioning HVAC (especially when air conditioning condensation gathers in the summer), or plumbing leaks.
Foundation leaks can also cause mold to form, not only if there’s standing water in a basement or crawl space, but if water gets trapped between floor insulation and framing. It’s important to stay ahead of mold on the front end, so check your home inspection report for mention of water intrusion.
Q: There’s Mold – Now What?
A: If you see mold in your home, you don’t need a mold inspection – you would be paying someone to tell you that you have mold, which you already know. You need to figure out where the water source that’s feeding the mold is and address that FIRST. However, if you or someone in your household are sensitive to mold, you should consult an environmental expert to identify what type of mold is growing and ensure you have remediated it.
According to the EPA, a homeowner can do mold remediation themselves if the mold takes up less than 10 SF of space. Always use detergent to get rid of the mold–NOT BLEACH. Bleach may make the problem worse by hardening water and preventing it from scrubbing away the actual mold.
How to Get Ahead of Mold
It’s impossible to completely eliminate mold–it’s part of the natural environment because it has an important role to play. But we can certainly get out ahead of it. Here’s how:
- Inspect the home for questionable or defective construction details
- Regularly maintain sealants outside and inside around showers, tubs and sinks
- Regularly monitor all areas for evidence of moisture stains, including attics and roof areas
- Maintain rainwater control, how water drains on the property
- Maintain any other form of water presence–you don’t want unwelcome intrusions like sprinklers spraying the house
- Don’t run a dehumidifier when the humidity is too low–you could end up putting even more moisture into the air
- When your fan is on, you’re pulling humidity into the home, so put it on “auto” during the warmer months
Use Common Sense With Indoor Air Quality Testing
Some mold remediation companies use fear-based selling to tell you horror stories about what mold can do to your health, rather than simply fix the problem. You should see this as a red flag. Use common sense when it comes to mold inspections and indoor air quality tests, and find a good mold remediation company to call in case you need them.
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Decatur, GA 30030