There are a few different situations in which you might want a mold inspection. Let us look at 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 places. Mold spreads by emitting spores, microscopic particles often as small as a single cell. Spores float around in the airuntil they land on a surface. Mold spores are everywhere, outdoors as well as inside your house. It would be practically impossible to remove all mold spores from a house without installing some kind of massive industrial clean room filtration system.
Luckily, mold spores only form mold when they land on a moist surface. That means that if you can keep the interior of your home dry, 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 system 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 damages the surface it is growing on and mold may aggravate allergies or asthma.
When to inspect for mold
One good thing about mold- if you can see it, you have mold in your house. Seeing mold in the cracks and corners of your walls definitely means it is growing and spreading more spores. Keep in mind that mold may also grow in places you cannot see, such as in your ducts or between your walls. It may also form colonies so tiny they escape the eye. A few situations should make you look for any mold problems in your house.
- Water damage. If your basement flooded, roof leaked, or a broken pipe sprayed water all over the kitchen, you need to inspect for mold. Any place 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 what kind of water damage 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. If a house has been closed up and unoccupied for months or years, humidity could have built up inside and caused mold to grow. This is especially a problem in warmer areas with high humidity.
- After mold remediation. If you have gone through the often expensive and difficult steps to deal with a mold problem, regular mold inspections are a good idea to make sure you really got rid of it all.
- You see some mold. If you notice some green, blue, black or white stuff growing in your house, do a mold inspection to make sure you find it all. It might not be restricted to 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, usually in square footage.
Mold testing attempts to identify what specific type of mold is in your home and how many mold spores are in the air. However 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, so results will often vary from test to test, regardless of remediation efforts.
- Second, all indoor spaces have mold spores that drift in from outdoors, so mold tests will generally provide a long list of species, most of which are not actually growing in your home.
- Third, the EPA has set no guidelines for an acceptable amount of mold or mold spores in a house. Organizations like