MOLD AND INDOOR AIR QUALITY INSPECTIONS | SEBASTOPOL, CA

When you retain Sherlock Homes and Mold Inspection to inspect your property, you’ll receive a thorough examination by an experienced professional that has completed over 7,000 inspections. We are board certified as Microbial Consultants by the American Council for Accredited Certification, as well as real estate inspectors by ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) and CREIA (California Real Estate Inspection Association). We strictly follow the standards of practice and code of ethics for each of our certifying organizations.

 

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Comprehensive Inspections and Testing in Sonoma County, CA

I use a moisture meter, thermal imaging, laboratory testing and 20 years of property inspection experience to detect potential issues with mold, water intrusion, indoor air pollution and electrical EMF flaws. I’ll inspect and test as needed the following aspects of your property:

  • Structure
  • Foundation
  • Plumbing
  • Garage
  • Attic
  • Crawlspace
  • Interior
  • Exterior
  • Grounds
  • Moisture Meter Testing
  • Thermal Imaging
  • Indoor Air Quality Testing (VOC’s)
  • Mold Testing
  • Bacteria Testing
  • Allergen Testing
  • Formaldehyde Testing
  • Radon – visit our Radon Gas Testing page for more information!)

Click on the image below for an interactive presentation on home inspections by ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors.

 

Commercial Inspections

If you’re considering a mold or indoor air quality problem with your rental as a tenant, or landlord, we can provide a prompt and objective evaluation of the conditions.. I will inspect, test and report on the indoor air quality condition of the property, and produce an action plan for prompt and safe corrections.  Please contact us for more information on our Rental Inspections!

Inspection Reports

I use industry-leading HomeGauge Software to generate comprehensive digital inspection reports. Your report includes high-resolution images, videos, detailed narrative, and can be accessed online using your smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer.

Included in your report is an interactive tool called Repair Request List. This tool allows you, to indicate how any issues discovered should be handled moving forward. From within the report, you create a list that can be shared with all involved, or you can use it as a list for future projects you wish to handle yourself. Repair Request List eases communications for all involved and has proven to be invaluable to the negotiation process.

INSPECTION CODE OF ETHICS

In compliance with American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC) code of ethics, we investigate and test for only; we do not remove or remediate mold or other microbial conditions, nor do we have any financial relationship with remediation companies, real estate or insurance companies. We will refer you to ACAC certified mold remediation companies that will provide you with a FREE estimate for safe mold removal based on our written report.  Be sure to investigate other “ mold” company claims with their past customers, your physician and verify their accreditation by ACAC, at http://www.acac.org.

Mold and indoor air quality investigation is a scientific work in progress, beware of companies that claim cures or approaches such as: duct cleaning, mold dogs, ozone treatments, heat treatments, miracle mold killing solutions or biocides. None of these approaches have scientific support as effective for mold investigations or indoor air quality problems.

INSPECTION PROCESS

As experienced inspector professionals have seen over 7,000 buildings and can often more easily pinpoint where mold, moisture and indoor air quality problems are likely to be hiding. This type of inspection is considered more reliable than mold testing only. During the visual inspection the investigator looks for malodors, moisture damage, visible mold, historical moisture damage, water staining, building air flow patterns and elevated moisture conditions. As part of our inspection, we provide a written scope of work for the client’s use to promptly and safely resolve the indoor air quality problem.

MOLD AND INDOOR AIR QUALITY TESTING

ERMI (Environmental Relative Moldiness Index)

The most recommended mold test for their patients, by environmental doctors, is the ERMI (Environmental Relative Moldiness Index). This test, originally developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), examines the DNA mold proteins in a dust sample from the building being inspected. Using DNA analysis, the sample is tested for the genetic presence of 36 different mold species. The ERMI report provides a score that compares the building in question to a variety of 1,000 other U.S. buildings, with regards to the likelihood that it may cause harm to its occupants. Although many experts believe that the ERMI does a generally good job in identifying unhealthy buildings that are harming people, it is not considered a perfect test and is still classified by the EPA as a research tool. The ERMI is a moderately priced test, costing around $400 depending on the laboratory used.

 

As experienced inspection professionals, we have seen over 7,000 buildings and can pinpoint where mold, moisture and indoor air quality problems are likely to be hiding. This type of comprehensive inspection is considered more reliable than mold or indoor air quality testing only. During the comprehensive inspection, the investigator looks for malodors, moisture damage, visible mold, historical moisture damage, water staining, building air flow patterns and elevated moisture conditions. As part of our inspection, we provide a detailed written scope of work for the client’s use to promptly and safely resolve the indoor air quality problem.

HERTSMI-2  MOLD TEST

Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker developed this test by looking at the ERMI scores of thousands of mold illness patients and determining which species of mold seemed to be most problematic for them. The HERTSMI-2 is the same basic DNA test as the ERMI, except that it looks for the presence of only five particularly dangerous species of mold – Aspergillus penicilloides, Aspergillus versicolor, Chaetomium globosum, Stachybotrys chartarum, and Wallemia sebi. A HERTSMI-2 score also can be calculated by looking at the scores of a regular ERMI test. Dr. Shoemaker suggests this test for people who already know that mold is a problem for them, rather than using it to determine whether a potential residence is unsafe in general. This test does not yet have any peer reviewed research papers published and is in limited use.

AIR TESTS

Air tests look for the presence of whole mold spores or other air borne pollutants of a different genus (not species) of mold or pollutants in the air at a particular moment in time. Those evaluating the test results look at the amount and types of mold present under a microscope. The laboratory then looks at how indoor samples compare with outdoor samples.

The main issues with air testing are:

1) The test measures spores or particles that are floating in the air rather than at genetic material, it tends to miss important mold particles.

2) Human error at the laboratory has been researched at 30%.

3) Doctors specializing in toxic mold illness suggest that air tests are not reliable enough to be used as a gauge of whether a building is safe for people with mold illness.

4) Most air tests used are non-viable to allow for a 24-hour turn around; these test results may miss viable mold present.

PETRI DISH TESTS

Petri dish tests are relatively inexpensive test kits that can be bought at stores like Home Depot. These test kits are inexpensive, usually costing between $10 and $80. Though affordable, mold experts and research indicate that petri dish tests are unreliable.

DIRECT SAMPLE AND BULK TESTS

If mold or other suspect microbials are visible, it is possible to take a tape lift, bulk or swab sample and send it off to a laboratory to be identified. While direct samples verify the types of mold present in the area tested, it does not provide information on overall mold types and levels in the living environment. Also, swab and bulk samples can be used to run viable sampling at the laboratory.

Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Testing

Exposure to high electromagnetic fields has become a concern due to possible health effects. The most common sources for high electromagnetic fields include proximity to power lines, transformers, appliances, and defects in the internal building’s wiring system. We assess EMF levels and recommend remediation strategies the electromagnetic field exposures.

FULL SCAN CHEMICAL TEST

ACS Vapor Monitor can be worn as a badge near the breathing zone to measure personal exposure, or placed in a room to measure area concentration.The analysis report will show the average concentration of the personal chemical exposure level. According to OSHA regulations, each person who uses a toxic gas as a regular part of their job must have their exposure monitored periodically. Air diffuses through a micro-porous membrane and collects vapor on special prepared adsorbents inside the monitoring badge.

MOLD INSPECTION INSTRUMENTS

 

MOISTURE METER

A problem with modern buildings is that major mold and moisture problems can occur between the walls, floors or ceilings without anyone knowing they exist. Typically, a leak or condensation inside the wall, floor or ceiling will allow mold to start to grow, using the drywall or insulation as a food source. A moisture meter is used to identify sections of the wall, floor or ceiling that have a humidity level which is higher than expected. This gives the professional a better idea of where to look in the walls for problem spots so that water issues can be proactively addressed, and so that any existing mold growth can be dealt with safely. Moisture meters are very useful in finding leaks or other water intrusions.

THERMAL IMAGING

Thermal imaging technology (also called infrared or thermographic imaging) is a tool that identifies variations in temperature. It is used by professionals when looking for places in walls where moisture may be hiding. Because moisture can alter heat patterns, this device can be helpful in finding leaks or other water damage. An infrared camera can also detect cold spots inside walls where condensation may be occurring on a regular basis. Thermal imaging only measures surface temperature and cannot look inside of walls, so any scan must always be confirmed with a moisture meter.

CALIFORNIA MOLD LAW

California’s SB655 mold law took effect on 1/1/16 and makes visible mold code enforceable as substandard housing. California is the first state to determine that mold growth is a health and safety concern. As part of the mold law implementation, we have provided the majority of training for Code Enforcement Officers in the state since 2016. In conduction with the new mold law, the California Department of Public Health revised its mold statement concluding that “the presence of water damage, dampness, visible mold, or mold odor in schools, workplaces, residences, and other indoor environment is unhealthy” (2015).

Request an appointment from Sherlock Homes and Mold today!

I look forward to working with you to achieve a healthier home!

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