All homes have Mold!
I know, pretty bold statement and could be alarming…until you know the facts!
As a certified mold inspector, I look for signs of mold as I am looking for issues with water or moisture and no, I do not charge extra since I am already looking for water issues.
Having a mold inspection performed is completely different than inspecting for mold. Mold Inspections requires taking samples of air in areas of the home and comparing it to samples of air taken on the exterior of the home. The air samples are compared to see if there are different molds in the home, the kind of mold, and the levels of mold. In order for the mold inspection to be done properly, the home should be shut and not entered for 48 hours in order to get proper readings. What I do is I pay close attention to places in the home where there is water.
Most Common Places You Find Mold
Places like the bathrooms, looking on the baseboards and looking in the cabinets underneath the areas of the pipes looking for any signs of leaking, water staining, or water damage, as well as looking for signs of mold growth.
Any place where there is a sink or a toilet are areas of concern but many people do not realize one of the most prominent places of mold growth is the air-conditioning system.
How the air handler of the air conditioning system works is that it removes the humidity from the air. When the hot air comes across the cold coils it creates condensation. The condensation travels down the coils into the drip pan and exits the home through the drain pipe. If there is a build up of dirt, hair, dust or other things on the coils of the air handler, mold will have the ability to grow on these things when the air conditioner is off and the temperature and humidity levels rise to a level that is conducive to mold growth.
This is why it is very important to make sure that you change your filters regularly and maintain your air conditioning systems in a clean, functional, manner.
It is very common to find surface mold on the air-conditioning duct above the air handler especially if the air handler is in the garage or the attic. The garage and attic are typically very warm and humid which is perfect for mold growth. Any area where the duct leaks is an area susceptible to mold growth.
What I tell my clients to do, is to move the air filter to a hinged grate on the inside of the home where the air filter can be replaced and to remove the air filter from the return side of the air handler so that you can completely seal the air handler unit so that there is no air transfer from the cold interior of the unit and the hot humid air on the exterior of the unit which will greatly hinder and decrease the ability of having mold issues.
If I find any evidence that I believe warrants a mold inspection I inform my clients so that they may have a mold inspection done. If the clients just want peace of mind then they can do a mold test that you can get from any Home Depot or Lowe’s and perform them themselves instead of me charging them to do it for them which will save them a lot of money.
Finding evidence that warrants a Mold Inspection
If I find any evidence that I believe warrants a mold inspection I inform my clients so that they may have a mold inspection done. If the clients just want a peace of mind then they can do a mold test that you can get from any Home Depot or Lowe’s and perform them themselves instead of me charging them to do it for them which will save them a lot of money.
Another area of concern is around the windows. Caulking around the windows separates after a few years and allows moisture to seep into the walls causing water staining, damage and sometimes mold. I pay close attention to these areas as well as any areas on the exterior of the home that may have the ability to allow water to access the home. I tell my clients that a house is like a boat. You want to keep all the water on the outside.