Mold Testing

Can mold cause health problems?

Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing.  Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins).  Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.  Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common.  They can be immediate or delayed.  Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people.  Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold.

How do I get rid of mold?

It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors. If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem. If you clean up the mold, but don’t fix the water problem, then, most likely, the mold problem will come back.

 Can mold cause health problems?

Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing.  Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins).  Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.  Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common.  They can be immediate or delayed.  Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people.  Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold.

How do I get rid of mold?

It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust.  The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present.  Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors.  If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem.  If you clean up the mold, but don’t fix the water problem, then, most likely, the mold problem will come back.

Who should do the cleanup?

If the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet, you can probably handle the job yourself.
However:
If there has been a lot of water damage, and/or mold growth covers more than 10 square feet, consult the EPA’s Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. Although focused on schools and commercial buildings, this document is applicable to other building types.
If you choose to hire a contractor (or other professional service provider) to do the cleanup, make sure the contractor has experience cleaning up mold. Check references and ask the contractor to follow the recommendations in EPA’s Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, or the guidelines of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.
If you suspect that the heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system may be contaminated with mold, consult the EPA’s Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned? before taking further action. Do not run the HVAC system if you know or suspect that it is contaminated with mold—it could spread mold throughout your home.
If the water and/or mold damage was caused by sewage or other contaminated water, then call in a professional who has experience cleaning and fixing buildings damaged by contaminated water.
If you have health concerns, consult a health professional before starting cleanup.
For more information, read the EPA’s A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home.

mold testing

Various types of mold are a part of our natural environment. Outside, mold plays a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but inside, mold growth should be avoided. Mold reproduces by means of tiny spores, which are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. These spores may begin growing inside if they land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold, but none of them will grow without water or moisture.

  • The key to mold control is moisture control.
  • If mold is a problem in your home, you should clean up the mold promptly and fix the water problem.
  • It is important to dry water-damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

HOW DO I CHOOSE A GOOD HOME INSPECTOR?

Choosing a good Home Inspector is key. There are many out there so be sure to do your research first. Look for an inspector with extensive experience, certifications, credentials and insurance.

WHAT CERTIFICATIONS AND/OR CREDENTIALS SHOULD A GOOD HOME INSPECTOR OFFER?

Look for an Inspector that is affiliated with ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors.) An Inspector with certifications in areas of importance such as Radon Testing, Mold Testing and Remediation, is also key to providing you a thorough inspection.

WHY CAN’T I HAVE SOMEONE IN MY FAMILY WHO IS VERY HANDY OR A CONTRACTOR, INSPECT MY NEW HOME?

This is the biggest mistake many potential new homeowners make when purchasing a home. Although the person you are considering may be very skilled, most likely, they are not trained or experienced at professional Home Inspections. Professional Home Inspection is a unique skill like no other. Professional Inspectors have a keen instinct for problems. This instinct takes extensive training and years of experience to develop.

HOW LONG WILL THE INSPECTION TAKE?

Most Inspections take about two to three hours. These times may vary depending on the size, age & condition of the home.

SHOULD I BE PRESENT DURING AN INSPECTION?

Yes; we recommend that clients not only be present during the inspection, but also involved. Home Inspection Professionals strive to be the best and a big part of how we do that is by educating our clients about the property they are looking to purchase. By being a part of the process, clients not only become familiar with the subject property but also become informed about the investment opportunity they are faced with.

CAN A HOUSE FAIL AN INSPECTION?

There is no pass or fail. While it is true that a thorough home inspection may uncover areas of concern, some which may present costly repairs, a need for updates and improvements or future maintenance and upkeep challenges, the evaluation may also bring to light attractive and valuable assets which sometimes lie hidden under the surface. HIA’s 1600 point home inspection gives clients a piece of mind, allowing them to be confidence in their buying decision.

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All of our uniformed home inspection professionals are Licensed, Insured and members of ASHI, which has the highest standards of practice and code of ethics. We’ve performed thousands of home inspections and work with some of the top real estate professionals in Washington DC area.