Frequently Asked Questions

 Why Would I Need A Mold Inspection / Mold Sampling?

  • Common reasons for mold inspections include:
  • You are purchasing a new home and your home inspector found some signs of an unknown microbial growth and recommended further review by air sampling or laboratory analysis.
  • To confirm that there is not an existing moisture or mold problem associated with a new building or home that you plan to rent or purchase.
  • To verify that sources of moisture have been successfully stopped and that no residual mold growth has been left after a known water and mold problem has been fixed.
  • If you have an allergic reaction such as a runny nose, sneezing, or itchy eyes associated with being in a certain room or building.

If a specific water problem resulted in mold growth in a specific area, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need a mold inspection. For example, if a roof leak has resulted in moldy ceiling tiles, then simply fixing the roof leak and replacing the ceiling tiles may be all that is necessary.

Is A Mold Inspection Different Than Mold Remediation or Mold Treatment?

Yes, they are different. Capstone Home Inspection Service does mold inspections only!  Capstone does not perform mold remediation!  No conflict of interest!

Mold Inspectionrefers to the process of assessing whether there is or has been undesirable mold growth in a building.  Mold inspections may include a questionnaire about the building history, symptoms observed with the building occupants, a visual inspection, and mold testing.

Mold Remediation (or mold treatment) refers to the process of fixing a mold problem that exists.  Mold remediation may include fixing or resolving the water problem that caused the mold growth and cleaning and removing the mold growth or items affected by the mold growth.

How Do I Know If I Have A Mold Problem?

Essentially, if there is mold growth or a moisture problem, then you have or are likely to have a mold problem.  It really is as simple as this:  “If there has not been a water problem, then there is no mold problem.”  However, determining if there is or has been a moisture problem can sometimes be difficult, especially if people are worried about past water problems that may have been intentionally covered up, as in the case of the sale or rental of a home, or if the leak may have occurred within a wall cavity or other difficult area to directly inspect.  Mold inspections are visual only and are completely non-intrusive.  An experienced home/mold inspector has a trained eye and sophisticated equipment to aid in the inspection.

How Do I Prevent A Mold Problem? (Think Moisture, Moisture, Moisture)

The number one thing to do is prevent water problems and quickly clean up and fix any water problems that arise.  Mold needs water to survive.  This is why you don’t see mold growing on saltine crackers or croutons; they are too dry.  So if you have a leak, fix it.  The trickier problems involve resolving condensation that may take place in basements or bathrooms. In these cases, you may need dehumidifiers or other measures to eliminate the moisture problem.

How Much Do Mold Inspections Cost?

Mold inspection costs vary widely depending on the size of the property, extent of the mold inspection, number of mold samples, and other factors. I’ve heard of price quotes as low as $300 and as high as $3,000.  While cost is clearly an important factor for most people.  You have the ultimate control of the costs.  Capstone may recommend several types of tests or locations for tests.  These recommendations will be presented to you in writing with the associated costs and YOU determine if you want some part or all of the tests performed at the agreed to price before any testing is performed.

Can I remove the mold myself??

Measure Small, Medium or Large –  The size and extent of the apparent mold problem should be measured.  Mold contamination can generally be divided into small jobs (less than 10 square feet of mold), medium (10 to 100 square feet of mold), and large jobs (more than 100 square feet of mold).  A remediation manager should be consulted for medium jobs.  An experienced health and safety professional should be consulted for remediation projects and on large or complex jobs.

Who performs the mold analysis?

Capstone Home Inspection Service collects samples by taking air samples, tape lifts or swabs and completes the chain of custody documentation.  These samples are then either overnight mailed or personally hand delivered to a local laboratory.  PRO-LAB will analyze the samples and generate a thorough and easy to understand report documenting the results of each sample submitted for analysis.   The report will be sent to Capstone Home Inspection Service and Capstone will then forward the results to you.

Is PRO-LAB a recognized laboratory?

PRO-LAB® Laboratories are inspected, licensed, recognized, accredited, certified, affiliated with, endorsed by and/or proficiency tested by a number of governmental agencies and independent associations, including but not limited to the following:

  • AAB American Association of Bioanalysts
  • AARST American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists
  • AIA Americas Inspector Alliance
  • AIAQC American Indoor Air Quality Council
  • AIHA American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA EMPAT # 163230)
  • ASHI American Society of Home Inspectors
  • ASHRAE American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers
  • CREIA California Real Estate Inspectors Association
  • ESA Environmental Solutions Association
  • FABI Florida Association of Home Inspectors
  • GAHI Georgia Association of Home Inspectors
  • IAQA Indoor Air Quality Association
  • IDOPH Iowa Department of Public Health
  • IESO Indoor Environmental Standards Organization
  • KREIA Kentucky Real Estate Inspectors Association
  • TAREI Texas Association of Real Estate Inspectors
  • ISDOH Indiana State Department of Health
  • LEHA The Lead and Environmental Hazards Association
  • MDOHC State of Maine Department of Human Services
  • NACHI National Association of Certified Home Inspectors
  • NADCA National Air Duct Cleaners Association
  • NAHI National Association of Home Inspectors
  • NEHA National Environmental Health Association
  • NFPA National Fire Protection Association
  • NJDEP New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
  • NLAAC National Lead Abatement and Assessment Council
  • NRSB National Radon Safety Board
  • NYSDOH New York State Department of Health
  • ODOH State of Ohio Department of Health
  • PDEP Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
  • WQA Water Quality Association

Six Important Things You Should Know About Mold Inspections

  1. Mold inspections need to be performed by a qualified mold inspector who has formal training and experience with mold inspections.  Training and experience are necessary.
  2. Mold inspections should look for evidence of past or current mold growth.  Past mold growth may indicate a water problem which will come back when certain conditions return such as a recurring leak.  Past mold growth may also cause sensitized individuals to have an allergic reaction or, conceivably, cause some individuals to start becoming sensitized to mold.
  3. Mold inspections should look for mold or conditions conducive to mold within the building or in other areas where mold growth is undesirable, including areas where mold growth could be causing structural issues such as wood decay in crawlspaces.
  4. Some mold growth in buildings may be perfectly normal. For example,Ceratosystis and Ophiostoma are two molds that grow on lumber (sometimes referred to as lumber yard mold) and are frequently found growing on two by fours or other structural framing within buildings.  These molds grow on the sap of wood and stop growing once the wood has dried.  Although they cause black staining on the wood, they do not cause any structural issues.  If black staining is found on wood, the mold inspector can take a sample and send it to the mold testing lab for analysis to determine if it is one of these molds.
  5. It is very important (and some would say essential) that the mold inspection look for sources of moisture.  Water is essential for mold growth. Without a source of water, you will not have mold growth.  Consequently, if there is mold growth, it must be associated with a source of moisture.  If this source of moisture is not found and eliminated, the mold growth will return and remediation efforts are of negligible long term value. The importance of looking for sources of moisture cannot be overstated and must be included.
  6. Mold inspections are a subset of investigations called “Indoor Air Quality” (IAQ) investigations.  These investigations look at the broader question: “What irritants are present in the air causing discomfort to the occupants?”  If you are having a mold inspection because you feel ill when you are in a certain building or room, you might consider whether other irritants may be causing the discomfort and include these in the investigation.

What are molds?

With more than 100,000 species in the world, it is no wonder molds can be found everywhere. Neither animal nor plant, molds are microscopic organisms that produce enzymes to digest organic matter and spores to reproduce. These organisms are part of the fungi kingdom, a realm shared with mushrooms, yeast, and mildews. In nature, mold plays a key role in the decomposition of leaves, wood, and other plant debris. Without mold, we would find ourselves wading neck-deep in dead plant matter. And we wouldn’t have great foods and medicines, such as cheese and penicillin. However, problems arise when mold starts digesting organic materials we don’t want them to, like our homes.

How do molds grow in my home?

Once mold spores settle in your home, they need moisture to begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on. There are molds that can grow on wood, ceiling tiles, wallpaper, paints, carpet, sheet rock, and insulation. When excess moisture or water builds up in your home from say, a leaky roof, high humidity, or flooding, conditions are often ideal for molds. Longstanding moisture or high humidity conditions and mold growth go together. Realistically, there is no way to rid all mold and mold spores from your home; the way to control mold growth is to control moisture.

How can I be exposed to mold?

When molds are disturbed, their spores may be released into the air. You then can be exposed to the spores through the air you breathe. Also, if you directly handle moldy materials, you can be exposed to mold and mold spores through contact with your skin. Eating moldy foods or hand-to-mouth contact after handling moldy materials is yet another way you may be exposed.

How can molds affect my health?

Generally, the majority of common molds are not a concern to someone who is healthy. However if you have allergies or asthma, you may be sensitive to molds. You may experience skin rash, running nose, eye irritation, cough, congestion, and aggravation of asthma. Also if you have an immune suppression or underlying lung disease, you may be at increased risk for infections from molds.

When necessary, some resourceful molds produce toxins in defense against other molds and bacteria called mycotoxins. Depending on exposure level, these mycotoxins may cause toxic effects in people, also. Fatigue, nausea, headaches, and respiratory and eye irritation are some symptoms that may be experienced from exposure to mycotoxins. If you or your family members have health problems that you suspect are caused by exposure to mold, you should consult with your physician.