When a person suspects they have mold in their home the first step is to contact a certified and licensed mold inspection company. Many people are unsure of where to look for a qualified mold inspector. Whether you live in Philadelphia or in the Philly suburbs, you have access to a significant number of qualified professionals. Once you locate a licensed and certified mold inspector, you’ll want to ask about the fees associated with the inspection and the report. Different companies will have a number of options as far as determining the scope of your mold contamination. If you have a large basement that flooded due to storm or sump pump failure and you have mold all over the walls, you may not need to have mold testing performed. In that case you know you have mold and the scope of the damage is evident.
Ask the mold inspector over the phone or email if they charge to provide an estimate in this type of situation. Many will provide a free verbal estimate, but may charge $200-300 for a written estimate. In cases where the scope of mold contamination is not readily apparent, mold testing must be performed. An example would be when a person finds a little bit of mold growing on a ceiling which recently was damaged from a roof leak.
Now as an experienced mold inspector, I know that if there is mold growing on the surface of the ceiling that very likely there is a much more significant level of growth growing above the ceiling. If there is access to this area such as an attic then we can enter that space and make a visual observation. If there is no access then we may need to perform what we call an “inner-wall air sample”. This is when we must utilize what is known as third party testing. Samples are sent to an accredited laboratory which processes the samples and will identify any fungal species present. This will provide us with the needed information to provide an accurate estimate for repairs.
A good mold inspector will not only look at the area of concern within a home but he or she will perform a thorough inspection of both the exterior and interior of the home as it is very important to completely assess the situation.
Below are some of the key elements of a good mold home inspection.
Other types of mold testing are:
Spore trap- This is the central testing module for indoor air testing. The spore trap collects mold spores by drawing air across an extremely thin membrane which is then analyzed in a lab. This allows us to determine if we have normal levels of fungal ecology or much higher levels which equate to contamination.
Swab- The swab test is used to determine the type of fungal species present. This test is not appropriate for determine the quantity of mold.
Bulk Sampling- Bulk sampling is when you take an entire sample of a building material or other household item (carpet, sheetrock, linen, clothing, framing) and submit it to the laboratory for testing.
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