Indoor Air Quality & Mold

Mold and Mildew Testing

Upstate AllPro Inspections utilizes EMLab P&K, the leading commercial indoor air quality (IAQ) testing laboratory in North America.

We send out samples from your home for lab analysis of air and surface samples for mold, fungi, bacteria, asbestos and allergens.

possible-aspergillium-penicillin-and-stachbotrys-found-in-upstate-sc-home-inspection
mold-inspection-upstate-sc

The above images show evidence of possible aspergillum penicillin and stachybotrys found in residential inspection, which were sent for  testing.

The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Aspergillus, Stachybotrys, Fusarium, Penicillium, and Alternaria. Spores from these molds produce mycotoxins, which are toxic to humans if inhaled, eaten, or touched.

Water penetration into a crawl space.
Water penetration into a crawl space.

INDOOR AIR QUALITY (IAQ)  

The presence of mold, VOC’s, and other micro-debris inside a house is of great interest to a lot of folks. Some people have real concerns due to a compromised respiratory system (asthma, severe allergies, etc.). The Center for Disease Control (CDC) article linked on this page contains some pretty level-headed, factual information. It is worthwhile reading, if only to counter the sensationalism that abounds in local news broadcasts. As home inspectors we are often asked our opinion on various circumstances regarding these household irritants.

So here is the scoop from AllPro Inspections as we see it….

MOLD IN CRAWL SPACES AND LIVING SPACES

We have inspected countless homes in the southeast and can assure you that mold is quite plentiful in our region. Due to the significant humidity, rainfall, and foliage, mold is commonplace in crawl spaces. In fact, a crawl space (other than new construction) with no visible mold is rarely seen. It is our protocol at AllPro Inspections to document the growth we see with pictures and appropriate verbiage. In most cases there is very little to be concerned about. However, there are a few things to watch out for in the crawl space as they can readily transfer the spores into the living space: Gaps around plumbing and electrical floor penetrations, tears in HVAC ductwork, and substantial growth on sub-flooring. In addition, many spore types are small enough to travel into the living space during pressure changes (appliance venting) even if there are no visible gaps in the flooring. This is much more likely to happen if there is a high concentration of spores in the crawl space.
Mold spores are also found in the living space in ALL HOUSES. Under normal circumstances the presence of spores inside the living space is due to passing through open windows and doors. What you don’t want is mold that is propagating within the house, which can lead to a high concentration of spores. This can happen when there is water intrusion caused by countless sources: window/door/roof leaks, plumbing leaks, poorly vented bathrooms/kitchens, etc.
All that being said, what really matters is stopping or limiting mold growth. That simply means removing water from the equation. A house that is deemed to have a “mold problem” really has a water problem. Much like if you slice your finger with a knife you don’t have a “blood problem” (unless you are wearing an expensive white shirt!), you have a cut problem. Mend the cut and the blood will stop flowing – mend the water intrusion source and the mold will stop propagating. Once the water intrusion source is taken care of, whatever mold had already grown will remain and become dormant. This leads us to the next question we frequently hear….

SHOULD I REMOVE VISIBLE MOLD?

Whether or not to clean, or to what extent to clean existing mold growth is quite subjective. It can be as simple as wiping down a hard surface with detergent, or as extreme as replacing all affected materials. The appropriate course of action will depend on the specific circumstances as well as your own opinion as to what is acceptable to you. If you are faced with this dilemma, we recommend you collect information from unbiased sources and come to a conclusion that makes sense to you.

ALLPRO IAQ TESTING SERVICES

AllPro inspectors are trained, knowledgeable, and unbiased. If you would like to pursue surface or air testing in a home we will be happy to provide you with a cost effective plan. All of our sample analysis is performed by AEML.Inc. They provide 100% trace analysis at 600x magnification which insures the most reliable and accurate information. The report is also concise and easy to read.

CDC link for more general information on mold.

Misaligned drain pan in attic
Misaligned drain pan in attic
Water penetration in roof causing mold.
Water penetration in roof causing mold.
Water penetration around a chimney in the attic.
Water penetration around a chimney in the attic.
Moisture Reading
Moisture Reading