Mold Inspection

The inspector should ensure that their inspection and inspection report will meet all applicable requirements in your state, if applicable, and will comply with a well-recognized standard of practice and code of ethics. You should be able to request and see a copy of these items ahead of time and ask any questions you may have. If there are any areas you want to make sure are inspected, be sure to identify them upfront.

The inspector should be able to provide his or her history in the profession and perhaps even a few names as references. Newer inspectors can be very qualified, and many works with a partner or have access to more experienced inspectors to assist them in the inspection.

Related experience in construction or engineering is helpful, but is no substitute for training and experience in the unique discipline of home inspection. If the inspection is for a commercial property, then this should be asked about as well.

California regulations strictly forbid this as a conflict of interest.

The average on-site inspection time for a single inspector is two to three hours for a typical single-family house. Anything significantly less may not be enough time to perform a thorough inspection.

Costs vary dramatically, depending on the region, size, and age of the house, scope of services, and other factors. Consider the value of the home inspection in terms of the investment being made. Cost does not necessarily reflect quality.

Ask to see samples and determine whether or not you can understand the inspector’s reporting style and if the time parameters fulfill your needs. Most inspectors provide their full report within 24-48 hours of the inspection.

This is a valuable educational opportunity, and an inspector’s refusal to allow this should raise a red flag. Never pass up this opportunity to see your prospective home through the eyes of an expert.

There are many state and national associations for home inspectors. Request to see their membership ID and perform whatever due diligence you deem appropriate.

One can never know it all, and the inspector’s commitment to continuing education is a good measure of his or her professionalism and service to the consumer. This is especially important in cases where the home is much older or includes unique elements requiring additional or updated training.

Mold Testing

Mold testing cost is dependent on many different factors. For instance, types of mold testing that may be required and how many different samples are needed depends on what type of condition the property is in, has there been current or active leaks? Have there been any water losses? The only way to answer these questions is by completing a comprehensive mold inspection on site. This allows the hygienist to pinpoint and locates each individual area of potential contamination. The comprehensive inspection is the key component in determining the source of the contamination and the presence of mold. The site assessment also allows us to develop a mold sampling protocol that will best fit the client's needs. Comprehensive mold inspection cost depends on the square footage of your property. With that vital information, we can provide clear pricing to complete your mold inspection and mold testing.

If a general home inspector identifies areas that may have actual visible mold or areas of suspected mold, they will most likely red flag the suspect area and consult their client to have the area(s) evaluated further by a properly certified mold inspection firm. If this is the case with your home, do not panic! We can come to your property and provide a site assessment of the areas of concern and confirm whether mold contamination is present or not. If the laboratory returns a report that shows that fungi were not detected during analysis, then we can provide a report stating that the suspect areas do not contain any findings of concern via our investigation and data received by the accredited laboratory. If the laboratory confirms that, in fact, mold contamination is present, then we will provide you with a detailed report which includes a scope of work so you as the client know exactly what to expect for a successful mold remediation/removal. We also can provide our clients with a list of properly certified mold remediation companies.

If your home has been tested positive for mold and a proper comprehensive mold investigation has been completed by an ACAC accredited mold inspector/hygenist, you must contact an ACAC/IICRC certified mold remediation/removal contractor to review our report, make a site visit and provide you a detailed written estimate for work to be performed. Once you have hired an accredited remediation contractor and the contractor notifies you that the work is complete and areas are ready for post-remediation clearance, you must retain the hiring ACAC certified mold inspection company to inspect and re-assess the area(s) to ensure all mold has been removed successfully. An indoor air quality sample must be taken from outside of the property, and one within the specified containment to ensure that the air quality is within a normal fungal ecology, and the build back of the areas may begin. Once air sample analysis has been returned by an AIHA accredited third-party laboratory indicating a normal fungal ecology, you will be provided a clearance report certifying that remediation efforts were completed successfully and to industry standards.

Asbestos Testing

An asbestos survey is required prior to any demolition or renovation of any structure no matter the year the structure was built. The only exception to the survey requirement is the renovation activity of residential single-unit dwellings (houses) in which less than 100 square feet of the surface area of intact (not damaged) material is removed or stripped. ACAC or Certified Site Surveillance Technician (CSST) is trained to be able to identify homogenous-suspect materials and can presume or assume the material is Asbestos-Containing Material (ACM).

People may be exposed to asbestos in their workplace, their communities, or their homes. If products containing asbestos are disturbed, tiny asbestos fibers are released into the air. When asbestos fibers are breathed in, they may get trapped in the lungs and remain there for a long time. Over time, these fibers can accumulate and cause scarring and inflammation, which can affect breathing and lead to serious health problems. Asbestos has been classified as a known human carcinogen (a substance that causes cancer) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. According to IARC, there is sufficient evidence that asbestos causes mesothelioma (a relatively rare cancer of the thin membranes that line the chest and abdomen), and cancers of the lung and larynx. Mesothelioma is the most common form of cancer associated with asbestos exposure. Asbestos exposure may also increase the risk of asbestosis, an inflammatory condition affecting the lungs that can cause shortness of breath, coughing, and permanent lung damage. 

It is our opinion that the assumed ACBM (Asbestos Containing Building Material) not to be touched! Most asbestos building material in residential properties is considered friable material, meaning that it can be crushed and turned to dust with simple hand pressure. Doing so can release millions of asbestos fibers into the breathing air which can be inhaled by the occupants of the dwelling. Remember, asbestos does not have a smell nor can we feel these microfibers enter our nose or mouth. Asbestos inhalation exposure is the leading cause of Mesothelioma, cancers, and diseases. Most of these cancers have a latency period of approximately 30-40 years, meaning if an occupant is exposed to excessive asbestos fibers symptoms do not normally show up for 40 years after exposures.

Air Quality Testing

Symptoms related to poor air quality exposure vary from person to person. In most cases, individuals with a weakened immune system, immuno-compromised, autoimmune disorder, asthma, cancer, or allergies show worse exposure symptoms compared to a healthy individual. However, prolonged exposure to mold contaminants and toxins can have adverse health effects on anyone exposed to it. Some exposure symptoms include respiratory distress, coughing, skin rash, sneezing, sinusitis, difficulty swallowing, choking, spitting up (vomiting) mucous, Hypersensitivity pneumonitis, Asthmatic signs; wheezing, shortness in breath, coughing, burning in lungs, etc., Irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, diarrhea, sharp abdominal pains, stomach lesions, Memory loss; brain fog, slurred speech, Thyroid irregularities, Headaches, Chronic fatigue, Reproductive system complications, and Seizures, inadvertent body jerking, twitching.

Air quality testing can detect a number of airborne contaminants. Some of the more common contaminants that air quality testing shows are: Identification and enumeration of fungal spores, total dander, fiber and pollen counts, cellulose fibers, dander, fiberglass, and other particles that may affect indoor air quality and bacteria and viruses. 

Each Air Quality test consists of two samples, one from the suspected area, and one base sample from outside to compare the two. General indoor air quality testing duration normally lasts between 10-15 minutes per sample, plus set up a time for equipment. However, if a client would like to determine the prolonged exposure potential to suspected airborne contaminants we also offer a 24-48 hour air monitoring system to show a more accurate depiction of the home's indoor air quality.

Poor indoor air quality can cause a variety of negative health side effects, including:

  • Irritated eyes, noses, and throats
  • Shortness of breath
  • Aggravated asthma
  • Respiratory problems
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Heart concerns

The longer a person is exposed to and breathing air pollutants, the more severe these health consequences can be. In general, children and seniors are the most at-risk, as well as people with pre-existing allergies or respiratory conditions.

Exposure to contaminants in the air can affect everyone’s health, not just people who live in big, polluted cities. We should all care about contaminants that could worsen our health and ability to breathe.

Ignoring the signs of contaminated air can lead to many of the health concerns listed above, and in serious cases, even hospitalization or premature death. Air quality is certainly not something anyone should take lightly.

Whether you’re using a fancy Wi-Fi-enabled air quality monitor or a simple particle counter, all of these electronic devices work to test your air and alert you when something is wrong. Their sensors detect the presence of dangerous particles including VOCs, CO, CO2, and more.

A simple particle counter will help you understand what’s in your air like:

  • Bacteria
  • Mold
  • Smoke
  • Dust
  • Plat spores
  • Pollens
  • Dust

Particle counters provide some general information, but if you want to know more about specific types of particles or gases in your home, you’ll likely need to look for a higher-quality monitor. Today, you can find WiFi and Bluetooth-enabled monitors that will even connect to your phone.

You probably already have a CO detector in your home. Both radon and CO are invisible and scentless, which makes it impossible for humans to identify them without the help of a detector.

Detectors, in general, do work. They are calibrated to measure radon and CO with a high level of accuracy and effectiveness.

You might have seen air cleaners or purifiers touted online - and they do help with many contaminants such as dust and pollen. However, a basic purifier won’t catch anything more dangerous like volatile organic compounds or radon. For that, you need something more high-functioning.

Also - remember to change your purifier’s filter at least every three months. Otherwise, you might be blowing out dust and other contaminants as much as you remove them.

The most effective air cleaners are “HEPA” filters. These will be adequate enough to filter out large particles including smoke and allergens.

An EER rating refers to the “Energy Efficiency Ratio,” a standardized measurement of how efficient an air conditioner is. The SEER rating is the “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio,” which measures how efficiently an air conditioner works over an entire season.

The EPA’s official recommendation is that you have your air ducts cleaned as needed. You should also have your ducts inspected before each heating season to avoid the spread of carbon monoxide from fireplaces, stoves, or other fuel-burning appliances.

The EPA lists the four most dangerous indoor air pollutants as cigarette smoke, formaldehyde, radioactive radon-222 gas, and very small, fine particles that can enter human bloodstreams and cause a variety of health concerns.

Many of our clients wonder how often they should test the air in their homes. We like to remind them that as environmental factors and conditions indoors change, so does the risk of contaminants within your airflow.

We recommend that homeowners check their air quality at least once during warm summer seasons or during a yearly dramatic weather change. If you make big changes in your house, like painting rooms or buying lots of new furniture, you may also be dealing with new chemicals in the air and request an air quality check

Yes - although not to the same extent that professionals can. There are indoor air quality monitors you can install in your home to notify you when contaminants are present or risks are high. These are small electronic devices that can test for particulate matter, chemicals, and humidity. Some even test for carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.

The short answer is yes - it’s good to know what your home’s humidity levels are. The EPA recommends keeping them around 30 to 50 percent. You can determine what your levels are with a digital humidity meter from any hardware store.

An IAQ test is the best way to truly measure indoor air quality. It can be conducted through various methods and will assess radon, mold, and VOC levels.

If you suspect that something is compromising the air quality in your home or office, scheduling an indoor air quality test is the best way to rule out dangerous pollutants or identify and remove contaminants.

The EPA lists the four most dangerous indoor air pollutants as cigarette smoke, formaldehyde, radioactive radon-222 gas, and very small, fine particles that can enter human bloodstreams and cause a variety of health concerns.

Although the answer depends on many different conditions, an indoor air quality test typically costs between $250 and $300. To learn more, request information from a local air quality testing professional. The more thorough the inspection report will be, the more you will pay.

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