Consumers who are purchasing a home may be curious about the need for mold testing. This service is typically not included in a standard home inspection, but is the extra expense worthwhile? Those who see signs of mold in their homes might also be concerned about next steps, both about whether testing is required and how mold is removed if its presence is detected. Here are a few scenarios in which getting a home professionally tested for mold makes sense.
Why Is It Needed?
While most types of mold are benign, a few rare species can become airborne. When these mold spores are inhaled, they can cause toxic allergic reactions including fevers, rashes, and asthma attacks. Critically, disturbing mold growth in the home can release spores into the air, which can worsen the problem. For this reason, professional remediation is recommended.
In addition to health problems, mold can cause serious damage to the structure of the home. Mold can grow in crawlspaces and other hidden areas, causing unseen stress on wood and insulation.
Conditions that Breed Mold
Homeowners who experience a flood or people shopping for a home in a flood zone should absolutely have mold testing done. Mold can grow in as little as 24 hours with exposure to moist, humid conditions. What’s more, mold is often invisible to the naked eye, particularly when it exists within the walls and structure of the home. When mold is visible, such as under the sink or in the basement, it doesn’t necessarily mean that mold removal is required.
Other Telltale Signs of Mold
Homeowners and buyers should also consider professional mold testing if they notice allergy symptoms that are associated with a room or area in the home. And while mold might be a problem that’s traditionally associated with older homes, new homes are at risk as well. That’s because new construction is designed to be airtight for energy efficiency, but this restricts air flow within the walls. This makes mold more likely to grow if moisture becomes trapped in the structure of the home.
If mold is not visible, residents of the home might notice a moldy or musty smell, which is often an indicator of a moisture problem.
What’s Involved in Mold Testing?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, mold testing should follow the guidelines set out by the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. A professional will test the home for mold and spores as well as identify water sources that lead to mold growth. Not only does mold need to be completely cleaned up by a professional remediator, but he must also eliminate the water source. When ignoring this step, mold will continue to grow unabated even after it is removed. And often, mold growth can point to serious structural problems within a home, including issues with the foundation.
Signs of mold in the home are a serious matter that can lead not only to health complications but also to significant property damage. Having this problem remediated is critical for the well-being of all the home’s occupants.