Mold Inspections: Your Complete Guide to Keeping a Mold-Free Home

Something anyone purchasing a new home should do is have a mold inspection. Mold inspections differ from standard housing inspections, and the cost varies with the size of your home. What happens during a mold inspection? What are the signs of mold, and how can you prevent it from growing in your home?

These are excellent questions if you know what happens during these unfortunate circumstances. There are specific situations where you might require a mold inspection.

We’ve done all the hard work for you and developed a complete guide on keeping your home mold-free by conducting a mold inspection.

Mold on the ceiling

Table of Contents

What is a Mold Inspection and What Happens During the Process?

During a mold inspection, an inspector will inspect your home for mold. Aside from an old-fashioned flashlight and specific tools to access hard-to-reach areas, it may involve special equipment. Some mold inspectors use cameras and a moisture meter to determine if one particular area of your home is wet, especially after mold remediation.

Throughout the mold inspection, an inspector will talk to you, the homeowner, about areas of concern that may have water damage and moisture issues in the past. An inspector will inspect the home thoroughly, looking in areas prone to mold growth, and if there is a chance that mold is present in a hard-to-reach location, the inspector might need to remove a piece of drywall or paneling to get a better view.

If an inspector detects mold, they will try to find the source of moisture causing mold and talk to you about developing a mold remediation plan. In many areas, mold inspectors should have a certification or license. When searching for a mold remediation company, you should always be looking for an experienced company.

According to experts, a mold inspection is unnecessary if you can visibly see mold. Mold inspections allow you to move forward with mold remediation without paying a professional for an inspection. However, the remediation process will generally involve an expert to determine the extent of your mold probably, which is considered a visual inspection.

What is the Difference Between a Mold Inspection vs. Mold Testing?

While researching mold, you might come across several services mentioning mold inspections and testing. During a mold inspection, an inspector will identify the mold’s presence and the contaminated area’s size.

Mold testing identifies what specific type of mold is in your home and the mold spore count in the air. Here are some areas to remember when researching mold inspections and mold testing.

  • Proper mold testing in controlled conditions such as homes is complex so results may vary, regardless of mold remediation efforts.
  • Mold spores can drift into indoor areas from the outdoors. Mold tests provide a long list of different kinds of mold spores, many of which don’t typically grow inside homes.

The EPA has no set guidelines for the amount of mold spores in a home. Organizations like the New York Department of Labor say mold testing isn’t always helpful. For this reason, they recommend hiring a professional to search for growing mold colonies. However, it’s essential to note that many inspections include mold testing, most in areas required by law.

6 Signs of Mold in Your Home

Sign of Mold in Your Home - Exit Mold

1. Worse Allergies

According to the CDC, mold is one of the most common indoor triggers for homeowners. Mold spores are airborne irritants that can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms such as:

  • Congestion
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Itchy throat, nose, and eyes
  • Dry skin
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing

If you notice these symptoms worsening while you’re indoors, this may be a sign of mold exposure. You may also worsen symptoms when entering only specific areas of your home, such as attics or crawl spaces. 

2. Musty Odors

One of the first signs of mold you’ll most likely notice is musty odors. The smell typically starts as faint and intensifies as conditions worsen. As mold grows, it releases mVOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the air. When mixed with chemicals, this can produce unpleasant, musty smells.

If you notice a strange, musty odor and aren’t sure of the source, then there’s a chance your home could have mold. 

3. Peeling Wallpaper

If you have an older home with wallpaper and notice peeling or bubbling sections, this may be a sign that mold is growing. Changes in humidity and temperature, particularly during the summer, result in peeling wallpaper from condensation. Moisture becomes trapped underneath, causing the wallpaper to loosen, leading to mold growth.

4. Stains on Ceilings or Walls

If mold is growing on your walls or ceiling, you’ll notice it most likely has a dark-colored appearance. While discoloration comes in various shades, brown or black are the most common. Other shades of mold include yellow, blue, white, green, or gray. One way to determine if the shade is mold is if the mold has texture, such as fuzzy, slimy, or soft.

Mold stains also appear on water-damaged surfaces; however, sometimes, it’s difficult to tell since moisture can build up within or underneath walls. 

5. Moisture Issues

If your home has high humidity or a recent water leak, mold is always a growing risk. Mold spores, typically inactive and harmless in the air, can’t grow without moisture. Mold requires humid, wet, or damp conditions to develop into full-blown mold.

Here are several other conditions you’ll want to look out for that may cause mold to grow in your home:

  • Condensation
  • Water from severe weather
  • Poor kitchen or bathroom ventilation
  • Leaky pipes

6. Chronic Headaches

Aside from allergy symptoms, mold exposure can contribute to chronic sickness. Mold exposure occurs when poor indoor air quality is in closed environments such as homes or apartments. Chronic headaches are the most prevalent sickness among homeowners when exposed to mold.

With significant mold exposure, you may notice headaches in as little as a few hours when entering a contaminated area and improving within minutes of leaving the area.

How Can I Prevent Mold in My Home?

Removing mold in your home can become a significant task, and if mold contamination is widespread, remediation can sometimes be a costly expense. The best solution to mold prevention is to stop it before it begins. Here are some helpful tips on how you can prevent mold in your home:

  • Repair Leaks—Whether you have a leaky pipe or a leak in your roof, you should fix leaks immediately to keep moisture out of your home.
  • Dry Areas—If you’ve recently experienced a flood or have condensation from your AC unit, you should ensure you dry the areas within 24 to 48 hours. Since mold requires moisture to grow, this is a vital step to ensure prompt drying.
  • Humidity Control—Moisture can develop in humid environments, causing mold to build on many surfaces. During the summer, you can use a dehumidifier in these areas. In bathrooms and kitchens, ensure adequate ventilation to keep humidity levels low and moisture under control.

Since mold is a severe problem, spotting mold contamination when it occurs is crucial to saving money on costly repairs. In the long term, the cost of mold inspections is worth it if you’re purchasing a new home. If you see mold in your home, you should remove it immediately.

If you’re in need of mold remediation, contact Exit Mold today!

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