Should I Order A Mold Test?

Mold Testing Recommendations

Is Mold Testing recommended for families or individuals with environmental or mold sensitivities?

Yes.  Newer homes with very dry basements and crawl spaces (or with excellent dehumidification or closed crawl spaces) may not need additional testing- your home inspector can be asked for more information.

Is Mold Testing recommended for homes with finished basements?

Maybe.  Mold testing can help confirm air quality issues for older basements, musty basements, or basements with active water penetration.  Seen or unseen moisture can become trapped between the foundation walls and finishes which can cause air quality issues over the long-term.  Renovating finished basements with moisture or air quality issues can be very expensive and sometimes mold testing can provide helpful information– especially if the buyer is unsure if renovations are needed.

Is mold testing recommended when moisture issues are already observed?

Depends.  When a lot of water penetration is observed at finished basements, for example, the buyer can be certain that more than typical mold spores will be found in a test.  If a buyer is already budgeting for repairs/renovations than that buyer may consider NOT doing the mold test until AFTER the renovations.  In some cases when a buyer is unsure whether or not renovations/repairs are needed the buyer may opt to do a mold test anyways to verify the extent of the air quality issues.

Should a mold test always be interpreted in relation to a Home Inspection?

Yes, the reliability of the mold test results can be affected by many factors and mold test results are best put into context by a Home Inspector.

The best professional for Mold Testing: The Home Inspector

Because our Federal Agencies have not stated how to test for mold, or what levels are too high– the ‘mold’ industry is unregulated.  Some sales driven companies will offer discounted or even free mold testing however Mold testing is best performed by an un-biased party that does not have a financial interest in ‘mitigation’ or repairs.

The home inspection will typically provide a lot information about water penetration into the home and the potential sources of water.  In all cases, the sources of water penetration will need to be addressed regardless of the result of a mold test.  A mold test should always taken in conjunction with a home inspection as the home inspector is typically the only professional that inspects all the related components of the home– grading, drainage, gutters/downspouts, crawl space, roof, attic, plumbing, plumbing fixtures, HVAC, etc…  Ordering a mold test before a home inspection can save a travel fee, however in some cases, the home inspector may determine that a mold test is not recommended- saving the buyer money.

Can a Home Inspector Tell me if the Levels of Mold is Unsafe or Unhealthy?

A Home Inspector can indicate whether conditions exist that could cause potential health issues however a Home Inspector can offer no opinions about how the mold could affect your health. A doctor or an Industrial Hygienist should be consulted for more information regarding mold and health concerns.

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