If you are looking to save money and inspect your own property for water damage and mold, there are some steps that you will need to follow in order to perform a thorough mold inspection. In this article, I will explain to you how to do this in the most effective and safe manner possible.
This is simply the most thorough DIY mold inspection how to list that you will find anywhere on the internet.
The tips I give you below are especially helpful if you are looking to buy a home or to lease a property in order to make sure that it does not have serious water damage and or mold. If you follow these steps and use the right equipment, you can perform your own mold inspection just like the pros.
You can literally save hundreds of dollars by doing this yourself.
It was designed to give you the tips that we pros use to perform own inspections and is based on my own professional training with the International Association of Certified Indoor Air Consultants (IAC2) Mold Inspection Standards of Practice. The end goal of an inspection is to answer 8 general questions that most people have before they start.
1) Is there water intrusion in the building?
2) Are there any components in the building that are water-damaged?
3) Are there musty, moldy odors in the building?
4) Is there any visible, apparent mold?
5) Is that which is visible actually mold?
6) Are there indications of hidden mold growth?
7) Are there conditions conducive to mold growth?
8) What should be done if mold growth is discovered?
This process is not very difficult. But you do need this knowledge if you want to perform this right because you and your family’s health is on the line so please do not take any shortcuts. Follow these simple Mold Safe Solution’s steps and I will help you make your home safe, healthy and happy.
You are going to need a few tools to properly perform a mold inspection. The main tools will be using are your eyes and nose. You will use these to check both the outside and inside of your property for excess moisture, water damage and mold growth.
The first rule of thumb is that if you see or smell musty or mildewy odors, you should assume that a mold problem exists. For example, when you smell mold, you are actually breathing in its spores and its toxic essence. This most likely means that it is airborne and you may have a potentially serious problem on your hands.
You will want to have a notepad or voice recorder to note your discoveries as you walk around the outside and inside of your property. This way you do not forget things and or miss anything.
You will need a camera to take pictures of any areas of concern where you see water damage and or mold. Most cell phone cameras will work just fine. These pictures you will reference later to refresh your memory and use to show your insurance adjustor, for bids from contractors to fix the damage and or can be used for litigation purposes if you are planning to file a lawsuit.
Hidden mold is hard to locate.
The best way to locate it is by a thorough visual inspection with a moisture detector and infrared camera in order to see behind walls and study areas where there are plumbing, roofs, and foundation areas of concern etc.
A good moisture detector is fairly cheap. You can pick up one for approximately $30-50. A good infrared camera is much more expensive and can cost anywhere from $300-$1,000. You may also want to use a humidity meter in order to check the humidity levels of the property. They are pretty cheap at only about $10-$20,
Last but not least, you will need mold testing equipment in order to sample visible mold and or dust particles. They are called Do It Yourself (DIY) home mold test kits. We carry these kits and they are always in stock.
You can either purchase a tape or swab sampling at thins link or call us at 1-855-786-MOLD (6653) and we will ship it to you right away.
You can get by without this equipment, but I highly recommended them if you want to do this right and safely. Now that you know what you need to inspect your property, it’s time to perform the inspection.
Inspect the Outside of the Property First
First, you should inspect the property from the ground level. When you do this, you need to be like a common sense detective searching for possible hazards that would cause water to enter or leak into the home.
The first thing I do when I perform a professional mold inspection is walk around the perimeter of the property in order to visually study the landscape and lot the property sits on and the exterior of the building. I like to start with the front of the home and work my way around clockwise to the back fence or wall and then work my way back around counter-clockwise to the front again and then to the other side of the property to the back fence or wall. I then inspect the back yard of the property.
Check the yard to see if there is a downslope into the structure or any hills where water can be flowing downhill into the foundation or basement. As you are doing this, check underground drainage systems, items that penetrate the exterior siding or covering materials, and obvious signs of water damage.
At the same time, you will also be checking the cladding, flashing, trim, exterior doors, windows, decks, stoops, steps, stairs, porches, railings, eaves, soffits, and fascias.
If you see water stains and or damage, use your moisture detector and infrared camera to see if it is still an active leak or wet. Take pictures and note this on your clipboard or voice recorder to reference later.
While you are walking around the property, you will also be looking at the plumbing and water lines. You will need to inspect hoses, water fixtures, lawn sprinklers, main water line, water supply lines, visible drain(s), waste and vent pipes.
To inspect the roof, you can do it from the ground level, but it is always best to walk the roof in order to perform a complete inspection. But please be very careful if you do decide to walk on the roof. This is the most dangerous part of the job. Many people are seriously injured and die from roof falls ever year. When in doubt, just try to do a good visual from the ground or hire a professional mold inspector.
What you are looking for are cracked or missing roof tiles. You will also inspect the roof drainage system, including gutters and downspouts; the vents, flashings, skylights, chimneys, and any other roof penetrations.
As you can see from the list above, you will be checking everything around and on your home. A simple rule of thumb is to start at the dirt level the property sits on and then move your eyes visually to the water lines, plumbing, foundation, trim, siding, doors, windows, trim, gutters, roof etc.
Once the outside inspection is completed, it is time to inspect the inside of the property.
Inspect the Inside of the Home Last
The first thing you should do before you start the inside inspection is to review your outside inspection notes in order to locate any areas of concern and or water damage. As you walk the inside of the home, you will need to remember these areas so that you can check the inside for any visual and or hidden damage.
You should be looking for any obvious water stains, standing water, moist surfaces or mold growth. Likely areas of past leaks and water damage will include the basement, attic, and any areas with indoor plumbing such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms and around water heater closets.
You are going to inspect the inside in a similar fashion that you did on the outside. I like to start at the front door and work my way clockwise around the home as I visually inspect the interior from top to bottom. Basements, carpets, tiles, wood flooring, walls, drywall, doors, windows, window sills, ceilings, drain pans, duct work, vents, bathrooms, laundry, and attics should all be thoroughly inspected.
If the property has used carpet, you will need to check for moisture and or mold growth. Check to see if the carpet is directly installed on an unsealed cement slab such as on basement floors. The cement can conduct moisture and promote mold growth.
Carpet that has been steam cleaned in the past acts as a sponge for water and can take anywhere from 48-36 hours to dry. Hence, it is the perfect growth medium for mold.
You will want to use your moisture detector to check different areas of the carpet. I recommend you do this with carpet around the front door, bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms where plumbing leaks may have happened in the past so you can check to see if there is any hidden mold growth. Also, check the wooden tack strips under the carpet for water damage, mold, dry rot, and or rust around the tacks.
As you are checking the flooring ie: the carpet, tile and or wood floors for damage, you will also want to look for stains and streaks on walls, doors, window sills, and ceilings. Check for bubbles in the paint, drywall, and or loose wallpaper.
Remember, if you see water stains and or bubbles, use your water moisture detector and infrared camera to check for active water leaks.
Inspect all windows for cracks, and the inside frames and sills of all windows where moisture or mildew might be collecting.
As you are walking around, check the water heating appliances, bathroom fans, and dryers are properly vented.
Look at the air vents and registers all around the home for excessive dust and or mold growth.
Make sure you check under all the sinks and behind walls where there are plumbing fixtures. Stick your whole head under there with a flashlight and take your time looking around because it is VERY common to find mold hidden here from past water leaks.
Inspect the bathrooms thoroughly! Almost all homes have experienced at some point water leaks and or toilets overflowing from clogged drains. Check under the sinks, around the toilet and the shower for any visible water damage or visible mold or mildew (same as mold). Peeling and or missing tiles are a good sign of water damage.
Toilets are also a favorite place from mold around the toilet ring due to past leaks or simply urine dripping down the toilet over time. I cannot tell you how many times I have found mold around the toilet. If the property is over 2 years old, more than likely, there is hidden mold there.
Look for exposed pipes and drains for signs of past or present leakage. Check for water damage and mold growth around, on and in pipes.
Check the heating and air conditioning systems. Look for obvious mold growth and excessive dust on intake air vents, ducts, and filters. Make sure that air conditioning drain pans are pitched for effective drainage and that there is no mold growth in the pan.
Mold Testing Last
The Do It Yourself (DIY) mold tests are performed by you doing either a “tape sampling method” or “culture swab method.”
Surface sampling can be accomplished by using either the tape or swab method which can provide you with enough information to confirm that the sampled mold growth may be producing mold spores in the air. Both tests are very easy to perform and are effective ways to determine if your property has a mold problem and also the relative degree of contamination.
A culture swab test is best for when you have visible mold growth that you want to test in order to determine the kind mold present, or the area is hard to reach, or the surface is very wet and a tape sample will not adhere to the area of concern.
A tape test is often best performed when no mold is visible or if you are not directly testing an active colony of mold such as dust on a window sill or elsewhere like the corners of the rooms in the home. Dust samples may also tell you the history of what mold may be airborne.
These types of Do It Yourself (DIY) tests are not destructive to building materials and or surfaces when performed properly.
With our home mold test kits, you can take as few as one sample of your property or as many as you deem necessary. Our recommendation is that you take at least two samples or the best option would be that you take a sample in each room or area where there is visible mold.
If you need a DIY mold test, please click on this link, or call us at 1-855-786-MOLD (6653).
Mold Safe Solutions Conclusion
Please remember that if leaks are discovered, they should be repaired immediately. If you find mold, don’t panic! The facts are most properties have water damage and mold. Your goal should be to assess how bad the damage is and then see if it can be properly be removed and remediated.
Mold Safe Solutions also offers professional one-hour consultations that will help answer your questions and concerns in order to give you real solutions to your mold problems. Our consultations will save you hours and hours of research and also a lot of money by helping you not make any costly mistakes.
Our professional mold safe consultations are conducted over Skype or the phone. You will be given a questionnaire to fill out before the consultation in order to get the details of your story so we can be fully prepared to give you safe solutions to your problems.
Don’t waste your money, precious time or your health by doing this all alone.
To order a professional mold consultation, please click on this link to contact us or call 1-855-786-MOLD (6653).