More often than ever before, home buyers are having their home inspector perform mold testing while the home inspection is occurring. Mold testing is very valuable to a potential buyer. Mold problems can be expensive and have a negative impact on your family’s health. It’s always best to know what you are getting into before buying a new home. This allows more negotiating power and allows the current owner to resolve the problem rather than passing it off to the new buyer. Being surprised by unexpected mold problems is a bad way to start out with a new home.
So, what does it mean when the results of your mold test comes back with elevated spore counts?
Most home inspectors are not mold inspectors. If a mold test comes back elevated, your first step should be to contact a mold inspector with years of experience to assess what is actually going on in the home and what actions are needed to remove and prevent mold in the future. A complete mold assessment may cost an additional $250- $750 depending on the size, age, and complexity of the property.
You may wonder why a mold assessment is not a standard part of a home inspection, especially when you have had mold testing done. Mold testing is just the first step. A mold test is a broad scan that is only checking to see if there is an elevated spore count in the home.
In general, home inspectors have not been properly trained or certified to perform a thorough mold assessment. Their job is to look for larger problems and inform the buyer to contact a specialist in specific fields. For example, if your home inspector sees an electrical problem, the buyer would contact a licensed electrician. If the home inspector finds a plumbing problem, you should contact a master plumber. A roofing problem is best dealt with by a licensed roofer, and if an elevated mold spore count is detected, a qualified mold inspector should be brought in to assess the situation.
Mold testing results are open for interpretation. There is not an agreed upon number of mold spores, that if exceeded, is considered elevated. Most Indoor Air Quality experts would agree that if the mold spore count of any mold species is higher inside than outside further evaluation is necessary to determine why and where the problem exists.
So, why would your potential dream home have an elevated spore count?
There are too many reasons to list, but some common problems that lead to mold are:
- Damp crawl spaces
- Improperly ventilation, often in the crawl space
- Openings from the crawlspace to the living space
- Leaky air ducts
- HVAC condensate drain problems
- Oversized HVAC
- Basements with elevated humidity
- Improperly ventilated roofs
- Past water damages
- Grading of the lot
This is not a complete list of potential problems, just the most common. A proper inspection is necessary to determine the problem in each individual home.
Most mold remediation projects cost the homeowners between $2500.00 and $12,000.00 to complete. Very few mold problems can be solved for less than $2500.00. If the cost exceeds $12,000, typically the problem is so apparent that everyone knows there is a problem. For example, flooded basement, rot, or an obvious lot grading issue.
Mold testing often leads to more questions than your home inspector can answer and hiring a mold inspector to assess the property is usually the only way to get a better scope of what actions are needed to resolve any mold problems, whether they are small or large. Hiring a qualified inspector can save years of hassle, costs, and health problems for you and your family.
If you are in need of a qualified and certified mold inspector, please give us a call today at (864)895-9500.