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Mold > Testing & Investigation > Why Test: Do You Really Need It?

Darryl Riddle of 877QuicDry Houston, Tx, checks a mold sample with the latest microbial technology.

Darryl Riddle of 877QuicDry (877-784-2379) Houston, Tx, checks a mold sample with the latest microbial technology.

  1. Determining the Services Required to Address Your Concerns

    Before you can address this issue, you must first fully conclude why you have a concern and what you need to gain from having testing or an investigation performed. Below are some common concerns we see regularly and our suggestion(s) for each:

    1. We are buying a new home and want to be reasonably certain we are not buying into a mold or bacterial problem.

      This is a very common scenario. It's important to understand that a typical home inspection only addresses abnormal visible mold. No tests are performed for hidden mold in typical inspections. The first question to ask yourself is, "Is there a reason you believe this structure may have a fungal or bacterial issue?". Some common reasons are as follows:

      1. The seller disclosed a sewage back-up but……
        1. There was no testing performed to ensure it was cleaned up properly.
        2. The owners cleaned it up themselves.
        3. Testing was performed but we would simply feel more comfortable having a third party confirmation that the remediation was complete.
        4. The insurance scope was not fully executed or we feel it may not have been fully executed.
      2. The seller disclosed a water event but..
        1. There was no testing performed to ensure it was dried properly.
        2. The owners dried it up themselves.
        3. Testing was performed but we would simply feel more comfortable having a third party confirmation that the remediation was complete.
        4. The insurance scope was not fully executed or we sense it may not have been fully executed.
      3. We don't sense any problems but we simply want to be diligent about an investment of this magnitude.
      4. We have infants, elderly, asthmatic, or other immuno-compromised persons within our family or staff and we must be reasonably certain that no abnormal microbial conditions exist in the structure before we purchase or occupy.
      5. The seller failed to disclose a water or sewage event but the home had an odor that concerned us.
      6. Flooding occurs in the area of the home and we want to ensure it has no abnormal microbial issues in the event a flood was not disclosed or in the event the flood was held back by the exterior sheathing, possibly causing an issue within the exterior walls.
      7. The exterior of the home we are considering purchasing is in a state is disrepair and we are concerned that water could have entered the exterior and caused mold inside.
      8. The home we are considering purchasing has recently had the roof replaced, and has had the roof longer than its anticipated life, or has other roofing issues and we are concerned that water could have entered the attic and caused mold inside.
      9. The home we are considering purchasing has not been kept well on the interior and we are concerned that the carpet or other surfaces may be a source of mold amplification.
      10. The home we are considering purchasing shows signs of damage under the kitchen or vanity sink, at a tub or shower, near a washer/dryer connection, near an exterior door or window, near a flue or fireplace, around a water heater, etc. and we are concerned the water could have caused mold.
      11. The home we are considering purchasing has something green, gray, or black growing on the siding and we are concerned it is mold.
        1. In all but the most extreme cases, exterior mold (and often what appears to be mold but isn't) is not a cause for great concern.  It can usually simply be safely chemically treated and pressure washed off.
      12. The home we are considering purchasing has plant beds elevated above the slab and they seem to not have adequate drainage away from the home making us concerned the water may have entered the weep holes or the wall’s interior.
      13. The home we are considering purchasing has a patio, sidewalk, or other solid deck that seems to not have adequate drainage away from the home and we are concerned the water may have entered the weep holes or the walls interior.
      14. The home we are considering buying has a crawl space that holds water or shows signs of having held water and we are concerned mold could have formed and may be entering the home.
      15. The home we are buying has what seems to mold on the air conditioning grills.
      16. The home we are considering purchasing has what appears to be mold growing on the ducts or other items in the attic.
      17. The home we are buying is older and we are concerned that the building practices of the period may not have allowed for proper ventilation, flashing, or other issues of the period.
      18. The home we are buying is older or was not kept well and we are concerned that insect or rodent deposits and dust mites may be at unhealthy levels.

    2. We are selling our home and would like to either address a known problem or assess a potential one.

      * See the issues contained within the buyer section and reverse the roles.  Many buyers simply shy away from homes with issues that have not been professionally addressed.

    3. We value the healthy state of the environment within our home or business and recent issues have led us to consider the services of a microbial expert.
      1. We had a sewage back-up or overflow.
      2. We have had a recent water related event (flood or plumbing).
      3. We have previously had a water related event but it was checked by a microbial professional.
      4. A family member or employee has missed work or has threatened legal action as a result of a perceived microbial problem.
      5. We see what we believe to be mold.
      6. We smell what we think could be mold when the air conditioning unit is running.
      7. We see what we think is mold around or on the air conditioning supply registers, ducts, or equipment.
      8. We smell something abnormal that we believe could be fungal or bacterial in nature.
      9. We see shadowing under or on the paint or wall covering.
      10. Our windows, air conditioning grills, or other items are regularly condensing heavily enough to wet adjacent surfaces.
      11. Our ceiling tiles have an ongoing wetting pattern that seems to be producing mold.
      12. Our door weather stripping allows notable quantities water to enter during heavy rains.
      13. Our structure is clad with EIFS (exterior insulating and finishing system) (cementitious veneer over a rigid insulation).
      14. Our operations utilize water and we want to cure or prevent a mold problem.
      15. Our operations are prone to fluid leaks and we would like to implement plans to prevent mold growth when they occur.

     

  2. Now that I have verified the microbial concern, what are my goals related to the testing?

    To answer this question, you must address your concerns. The concerns often fall into one of the following areas:

    1. I am concerned that the potential condition could be detrimental to my health or the health of others around me.

      Goal:  Identify the problem and its magnitude then address it in the manner that best addresses my concerns.  Always address health concerns to a medical professional.

    2. I am concerned that the potential condition will hinder the sell of my property or lessen its value.

      Goal: Identify the problem and its magnitude then address it in as cost-effective but complete a manner as possible.

    3. I am concerned the condition may worsen.

      Goal: Asses the root cause and determine whether the issue could worsen, then address the cause as required.

    4. I am aware of the potential consequences of abnormal microbial conditions within my structure or home and simply want to make mold screening a periodic portion of the sound maintenance and inspection practices for my property.

      Goal: Cost-effectively determine whether a problem exists at all.

    5. I am concerned a potential microbial condition could be a liability for my firm.
      Goal: Discretely determine the technical aspects of any real or perceived liabilities.
      1. Employee health complaints or the potential thereof
      2. Product contamination liability
      3. Potential loss of business to physical attributes of mold
    6. I am concerned a potential microbial issue could lessen the value of an potential investment.

      Goal: Assess the risk and modify my offer accordingly.

    7. I need help determining my options for mold control or remediation.

      Goal: Acquire information on process for both.

    8. I need cost related consultation for an existing problem.

      Goal: Acquire competent financial data.

    9. I need consultation to help me avoid potential business loss due to a microbial issue.

      Goal: Acquire competent technical data that best alleviates buyer perception and other issues..

      1. Buyer perception
      2. Remediation and construction acceleration to minimize continuing expenses and lost market share