Do You Need A Mold Inspection?

Southwest Florida Mold Inspection and Testing

Often the first questions residential and commercial mold remediation clients ask is how do I know if I really need mold inspection and testing? The second question is usually what is the average mold inspection cost?

We’re always happy to answer all questions, but first things first.

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mold assessment reports

When a mold inspection should be considered

  • When it is not visible, but symptoms are present. Here is a list of mold growth symptoms.
  • Flood, standing water or leak that has lasted for more than 48 hours.
  • When buying a new home
  • When you, or a family member, feels sick whenever at home. Symptoms include allergy like symptoms, nausea, asthma, headaches, coughing, sneezing, etc.
  • You have a musty smell

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Places for Mold Inspections

  • Ceilings and Walls
  • Hardwood Floors
  • Vinyl Flooring
  • Doors and Windows
  • Hot Water Heaters
  • Sinks
  • Shower and Tub Surrounds
  • Toilets
  • Bathroom Rooms
  • Laundry Rooms
  • Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Systems
  • Basements
  • Crawlspaces
  • Attics
  • HVAC

What Takes Place During a Mold Inspection in Southwest Florida?

Our mold inspections include a thorough examination of the property grounds, building exterior, crawl space, attic and interiors. We assess the property to determine indicators of excess moisture and water damage, identify active growth and take samples.

Mold is microscopic.  By the time you see mold a 1” square contains 65 million spores according to the American Industrial Hygiene Association.  So what about the  “invisible” or microscopic mold you cannot see?  Our inspections are designed to look for indicators of these microscopic spores.  If you have mold in one room how do you know the spores have not traveled throughout your HVAC system into other areas of the structure?  These are all important considerations in a proper, complete mold inspection. Once the inspection is complete, a highly detailed report is provided from American Mold Experts and an advisor will make suggestions on how to approach the moisture issue and the infected area(s).

Mold needs a combination of oxygen, food and moisture to grow, and since it can eat almost any porous surface, moisture and high humidity levels are usually what triggers the growth. During the inspection, the inspectors seek out the cause of this excessive moisture and identify any active growth and sample potential infected areas.

Inspections, testing and remediation are all completely confidential. Our inspectors will arrive in unmarked cars, as we do realize that having mold in your home is not something that you would like for your neighbors to know. For added safety, American Mold Experts in Southwest Florida will send you an appointment reminder with a photo of the inspector who will arrive at your home.

Once the inspection is finished, a comprehensive report is sent to your mold advisor. The report is reviewed and your advisor will make any suggestions on how to deal with the moisture issue and the infected area(s).

Air Sampling Test Report Sample

Swab Test Report Sample

When to Consider Mold Testing Services

Mold testing services are not always a requirement; for example, if you have already made the decision to get a mold remediation, we may not require a pre-test. However, we usually perform a post-remediation test 72 hours after the remediation to be sure that the microscopic mold is back to acceptable levels and your home is mold safe. This process makes sure that the remediation process has been done thoroughly. We include this post-remediation test on all fully warrantied jobs.

Our mold testing services are provided through an unbiased 3rd party lab. Testing is conducted to assess the level of contamination and the type of mold. We compare the results with the base standards to determine the saturation level in the air. Each sample taken follows a chain of custody to a 3rd party lab. A full report will be provided with the advisor’s suggestion. The turnaround time for test results is 24-48 hours.

Stages of Mold Testing:

Scientists tell us in order to get an accurate assessment of a building they would request a sample taken every 1000 square feet.  Since that would be very costly we consider how best to get indicators of what is going on in a building.  More tests are always better but to keep costs down we typically will take an air sample near the return air with the theory that the return air vents circulates a larger sampling of the home air and can be a good indicator of what you might be breathing.  We include a second air test in our fee and the inspector will make a judgment of where to take the second test based on his observation and the building occupants input.  So if a client feels worse in the bedroom and there is not obvious water or mold then most likely he will choose that location.  Another consideration is if there is obvious water damage or mold in one room you might take a sample from a nearby room to see if there might be indicators of cross contamination.  Lastly in our cost includes a tape sample.  If there is an area and we are not sure if a substance is mold, dust or other material the inspector might take a tape sample to see if the lab deems it an active mold colony.

A client can certainly request additional samples at $60 each and the inspector might recommend additional tests based on evidence and concern.  But no additional tests will be performed without the client’s permission.

1. Air Sampling

American Mold Experts usually samples the indoor air, which is also known as air sampling. This air quality testing for mold tells what the level of airborne fungi is in the indoor environment by species.

2. Swab Test

Swab testing uses a swab to gently roll over a 1 inch surface to be tested, then is sealed and sent to the lab for examination. Swab tests are generally used to detect and determine what type is present; however, this test does not typically identify spore count.

3. Tape slide test

Tape slide tests are similar to swab test. A piece of tape is placed onto the area to be tested, lightly tapped and lifted.  It is then placed onto a glass micro slide, or other safe test surface. The tape slide is then sealed and sent to the microbiology lab for examination.

4. Bulk testing

Bulk testing involves taking an actual sample of building materials and send off for testing.  This might be a piece of drywall, insulation or fabric.

Outdoor samples:  If a client thinks they may have litigation due to mold or water damage they may request an outdoor sample be taken.  Current industry standards will often want to compare species and counts to the indoor samples to give an indicator of contamination.

American Mold Experts does not routinely do outdoor samples because this method originated years ago when we did not have modern HVAC systems and insulation/building standards.  In that era it was common to have open windows to ventilate a structure.  Since that time our building standards have changed greatly.  We now live in our own contained indoor environments where we wrap our homes in plastic tyvek for energy efficiency.  The quantity of outdoor air coming in is small and typically our current HVAC filtrations systems will filter many outdoor pollutants.

Because of this “contained” indoor environment we believe it is more important to compare indoor areas against each other and to our huge database of previous sample findings, along with our other indicator.  We also follow the standards of many other researchers and compiled data that indicate a total spore count over 500 & under 1000 with no other indicators may be a “watch” zone and any counts over 1000 needs treatment especially if there are additional indicators (previous or current water damage, occupants discomfort, visible mold).  Having those guidelines there are also considerations for some known especially toxic species.  In that case simply a few spores can indicate treatment.

A professional mold inspection includes more than just testing.  It is simply one indicator that is measured.   It is important to look at all indicators including age and building materials, previous or current water intrusion, and occupants’ complaints.

Mold Assessment Services

At American Mold Experts, we offer mildew, mold and mycotoxin testing, also known as a mold assessment, for both residential and commercial properties. Mold testing helps determine whether a substance truly is mold and what type it is. Knowing the species can also be an indicator of what is going on with the structure.  For instance some species grow with simply high humidity, other species indicate rotting wood in the structure and still others indicate long term water intrusion exists.  

Mold Assessment Cost

<$3000 sq ft includes 3 tests $599
Each additional test $85 if needed or requested
>3000-5000 sq feet $699 and includes 4 tests
>Homes over 5000-10,000 $799 includes 5 tests
All commercial starting at $575, includes 4 tests
Clearance Testing: test of another remediation company work (includes 3 tests) $325
Crawl or attic only $299
Extra testing with any assessment is $75 each for lab fees