Mold/Indoor Air Quality

What is it?
Indoor Air Quality, or IAQ, is a measure of what we breath every day in our homes. This can include mold spores and allergens like dust mites and pet dander.

What is mold?
Mold is a fungus that consumes organic material and thrives in damp, dark, and humid places. Dead leaves or the expired cheese in the refrigerator are perfect food for mold to break down...but so are materials found in our homes like wood, drywall, and carpet. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 1.5 million different species of fungi on earth - these include mold, mildew, mushrooms, and yeast. While most of these are not harmful, many can have a serious impact on respiratory health and even building components.   

Mold in basement

Is mold dangerous?
Some mold can present serious health concerns. Mold secretes enzymes to break down the organic material it consumes and grows upon. Some of these enzymes contain mycotoxins that are known to be dangerous for both humans and animals. As mold reproduces, it releases microscopic spores into the air that can also be harmful if inhaled.

How can mold spores affect me or my family?
This depends on a number of factors to include the type and concentration of pollutants present, environmental factors, or a person's existing autoimmune issues. Some air contaminants can be allergenic, meaning they cause reactions such as a runny nose or itchy skin. Others are pathogenic, meaning they can cause much more serious respiratory problems or fungal infections. Lastly, some are toxigenic - the most dangerous. These can be ingested, inhaled, or absorbed from skin contact. 

What causes mold in a house?

Mold needs moisture, humidity, and organic material to thrive. Water intrusion from a leaking roof, a defective water pipe, or an improperly vented bathroom are just a few examples of possible mold-creating scenarios. Mold can begin to grow in as little as 24 hours after the right moisture conditions are met, and mold typically begins to reproduce and spread in 5-7 days. 

Can air contaminants be seen or smelled?
Until mold growth spreads to a colony size, it may not be visible. Since it thrives in damp, dark places, mold can remain hidden as it grows - even behind walls or under carpet. If conditions are right, mold can even grown on other biological sources in the air that are not visible to the human eye. These include epithelial cells like pet dander or even dust mites. 

How is mold analyzed?
When the presence of mold is not obvious (visible colony growth or that telltale musty smell), the use of specialized air sampling equipment is necessary. Various samples are taken, sealed, and sent to an accredited third party laboratory where they are analyzed by Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIH). A report is then generated and provided to the client.

How do I get rid of mold in my house?
Remediation begins with first identifying the moisture and humidity concerns which allow the mold to grow and spread. Only then can a plan can be developed to mitigate the cause. If your air test shows heightened levels of indoor mold spores, a dehumidifier combined with proper ventilation and airflow may play a large role in keeping mold away after the affected areas are remediated.

What report will I receive?
If combined with your home inspection, you will receive a $50 discount on the IAQ inspection!  In addition to your home inspection report, you will receive a detailed analysis from an independent, licensed, and accredited laboratory. Please allow 10 business days for the report to arrive by email (expedited timeline available at-cost).