Tips & Advice
Does home insurance cover mold inspections?
Home insurance typically doesn’t cover mold inspection--mold remediation overall is a category that homeowner insurance rarely covers. If caused by a “specified peril” such as a burst pipe, household appliance overflow or flood, the insurance will cover expenses related to mold remediation.
Can mold be dangerous to human health?
Yes, mold can be dangerous to human health. The types of mold that can cause harm to humans are allergenic mold and the black mold strain called stachybotrys atra.
Certain black molds produce toxins, and can be hazardous to respiratory health. There are types of green mold that cause allergic reactions in some people that can be as severe as black mold sickness.
How is mold testing done?
Mold testing begins with a visual inspection, that is performed with specialized equipment, such as thermal imaging cameras. Once the top problem spots are identified, the mold specialist will get an air sample in the most problematic zone, and compare it to an air sample from fresh outdoor air. Follow-up tests--either more air samples or surface swab analyses--cost extra.
Black mold has become synonymous with toxic mold, but this is misleading. Black mold really just refers to the color of the mold, and there are many types of mold that present as black and are not toxic. The group called stachybotrys atra can produce mycotoxins, which are potentially quite dangerous to human respiratory systems.
When should a mold inspector be called?
A mold inspector should be called if you suspect there may be mold somewhere in the house, but you cannot find it on your own. It should also be called if mold is found, but it is difficult to assess what type it is.
Do all mold inspectors also provide remediation services?
Yes, mold inspectors also provide mold removal/remediation services.
What is the best way to prevent mold?
The best way to prevent mold is to prevent moisture on any surface around the house. Keep a watchful eye everywhere where mold can thrive--especially around showers and tubs, the entire kitchen sink area, all the drains, and around houseplants. Check the pipes and under the sinks regularly.
If you live in a humid region, monitor indoor humidity and make sure it stays below 40 percent. Always run the bathroom fan during a shower, and wipe down the surfaces when you’re done. Many people in humid areas choose mold-resistant flooring and paint for problem spots in the house, such as the basement.
What is the leading cause of household mold?
Household mold grows on damp or moist surfaces. It often spreads on walls where water vapor has condensed, or on damp floors, or on carpet, or around sinks and tubs.
What are the different types of household mold?
There are as many as a hundred types of household mold, and people usually identify them by color. Black mold and green mold are the ones that most commonly show up in houses. Black mold is infamous among homeowners, as one common type of it produces mycotoxins. Green molds can also cause adverse reactions to the respiratory system or to the skin.
The scientific names for the four most common household molds are stachybotrys atra (black mold) aspergillus (an allergenic), acremonium (toxic) and cladosporium (non-toxic).
Allergenic molds are, at first, only a nuisance to allergy-prone people, causing the same general symptoms as a pollen allergy. However, if ignored and left to grow, allergenic molds can sometimes turn toxic.
Mildew is a cousin of mold that appears in white patches and is the least invasive—it can be scrubbed away with typical cleaning products.
How much does a mold inspection cost?
A mold inspection usually costs $300-$600. The cost can increase to upward of $1,000 if it is necessary to check beneath flooring or behind the walls.