Worried about toxic black mold?
Learn when a Florida mold home inspection is (and isn’t) necessary.
Despite popular opinion, mold is a natural, and sometimes beneficial, part of our environment.
In fact, certain molds can be downright enjoyable in the right context (penicillin and blue cheese, for example). Some lumber molds like Ceratocystis and Ophiostoma are common in houses and present no danger to the structure or its occupants. (A mold home inspection for these types of mold would simply cause undue panic and waste money.)
But there are many more mold strains that can cause severe damage to your home and have serious adverse effects on indoor air quality—and, by extension, your health. Prime examples include Stachybotrys (commonly referred to as “black mold”), which has been associated with everything from headaches to cancer, and Aspergillus, which can cause severe infections in the lungs and other parts of the body.
Florida: Paradise For People…and Mold
Mold spores are nearly always present inside and outside your Florida home. The problem arises when these spores begin to multiply. Once the mold has found a sustainable food source inside your home (i.e. drywall or wood), the colony will grow, putting out increasingly more spores into the air.
Since the colony is enclosed within your home, your indoor air quality will continue to worsen as the spores multiply exponentially. Eventually, it becomes severe enough to cause the negative health problems mentioned earlier.
All of this can happen behind your walls, without you seeing any visible mold.
Unfortunately, the hot, humid weather that makes Florida such a dream location also makes it a prime breeding ground for mold. Add extra moisture to the mix—like rain from one of our many thunderstorms—and you have a mold paradise.
Do I Need a Professional Mold Home Inspection?
Florida homeowners are often terrified by the thought of “black mold” infesting their home and causing a host of structural and health problems. But just because a mold is black in color doesn’t mean that it’s “toxic black mold.”
Here in Florida, homes will always have mold spores in the air. Mold is present throughout the State of Florida; it is impossible to keep all of those spores from entering your home.
If you suspect a mold problem, you can have a professional perform an air quality test to compare the mold levels in and outside of your home. Mold remediation services are not typically recommended unless mold testing indicates significantly more mold spores inside the home than outdoors.
You should call a professional mold inspector if:
- You are immunocompromised or have a mold allergy,
- Your home has had recent water damage, or
- You have reason to suspect a mold infestation (i.e. you can see or smell it).
If you have good reason to suspect there might be mold in your Florida home, call a professional mold inspector as soon as possible to perform an air quality test and confirm the presence of mold in your home.
How a Mold Home Inspections Works
The first step in a mold home inspection should be an IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) or MAS (Mold Air Sampling) test to determine what irritants or possible mold strains are present in the home.
As mentioned before, not all mold is toxic black mold, despite the color. A visual inspection alone will not indicate how dangerous mold growth is. Only mold testing can accurately identify the specific strain of mold in your home.
Your mold inspector will also look for signs of mold, past mold growths that could become active again, or areas with signs of moisture (such as previous water damage) that could lead to a future mold problem.
Next, any samples collected during the mold testing and home inspection will be sent to a certified lab for analysis and identification of the exact nature of the problems found.
Thermal imaging can also be useful in detecting the presence of moisture that could lead to a mold problem. For example, if you smell a musty odor but have not had any recent water damage, thermal imaging can be used to determine if there is a hidden leak inside your walls that could be feeding the mold.
A mold home inspection must follow strict requirements to get an accurate reading of the air quality inside your Florida home. Don’t trust this process to just anybody. Always make sure you hire a certified mold inspector and beware of prices that are too low or too high. The typical Florida mold inspection cost ranges from $375-500, depending on the size of your home.
If a mold infestation is detected, do not attempt to deal with the issue yourself. Only professional mold remediators should be trusted to handle mold removal.
How to Prevent Mold in Your Florida Home
Professional mold remediation is costly and inconvenient, so the best method is to prevent mold from growing in the first place. The key here is reducing moisture inside your home.
Mold develops in areas where moisture is present for an extended time. If your home remains dry, the mold will not be able to grow. Fix any plumbing issues as soon as possible and dry out any water damage within 24-48 hours.
It’s also important to ensure that entry points to the outdoors, such as windows and doors, are sealed properly to keep moisture from entering your home.
If your air conditioner allows you to adjust your indoor humidity, set it below 50% or as low as possible to prevent your air from being mold-friendly.
EDC Home Inspections located in Oviedo, FL, can help keep your Florida home mold-free.
We are Certified Master Inspectors as well as InterNACHI Certified Mold Inspectors, which enables us to effectively inspect a home for moisture control effectiveness.
If your home has an earthy smell; you have been experiencing persistent headaches, colds, or sinus problems; or you have had water intrusion; you should call a mold inspector. We can put your mind at ease and help you return your home to the haven it was meant to be.
Give us a call today at 407-417-2999 to schedule your mold home inspection today.
This article was previously published on January 13, 2020 and has since been updated.