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What Does A Mold Inspector Do?

The job of a mold inspector requires an eye for detail, as different types of growth can look similar but be caused by different problems and produce different issues. Even if a homeowner can see the fungus growth, a professional should be contacted to deal with the problem so that it does not return or cause severe problems. The process of inspection may vary depending on the specific situation, but normally includes a sample of either the air or an affected surface.

Sources of Fungus

A mold inspector doesn’t simply look for visible signs of a problem, but instead looks for signs of possible causes of the problem. There can be many cases in which there is no visible evidence, but a professional will know what to look for and where. They will look behind and inside walls, under floors, inside ceilings, and in other hidden places. In addition, they will keep an eye out for water damage or sources of moisture that are absolutely essential for the growth of fungus. Moisture and fungus go hand in hand; without moisture there can be no mold growth.

There are some cases in which fungus growth is perfectly normal. Ceratosystis and Ophiostoma are two types of fungus that will grow on lumber. They grow on the sap of the wood, but stop once the wood is dry. They do not cause any structural issues, but a professional can determine whether or not they should be tested.

Air Samples

One type of way to test a home or room is to test the air using something called a spore trap. Even though we might not be able to see it, fungus spores are always present in the air. Generally, the spores are at such a low level that the effect is negligent and harmless. However, when there is growth in a home or building, the levels increase to an amount that can be harmful and cause problems like asthma, wheezing, skin irritation, or worse.

Surface Samples

There is much criticism of air sampling not being a reliable method, and because of this many professionals automatically rely on surface samples. Many homeowners might be tempted to conduct their own testing with a DIY kit, but they are unreliable and may expose an untrained person to a hazardous situation. There are three main methods a mold inspector will use to conduct a surface sample:

  • Bulk samples involve taking a piece of the physical area and sending it to a laboratory to be tested.
  • Swab samples involve using a cotton swab like tool that is used to pick up samples from a measured area.
  • Tape samples use a piece of clear tape which is applied to the area that is to be tested. The tape will pick up the sample when removed and will then be sent off to be tested.

What a mold inspector cannot do is remove the fungus, unless they also have a remediation license or certificate. Homeowners might choose to have their home examined in the case of water damage, unusual allergies in a certain room, or to simply ensure that there are no existing problems.

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