Mold is neither a plant or an animal. It is in a class of its own. Mold is our friend an enemy. Mold breaks down leaves and the grass you cut but, also breaks down components that make up our homes. Our goal is to keep our homes healthy and safe.
First, we will describe what mold needs to grow, and then we will describe why is so bad if it can grow in your home. Most importantly, mold needs moisture to grow. Roof leaks, condensation from plumbing, cold windows, clothes dryers vented into attic spaces and many other sources all contribute to building moisture in your home. Moisture is the biggest variables that we can control to prevent mold from growing in your home. Mold needs a source of food also. As mentioned above, mold will breakdown leaves that fall from trees, the grass you cut in your yard and many other things. In your home, mold can consume structural components such as the wood that your supports your roof or floor, the wood in your walls, drywall, carpet. Your home is a rich source of food for mold.
Why is mold so bad? Mold can degrade the structural components of your home to a point where it can no longer continue to provide the intended support. Worst case, the house could collapse with you in it. You need to rid your home of mold as soon as you find it. Mold can also be associated with health issues. Although, there is no direct evidence of health affects due to mold, there are many strong correlations to increased asthma attacks, higher rates of illness in immunocompromised individuals and other allergy related reactions in sensitive people.
A mold good inspection includes checks your home for sources of moisture, measures humidity, measures moisture of components suspected to be wet and takes samples of apparent mold where observed. Samples are taken based on the conditions of the home that the inspector believes to potentially contain mold. Air samples are usually taken to test areas that smell musty. These samples are compared to two samples taken outside your home as a base number for comparison. HVAC systems are also tested as these systems are commonly thee cause of spreading mold throughout your home. Swab samples are normally taken to check a specific spot where apparent mold is observed. No one can just look and verify that what they see is actually mold. A certified lab has to use a microscope to analyze the sample and identify if it is actually mold or not. The Lab employs people with specialized training and education to determine the analysis of samples. Inspectors do not have that knowledge. Once the inspection is completed and the lab results have been delivered to the inspector, they will provide a report to their client that includes their observations, a copy of the lab report and the interpretation of those results.
With the information provided above, you as a potential customer should understand the there are differences between mold inspectors. I am a licensed Mold Assessment consultant and I am additionally certified by the International Association of Certified Indoor Air Consultants (IAC2) and by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, the largest home inspector association in the world. Mold technicians may perform a mold inspection but cannot interpret the results. An inspector who holds a license from the state is qualified to inspect but the extra certification(s) provide that extra level of knowledge that you want when inspecting your home.
For more information: Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation