Visual Inspection: The First Step
A visual inspection is the initial step in identifying possible contamination problems. It will identify any visible water leaks or moisture stains on ceilings, walls, floors or under counters. The air conditioning and heating systems, the attic and crawl spaces under the home will receive a visual inspection as well. The use of equipment, such as a boroscope, to view spaces in ductwork or behind walls and moisture meters are used to help identify hidden sources of mold growth and the extent of the water damage. Mold sampling will be recommended if there is any noticeable mold growth, musty odors, visible water damage or stains, poorly maintained NVAC systems or construction defects. By combining a visual inspection with air, tape or swab sampling, the inspector can help identify the hidden source of mold, allergens and indoor pollutants and the extent of any acute or chronic water or moisture damage.
Air Sampling For Airborne Contamination
The purpose of air sampling is to determine the type and amount of airborne contamination in a building. Air sampling may be necessary if the presence of mold, allergens or toxins is suspected (e.g.: musty odors, allergies) but cannot be identified by a visual inspection When air sampling is performed, both the indoor air and outdoor air are sampled, so the results can be compared to see if a problem exists. Typically, the indoor sample is taken while the heating and/or air conditioning is operating; this will ensure the interior air is effectively tested.
Tape And Swab Sampling: Identify Specific Mold Types
Tape/Swap samples are usually collected from visible moldy surfaces by wiping the area with a sterile swab. This type of sampling is used to identify specific mold types.
Recommendations/Laboratory Results: The Action Plan
Once the home has a visual inspection and the mold circumstance evaluated, action can be planned to clean it up and prevent future contamination. Based upon site evaluations and sampling lab analysis results, you inspector can provide a detailed written report that can be used for disclosure and references. In all situations, if mold exists, the underlying cause of the water damage must be corrected.