Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not a threat. 

Your indoor air quality impacts your entire household, and the presence of radon, mold, or mildew can create serious health hazards for your loved ones. 

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can get trapped in your home and increase the risk of lung cancer. Various types of mold can cause mild to severe respiratory complaints, skin problems, and allergic reactions, especially in pets, children, the elderly, and the immunocompromised.  

Every homeowner should schedule an assessment for these unwanted guests on a regular basis, especially if you’ve had a previous issue or experienced any kind of water intrusion from flooding, extreme weather, or faulty appliances.

It’s always best to work with a knowledgeable inspector who has cutting-edge tools and a holistic approach. Let’s take a deeper look at this process, what you can expect, and some recommendations for dealing with these issues and improving the air you breathe.

The Preliminaries

Mold and radon testing are definitely vital in climates like Chicago, where we experience temperature extremes and have statistically higher levels of radon in the soil

This gas is the single largest source of radiation exposure in the entire country, and there is no known “safe” level of it. Since it enters a building through the surrounding ground, this colorless and odorless gas collects in basements, crawl spaces, and other low-lying areas of your home. 

Insidious mold can lurk anywhere, from under a leaky roof to behind your appliances, even in closets and bedrooms. The most common varieties — Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus — especially love warm, moist spaces like bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.

Investing in a thorough radon or mold assessment and following their professional suggestions can increase the value of your home. You’ll also get peace of mind by knowing your family is safe. 

Detecting and testing technology have evolved rapidly in the last few years, so even recently constructed or newly built homes can benefit from a regular inspection. Some may already be equipped with the latest radon-resistant features.   

If you’re in the process of purchasing residential real estate, you should always add this layer of protection for your investment before signing the final contract. Illinois state law requires that buyers must be informed of known radon issues before closing. 

Get a professional inspection. It’s better to spend a little extra now and ensure you’re not stuck with an illness-inducing piece of property for years to come. 

Step by Step

A typical evaluation for mold infestation begins with a discussion with the homeowner regarding moisture problems and past water damage.

The next step is a walkthrough of your property, where the inspector will take time to conduct an in-depth evaluation, looking for signs of mold growth. Be sure to let them know the exact size of your house and if you’ve already spotted warning signals such as funky odors, peeling wallpaper, or visible spots and discoloration

During radon testing, both passive and active devices are typically used to sniff out the presence of this unpleasant gas. Tools like electret ion detectors, charcoal liquid scintillation devices, and powered continuous working level monitors are utilized during this process.

An experienced inspector will examine your baseboards, windows, doors, walls, ceilings, and fixtures to detect any signs of mold growth. Fungus spores can also spread to ductwork, air handlers, or heating equipment, as they thrive in warmer and humid environments.

Even AC vents and components are not immune to mold growth. If your unit is too large for your home, this can cause a buildup of moisture. Keeping it set to super cool during hot summers creates extra condensation, which increases the chance of yucky smells and allergic reactions.

A Plan for the Future

If your home inspector discovers that your radon levels are dangerously high, they’ll supply you with recommendations on how to reduce your levels and clear the air. 

Radon mitigation pros in Illinois are required to be licensed by the IEMA, and it’s important to work with a firm that specializes in radon reduction. The most common remedy for high gas amounts is to install a vent pipe system and fan, which pulls radon from under the home and vents it out and away from the residence. These soil depressurization systems can range from $800 and up, depending on the size of the structure. 

Since mold is tenacious and can’t be fully eradicated with traditional cleaning supplies (not even bleach), it’s usually the smartest move to hire a professional remediation team. For large-scale growth, the process can take quite a while.

Containment and ventilation are the first critical steps to fixing this harmful problem. The technicians will clean, disinfect, pinpoint the source and repair the cause, and encapsulate it so it can be removed from the home without releasing more spores. 

Your inspector may also recommend that you hire professional ductwork cleaners with HVAC training, who will utilize the correct mold growth inhibitor products to prevent reoccurrence.

Partnering with a professional home inspection team is always the right choice when it comes to keeping your family safe and maintaining your home to the highest standards. At Windy City, our team has over 20 years of experience in helping homeowners find potential issues before they become major problems. 

If you’re ready to meet with one of our skilled and thorough inspectors to see where you can make money-saving improvements, give us a call today!