A professional home inspection thoroughly evaluates the observable condition and function of a property prior to purchase. But some threats lurk out of sight where only targeted testing can detect them — like potentially hazardous mold growth.
Mold is a silent intruder that can compromise both the structural integrity of your home and the health and well-being of your household. Certain strains of fungi can rot wood or cause asthma-like symptoms and breathing problems, especially in children and the elderly.
Let’s take a closer look into the importance of mold testing as part of your comprehensive home inspection, particularly in Chicagoland, where extreme weather, high moisture, and older homes provide an environment that’s especially conducive to mold growth.
Understanding Our Unique Climate
The city of Chicago and the surrounding region are known for brutally cold winters and hot, humid summers, which provide an ideal breeding ground for mold.
Drastic temperature changes can lead to condensation, creating the perfect conditions for a variety of mold spores to thrive. The Windy City’s many historic houses, with their charming architectural details, may also be more prone to moisture infiltration, exacerbating the risk of mold.
Our experienced inspectors first look for visible mold and moisture issues like leaks, stains, or musty odors. But sometimes there are no outward signs of excess moisture that could be fueling unseen fungal colonization.
It’s vital to consider proactive air sampling or surface testing if your home has:
- A history of water damage from flooding, plumbing leaks, etc.
- A damp, dank basement prone to moisture buildup
- Bathrooms with no ventilation or windows
- Older wall-to-wall carpeting
- Recent renovations or repairs that could have spread spores
Testing also provides peace of mind after a home with past mold problems undergoes remediation by confirming spore levels are within acceptable ranges.
Concerns for Homeowners
Mold feeds on organic materials such as wood, drywall, and insulation. Over time, it can weaken these materials, leading to structural damage that may go unnoticed until it’s too late. Incorporating mold testing into your regular home inspections can unveil these hidden threats faster and ensure trained professionals can perform a timely intervention and remediation.
Beyond its impact on the structure of your home, mold can pose significant health risks to its occupants. Severe respiratory issues, skin rashes, and even depression can arise from prolonged exposure to mold spores.
In a city like Chicago, where the winter months often keep windows closed, ventilation becomes crucial, making indoor air quality a top priority. Help your family breathe easier by utilizing exhaust fans and dehumidifiers, installing a carbon monoxide detector, changing air filters monthly, and incorporating air-purifying plants like aloe vera, English ivy, and Bromeliad Vriesea Vogue into your interior decor.
Undetected fungus issues can also have implications for your homeowner’s insurance. Insurance companies may be less inclined to cover damages resulting from mold if it is deemed to be a pre-existing condition.
By conducting mold testing during your initial home inspection, you demonstrate due diligence as a homeowner, potentially avoiding complications with insurance claims in the future.
Getting Rid of Unwanted Guests
One of the challenges with mold is that it often hides in plain sight, behind walls, under flooring, or in attics and basements.
A visual inspection alone may not be sufficient to uncover the extent of mold growth. This is where professional mold testing becomes indispensable.
Specialized equipment can detect the signs of growth, providing a comprehensive picture of the fungal situation within your home. The testing process is non-invasive and eliminates guesswork by pinpointing levels and types of contamination.
For indoor air, spore levels under 1000 spores per cubic meter are generally considered moderate and acceptable. Above 1000 spores PCM signals a higher risk and warrants professional mitigation.
Harmful types like Stachybotrys chartarum (black mold) raise red flags even at lower levels and necessitate thorough removal. Your inspector will help you understand your test results and plan your next move.
Taking Smart Precautions
If your mold inspection reveals a problem, taking certain steps is important until the remediation process is complete.
Avoid spending time in affected areas to avoid breathing in any more fungal material, and wear an N95 respirator mask and gloves when exposure is unavoidable. Keep kids, pets, and immunocompromised family members away from contaminated rooms.
It’s smart for homeowners to utilize a skilled and state-registered mold remediation service, as attempting a DIY removal can result in spreading the spores, causing even more damage to your home.
Better safe than sorry! Incorporating mold testing into your regular home inspection and maintenance can help you stay healthier, save money, and add value to your property. There’s no time like the present — reach out to us today!