The appearance of unsightly black mold in a home is always a worrying development for owners and tenants. It can be difficult at first glance to tell how serious a problem it might be. Understandably, you will want to get a proper professional assessment before taking appropriate action, so where do you go for help? Most firms working to remedy toxic mold employ trained assessors to work out the cause of the mold in your home and to evaluate the best action to take.The inspectors will charge a fee to do their job.
If you don’t want to pay a fortune for a detailed black mold inspection, particularly if discoloration or staining is likely due to a minor fault, there are a few firms that offer access to a preliminary quiz to establish the nature of the problem. These are online surveys that ask questions about, for example, on which surfaces the mold appears, perhaps on furniture or walls, and whether it is leaving a stain. You may also be asked to confirm if your home has ever suffered water damage or if a family member has become ill. The inspector may want to know if you have had recent plumbing issues or if there is any standing water.
Although responding to these questions, which is free of charge, is not exactly an inspection it nevertheless paints a clear picture of the nature of your mold issue before an inspector comes to call.
Environmental Protection Agency
Besides the free online test there’s another thing to bear in mind when dealing with black mold. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that where there is visible mold in your building you should proceed to have it treated using one of the approved, statutory remediation methods. Most mold inspections include sampling to determine what kind of mold is present, for instance toxic or non-toxic mold, however, the EPA states that generally this is not necessary: “Surface sampling [after treatment] may be useful to determine if an area has been adequately cleaned or remediated.” Paying for an inspection to analyze samples before treatment is carried out may therefore be an unnecessary expense.
The EPA gives further useful advice about how to approach the cleanup operation, depending on the scale and severity of the problem. As you might guess,larger areas of mold require professional interventions that adhere to the EPA’s guides. There are further details on the Agency’s website.
Mold odor but no visible mold
It’s important to call in the professionals if you can’t see any sign of mold but can definitely smell it. Spores may be secreted in your home and it takes a trained individual to know how to detect and remedy that kind of damp problem. A professional inspection and test in these circumstances is vital to locate the problem and identify the correct treatment.
Make sure you know when to get a mold inspection (odor but no visual signs) and when you can move straight to treatment with confidence (visible mold).