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A home mold inspection can be performed either with a do-it-yourself kit, or through a professional service.
If you're a do-it-yourselfer, start with a visual inspection for both mold and moisture around windows, sinks, and water lines. You can also purchase an inexpensive moisture pin meter at a home improvement store to check for moisture. In addition, you may also be able to detect mold through other means; you may, for example, detect an odor coming from your vents or ducts. Ducts containing mold can be especially dangerous, since they can easily spread mold throughout the house.
A standard pre-purchased home inspection will not always reveal mold problems. Many real estate professionals recommend a separate mold inspection before buying a home. Real estate law varies from state to state, but not all states require a seller to disclose mold problems. Also, many homeowner's insurance policies offer only very limited coverage for mold damage.
A professional inspection is not costly, and gives you access to a much more thorough inspection that you would not be able to undertake yourself. A professional inspector will use a thermal imager to detect moisture that you would not be able to see. The professional home mold inspection will also include a thorough leak detection and moisture analysis, air quality analysis, relative humidity testing, and drainage evaluation. Some professionals also use a fiber-optic camera to inspect wall cavities.
It's common to find a little mold in the bathroom on your tile, and this can be easily spotted and kept in check simply by cleaning with a bleach and water mixture. More entrenched mold infections may require the use of an EPA-registered fungicide. In addition to cleaning however, you must also take steps to make sure the mold does not re-occur, by removing the source of moisture that has allowed it to grow. Mold can come back if there are continuing water problems such as siding leaks, broken water lines, or storm damage. Mold may also occur if water enters in through the foundation or concrete floors, or if part of the house has constant high humidity. Mold may also enter in on the bodies of pets, or even on the bottoms of peoples' shoes. The Asian custom of removing shoes before entering a home is actually very useful in preventing the intrusion of mold and other unwanted elements.
The presence of mold in a home can be very dangerous. It can lead to respiratory problems and other health issues, in addition to compromising the integrity of the home's walls and foundation. Testing is not costly, and may help prevent serious problems and significant expenses later on.
Please have your home tested for mold regardless if you think there may be mold in your home or not.
I had a breathing problem that no one was able to diagnose until several months later when a neighbor mentioned to me that maybe there was mold in my house. Bingo! It was mold and when I had it removed (not cheap) my breathing problems went away. So don't play games with your health and have an inspection done for your own peace of mind. Make sure the mold inspection company is certified.