Michael and Karen Crowe / Licensed Home Inspector / Certified Mold Inspector

Why Inspect or Test for Mold?


(front and backside of same wall)
A decade ago it was asbestos. Today, mold is in the spotlight and America is divided over whether mold really is a legitimate concern or just another over-rated environmental issue. What we hear about mold is often influenced, either by what someone is trying to sell us or what they’re don’t want us to know.

Whatever we believe about mold, it is a reality that is here to stay. Numerous alerts from the medical profession and the skyrocketing number of lawsuits against landlords, realtors, employers, insurers, and even car dealers, warn us of the seriousness of mold. Some have even called it "The Silent Killer".

With all the information available about mold and its potential for harm, there are genuine reasons for concern. For example, we now know that some molds produce toxins which have been linked to severe cases of asthma, respiratory problems including bleeding lungs, and many other very serious ailments including immune system disorders. The medical and legal communities are taking mold contamination very seriously. With so much overwhelming evidence to support the dangers of exposure to mold, we should too.

We hope you find this information helpful in making confident and educated decisions about any mold concerns you may have.

The controversy over mold and its potentially harmful effects is driven primarily by radically opinionated proponents on both sides of the issue who have a personal interest in what you believe.

There are some who will tell you that mold is no big deal. It's interesting to note that those who make such irresponsible statements also disclaim everything they say by warning you to wear a respirator and rubber gloves when cleaning mold. Why? If mold is "no big deal", why bother protecting your lungs and skin from it? We recommend offering a Stachybotrys sandwich to anyone who suggests to you that mold is no big deal. When you do, watch their response.

That almost sounds comical, but there are those "Chicken Little" types out there who will tell you that mold is the "end of the world" and try to scare you in to spending a fortune to rebuild your home, which just happens to be the business they are in. Because of the newness of the industry and the lack of official standards for investigating and reporting mold conditions, there are some unscrupulous "opportunists" out there who seek to capitalize on your naiveté. 

Whenever you hear statements that seem extremely biased to one side or the other, you can be sure that statER has something to sell the statEE. Our advice is, stay far away from both. The truth is, under certain conditions, mold does have the potential to destroy property and cause health problems. Plain and simple. But not all mold problems are catastrophic.

Does mold cause health problems with everyone? Of course not, but if you are susceptible to mold allergies or have other medical issues  there's a high probability that you will have an adverse reaction in moldy environments ranging from flu-like symptoms to even death, (although mold-related deaths are extremely rare).

As for Property Damage, the very nature of mold is to decompose matter. Over a period of time, mold can destroy anything and everything it comes in contact with, including your home and personal belongings. Does the fact that mold is present automatically mean a property is doomed? Of course not. But the longer it goes un-addressed, the more damage it will cause. 

The difference between a minor mold problem and a major problem is: 
a. how long before you discover it, and
b. how long you wait to do something about it.

It is possible to take mold problems with you when you move your contaminated belongings from one house to another. We have even seen automobiles, trailers and motor homes become contaminated by spores in clothing, but that too happens very rarely.

If you suspect your property has a mold problem, the first responsible step is to take swift action. Having your home or office inspected and tested will tell you whether you have a small clean-up project or a job that requires professional remediation.  If you require remediation, an independent inspection will assist in determining proper abatement procedures and help keep your remediation contract honest.

Make Sure You Are Equipped With Reliable and Un-Biased Information.
It's important to know that your mold assessment is accurate and unbiased in order to truly know the extent of the problem and properly decide on a course of action. The only way to insure the reliability of a mold inspection is to make sure that the inspection company has nothing to gain from the results. In other words, do not have your property inspected for mold by a remediation contractor who gets paid to REMOVE your mold. In fact, do not allow anyone to perform the inspection that might have something to sell you, based on the results. Furthermore, NEVER let your remediation contractor provide his own clearance testing. An un-biased clearance test is your only way to know if the remediation was successful. You cannot trust that testing to someone who is waiting to get paid for your remediation work. 

EnviroSpect Northwest is not in the mold removal business. 
We are not connected with any third parties on either side of mold issues. We do not benefit from anyone who would attempt to sell you anything or persuade you that mold is either no big deal, or the end of the world.

If you suspect you have a mold problem, whether mold is visible or not, one call to EnviroSpect Northwest is all it takes to be sure. Our only interest is in providing our clients with accurate reporting of the data we collect in the course of the inspection process and reliable results of mold tests and samples. 

When you hire EnviroSpect Northwest for mold assessment and mold testing services, you can count on accurate and un-biased information.

EnviroSpect Northwest offers two services, mold inspections and mold testing. A mold inspection is a visual inspection of a property for mold and conditions that cause mold. Mold testing is the physical collection of samples for lab analysis.

Almost all of us already have two effective mold detectors: our eyes and our noses. If black or green discoloration is noticed in a location that is damp or had been damp, it is almost certainly mold. If a building smells musty, there probably is mold somewhere. But sometimes mold is not so easy to locate. And once mold is located, it's not always easy to tell what caused it in the first place, or the proper way to get rid of it. EnviroSpect Northwest Master Indoor Environmental Specialists can help with the unknown.

The purpose for TESTING MOLD (extracting samples for lab analysis) is to:
a.  Identify what types of molds are present, both on surfaces and in the air; and
b.  Determine how much of each mold type is present.
It is estimated there is over 200,000 different types of mold. Some molds produce toxins. Toxins are poison. A little bit of toxic mold might not harm you, but a lot can make you very sick. Once mold is located it is helpful to know exactly what kind of mold it is and how much of it is there, especially when you attempt to remove it. When disturbed, mold can send millions of tiny little toxic spores into the air, and into you!

Understanding what you are dealing with will help facilitate a proper plan to remove mold without causing harm to you and others who occupy the property. Sampling is not always necessary however, based on overwhelming scientific evidence, we believe that accurate assessments of surface mold and airborne mold spores are only possible when microscopic sampling is analyzed.

It is important to prevent indoor mold growth and to quickly clean up any growth that does occur. Unfortunately, mold can hide inside walls, behind wallpaper, under carpet, and in other hidden locations. Although it is not seen, this mold can still release spores that may affect people’s health and comfort. Air conditioning systems can carry the spores throughout the house, contaminating other rooms. Eventually, these spores will settle out of the air onto flat surfaces such as the floor. Air sampling captures these spores so that they can be tested by a qualified laboratory.

When is a good time to test for mold? A good time to test for mold is:
  • When you want to determine if mold is growing in you home.
  • After any flooding or water damage event.
  • Whenever you find a leak that has been present for more than 24 hours.
  • Whenever you smell a moldy odor.
  • Residents of your home experience a long-term medical condition without a known cause.
  • Unusual stains appear on furniture or building material.
  • You suspect mold but do not see any visible mold growth.