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Mould Inspections FAQ's - Axiom Mould Experts

Mould Inspections FAQ’s

What is the mould inspector looking for?

stacks_image_225Mould needs a source of moisture or humidity, a source of food or nutrients, and proper temperature to grow. Because mould grows well at room temperature, control is achieved through adequate control of moisture or humidity in the house. Our inspections find areas which have poor humidity control, excess condensation or water intrusion. We are also identifying areas with visible fungal growth, high mould spore counts, water damage, excess organic matter such as dust or dander, poor ventilation, and inadequate air filtration.

What type of equipment can I expect the mould inspector to bring for a thorough mould inspection?

  • Digital Microscope - for immediate confirmation of suspected contamination
  • Digital camera - full documentation of inspection
  • Air sampling equipment - to test for interior and exterior mould spore counts
  • Laser Particulate Counter
  • Bulk Tape sampling supplies - to confirm, using microscopy, areas of spore amplification, especially in areas where visual confirmation is not practical or accessible
  • Bulk Swabs - for petri dish cultivation
  • Lighting equipment
  • Moisture meter- to identify wet or problematic areas, on the surface and behind walls - we include a full moisture survey in the mould consultation report
  • Relative Humidity monitors / thermometers- to assess humidity levels and temperature in various areas of the house, to measure HVAC and ventilation efficiency
  • Full personal protective equipment (PPE) - full and half face masks-respirators, gloves, protective clothing, goggles (OSHA standards)
  • Equipment for invasive inspections - to remove small sections of drywall ( not required for every mould inspection).

Mould Inspections – what can I expect to see during a mould inspection?

stacks_image_222Initially, a walk through evaluation of the property is done to identify potential sources of mould / fungal amplification. This includes an indoor and outdoor inspection of the house, investigation of the crawlspace, attic, garage and basement. A thorough inspection of the HVAC system and filters. Areas of concern are photographed and documented. Then the inspector will take a series samples from areas of concern, this includes bulk swabs and tape lifts and air samples, if required. Outside samples are taken for comparative testing. The bulk tapes samples are examined on-site with a microscope, or expedited to our head office, to determine if the mould has extended beyond areas that are visible and if invasive testing of any area is required.

How long does a mould inspection take?

Depending on the size of the house and how visible and accessible the areas of mould contamination are, the inspection could take 3 to 5 hours on an average 2 story home with a crawl space. If mould is suspected to be behind a wall, for example, then some invasive testing would be required, this may take longer.

What happens after the mould inspection, does the inspector clean the mould ?

Hidden Toxic MouldNo, the inspector will not clean the mould at the time of the inspection. The inspector will answer all of your questions about the mould contamination that was found, show you the area or areas that are the most likely source of the amplification, areas that have high mould spore counts and other potential mould causing sites. The mould inspector will identify for you any areas that have had water intrusion or high relative humidity or heavy condensation, as these areas may require repair or maintenance for moisture intrusion as part of the remediation process. The inspector will discuss the methods, products and protocols required to adequately clean and remove the mould from the property. We will then provide you with a full written report of the inspection, and the scope of work, i.e..step by step - the products, materials and procedures and safety protocols that should be followed by a remediation company to clean and remove the mould. A list of areas that require repair or maintenance will also be included. We will also include a quotation for the cost of remediation of the mould.

Why do I need a scope of work?

Scope of WorkThe scope of work gives the remediation company a full and complete set of instructions for the work that is required to clean the mould. It explains in detail, the procedures, processes and safety protocols that should be used for your individual mould problem. It insures that you get the best results. It also allows you to give that same set of instructions to several remediation companies to get competitive quotes.

How can your company give a cost estimate for mould remediation and other mould inspection companies don’t?

Mould on windowsillWe offer a full service for our customers. We can take you through from inspection to consultancy to mould remediation. All of our inspection reports are reviewed by a panel of engineers and scientists to ensure that our scope of work and cost estimates are appropriate and accurate. Our company believes that having mould inspectors that have solid remediation experience is of added value to the consumer. They know first hand what is required to do a thorough remediation job, and tend not to underestimate or overestimate the hours or complexity of the job. Our inspectors are capable of calculating a job accurately, so you, the customer, are not surprised by additional costs at the end of a job.

What is the purpose of mould inspection report?

Mould on VentThe mould inspection report is a means of protecting the home-owner, by providing information about their particular situation and mould and moisture intrusion problems. It determines the risk to health and property. The scope of work, is the most important section of the mould inspection report, detailing for you exactly what measures have to be take to remedy the situation. This comprehensive 12 - 20 page document will allow you to make a more confident decisions about the next steps in mould remediation.

What if I am in the process of purchasing a property that has mould?

[caption id="attachment_155" align="alignleft" width="291"]Water pooling on roof Pooling water on a roof can result in moisture problems within the home[/caption] If you are in the process of buying or selling the property the mould inspection report can be used in the negotiations to establish an equitable value to repair the property. As we include a full quotation for the remediation of the property with the inspection report, you can immediately ascertain the total cost of the repairs required to get the house back to a standard that is acceptable for both the buyer and the seller. As most mould problems can now be remediated without major deconstruction to the house, it is more feasible to purchase a mould contaminated house and to have it fully cleaned, remediated and guaranteed.

If I have already had a mould inspection company take an Air sample with a lab report, do I still need a scope of work ?

Professional and experienced mould inspection companies will provide you with a complete Scope of Work, as a part of their service. It they have not, then a mould remediation assessment will be required, in order to produce the Scope of Work. A lab report alone for an air-sample test does not provide the information required for a mould remediation company to accurately quote on a job. Once contracted to do a mould remediation job, Eco-Impact and Mould Experts, will conduct a separate mould inspection, regardless of whether or not a previous inspection of the property had been done. We do this, in every instance, to ensure that our remediation and quality control procedures are strictly followed. We do recommend that a 3rd party certification is done, after the remediation has been completed. As mould detection is often problematic with areas often overlooked, or it may have been several weeks from the time of the initial inspection and given the right conditions, the mould will continue to grow and spread during that period. Our systematic test methods gives us the confidence in knowing that a complete inspection has been conducted. With possible areas of omission reduced, it insures that we will have the greatest probability of success - even in areas where the mould is not readily accessible or visible.

How much will a mould remediation cost?

Wall MouldAs there are so many variables involved in mould remediation, this cost can only be determined at the time of the mould inspection. Mould remediation can also include the cost of repairing water damaged materials, fixing leaks, removing fiberglass insulation, cleaning carpets as well as cleaning, abatement and preventative treatments. Our company charges a standard daily rate for remediation, what will vary is the amount of time required to full clean and repair a property. More information on mould remediation and mould abatement.

Once we have found the source of the mould, can we clean the mould ourselves?

Cleaning MouldIn all cases, physically disturbing the mould will cause the spores to spread, and this could inadvertently contaminate areas that currently have no mould amplification. In some cases, household cleaners can make the mould problem worse. We strongly recommend that caution be used in all instances. Read the EPA guideline for DIY projects. Some moulds are capable of producing carcinogens (e.g., aflatoxin produced by Aspergillus flavus). The spores may be toxic by inhalation (e.g., satratoxin H in the case of Stachybotrys chartarum (atra). The antigenic material produced by a mould of a particular genus will vary according to species or a strain within the species and can vary with the source of nutrition available for the organism. As per the EPA guidelines, we recommend individuals untrained in bio-containment abatement procedures do not attempt to perform remediation on moulds with an aggregate area of contamination of 10 square feet or more. (regardless of the type), or on those moulds, (regardless of area), which are considered to be toxic or pathogenic. If the mould problem is more than 10 square feet or if you've tried cleaning it yourself and the odour persists or if it comes back in a few days, you need professional consultation.

I am currently renting an apartment, would I need a full mould inspection and scope of work?

If you are renting, you are most likely not responsible for any repairs to the building. This is falls under the responsibilities of the building owner. However, you, as a tenant, may require evidence that mould is present within your rental unit. You may also require consultation on how to proceed with having the mould addressed and on how to care for you personal possession that are in the apartment. This would require a full mould inspection.

Where can I get information about mould removal?

How does your company differ from the other mould remediation / mould abatement companies?

Hidden MouldWe advocate the use of the most advanced oxidative remediation technologies and products that exist today that allows us to save a structure, by remediating the mould instead of tear down and replace it. Unless there is structural damage done to the wood - it does not necessarily have to be replaced. The cost savings comes about from not having substantial replacement/rebuilding costs. We have an on-site portable lab for quality control testing and analysis of our products and processes during several stages of the remediation work. Qualified mould inspectors and certified mould remediators on-site managing your project. The latest approved oxidative remediation products that have a low toxicity to humans, but greater effectiveness on the long term suppression of mould growth. We assess the possibility of hidden mould being discovered during remediation and abatement process, and discuss this with the property owner prior to commencing the project on a plan of action, should this occur.

What types of buildings can be treated?

  • Virtually any building with mould
  • Residential homes, commercial buildings, industrial complexes
  • Schools, pre-schools, day care centers, playrooms, clinics and special care units, medical centers
  • Specialty treatments for Baby's rooms
  • Treatments suitable for crawlspaces, attics, unfinished basement and carpets
  • Mould preventative treatments for new homes and buildings under construction
  • Flood damage, fire damaged buildings

How do I choose a mould remediation and abatement company?

When property owners are looking for mould remediation companies - you need to become educated on the subject of mould. You have to ascertain which method that particular company uses - and which method best suits your own philosophies. There are several questions that the property owner should ask:
  • Demolition and replacement, do they attempt to minimize reconstruction?
  • Do they wash with toxic chemicals (usually metal based) not suitable for indoors ?
  • Some use a combination of 1 and 2, reconstruction + toxic chemicals
  • Does the company use chlorine bleach in its process ? ( professional companies don't)
  • Can the company offer a guarantee ?
  • Does the company restore items like carpets, upholstered furniture, curtains - or do the just recommend disposal and replacement ?
  • Does the company provide a full written report on the scope of work that has to be preformed before the job begins ?
  • Can the company also treat the crawlspace ? Often the source of the problem - many companies do not .
  • Do they have products that are safe to use in an HVAC system - or do they just recommend a filter replacement ?
  • Does the company have experience with contaminants other than mould ?
  • Can the remediation company identify if there is more than one cause to a problem, or is their experience limited to water intrusion? Not all allergic or sick house syndromes are caused by mould or mould spores alone. Bacterial infections, hydrocarbon (leaks from heating oil tanks), sewage problems from septic problems/backups ( often cause a combination of problems mould + bacterial) can often be plaguing older homes and buildings. Do they have the knowledge to recognize and treat it ?
  • Does your remediation company offer you confidentiality ? We use unmarked vehicles on site and there is no release of information unless you authorize it.

What can I expect a mould remediation and abatement company to do when they arrive at my property ?

If this is our first visit to the property, a full inspection will be conducted. We bring a portable lab with us to every job site and do a full inspection. We use non-invasive testing where possible, but if the problem appears to be severe, then we recommend drilling a small hole to inspect the area. We then take air samples or grab samples from behind the wall. We ascertain if other contaminants are involved and try to find the source (or sources) for the problem. The "ground zero" so to speak.
  • Is the mould cause by condensation or moisture intrusion or both? Fixing a leak may not address the only source of the problem.
  • How far has the mould spread?
  • Is there damage to the structural integrity or is the problem with staining and cosmetic issues?
  • Are there other associated problems, dust, other allergens such as high indoor pollen counts, asbestos ?
Then we give the homeowner a full report. This outlines, step by step, what needs to be done. This document can be used to get other companies to quote on doing the job, or decide if you want to do it yourself. See our page on Mould Inspection and testing for more details.

What is involved in the actual mould removal process ?

We use a multi-step process:

Identification, Containment and Negative Air Inspection and identification of extent of the mould contamination on the property, then negative air and dehumidification equipment are positioned according to the protocols stipulated for that job. Containment areas are established, and the area is prepared for remediation process. Remove the odour - Our Oxidative remediation process uses a series of treatments that oxidizes mould, bacteria and viruses, removes the toxins and the mVOC's (the bad smell that mould gives off). Treat any other organics - During this first phase we identify and treat any other organic contaminants. Cleaning and treatments - This is followed up by the use some of the newest, most advanced technology: microbiostatics washes to treat the area - any remaining mould stains are treated - the area is then dried. Full inspection, Quality Control - After the wash and drying - a full visual inspection and a microscopic examination is conducted of the problem/remediated areas. This gives our team of remediatiors the assurance to know that the area has been thoroughly disinfected. The latest in Mould Remediation Technology. Then final step involves fogging the entire area with provides an invisible, durable microbiostatic finish that protects surfaces against bio-deterioration by inhibiting microbial growth, preventing the mould from returning. This product will deliver effective inhibition of mould/mildew and algae, while killing and preventing the spread of common household germs; thus protecting surfaces, against deterioration, discolouration and odours. This process can only be applied to clean surfaces. Final Inspection - This is followed up with a final visual inspection and microscopic testing to ensure that all identified and treated areas are within specification, and that the odour has not returned and all signs of mould and mould staining have been removed. Relative humidity levels and moisture levels in treated surfaces are checked, any repairs for water intrusion are inspected. If the mould problem is more than 10 square feet or if you've tried cleaning it yourself and the odour persists you need professional consultation.