Mold Inspection – Los Angeles, Pasadena, Santa Clarita, Santa Monica, Valencia, Oxnard
What is mold? The ѕіmрlе answer: mоldѕ аrе раrt оf the fungi kіngdоm, similar tо уеаѕtѕ оr muѕhrооmѕ (thе antibiotic Pеnісіllіn іѕ actually a mold). Mold іѕ a lіvіng оrgаnіѕm, a part оf nаturе, аnd еvеn hаѕ a beneficial funсtіоn – іt brеаkѕ down all of оur dеаd оrgаnіс matter. Mold reproduces by rеlеаѕіng tіnу ѕроrеѕ, іnvіѕіblе tо thе nаkеd eye, into thе аіr. Thеѕе ѕроrеѕ lаnd іn mоіѕt аrеаѕ аnd begin tо grоw and ѕрrеаd. While thеrе are hundrеdѕ of thоuѕаndѕ оf vаrіеtіеѕ оf mоld, nоnе wоuld exist without thе рrеѕеnсе оf moisture, аіr, and ѕоmеthіng to feed оn. Sіnсе mоld will аlwауѕ еxіѕt outdoors, іt іѕ important tо соntrоl thе оnе ingredient a homeowner doesn’t need inside thе hоuѕе – moisture.
Mold саn grow оn rotting wood, grаѕѕ, wееdѕ, аnd соmроѕt ріlеѕ. The problem іѕ that it саn also grоw where уоu dоn’t wаnt іt to – іndооrѕ. It саn bе found on fооd оr сlоthіng, in bathrooms and аttісѕ аnd damp bаѕеmеntѕ, оn саrреtіng, and even inside the wаllѕ оf a hоuѕе. Mоld саn feed оn thе wood in thе wall, brеаkіng down thе materials аѕ it ѕрrеаdѕ unѕееn thrоughоut a house. Aѕ the mold dіgеѕtѕ оrgаnіс mаtеrіаl, it соntіnuеѕ tо ѕрrеаd to fіnd nеw fооd ѕоurсеѕ.
Sроttіng mоld саn bе еаѕу, if the mold соlоnу is vіѕіblе. Mold соmеѕ іn a vаrіеtу of соlоrѕ (іnсludіng white, blасk, grееn, gray, brоwn, and mоrе), bunching аѕ spots оr discolorations. If the mоld is nоt vіѕіblе, ѕоmеоnе may not rесоgnіzе mоld is рrеѕеnt untіl іt is late in thе рrосеѕѕ. Pеорlе dіѕсоvеr mоld whеn there іѕ рhуѕісаl dаmаgе tо a ѕtruсturе оr аn increase іn muѕtу ѕmеllѕ. Sоmеtіmеѕ mоld won’t be found untіl thе occupants experience hеаlth problems. Bу then, іt may bе too lаtе. Whenever a hоuѕе оr buіldіng hаѕ аn overexposure to moisture, іt іѕ іmроrtаnt tо inspect for mold. Mоіѕturе оvеrеxроѕurе can come frоm mаnу ѕоurсеѕ, іnсludіng:
- Roofs or bаѕеmеntѕ that leak
- Irrіgаtіоn оr fіrе ѕрrіnklеrѕ
- Shower or bаth wаtеr
- Sіnk оr ѕеwеr оvеrflоw
- Plumbing lеаkѕ
The Mold Facts deals in Mold Inspection, Mold Removal and Remediation in Los Angeles. We serve in Los Angeles and nearby areas including Pasadena, Santa Clarita, Santa Monica, Valencia, Oxnard.
Contact our mold inspection experts at 866-674-7541 to know more.
Moisture detection process in homes and buildings
Visual inspection for moisture stains and moisture damage:
Water intrusion is the uncontrolled movement of water or water vapors in homes or buildings where it is unwanted, unpleasant, and undesirable. When these undesirable water movements make holes in the buildings, for example, in-ceiling, floors, windows, walls, some common areas of bathrooms, and kitchen sinks, then it results in “moisture stains.”
Plumbing issues result in water damage. It is present in the form of bulging drywall, nails, and baseboards. Once a year, it is necessary to inspect the plumbing system in our homes to check whether there is any problem with hoses or pipe joints. When there is any leakage in pipes or have faced any flood, then it also results in moisture damage that is very devastating. These issues must be resolved, otherwise cause extensive damage.
Common signs of water damage identification:
- Notice the changes in ceilings, floors, and walls:
When the water supply line is broken, then you can notice the water migration in the subfloor.
These are some of the signs of water damage. Water damage in ceilings and walls are very obvious.
Peeling or bubbling paint and wallpaper are the early signs of water damage. With the passage of time, they become more inflated and wrap.
In severe cases, we feel so soft or spongy to touch the walls and ceilings.
The wet corners in rooms go unnoticed because of infrequently usage.
There must be water damage to the subflooring when you notice the wet patch of carpeting or peeling tile.
The signs of mold are usually seen in ceramic tile. When vinyl and linoleum tile is wet, then it will begin to peel and crack. Wood and Laminate floors will begin to lose their shape.
Stains or mold’s visibility:
Another sign of water damage is the presence of mold and stains.
When there is slowly and consistently leakage, then the mold will appear in the damp areas. These stains are of Yellowish-brown color and also have shapes that are irregularly expanded. These stains are seen in areas like bathrooms, laundry, and basements because there is a lot of water usage and the number of pipes in these areas. First, getting wet, then drying, and then getting wet again are the repeated cycles of water stains. If the ceilings, floors, walls, carpeting, and wood remain damp for a long time, then mold may appear. And colors of mold include black, green, blue, and grey. Mold having a shape in the form of thread-like structures. It also grows out of sigh like under the carpets and behind bathroom tiles.
There are many health risks and allergies due to mold.
Another sign of water damage includes “Musty Odors.” The area must be damp and humid, where you feel this smell. Immediately after heavy rainfall, you feel this smell. This sign shows that there may be issues with your foundation that needs to be resolved as soon as possible.
Increase in water or sewage bills:
Unusual high water bills are also an indication of water damage. If there is a sudden increase in bills, compare it to your recent bills if you feel an abrupt change without your excessive usage. These fluctuations prove that there is an issue. There may be leakage (a pipe leaking in your walls). Bills increased due to this reason.
If your pipes are outdated, then inspect all the pipes, faucets, and valves to ensure either the pipe leaking or the connections are poor. As the pipes are running through your walls so by listening to the sound of dripping water, you can check potential water issues and can also resolve them. The sound reveals that there is a leakage somewhere in the wall. Always check the condition of your water supply and drainage pipes and also look beneath your sink and around toilets. Your cabinets should not be wet in order to prevent mold growth.
If you want to repair the water damage, then inspect the Caulk around the bathtub and sinks. It is an inexpensive fix that prevents both the mold and water damage.
Causes of water damage:
- Poor subfloor ventilation.
- Water pooling under the house
- Blocked vents.
Poor subfloor ventilation:
A major cause of rising damp can be Inadequate subfloor ventilation. Poor ventilation in subfloors allows humidity to build up. Excess moisture makes the walls damp.
Rising damp is caused by poor subfloor ventilation. It can be identified by a “tide mark” on the lower part of the affected walls. This mark is due to soluble salts in groundwater.
Other problems due to rising damp include the following:
- Wooden rot
- Odor problems
- Pest infestation (termites and wood-eating insects)
If it left unresolved, then mold will grow, and airborne fungal spores released and can cause serious health problems.
Pooling under the house:
There is a space between the poured basement and the footer. When excess water collects under the house, it results in musty basement smell and seeps through small cracks in the slab.
Standing water under the house is common in those areas where heavy rains occur several times annually. Soil holds water, but clay in soil holds more water, and when heavy rains occur, it becomes saturated and causes water pool under the house.
It also may be due to poor surface water drainage.
Prevention: Water removal can be done by A Sump Pump.
Check the vents in the room if there is any kind of obstruction.
It can be furniture, bedding, or even the damper itself is closed.
If you find any blocked vent, then clear it and allow airflow. Airflow shows that everything is set now.
Air filters are best at keeping the dust or dirt away from our HVAC system.
If the vents are damaged, and there are holes/gaps in connections, so it means there is leakage. For its fixing, we can attempt to tape small openings.
Water damage repair:
- Dry out the affected area to get rid of moisture stains and water damage.
- You can use fans for this purpose that circulates the air in those affected areas. If there is a large project, then you can be renting a LARGE CAPACITY DEHUMIDIFIER that perfectly dries the wood, carpet, and other materials.
- Due to gravity, Ceilings are more at risk of water damage. You do not want them sagging and collapsing, so affected ceiling panels should be removed.
- Damaged, warped, and rotting wood should be replaced because of mold problems. Damaged parts should be replaced, and they should be thoroughly clean before replacing them.
Water damage and other little similar problems are often ignored and also damaging. It can be worse. So we should also pay attention to these problems.
Moisture detection process:
There are many hidden moistures in buildings that we have to find by using the following detectors:-
- a moisture meter
- certified mold inspectors
- and thermal infrared cameras
- Flir E8
There are four generic wall types:-
- Architectural pre-cast
- Metal and glass curtain wall
- Insulated steel assemblies
One additional is
- Wood and steel frame.
Concerning these generic types, there is variation in the types of insulation and also in control of air moisture and air migration. Variations depend on architectural aesthetics.
Many environmental factors can be imposed by local weather conditions throughout the year. In both cold and hot humid climates, penetration of water vapors in buildings is controlled or enhances its durability.
Moisture pattern due to rainwater:
Thermographers test buildings for leakage when there is an ambient temperature between 1 and 10 degrees centigrade, this is a condition for it.
Commissioning building inspections cannot be carried out at sub-zero temperatures.
- As a result of moisture accumulation, porous materials show greater temperature effects. Due to rainwater penetration, Lightweight porous materials such as wood and stucco show thermal variations as compared to high mass porous materials such as stone.
- The cladding material is greatly affected by rainwater.
- The thermal resistance of cladding materials are greatly reduced by thermal patterns:-
At the areas where saturation occurs, durability issue is the potential for freeze damage to cladding materials.
- In locations where rainwater gets penetrate through the cladding, and other materials like weather barriers and sheathing can protect the entry into the insulation layers and structure.
- When there is no penetration into these materials, “INFRARED THERMOGRAPHY” is used to locate the affected areas when there is more than a 10-degree centigrade temperature gradient existing through the exterior building envelope.
RAINWATER PENETRATION: Many buildings experience rainwater penetration at top floors and are locating in the areas with high driving rain index or during hurricanes or tornados.
Slope areas or protruding walls also experience rainwater penetration from upper wall sections.
Moisture patterns due to melting water:
In winters, water melts from rooftops, sloped areas, and other architectural features. Porous cladding materials and another masonry can be affected by accumulated surface moisture. Infrared thermography is used to make these patterns visible.
Heat solar gain affects the Meltwater patterns and can often dry out the surface. Thermal patterns are not mottled in other types of assemblies.
Due to groundwater absorption, there is a need for more sensitive infrared equipment to discern surface temperature variations.
Equipment for moisture detecting:
The amount of water vapors in air, soil, or in confined spaces is measured by a hygrometer.
Humidity can be measured based on some other quantities such as temperature, mass, pressure, mechanical, or any electrical change. These changes show that moisture is absorbed.
Modern electrical devices use temperature of condensation.
Changes in resistance or capacitance show humidity differences.
The maximum amount of water vapors varies according to temperature.
Moisture Detection range is calculated by moisture meters.
In homes, a moisture meter is an electronic device that can be used to detect moisture content around houses and buildings.
It works properly on building materials such as wood or lumber.
Flooring contractors use moisture meters for determining ideal conditions when installing a floor over a concrete slab or subfloor.
Other moisture meters are the following:
- General Brand MM Series.
In-home inspection business moisture meters choose substrate type according to usage.
And the other is:
- Ryobi E49MM01 Combination Digital Moisture Meter.
It is a bit expensive, but a multi-substrate combination and its durability are high.
Moisture meters are calibrated to wood, it tells about accurate moisture content in wood.
The scale shows reading between 5 to 40% range.
A relative scale of 0 to 100 is often used when zero is bone dry, and 100 is saturated.
Thermal imaging camera:
It is very helpful in determining the leakage and also the extent of leakage and other moisture intrusions.
Water is entered at home via the water channels pathway.
The water is 9.9 times out of 10 can be different temperatures other than the surroundings or environment.
- Physical detection of water by moisture meter is done.
- A thermal imaging camera shows different temperature fluctuations in the environment.
- It also tells about how many square feet the leak encompasses.
- Indoor humidity is high
- Structural wood decay
- Structures are weakened
- Metal deterioration
- ice dams
- Mold growth:-
Airborne mold spores result in:
- Lung disorders
- Weak immune system.
Aerial roof inspections:
Infrared thermographyis used for mechanical pressurization or depressurization. Inspection procedureresults in additional deposition of moisture within the enclosure assembly during extremely cold conditions.
Interstitial accumulationof moisture is determined by air movements through envelopes.
Some other detecting tools are the following:-
- AII Aces Services:
It is the latest moisture detecting tool.
- NIR Microwave
- RF Dielectric technologies.
This range of measurement techniques with a selection of controllers is the sensor that measures moisture in materials effectively.
Mold testing is used to check what type of mold has grown on the surface of buildings or in the air, whether the mold is harmful or harmless, either it causes serious complications or not.
Mold results in many seasonal allergies, such as coughing, sneezing, skin irritation, congestion, headache, sore throat, runny nose, and watery eyes.
It also causes many life-threatening infections and diseases.
During mold testing procedure, a highly qualified mold inspector also determines the drywall, whether it is holding the moisture or not, if yes, then to which extent it is holding the moisture.
It is an important factor in determining the remedial strategies or a mold inspection-testing hypothesis.
It gives critical information in isolating a potential mold problem.
SSC TEST for mold:
It is used to test mold in homes and buildings.
Results come within seven business days.
Just take a sample from any area of your ceiling in homes or buildings for determining the mold growth. It will show the type of mold, common components of the structure, and there is also the amount of spores present in the specimen.
A laboratory technician uses a light microscope for testing mold growth in homes and buildings.
Air quality sampling:
A mold checker takes the samples from inside any building or outdoors in air quality sampling.
By using a special cassette Air-O-cell /Allergenco, in this procedure, spores are captured on that special surface and can be postponed until more analysis at the laboratory.
There are a larger number of spores present inside than outdoors that is showing a strong source of mold growing inside.
Reason for testing:
when the mold is affecting your health, contaminating your quality of air, then this test is necessary to check its presence and extent of its behavior and also try to eliminate the mold spores that are floating everywhere in the air and polluting the environment.
It is also used to save a life by preventing life-threatening infections and diseases.
Hidden spots for mold:
Mold needs damp conditions for its growth. It can be found in the areas which are comparatively moisture. There are many mold removal methods for the elimination of the contamination caused by mold.
Hidden spots for mold are the following:-
- Behind your fridge or freezer.
- Behind your bulk of newspapers or the stock of cardboard.
- Behind your drywall in stud spaces that contain crack lines.
- Below your sinks
- Beneath your bathrooms
- Behind the wallboard if your window has leakage.
- In ventilation ducts
- Under your carpets that are wet
- The backside of acoustic ceiling tiles (if the roof is facing some leakage)
- Behind a drywall that has ever faced flood.
Mold test-kit usage:
From house renovation stores and online retailers, test-kits are widely available and widely used for testing mold growth.
Some are specifically designed for this purpose.
For testing the mold bodies in the atmosphere, you need a mold test-kit that ranges from $20 to $45
It takes a little time to give accurate results. You send the testing material in the lab where testing is done, and that determines the presence of mold in the air.
Lab analysis costs an additional cost ranging from $40 to$70
Also, use test-kits with salt in it.
Name of materials:
- Visible mold test-kit
- Painter’s tape
- Scotch tape or you can also use electric tape.
- Anything to mark like pen or pencil etc.
The procedure of testing:
The entrance and exit points in the room are closed before 24 hours of checking the test.
Potential mold bodies are allowed to bunch up without any disturbance.
The packaging should be free from the components of the kit.
There will be a less deep Petri dish of plastic or glass having a lid type cover.
The microbial lecture is a substance that is used for the treatment of inside the petri dish that allows promoting the production of mold spores.
It helps in collecting sufficient sample for testing the mold in a time span suggested by the manufacturer.
The lid should be removed from the dish. The petri dish should be upside down on a smooth area at the length of the table.
Don’t touch the dish for approximately 48 hours.
This time varies from experiment to experiment and also depends upon the manufacturer’s guidelines.
During this time, try to limit the conveyance of the people in the room. During the testing period, it is essential to keep away from disturbing air.
The entrance with painter’s tape is covered only if you want to do so.
This area is temporarily off-limits just as a reminder to the people living in the house.
The lid is placed back on to the Petri dish after the end of waiting time.
The place where the dish and the cover touch each other is covered by a layer of tape around a seam with the tape that is available at that time, both works very well, but make sure to avoid more adhesive tape like duct tape.
The date of today is noted on the lid that is enclosed in a kit and you should fasten the label to the bottom of the petri dish.
The taped petri dish is then placed in a dark area, such as a dark drawer in the dresser or on the closest shelf.
At last petri dish should be checked within two days to check the mold growth production in the dish.
If mold is present, it will be just like the mold you would see on old food in the fridge.
If mold is visible in the Petri dish, you can give that dish to the lab that the manufacturer suggests for determining its kind and type of treatment.
Envelops for mailing are included in many of the kits.
You are required to pay them for doing analysis.
It takes three to eight weeks to show the results.
You may wish that you can continue checking the mold throughout the house. You can check the presence of mold in the house by this procedure.
Many other things that you can do to minimize the presence of mold in your home or business include regular vacuuming and cleaning, as well as keeping the levels of humidity very low. This can greatly prevent high levels of mold.
You also have to inspect your home for leaks or excess water regularly.