Houston Mold Inspection
We are the platinum standard mold inspection and testing company in Houston and the top choice if you are looking for an unbiased home mold inspection or commercial mold inspection from a knowledgeable firm.
There are no conflicts of interest working with us. We do not perform mold remediation.
We also do testing for more serious indoor air quality issues such as toxic gas, voc, formaldehyde, and particulate matter.
Importantly moisture investigations are more beneficial before any mold tests.
We target the source of moisture intrusion.
- Viable Air Testing
- Fugi Direct Lift
- Swab Testing
- Bulk Item Sampling
HOW IAQ Environmental TESTS FOR MOLD
The best way to get an accurate “snapshot in time” of the mold situation in your home or office is to combine a thorough visual inspection with two separate sampling techniques – a surface sampling of visual mold and biological air sampling. There are different toxic types of mold common to indoors.
The Visual Inspection reveals obvious molds on surfaces and helps determine potential hidden mold problems that may go unnoticed by an untrained eye. We use state-of-the-art electronic detection equipment. The IAQE visual inspection also reveals existing and potential moisture problems in construction materials. Wet or damp wood, drywall, and even concrete may not be a mold problem now but will be if ignored. Catch problems before they start.
Surface samples were taken by tape lift imprints or bulk samples of a surface for laboratory analysis. The primary purpose of a direct microscopic examination of a surface is to determine what kinds of molds are present and reveal indoor reservoirs of mold spores that have not yet become airborne. While surface sampling is the most reliable way to determine what type of mold is on a surface, i.e., walls, furniture, floors, etc., it is not a direct indication of what may be in the air.
BIOLOGICAL AIR SAMPLING is the only way to accurately determine how much mold is in the air at your home or office. AMI can sample measurable amounts of air using specialized equipment, which traps airborne mold spores for later analysis. Only with a quantifiable number of spores in a measurable amount of air is an accurate representation of the indoor air quality possible. IAQ Environmental air samples were taken using specialized equipment that both identifies and quantifies all mold types, so you know what is going on with the air you breathe.
Both surface and air sampling techniques are widely recognized as the best processes for achieving accurate evaluations of indoor air quality (IAQ) and the specificity of surface mold types. However, one without the other may result in an inaccurate characterization of the area sampled. For example, Stachybotrys (a known toxic mold) has shown up in surface samples but not air samples in the same property. Often, there can be certain types of mold on a surface that are not airborne YET. For that reason, it is prudent to sample both air and surface molds.
WHY TEST FOR MOLD?
To some degree, mold is everywhere. It’s indoors and outdoors, at work, at home, in the city, in the country, everywhere. Everyone is exposed to some form of mold organisms (biological particles) every day. Sometimes indoor mold can be problematic. The controversy over mold and its potential for harmful effects is driven primarily by personally motivated, radically opinionated proponents on both sides of the issue.
Some will presumptuously tell you that mold is no problem at all, to whom we would say, “Then you won’t mind spreading Stachybotrys on your toast every morning.” Others will tell you that mold is the “end of the world” and try to scare you into spending a fortune to rebuild your home, which just happens to be the business they are in.
The truth is, under certain conditions, mold does have the potential to cause serious health problems in some humans and animals. If you are susceptible to mold allergies or illnesses, you will most likely have an adverse physical reaction in moldy environments. On the other hand, and at the very least, when left untreated, mold can eventually destroy anything and everything it comes in contact with, including your home and personal belongings.
Why take chances?
If you have an animal in your house, the first thing you would want to know is, do you have a kitty-cat or a lion? If you suspect your home or office has a mold problem, the first responsible step is to find out exactly what you’re dealing with. The most practical way to do that is hire a professional mold inspector who can conduct mold tests to define and quantify molds in your property. And when you do, make sure the mold inspector you hire is not connected to any third parties with something to gain by convincing you that mold is good, bad, or indifferent.
IAQ Environmental Mold Inspections is not connected with any third parties on either side of the mold issue. We do not benefit from anyone who would attempt to persuade you that mold is or is not a threat. Our only interest is in providing our clients with reliable and accurate reporting of the data we collect in the course of the inspection process and the results of mold tests and samples.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TESTING FOR MOLD AND A MOLD INSPECTION?
The purpose of a MOLD INSPECTION is to:
a) Locate mold infestations; b) Determine the cause; and c) Help facilitate effective remediation (removal) plan.
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 almost certainly molded. If a building smells musty, there probably is mold somewhere. But sometimes mold is not so easy to locate. And once the 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. AMI Certified Mold Inspectors can help with the unknown.
The purpose of 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 are 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 the 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.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
BASIC RESIDENTIAL MOLD INSPECTION: $299
(Properties over 2,000 sq. ft. use 15¢ per sq. ft. to calculate price) Inspection includes:
- A non-invasive¹ visual inspection of accessible locations² for surface mold, water intrusion, and other causes.
- Testing construction materials for moisture content.
¹ “non-invasive” means without cutting walls open.
² “accessible locations” are defined as areas readily observed without the need to move furniture or contents.
OPTIONAL MOLD TESTING (SAMPLING)
SAMPLING FOR LABORATORY ANALYSIS: $150 ea.
Lab analysis of samples identifies mold types and quantities. Sample Options Include:
As a rule, when people get sick from mold, it’s usually from inhaling airborne mold spores. Lab analysis of air samples will list every type of mold in your air and tell you how much of it is there. An air test consists of two samples, one sample from the indoor air and one ambient sample from the outdoor air. The outdoor serves as a baseline standard. An “abnormal mold condition” exists when lab results show that the indoor air has a higher spore count than the outdoor air.
Surface samples are taken by pressing tape onto a suspect surface, then gently pulling it off and securing it into a zip-lock baggie for lab analysis. The mold that sticks to the tape is analyzed under direct microscopic examination. Surface samples will accurately identify all types of mold growing on a surface but will not quantify. Furthermore, mold found in surface samples is necessarily an accurate representation of what is in the air. In fact, it is entirely possible to find specific types of mold growing on surfaces that have not yet become airborne.
WHY IS IT USEFUL TO IDENTIFY SURFACE MOLD TYPES?
Mold produces mold spores. When surface mold is disturbed, thousands (perhaps even millions) of tiny spores become airborne, which may ultimately end up in the lungs of anyone nearby. It is beneficial to know whether or not the mold growing on a surface is toxic before attempting to clean it so that you can take adequate measures to protect yourself and others from potentially harmful effects.
INNER WALL CAVITY: (invasive) $150 per opening
IAQE uses state-of-the-art fiber optic technology to inspect inside walls and under cabinet floors. In most cases, only a hole about the size of a quarter needs to be drilled to see up to 3 feet. When that method is not possible, it may be necessary to cut out small sections of the wall to properly inspect the inner wall or floor. After inspection, the cutout section is set back in place, and the seam is taped. Spackling is the property owner’s responsibility.
DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY: Call to discuss pricing (713) 931-8378
Upon request, AMI will take digital photos of surface mold contamination and water damage. Photos are printed out and included in the written report.
Documentation for mold inspections include:
- We have written discovery reports with complete explanations in laymen’s terms.
- Protimeter test results showing problematic moisture content of construction materials including wood, drywall, concrete, tiles. Etc.
- Computer-generated reports in laymen’s terms for interpreting lab results when applicable.
- Guideline information for resolving mold problems.
NOTE: Inspection documents are only given to our client (the person or company who actually pays for the inspection).
HOW MOLD SPREADS
Mold spreads by releasing millions of tiny, lightweight “spores” into the air, so small that as many as 250,000 of them can fit on a pinhead. Simply walking through a room can stir up millions of mold spores, sending them traveling through the air, staying airborne for six to eight hours, starting new colonies. Indoors, they grow in air-conditioning ducts, carpets, potted plants, even the furniture we sleep on. They multiply and release millions of new spores, invading the human respiratory system.
SHOULD YOU BE CONCERNED ABOUT MOLD IN YOUR HOME OR OFFICE?
Absolutely! Eventually, mold destroys whatever it grows on. It can ruin furnishings, destroy cabinets, and cause serious damage to the structural elements in your property. Mold is extremely durable and adaptable. It can survive in the harshest conditions and is resistant to even the strongest disinfectants and bleaches. Eliminating leaks and moisture can slow the spread of mold, but testing to determine the type of mold present is the first responsible step in creating an action plan.
IS MOLD TOXIC?
No. However, some fungi (molds) produce toxins (poisons) called mycotoxins. Molds that produce toxins are known as toxigenic fungi.
Toxigenic fungi, such as Stachybotrys, Aspergillus, and Penicillium, are the most common indoor molds and have been known to produce mycotoxins that are harmful to animals and humans when ingested, inhaled, or come in direct contact with the skin.
Killing spores does not disable the toxicity of mycotoxins. Mycotoxins can be present on or in spores, whether the spores are dead or alive. Therefore, stopping fungal growth does not necessarily stop adverse medical symptoms. The potential and serious danger of these mycotoxins are realized when you consider that Stachybotrys produces trichothecene mycotoxins (T2), which have the potential for use as a biological warfare toxin. Mycotoxins allegedly have been used in aerosol form (“yellow rain”) to produce lethal and nonlethal casualties in Laos (1975-81), Kampuchea (1979-81), and Afghanistan (1979-81). It has been estimated that there were more than 6,300 deaths in Laos, 1,000 in Kampuchea, and 3,042 in Afghanistan.
The amount of data linking mold to so many horrifying health problems is overwhelming. The drive to address the problems of toxic mold, however, is stymied by one glaring factor: Scientists and lawmakers are divided over the poisoning potential of mold. Some researchers are convinced that toxic molds are killers, while Federal health officials do not even recognize the blanket phrase “toxic mold,” admitting that some molds can be toxic to some people. Each of us must make our own choice of what to believe.
Here are mold terms that are related to procedures, applications, and testing.
All mold needs to grow is food sources and the right climate. Oxygen-rich environments and humidity over 70% are optimal for mold growth. Many molds grow well at temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which are also ideal temperatures for human comfort.
In the summer, when air-conditioning is in use, mold growth can occur in and around vents and ductwork in buildings. In the winter, when buildings are heated, mold often grows in wall spaces between the warm indoor air and the cold outdoor air. In either scenario, ideal conditions for mold growth are inside exterior windows and walls where one side of the wall is colder than the other (especially uninsulated closet walls along exterior walls), water vapor can condense on building surfaces, just as it does on the outside of a glass of ice water on a warm, humid day.
OTHER SOURCES OF MOLD
• Flooding & Water leaks
• HVAC Air Ducts
• Sprinkler spray hitting the house
• Overflow from sinks or sewers
• Damp basement or crawl space
• Steam from shower or cooking
• Wet clothes drying indoors
• Dark unventilated areas
• Swamp coolers