Epilogue Inspections   |   Jeff Frame   |   425-312-8976

425-312-8976

Jeff Frame

Serving Greater Seattle

from Bellingham to Olympia

Epilogue_house-color

Mold Inspection

 Welcome to the Pacific Northwest. You have mold.

Epilogue Inspections will help you figure out if you can live with it.

Mold Inspection
$ 300
  • Visual Inspection
  • Thermal Imaging
  • Moisture & Humidity
  • Custom Sampling Plan
  • Free Control Sample
  • One Indoor Air Sample
  • One Surface Sample
  • Custom Remediation Plan
Clearance Test
$ 200
  • Return Visit*
  • Verify Remediation
  • Clean Bill of Health
  • Free Control Sample
  • One Indoor Air Sample
  • Additional Samples $50/ea
Surface Inspection
$ 200
  • Visual Inspection
  • Thermal Imaging
  • Moisture & Humidity
  • One Surface Sample
  • Custom Remediation Plan
Add-Ons
  • Add Air Samples $75/ea
  • Add Surface Samples $50/ea
  • Expedited Results $50
Air Analysis Add-On
  • Background Particulates $50

    Tests for amorphous organic debris, animal hair, cellulose fibers, cotton fibers, dust mites, insect fragments, newspaper ink, pollen, salt crystals, charred plant debris, charred woody fragments, diatoms, gypsum board, inkjet droplets, dust mite feces, plant fragments, skin cells, starch grains, synthetic fibers.

Bundle
  • Surface Sample $100

    Single surface sample taken during home inspection. Includes expedited results.

  • Inspection Bundle $50 off

    $50 off mold inspection when performed in conjunction with home and/or sewer inspection. Includes expedited results.

What Happens During an Epilogue Mold Inspection?

Visual Inspection

Most inspections begin with a discussion about mold and the concerns you have for your property. We visually inspect your property for signs of mold and elevated moisture. We use thermal imaging to identify potential moisture issues, and if needed, we use a borescope to look inside your walls. After that, we make a customized recommendation for a sampling protocol based on your concerns and what we saw during the visual inspection.

Moisture Detection

Based on thermal imaging we obtain during the visual inspection, we use a moisture meter to determine moisture content in areas of concern. We use a hygrometer to take indoor and outdoor humidity readings.

Lab Analysis

Samples are sent for analysis to determine mold species and concentration levels in your space. We partner with a mold analysis laboratory which staffs a mycologist with 35+ years of experience identifying mold spores, national recognition as a mold and indoor air quality expert, and accreditation as an indoor environmental hygienist.

Detailed Report

When we receive your lab results, we provide you with a detailed written report including the results, their scientific interpretation, recommendations regarding remediation, and thermal images of your inspection.

Air Sampling

Using an Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) pump, we sample a measured volume of air inside your space. Our lab compares its spores per cubic meter to a control sample taken in your immediate outdoor vicinity. The indoor air sample is taken in the area of greatest concern agreed upon by the client and the inspector. If the problem area is large enough, multiple samples may be suggested to establish precisely what has been contaminated. We recommend one sample per 1,000 sq ft of contiguous enclosed area, or about one per floor. The lab analyzes your samples to determine which molds you have, whether the concentration levels are elevated, and whether issues are localized or widespread. We will also provide the total volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde, carbon dioxide, PM2.5/PM10 levels, air quality index rating, temperature, and humidity.

Surface Sampling

We send surface samples of visual growth to the lab collected with a sterile swab or tape lift.

In-Wall Sampling

We typically drill a hole in the wall about the size of a pencil, insert tubing, and use an IAQ pump to collect an in-wall air sample which is sent to the lab for analysis. If mold is actively growing inside the wall, this will be reflected on the collected sample.

Bulk Sampling

We collect a sample of the contaminated material which is sent to the lab.
Water Damage
can lead to structural damage.
Thermal Imaging
points to hidden moisture issues.
Moisture Meter
detects moisture levels in specific locations.
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Mold FAQ

The Science of Mold

Mold is a microscopic fungus which digests organic matter to assist with decomposition. It may smell musty, it is typically fuzzy, and it usually shows up in shades of black, green, blue, or white. The toxicity of mold cannot be determined by its color.
Mold can be good: Some level of mold is present in our environment at all times. Mold is an important component of the outdoor ecosystem. Mold can be bad: Mold becomes a problem when it digests materials we want to keep intact, like our homes and personal belongings. It can also adversely affect our health.
Mold is found both in the air and on surfaces. Microscopic mold spores are present in the air year-round, both outdoor and indoor, as a normal part of our environment. Outdoor surface mold is commonly observed on wood, leaves, mulch, compost, decomposing vegetation, or other organic materials. It can also appear on exterior siding, eaves, soffits, and roofing materials. Indoor surface mold is commonly found in spaces such as attics, closets, kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, HVAC systems, basements, and crawlspaces. We find it on ceilings, inside walls, clinging to insulation, drywall, paint, wallpaper, windows, and carpets. It also likes to feed on dust, fabric, furniture, houseplants, paper products, wood, and other organic materials.
Mold usually enters your home as microscopic airborne spores through open doorways, windows, vents, and HVAC systems. It can also attach itself to clothing, shoes, and pets.

Mold reproduces by releasing spores which grow best on organic material surrounded by warm, moist air. Indoor spaces with humidity levels of 60% or higher and temperatures between 77° and 86°F are conducive to mold growth. Interior water damage caused by condensation, leaks, or flooding is also mold-conducive especially if not addressed within 48 hours.

No one knows precisely. Estimates range from tens of thousands to over three hundred thousand. Because molds vary by region, we are only exposed to a small percentage of them. Common indoor molds include alternaria, aspergillus, cladosporium, and penicillium.

In the Pacific Northwest, the type of mold popularly dubbed “black mold” or “toxic mold” is called stachybotrys (STACK-ee-BAW-tris). It is a greenish-black mold which typically grows on materials with high cellulose and low nitrogen content. Stachybotrys is classified as a toxigenic mold, meaning it produces mycotoxins which can affect your health.
No. When mold is actively growing, it produces gases called microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) which create the musty smell. If you see mold but don’t smell anything musty, the mold may be in a dormant phase of its growth cycle. If you smell something musty, you probably have actively growing mold.

It depends on the type of mold. In general, airborne mold spore counts differ by region, season, and even neighborhood. We sample the spore count outside your home and compare it to the spore count inside your home. If your indoor spore count is significantly higher than your outdoor spore count, you have elevated levels of mold inside your home. However, ANY level of mold like stachybotrys is unacceptable. Stachybotrys is not aerophile, so even one spore in the air means there’s an active surface growth nearby.

Health Effects of Mold

Molds have three primary health concern classifications: allergenic, pathogenic, and toxigenic. Some molds do not fall into any of these categories, and some molds fall into all three. Visit our mold gallery to learn more about specific molds. Allergenic molds typically only bother people with mold sensitivities. Pathogenic molds can pose a serious health risk to people whose immune systems are compromised. Toxigenic molds can cause health problems not only for those who are mold-sensitive or immunocompromised, but also for people who are otherwise healthy.
When molds are disturbed, they release spores into the air. You can be exposed by breathing air containing these mold spores. You can also be exposed through eating moldy food, or by touching moldy items and then touching your face. Exposure to mold may cause a variety of health effects or none at all.
In the majority of cases, mold exposure symptoms look like allergy symptoms. Mild symptoms may include cough, eye or skin irritation, nasal congestion, or wheezing. Moderate symptoms may include aggravation of asthma, fatigue, headache, nausea, or shortness of breath. Severe symptoms may include fever or infection. In rare cases, mold exposure has been linked to long-term health effects like anxiety, confusion, depression, insomnia, memory loss, or trouble concentrating.
If you have health problems that you suspect may be caused by exposure to mold, you should consult your physician.
You should consult your physician to determine the appropriate action to take.

Legal Considerations

No regulatory agencies have established parameters that define safe mold exposure. Mold counts vary by location and environment. Mold testing and remediation follows industry guidelines.
Every policy is different. Some policies cover mold; others do not. Check with your insurance agent to find out if mold damage is covered on your policy.
Tenants and landlords both have responsibilities for addressing water and moisture problems that can cause mold. Generally, fixing leaks is the landlord’s responsibility and reducing condensation is the renter’s responsibility. Washington’s Dept of Health has some good resources for renters and landlords. www.doh.wa.gov/rentermold
In Washington, you can contact your local county health department (www.doh.wa.gov/localhealth) for more information about mold.

Getting a Mold Inspection

Large mold infestations can usually be seen or smelled.
We recommend that you consider a mold inspection if you have had recent water damage that was not resolved within 24-48 hours, you are concerned about mold you can see or something musty you can smell, or you have a health concern which you suspect is related to mold.
When it comes to mold, it’s important to know which ones and how much because health concerns vary by species and concentration. An Epilogue mold inspection will help you answer these two important questions. To find out if you have too much mold in your air, we measure the number of spores per cubic meter in a contiguous enclosed area. Our lab compares that number to an outdoor control sample, and an environmental scientist interprets the findings to determine whether or not you have dangerous levels of mold.

Wrong. Newer homes are designed to be tightly sealed for energy efficiency. Good ventilation systems are typically in place but go unused by residents. A tightly sealed home can trap moisture, fueling mold growth. For example, we often find mold in attics of new construction.

DIY mold test kits use a settle (gravity) plate which is set in your space for a while, then sent to a lab which reports what species of mold settled on the plate. We recommend against these test kits for a couple of reasons:

  • First, they cannot tell you how much mold you have. Mold quantity matters because some mold species are fine at lower concentrations but dangerous at higher levels. 
  • Second, they can only tell you which mold species landed on the settle plate, which means they will primarily collect aerophile species. However, molds like stachybotrys (black mold) are non-aerophile, which means they are not likely to travel to the settle plate.

Mold Remediation

Mold remediation is the removal of mold by a trained professional.
Before proceeding with remediation, it’s a good idea to know which mold species are present, what the scope of the work will be, and whether or not professional remediation is necessary to resolve the issue.
If the affected area is around ten square feet or less, you can usually clean it up yourself. You should consider hiring a remediator if the area is larger than ten square feet, has been contaminated by sewage, or is hidden in your walls or other inaccessible locations.
A mold remediator is trained in proper mold containment and removal procedures using PPE, portable air scrubbers, and HEPA filters. Affected areas are treated with antimicrobial solutions and fungistatic coatings to kill any remnant spores and prevent future growth.
Clearance testing can verify that the work has been completed properly, that conditions have returned to normal, and that the remediation process didn’t spread mold throughout the rest of the home. Often, insurance or remediation companies will require clearance testing.

Keeping Mold at Bay

No, that is not a thing. Remember, mold is all around us as a normal part of our environment. However, it is possible to keep mold from digesting things you want to keep intact, and you should also endeavor to keep your airborne mold spore count lower indoors than it is outdoors. These goals can be accomplished by maintaining a mold-prohibitive environment inside your home.
  • Control Humidity — Indoor air humidity should be kept below 50%. Elevated humidity of 60% or higher will create a mold-conducive environment. A hygrometer will help you monitor your humidity levels. A dehumidifier or an air conditioner will help you keep the levels in the proper range, especially in damp areas such as basements and crawlspaces.
  • Control Temperature — Mold will grow in most temperatures. However, its ideal growth temperature is 77-86°F. In summer, make an effort to keep your home’s temperature in the range of 65-75°F to help prevent rapid mold growth. In winter, try to keep the temperature in the 55-70°F range to help prevent condensation and discourage mold growth.
  • Control Ventilation — Use exhaust fans which vent to the exterior of your space, especially in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms. Ventilate and insulate attics and crawlspaces. Make sure crawlspaces have adequate vapor barriers in place. Increase air circulation by keeping large objects a few inches away from exterior walls.
  • Control Moisture — Materials with a moisture content of 20% or higher are conducive to mold growth. Keep your materials dry, and do not carpet bathrooms, basements, kitchens, laundry rooms, or other areas of your home which are likely to have a lot of moisture. Use floor coverings which can be promptly dried out if they become saturated. Use semi-gloss or high gloss paint in kitchens and bathrooms, and add mold-inhibitors to paints before application.
Mold is hardy! Not only will it grow in most temperatures, but its spores can survive extreme environmental conditions like dry, freezing weather—it just goes dormant! Then when conditions improve, it resumes its active growth cycle.
Not always. Bleach is commonly marketed as a solution for eliminating mold, but the EPA recommends against bleach because it only works against mold on nonporous surfaces (tiles, sinks). It does not work on porous surfaces (wood, drywall). Additionally, while bleach isn’t considered corrosive or toxic, exposure can present health concerns such as irritation to the eyes, mouth, lungs, and skin — especially for those with respiratory conditions.
No. Many types of mold like to feed on paint. Not only does paint have organic content, but it is also applied to organic surfaces.
Clean & Dry Everything — From slow leaks to torrential floods, it’s important to dry everything out as quickly as possible. Moisture left more than 24-48 hours will encourage mold growth. Be sure to wear personal protective equipment, open a window, set up a HEPA filter, remove and clean all furnishings, seal off the affected area from the rest of your space, and thoroughly clean the area. Restore Ventilation — If you have a fan, air conditioner or dehumidifier that wasn’t in the affected area, use it to help the surfaces dry after you finish cleaning. Open windows and doors to provide fresh air. Use exhaust fans in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. Remove Contaminated Materials — Once mold starts to grow in carpet, insulation, ceiling tiles, drywall, or upholstery, it must be removed and replaced because it cannot be properly cleaned and dried in a timely manner.
Non-permeable and washable — Wash wood, metal, plastic, glass, ceramics, etc. in a solution of lukewarm water and laundry detergent. Permeable and washable — Launder clothes, bedding, etc. Permeable but not washable — Discard mattresses, upholstered furniture, etc.

Mold Gallery

 Molds are typically categorized into allergenic, pathogenic, and toxigenic. 

Read about these categories below and then explore our gallery to see which molds are common to our area.   

Allergenic

Allergenic molds are the most common. While they can certainly result in structural damage to your home, they are usually harmless to your health. However, they can cause reactions in individuals with mold sensitivities.

Pathogenic

Pathogenic mold exposure can be a health concern to individuals whose immune systems are suppressed, underdeveloped, or compromised. They are not typically bothersome to those with healthy immune systems.

Toxigenic

Toxigenic, or toxic, mold poses more of a health risk because it not only affects those who are mold sensitive or immunocompromised, but it can also cause health problems for individuals who are otherwise healthy.

Common to the Pacific Northwest

Uncommon to the Pacific Northwest

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