Beyond Mold Inspections, Branch Delivers Mold Investigations
In our post How to Choose Between a Paid or Free Mold Inspection, we explained why it’s best to have mold inspections performed by a mold abatement company, rather than an inspector. An inspector will just charge a fee just for assessing the situation, and make a referral. Branch Environmental is different. You will see that we don’t just deliver mold inspections, we deliver mold investigations!
We were called by a homeowner to perform a mold inspection. Upon arrival, we asked the homeowner several questions to dig into the problem.
- What have you observed in the home that led you to call us?
- How long had the problem existed?
- Have there been recent changes or updates to the home?
- Did you paint recently?
- How is your health?
- Any new furniture?
- Have you had any remodeling done?
Why do we ask so many questions? Answers to these types of questions get us closer to solving the problem, and help us to know where to look.
The suspected mold was on the bathroom ceiling. Along a seam in the drywall, the joint compound had cracked, and tape had come loose. The entire roof had been recently replaced, and the roofer did not find any leaks that could have led to the issue in the bathroom.
Further questioning revealed that the homeowner rarely used the ventilation/exhaust fan in the bathroom. This was a problem because moisture can build up in the room and cause mold and mildew to grow. Although we observed water stains on the ceiling near the walls, they did not correlate with the mold on the drywall in the middle of the room.
This is where a typical mold inspection might end. The inspector might also collect samples, and send them to a lab to identify the specific type of mold present, possibly for an additional fee. They would then likely refer the homeowner to an abatement contractor to remove and replace the molded drywall. However, this would only be a temporary fix, and the problem would eventually return. The root cause of the problem would not be resolved or even addressed.
For our mold investigation, we climbed into the attic, and then onto the roof, before identifying the problem. The attic insulation was pressed tightly against the roof sheathing, and there were no baffles to allow the outside air to enter through the soffit vents.
Baffles and soffit vents work together to help air enter the attic. The air can then exit through the ridge vents. No baffles means that the insulation blocked the air from entering the attic. Upon further inspection, we found that the soffit vents had been painted over and were nearly 50% blocked. Stale, moist attic air that cannot circulate encourages mold growth. There was a newly installed powered attic fan. However, it could not work well with little to no air coming into the attic.
The attic fan had a thermostat and humidistat, so that it would run if the temperature or humidity was too high in the attic. The humidistat was set at 85%, effectively rendering it useless. Mold will grow at or above 60% humidity. The lack of airflow in this portion of the attic was resulting in elevated attic and ceiling temperatures in the bathroom.
The elevated temperatures caused the drywall joint compound to crack, and release the tape along the seam. The single HVAC vent in the bathroom was directed at the point in the ceiling where the crack had developed. Elevated moisture levels in the bathroom, due to non-use of the exhaust fan, resulted in mold growth on the now exposed drywall. We also discovered mold growth on the ceiling and walls of the closet accessed from the bathroom.
An inspection company might have just simply identified that the homeowner had a mold problem, referred her to an abatement contractor, collected their fee, and left. Our mold investigation identified the root cause of the mold. The homeowner can now truly address the issue, and solve the problem for good.
We explained to the homeowner how to clean the mold in the bathroom and closet. Explained that the soffit vents needed to be cleaned or replaced, and that the attic insulation needed to be pulled back, and baffles inserted. We recommended that the humidistat on the attic
fan be set to 55% or below, and that a drywall contractor repair the seam in the ceiling.
Finally, we suggested that an HVAC vent or a door vent be installed in the closet. We also identified that the “bubbling” on some of the walls was due to wallpaper that had been painted over, now separating from the walls.
We provided photos of all the problem areas with suggestions on how to correct them. Since most of the work could be performed by the homeowner, and someone with drywall experience, we did not recommend mold remediation.
The Branch Difference
If you think you might have a mold problem, you’re far better off with a thorough inspection like ours. We analyze the symptoms to determine the root cause of your problem. We see each mold inspection as an in-depth investigation, not an opportunity to hand over a guess-based estimate of work.
Our investigation actually identified the true causes of the problem for the homeowner. If you think you may need a mold inspection, get in touch with us, and we’ll get down to the source. To learn even more about mold, check out our other posts about mold.
Branch Environmental offers much more than a typical mold inspection. It’s a true mold investigation! We take our work seriously, and search until we find what’s really going on. We only recommend solutions that will solve the actual problem. You can trust your home to us. Call us today!
Branch Environmental – Because nobody should live or work in a building that makes them sick.
For more information go to:
- Do You Have Mold? How to Choose Between a Paid or Free Mold Inspection – Branch Environmental
- Don’t Be Baffled By Baffles – Ecotelligent Homes
- 5 Expectations about Mold vs. Eye-Opening Reality – Branch Environmental
- A Simple Guide To Cleaning Mold – Branch Environmental
- Where Does Mold Hide? – Branch Environmental
- Home Mold Remediation – Branch Environmental
- How to Prevent Bathroom Mold – Branch Environmental
- Mold & Air Quality Archives – Branch Environmental
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