Lowell Leemkuil president of Sherlock Home Inspectors, Inc. is a Council Certified Environmental Consultant (CIEC) by the American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC). An Environmental Consultant is a professional who is trained to identify causes of poor indoor air quality in residential and commercial buildings. The Environmental Consultant understands the consequences (intended or unintended) of building design, operation and maintenance decisions and their potential impact that can lead to conditions favorable to mold growth and deterioration of overall indoor environmental quality.
Mold is a living organism that produces spores. Mold spores are found on most surfaces, interior and exterior. Mold is very necessary for decomposition; however, excessive mold growth within our homes and buildings should not occur and may have detrimental effects on the inhabitants and the structure of the building. The young, elderly and immune compromised persons are the most susceptible.
- There are over 500,000 different types of mold.
- Molds come in a multitude of colors.
- Mold within our buildings is using the building materials as a food source, which may cause structural problems.
- All molds are allergenic, some produce mycotoxins that can also be toxigenic, pathogenic, and/or carcinogenic.
- Mold will grow when four items are present, oxygen, moisture, warm climate, and a food source. Oxygen, warmth and a food source (building material) are most always available within our buildings. Moisture is the only condition favorable for the growth of the mold that we can control. The moisture intrusion problems must be corrected before the remediation of the mold can be effective.
- Mold can grow when moisture levels exceed 18% for prolonged periods or during periods of high humidity. Mold growth on saturated building materials may begin within the first 48 hours of a moisture event.
- Sources of moisture within a building come from ground water that has entered the foundation, high humidity within the building, bathroom fans not vented to the exterior, condensation in the attic due to lack of proper ventilation, missing downspouts and gutters, leaking roof flashings, lack of proper slope away from the foundation, and poor construction techniques.
- Two types of moisture meters are used during an inspection. The first is a non-invasive meter. This meter has a flat plate that measures the moisture on the surface and below the surface such as a wall, floor, ceiling, or roof deck. The second is an invasive moisture meter where pins are inserted into the substrate being measured. This device makes holes for measurement but also allows for deep wall measurements. Both are diagnostic tools used to help find moisture that is hidden behind wallpaper or within wall cavities.
- The object of remediation would be to restore the building to a normal indoor environment, which is an indoor environment with normal fungal ecology that may have settled spores, fungal fragments or traces of actual growth whose identity, location, and quantity are reflective of a normal fungal ecology for a similar indoor environment.
There are many inspectors who test for mold who have had a one-day training class.These inadequately trained mold inspectors take samples of mold with no training for interpretation of the results, testing protocol, causes for the mold, or what the next step is to remediate the mold growth. The building owner or buyer is left without a plan and knowledge of what must be done to solve the problem.
A Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant (CIEC) will make sure the testing is completed per testing protocol and will review the lab results in order to write a scope of work for the remediation. Protect your investment and have a qualified Mold and Moisture Analysis performed by Sherlock Home Inspectors, Inc.