As you probably can guess we get a lot of calls for mold inspections here at Pinnacle Property Inspection Services.  This is obviously a business and needs to make money.  Luckily for all my clients I believe a home should be qualified before doing a full mold inspection.  That is exactly what I explained to my new client from the Skokie home inspection.  Just because you want a mold inspection does not mean you need one.  Mold inspections can be expensive because of all the lab fees and such. I explained to my client that I would have my mold testing equipment on the truck if we needed it but I suggested letting me do my thermal home inspection before moving forward with the mold inspection.

While I was performing the home inspection in the Skokie, Illinois home I was looking for all type of tells that would lead me to informing my client that he might want to purchase a mold inspection.  The items that would alarm me would be ~

  • Mold like substance would be the biggest reason for purchasing a mold test.  Visually seeing any type of mold might be a good reason to purchase a mold test.
  • Water infiltration in an attic, crawl space, basement or any other area in a home is a good reason for moving forward with a mold test.
  • High relative humidity a.k.a. (RH) can be found in crawl spaces, attics, bathrooms and basements can be a a reason to get a mold inspection service.
  • Musty or foul smells coming from areas in walls may be a good reason to purchase a mold inspection.

If you are very sensitive to mold or mildew and your eyes water or you begin to cough that is the best result that might be from mold or mildew in the home that will need to be identified.  The Skokie home inspection has some seepage from the foundation walls that was allowing moisture into the home.  The drywall in the basement had a mildew like substance that was dry and could be cleaned off with soap and water.

The remedy of the mold removal to the areas that could be seen were  easy enough but the hidden made my client from the Skokie home inspection nervous and he wanted me to perform a mold inspection to give him as much information as we could.  Mold can hide in places that we can’t see so I believe his choice was the right one.

If you are wondering if you need a mold inspection follow this list prior to hiring a mold inspection service  to perform mold testing in your home.  Mold testing can cost anywhere from $100.00 to $750.00 depending on how many locations need testing.

If you need help with these issues any other issues pertaining to your home or building please contact me at ~ The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke

Do you have a crawlspace?  If you do then this article is for you.  Are all crawlspaces bad?  This was the question I received from my client from a recent home inspection in Northbrook, Illinois.  Their are no “bad” crawlspaces.  I believe that there are certain components of a crawlspace that should be installed to prevent water or moisture issues to develop in the crawl space and /or in the home.  Moisture issues can develop into mildew or mold issues in the future if not monitored and prevented.  There are all types of crawlspaces and all systems in these different crawlspaces should be installed for different types.

The crawlspace that I found at the Northbrook home inspection was a gravel crawlspace with no vapor barrier, no insulation in the floor joists and other issues I will talk about in this article.  I will outline components that you should find in your crawlspace to prevent an unhealthy crawlspace.

  • Vapor barriersare a must especially if your crawlspace is a dirt or gravel crawlspace.  Dirt and gravel are components of a biological system that are known for decomposing.  Dirt and gravel can allow radon gases to enter your home along with mold, ground moisture, pests, bugs and so on.  I’m a big fan of concrete slabs for the flooring in a crawlspace.  This will eliminate all of the above issues that could be active now in your crawlspace.  The installation of 6 mil plastic vapor barrier can be installed for under $500.00 in a good sized crawl space.
  • Insulation with a moisture barrier should be installed in the floor joists of the ceiling of your crawlspace to keep your heat in the home and to prevent moisture to enter your home.  I would also put plastic over the insulation in areas with high humidity to prevent mold growth on fiberglass insulation.
  • Ventilation in a crawlspace is a must to prevent stagnate air and the build up of moisture and humidity that may give a great breeding ground for mold to grow and mature.  The Northbrook home inspection did not have ventilation for the crawl space to the exterior of the home.  The had heat ducts that serviced the home.  This could be good and bad.
  • Heating in a crawlspace is done if there are plumbing pipes located in the crawlspace.  There should never be a return vent in a crawlspace.  If you have heat in your crawlspace then you must make sure that there are vapor barriers and moisture barriers to prevent the moisture from the earth to condensate in your ducts and possibly developing into mold.  If you do have heat in your crawl like the Northbrook home inspection then you will need to get the moisture barriers and vapor barriers installed as soon as you can.

As you can see there are many types components to a crawlspace that can allow the wrong type of element to grow in you crawlspace if not installed.  My clients from the Northbrook home inspection were amazed that there was so much involved in a crawlspace that could cause structural, cosmetic and possible health issues if not inspected on a regular basis.  Most people dont like to go in their crawlspace because it is usually dark and smelly.  If this is the case then you probably need to hire a home inspector to give you the details of your crawlspace.

Crawlspaces can be tricky to inspect and if you need help please contact me at The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke