Positive mold test results, but no mold or moisture!

ranchrenoJune 14, 2006

We recently had a mold inspector test our attic (at the request of a prospective buyer for the home) and although he saw no visible mold, no moisture and no other indicators/conditions that would imply the presence of mold, the results from his air sample tests were positive for several types of mold, including some of the more toxic. The inspector seems to think the mold spores are dead/dormant and just kicked up by the recent activity in the attic.

All of the information we can find about remediation assumes that there is actual mold to remove. What can be done if there are spores in the air (again, probably dead/dormant spores from some moisture long, long ago) but nothing to remedy?

This is a 65 year old house and we just put a new roof on it about 8 years ago. We never had the house or attic tested for mold before and have never experienced any mold-related problems or concerns. Our contractor friends have told us that most homes of this age have mold somewhere, but despite all the bad press, the odds of any mold-related health problems arising are actually very slim.

Regardless, this is a home we need to sell - and very soon. Anyone ever have this problem? How did you solve it? I'm afraid that we could go through some very costly work to possibly install a ventilation fan (including new electrical service) and/or replace the insulation, and the problem could remain just because it's an old house.

The house is in otherwise immaculate condition and this is just killing us! We do have the inspector coming back to test the inside air, but as for now, we're assuming that the "bad air" is limited to the attic. Will know more about that next week.

Anyone with similar experience - would love to hear from you.

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For very little money you can have "whirlybird" type ventilators installed in the roof space, you know the types that spin round....they are very effective in removing stale air (and keep the roof space cooler in summer) and should reduce, if not eliminate the mould count, by changing the air frequently.

I had a house in Australia with a mould problem (roof was a tiny bit leaky til we fixed it) and these ventilators made a huge difference.

They're not expensive.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 3:43AM
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In my area the market has exploded with "professionals" who will (for a fee) do: mold anaylsis, home inspections, home appraisals, etc. Not sure if this is your case but I would be suspect of an analysis that doesn't seem logical. If it were me, I'd ignore the findings (there is a discloser risk) or I'd hire someone who has extensive training at an accredited school.

Additional recommendation: doing inspections at the request of a potential buyer seems unusual. I'm assunming you paid for for the service (not the potential buyer) and now you have to deal with it (is the buyer still around?). I'm not suggestiong that you hide or fail to disclose anything. I am suggesting that results can vary from inspector to inspector and the field is new and not yet a science.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2006 at 10:44PM
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I'm willing to go a bit further.

Many "mold experts" are basically scam artists. Not all of them, but many. Just like "duct cleaners".

Every house has mold spores in it. Including "toxic mold". Did this "mold inspector" tell how *much* mold there was in the air? If there's a lot of airborne mold, that would be an indication that you might have a hidden water problem.. but if there's just a small amount, it's perfectly normal and NOT a problem. Do you know what the *outside air* mold counts for your region, in the summer, when it hasn't rained recently, are? If not you can't make a valid comparison with indoor levels.

Attic ventilation can help. If nothing else, it will dilute the air so it tests better, which should calm your buyers down. Shouldn't cost too much to put some "whirlybird" ventilators in as pjb recommended.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2006 at 11:12PM
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