Attic Mold Tests
What Tests & Inspections to Make Before Removing Mold - identify harmless black mold
ATTIC MOLD, HARMLESS COSMETIC? - CONTENTS: What Tests & Inspections to Make Before Removing Attic Mold in order to avoid wasting time and money. How to evaluate the risk of toxic (or harmless) attic mold
POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about testing attics and other building areas for mold contamination: when, where, why, and how of mold testing
BEFORE REMOVING ATTIC MOLD - What Tests and Inspections Should Be Made Before Tackling an Attic Mold Problem?
Before starting an attic mold removal project, there are some important questions that should be answered.
If we fail to
consider the points listed below there is a risk of spending a lot of money unnecessarily and a further risk of an eventually
still higher cost to remove toxic or allergenic indoor mold:
Is the attic mold the actual source of building air quality complaints?:
if there are indoor IAQ mold or allergen complaints, let's be sure that the attic space is the culprit.
I've seen cases where people did (an unnecessary) complete roof tear off to "fix" an attic mold problem spotted by their home inspector, only to discover that the real mold problem in the house was in the basement or crawl space.
Think about the source of building moisture that is resulting in attic mold.
Moisture usually moves UP through a home, riding warm air convection currents, finding its ultimate way into the attic where it condenses on sheathing or framing, inviting mold growth.
That same moisture, if for example it's in a craw space or basement, often produces a more serious mold problem in those locations.
Is the attic mold harmful?: be sure that the mold in the attic is harmful - often in attics we identify an allergen such as Cladosporium sp. or "black mold" which turns out to be simply cosmetic and totally harmless.
At left our photo shows harmless black mold on the sides of rafters or floor joists. This cosmetic mold is discussed at BLACK MOLD, HARMLESS.
Is the attic mold entering the living area?: be reasonably sure that the attic mold is entering or likely to enter the living space.
Other attic mold contaminants such as Aspergillus sp. or Penicillium sp. can be quite harmful to building occupants, particularly if the mold spores are being transported into the occupied space such as through leaks in HVAC return air ducts or through (less common) conditions that cause downwards movement from an attic or roof cavity into the occupied space.
Air movement in buildings in many cases tends to be up and out through an attic, not down from an attic into the living space.
If attic mold is not entering the living area and is unlikely to do so, the priority for addressing this condition may be lower than previously
However in some buildings where air conditioning is cooling the interior space of an upper floor, heavier cool air may actually flow downwards in the building, drawing attic or roof cavity air as well as airborne particles into the living space.
What steps will be taken to correct the original cause of attic mold?: it is essential that the
building attic can be vented and that abnormal moisture sources (such as leaks, missing insulation, or a wet basement
or crawl space) are corrected the attic mold problems don't recur
In Summary about attic mold removal:
Do not begin an attic mold remediation project without first having carefully examined the whole building,
and without first having set priorities of remediation, making sure we have found the real problem
mold reservoir, its source, and its extent. The real indoor air quality problem in some buildings might not even be attic mold at all.
This article is part of our series: MOLD in BUILDINGS which describes how to find mold and test for mold in buildings, including how and where to collect mold samples using adhesive tape - an easy,
inexpensive, low-tech but very effective mold testing method.
This procedure helps identify the presence of or locate the probable sources of mold reservoirs in buildings, and helps decide which of these need more
invasive, exhaustive inspection and testing.
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Kansas State University, department of plant pathology, extension plant pathology web page on wheat rust fungus: see http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/path-ext/factSheets/Wheat/Wheat%20Leaf%20Rust.asp
"A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home",
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency US EPA - includes basic advice for building owners, occupants, and mold cleanup operations. See http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.htm
US EPA - Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Building [Copy on file at /sickhouse/EPA_Mold_Remediation_in_Schools.pdf ] - US EPA
US EPA - Una Breva Guia a Moho - Hongo [Copy on file as /sickhouse/EPA_Moho_Guia_sp.pdf - en Espanol
Associations: Sick House, Sick Building, SBS - Air Quality, Government, Private Associations and Information Resources
Atlas of Clinical Fungi, 2nd Ed., GS deHoog, J Guarro, J Gene, & MJ Figueras, Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures, Universitat Rovira I Virgili, 2000, ISBN 90-70351-43-9 (you can buy this book at Amazon) - The Atlas of Clinical Fungi is also available on CD ROM
"A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home", U.S. Environmental Protection Agency US EPA - includes basic advice for building owners, occupants, and mold cleanup operations. See http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.htm
"Disease Prevention in Home Vegetable Gardens,"
Department of Plant Microbiology and Pathology,
Department of Horticulture, University of Missouri Extension - extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G6202
Fifth Kingdom, Bryce Kendrick, ISBN13: 9781585100224, is available from the InspectAPedia online bookstore - we recommend the CD-ROM version of this book. This 3rd/edition is a compact but comprehensive encyclopedia of all things mycological. Every aspect of the fungi, from aflatoxin to zppspores, with an accessible blend of verve and wit. The 24 chapters are filled with up-to-date information of classification, yeast, lichens, spore dispersal, allergies, ecology, genetics, plant pathology, predatory fungi, biological control, mutualistic symbioses with animals and plants, fungi as food, food spoilage and mycotoxins.
Rodents, Mice, Squirrel Control - I find high levels of mouse and rodent dander, fecal dust, and urine-contaminated dust in some buildings,
and high levels of these materials in building insulation in those locations. If you have a mouse problem, particularly if mice and their waste (fecals or urine) are contaminating
the building HVAC or building insulation, may need both steps to clean up or remove infected materials and steps to stop an ongoing
rodent problem. If squirrels are a problem, the cleanup needs to include closing off entry openings into the building. Get some
help from a licensed pest control expert.
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
The Horizon Software System manages business operations,scheduling, & inspection report writing using Carson Dunlop's knowledge base & color images. The Horizon system runs on always-available cloud-based software for office computers, laptops, tablets, iPad, Android, & other smartphones