Frequently Asked Questions

What is mold? 

Essentially, mold is a type of fungus. There are numerous species of mold, and their spores are everywhere. It grows in hyphae, cellular thread-like structures.

Mold doesn’t discriminate and will grow anywhere when the conditions are right.  It typically takes between 24-48 hours for mold to start growing and will thrive when left unchecked under the ideal conditions. 

Mold is different from plants as they do not use light from the sun, but rather depend on dark, wet environments and derive their nutrients from organic materials.  

Some molds are responsible for breaking down dead organic matter, while others play a role in food spoilage.

The mold we are most concerned about grows on damp or wet building materials due to leaks, floods or any type of uncontrolled moisture source.

Left undetected, it will cause rot damage, contribute to poor indoor air quality and can cause health issues for people and animals.

How do I know if mold is a concern in my home?

There are a few questions to consider that can help you… 

  • Do you see anything that looks like mold?
  • Is there too much humidity in the home, especially along the windows?
  • Does your home smell musty?
  • Have there been any floods, leaks or signs of water ingress into the home?
  • Do you have a dirt crawlspace?
  • Was the home ever a Grow op?
  • Have you or anyone in your home experienced flu like symptoms, such as nasal congestion, chest congestion, shortness of breath, runny nose, throat irritation, cough?

If you notice any of the above points, then mold can be an issue.

Health wise, the people most at risk are infants, the elderly, and people with compromised immune or respiratory systems and asthmatics.

What causes mold to grow?

Mold needs moisture, a food source, moderate temperature and time. The most important ingredient for mold to thrive is moisture. 

Outside, mold is an important part of our ecosystem as it breaks down rotting vegetation and other organics.

However, mold doesn’t discriminate and will grow anywhere when the conditions are right.  It typically takes between 24-48 hours for mold to start growing and will thrive when left unchecked under the ideal conditions.

Food sources include anything that is organic like cellulose, dust dirt and debris. The temperature range is vast, as it can grow in a refrigerator, but grows best in moderate environments.

What is toxic black mold?

The infamous Stachybotrys chartarum, is what people are referring to as “toxic black mold”.

However, the mold is not actually toxic. It is the mycotoxins (poisons) released by the mold that makes it toxic. Mold produces these mycotoxins (poisons) to take over or defend a territory from other mold. 

In reality, many mold types can be potentially dangerous. It really depends on the mold type and what sensitivities a person has to each mold species. This topic is complicated and ongoing research continues.

How do I prevent mold in my home?

Essentially, Mold is everywhere, and mold spores are microscopic, so there is really no way to prevent it from entering your home in small quantities.

However, the simple answer is to keep your home, warm, dry and clean. This means frequently cleaning all dust and debris from all areas of the home and especially those that do not get a lot of airflow.

You need to keep your home well ventilated as well. Also, allow for airflow behind and storage furniture (especially exterior walls)

What is a mold inspection?

A mold inspection is a non-invasive, visual inspection of accessible areas of the home, where we look to identify the presence of mold or moisture issues.

We rely on training and tools to investigate the home rather than damaging walls, floors, ceilings or other building materials.

How much does the mold inspection cost?

The fee depends on where the property is located and if air quality testing is needed. The average fee for a mold inspection of a single-family home (2000 Square feet) in the lower mainland will range from $500 - $700 +, whether you need a verbal summary or written mold inspection report.

For properties outside the lower mainland, the fee goes up, depending on the distance. Call for a specific price.

If air quality testing is required, there is a minimum fee of $500 + GST, which includes 2 inside air samples and 1 outside (base or control sample). The more samples required the higher the fee will be. The fee also includes the mold lab report from the lab and an interpretation of the report to make it easier to understand.

Does Mold Insight do mold removal or remediation?

Although we are trained to perform mold remediation, and have the IICRC certification we are not providing mold removal or remediation.

As mold inspectors, our focus is to determine the source of the mold or moisture, to help people figure out if they actually have a mold problem and how to deal with it.

Do you provide recommendations for mold removal Companies?

If there is actually a mold problem, upon request, we can assist you with choosing a remediation contractor for your needs. However, we recommend you do your own research as well and only work with a company that you feel comfortable with.

How do I get rid of mold in my home?

It depends on the level of contamination. When the mold is covering an area larger than 3x3 feet, according the EPA, it is best to call in a remediation contractor to remove it.

If the area is very small, then you can DIY (Do it yourself), but you need to take precautions. If you plan on taking care of it yourself, you need to have PPE (personal protection equipment) such as gloves, a mask, goggles, a long sleeve shirt and pants.

We have the knowledge, training and product recommendations to help you get the job done easily, efficiently, and safely.

Note: I don’t recommend using bleach to remove or clean mold because it is not nearly as effective as many other solutions on the market. In addition, it is not healthy to inhale bleach fumes.

When should I get a mold test? 

Mold testing should be done after a flood or a leak, especially when it has not been cleaned up or dried within a few days. You want to determine the level of contamination in the home prior to calling a remediation contractor.

When you smell a musty odour, and you cannot figure out where it is coming from, then a test would make sense, to confirm or rule out possible mold contamination.

If you are experiencing mold related allergies (flu like symptoms, itchy eyes, runny nose, skin irritations, rashes etc.) then sampling for mold is a good idea. For a detailed understanding of mold sampling, take a look at this article.

When is the best time for a mold inspection? 

There are a number of times when I believe a mold inspection makes sense. It is necessary when you have experienced one or more of the following:

  • When you see mold beginning to form and don’t know why it is happening
  • Before buying a home, especially if it has been vacant or has a crawlspace
  • You smell a musty or mildew odour
  • If you know that you purchased a past grow op
  • If you are noticing allergies, or signs of cold/flu like symptoms
  • If you are moving into a home with small children and you do not know the history of the home.
  • If you have too much humidity in the home (more than 55%)
  • For peace of mind
  • A flood or leak that was not properly dried or cleaned

To learn more about this topic, take a look at this article

Should I call a contractor or handyman to remove mold in my home?

It depends on the situation. If it is a small DIY (Do it yourself) job, limited to a few areas, and the source of the mold issue has been fixed, then yes, we can advise them on the process and procedures for quick and easy mold removal.

However, large-scale mold infestations require the help of a mold remediation company. If you are unsure, contact us and we will point you in the right direction.

If I paint over mold will it kill it?

The short answer is no. Mold thrives in dark areas without airflow. Painting over mold is really a temporary band-aid solution. If you see mold, it is best to have it removed or it will come back when the right conditions exist (moisture, moderate temperatures and an organic food source)

I’m renting a home with mold in it, what should I do?

First, contact your landlord through email and let him/her know about it. It is wise to take some clear pictures, and send them to your landlord as well. If your landlord is not responsive (and you live in BC) you can check out this resource for tenants.

If I own a property and my tenant tells me there is mold, what should I do?

As a landlord, you must provide a safe living environment for your tenants. According to tenants.bc.ca As per section 32 of the Act, the Landlord "must provide and maintain residential property in a state of decoration and repair that complies with the health, safety and housing standards required by law."

Ask your tenant to send you some pictures to look at. Call in a mold inspector to perform an assessment for mold of the property for mold and test for mold if needed.

Who does Mold Insight work with?

Mold and water damage affects thousands of people every year in the lower mainland. Mold Insight is dedicated to helping:   

  • Homeowners
  • Landlords
  • Real Estate Brokers
  • Strata Managers
  • Property Managers
  • General Contractors
  • Mold Remediation Companies

Did we miss any questions you might have? Mold Insight would love to hear from you and will be updating this page regularly.