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Mold Inspection Reports & Case Studies from our Seattle Projects

Our goal is to provide educational resources for our clients by publishing indoor environmental data for each of the cities we serve.  Below you’ll find links to recent mold, lead, asbestos and indoor air quality projects we’ve completed in the Seattle area.

Project Type > Whole House Mold Inspection in the Seattle Area

PROJECT SUMMARY

REASON FOR INSPECTION:

  • This inspection is to determine the cause and severity of the mold growth in the home.

PROPERTY DESCRIPTION:

  • This single family residential property was built in 1954 and is 900 ft².

CAUSE OF MOLD:

  • The cause of the mold growth in the home is a direct result of elevated humidity causing condensation and consequently, mold growth.

LABORATORY RESULTS

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ANALYSIS OF YOUR RESULTS:

  • Extreme Amplification: Mold spores were detected at levels many times greater than the threshold, indicating a site of high mold amplification and growth.

The most likely contributor of the elevated mold spores is:

  • Elevated humidity.
  • Significantly dirty carpet and overall interior conditions.

JOBSITE PHOTOS

Kitchen.

Kitchen.

Mold growth on wall.

Mold growth on wall.

Water damaged walls.

Water damaged walls.

Unsalvageable carpet.

Unsalvageable carpet.

Evidence of extremely high humidity.

Evidence of extremely high humidity.

Standing water in the crawlspace.

Standing water in the crawlspace.

RELATIVE HUMIDITY & CO2 READINGS:

7

VENTILATION:

OBSERVATIONS:

  • Relative humidity levels are elevated. Generally, indoor RH levels should remain under 55% or under 50% in homes with poorly insulated exterior walls.
  • CO2 levels are normal. While not a direct health problem, elevated CO2 levels are an indication of stale indoor air and poor ventilation. This can lead to a buildup of pollutants and humidity, which can cause mold growth.
  • Home is inadequately heated. A minimum indoor temp of 65ºF must be maintained to minimize excessive humidity and mold growth.
  • Home suffers from insufficient ventilation. This leads to a buildup of indoor pollutants and increases the relative humidity, creating conditions conducive to mold growth and dust mites.

LOCATION: Interior of Home

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS:

  • The home is vacant at this time. The prior tenant of the home was apparently a hoarder. Evidence of severely dirty and dusty walls and flooring. Dirt and dust can provide a growth medium for mold to settle on, and given a humid environment, mold will blossom there. The home reflects evidence of a general lack of housekeeping that is contributing to the mold growth.
  • Carpeting in home is old and a likely repository of mold spores. Carpeting can hold mold spores for long periods of time, long after the original source of the mold growth has been removed.
  • Kitchen and bathroom are both in severe disrepair.

Recommendations:

  • Due to the systemic mold growth throughout the structure, the home is unfit for occupancy at this time.
  • See ventilation section above for recommendations to eliminate condensation. Install a constant flow fan in the bathroom as well as a kitchen range hood ducted to the exterior.
  • Remove and replace all carpeting in the home.
  • Prime and repaint all walls in the home with a high quality gloss latex paint.
  • Most of the walls are constructed of a plaster and lathe, which can be resilient to a water intrusion. Assessment of the condition of the plaster will have to be made after the contents have been removed and the walls have been cleaned. Walls which have loose plaster will have to be repaired, the others can be cleaned and repainted.
  • Remodel the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Consider replacing all the windows in the home with double paned vinyl framed windows.
  • Keep contents and furniture a minimum of 2-3 inches away from exterior walls to help prevent mold growth on these surfaces.

CRAWLSPACE OBSERVATIONS

MOISTURE:

STATUS:

  • Standing water noted in portions of the crawlspace. Standing water greatly increases the humidity in the crawlspace and creates conditions conducive to mold growth. This appears to be groundwater intrusion.
  • A water leak is suspected in the crawlspace. This needs further investigation.

CAUSE:

The water intrusion is likely from one of two possibilities:

  • First, the water may be ground water which comes up through exposed ground in the crawlspace.
  • Second, the water may be from a leaking main water supply to the home.

Recommendations:

  • Unfortunately, determining which of these two sources may prove to be difficult. Try turning off the water supply to the home and then in two weeks see if the conditions have changed. If the conditions remain then it is likely a ground water intrusion.
  • If it proves to be a ground water intrusion then a sump pump will need to be installed in order to keep the ground water below the level of the crawlspace.
  • If it proves to be the main water line, then repair of that line will be necessary.

MOLD GROWTH:

INSULATION:

  • Insufficient – Crawlspace insulation is less than R-30, not securely attached, does not make full contact with subflooring and/or does not provide complete coverage.
  • Damaged – Insulation is damaged throughout the crawlspace area and must be removed. Damage is primarily caused by rodents.

Recommendations:

  • Remove and replace all damaged insulation.

AIR SEALING:

  • Unsealed – Multiple air gaps present between crawl space and lower floor of building. This greatly reduces the energy efficiency of the home by allowing cold outside air to infiltrate the heated portion of the home.

Recommendations:

  • Consider air sealing all major subfloor penetrations.

VAPOR BARRIER:

STATUS:

  • Contaminated – Vapor barrier shows evidence of past flooding.
  • Soiled from water leak – Vapor barrier shows evidence of the water leak.

DETAILS:

  • Likely contributing to mold or odor problems in home.
    Recommendations:
  • Replace vapor barrier.

OTHER CONTAMINATION & PROBLEMS:

  • Rodents – Evidence of past or present rodent infestation was noted. This requires the removal and replacement of all contaminated building materials. Contaminated insulation and vapor barrier may harbor bacteria, parasites and odors due to rodent feces, urine, and other associated debris
  • Electrical problems. The rodents appear to have damaged the electrical wiring in the crawlspace.

Recommendations:

  • A pest control specialist is necessary to provide a plan to resolve the current infestation and prevent future pest infestations.
  • A qualified electrician is necessary to address the damaged electrical wiring.

CRAWLSPACE HATCH:

  • Intact – Crawlspace hatch appeared to sufficiently cover and protect the access to the crawlspace.