Go Back   InterNACHI Inspection Forum > Specific Inspection Topics > Ancillary Inspection Services & Additional Topics

Notices

Ancillary Inspection Services & Additional Topics Contains discussions about Radon, Wood Infestation, Water Quality, Well, Septic, Lead, Asbestos, Pool, and Mold inspections.

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 1/18/06, 10:40 PM
Kenton Shepard, CMI's Avatar
Kenton Shepard, CMI Kenton Shepard, CMI is online now
InterNACHI Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 4,766
Send a message via ICQ to kshepard
Default Mold; if I can smell it, why can't I see evidence?

500 sq. ft. basement finished out about a year and a half ago. Reverse grade under the deck where the dog dug out a cool spot and sprinklers near another ext. wall. No sign of moisture intrusion at ceiling, wall (poured concrete) or floor (slab). A strong musty smell like long-term moisture damage w/mold present.

On this level, a bathroom with a shower has no ventilation. About three minutes of the shower running caused the humidity to rise from 24% to 31%. Long showers a possible source?
With a smell this strong I would expect to find visible moisture damage in materials that have been in place for a year and a half if the source were groundwater/ runoff.

I thought that the smell mold gave off was a gas excreted as mold fungus consume cellulose or lignen or whatever they're eating. If they're active and eating, where's the evidence of moisture? If there is none and they're inactive, where's the smell coming from?

Recommending invasive investigation by mold mitigation co.
-Kent
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 1/19/06, 9:04 PM
dspencer's Avatar
dspencer dspencer is offline
Active Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Marengo, Oh
Posts: 178
Please Note: dspencer is a non-member guest and is in no way affiliated with InterNACHI or its members.
Default Re: Mold; if I can smell it, why can't I see evidence?

Inside wall, under carpeting....sometime owners place plastic down before pad....problem. Deep moisture scan flooring and walls also do an Thermal Image scan, the problem will be easily shown
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 1/19/06, 11:25 PM
Jay Moge's Avatar
Jay Moge Jay Moge is offline
Active Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Derry New Hampshire
Posts: 759
Please Note: Jay Moge is a non-member guest and is in no way affiliated with InterNACHI or its members.
Default Re: Mold; if I can smell it, why can't I see evidence?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dspencer
Inside wall, under carpeting....sometime owners place plastic down before pad....problem. Deep moisture scan flooring and walls also do an Thermal Image scan, the problem will be easily shown
i've always wonderd if one can rent a thermal image cam.? might be a good cash cow for the right co. to rent there's out. i can't afford 10-15 grand for one, but i'd rent one and just break even on the use to get the buisness.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 1/22/06, 11:15 AM
dplummer dplummer is offline
Active Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Collingwood, ON
Posts: 235
Please Note: dplummer is a non-member guest and is in no way affiliated with InterNACHI or its members.
Default Re: Mold; if I can smell it, why can't I see evidence?

Hi Jay, Yes you can rent thermal imaging. Flir is one company that comes to mind. Darren is right on the money as to where mold can hide. Doug
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 1/22/06, 11:17 PM
Joe Farsetta's Avatar
Joe Farsetta Joe Farsetta is offline
InterNACHI Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Pearl River, NY
Posts: 5,838
Default Re: Mold; if I can smell it, why can't I see evidence?

The advice to seek further invasive inspection is right on the money. Though thermal imaging may help, the EPA states quite clearly that if you see or smell mold, you have it. Thermal scans far exceed all SOPs, as far as I can tell, and are not a part of an inspection.

If the inspector chooses to go further, that's fine. But be aware that once you (correctly) call for further investigation, the client or seller may want to engage a mold testing and remediation company. The path is to eliminate the source of the moisture first, amd then clean up the mold, or replace damaged components.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 1/23/06, 12:49 AM
Jay Moge's Avatar
Jay Moge Jay Moge is offline
Active Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Derry New Hampshire
Posts: 759
Please Note: Jay Moge is a non-member guest and is in no way affiliated with InterNACHI or its members.
Default Re: Mold; if I can smell it, why can't I see evidence?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dplummer
Hi Jay, Yes you can rent thermal imaging. Flir is one company that comes to mind. Darren is right on the money as to where mold can hide. Doug
Flir does rent them, i checked out there site. I was kinda looking for something local. ya know like were you'd rent a carpet kicker, or a laithe, or enough chairs for 100 people at a b.b.q.. not a long term rent, but a short term "just rent it job by job'' kinda thing. Thanx for the info though.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 1/23/06, 12:35 PM
Caoimhín P. Connell's Avatar
Caoimhín P. Connell Caoimhín P. Connell is offline
Unmoderated Guest
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Colorado
Posts: 127
Please Note: Caoimhín P. Connell is a non-member guest and is in no way affiliated with InterNACHI or its members.
Default Re: Mold; if I can smell it, why can't I see evidence?

Mr. Shepard –

One possibility is that probably 90% of the time, when someone tells me they can smell mould, what they are actually smelling is not mould at all, but soil borne Bacteria. Thus, it’s possible that the reason you can’t find the mould growing is because it isn’t.

Cheers,
Caoimhín P. Connell
Forensic Industrial Hygienist

www.forensic-applications.com

(The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

AMDG



Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 1/23/06, 10:16 PM
Andy T. Bishop Andy T. Bishop is offline
InterNACHI Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Allegan, MI
Posts: 323
Default Re: Mold; if I can smell it, why can't I see evidence?

Just throwing this in.......cat pee?
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 1/23/06, 10:22 PM
Joe Farsetta's Avatar
Joe Farsetta Joe Farsetta is offline
InterNACHI Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Pearl River, NY
Posts: 5,838
Default Re: Mold; if I can smell it, why can't I see evidence?

Andy,

Funny you mentioned cat piss.

I was called to a home that a realtor was listing. I also happened to know the homeowner quite well, so there was no way I would ever do an inspection on the property. I knew where the defects all were.

Anyway, I was called because, after having a Broker's open house, the comments came back that the basement stunk of mold. I went to the home, starting walking down the basement stairs, and WHAM. I was hit with a funky odor that nearly knocked me down.

Problem was, it wasnt mold. It was a gigantic cat box, filled with cat feces and pee. The owner wouldnt get rid of it. She wouldnt disprient the cats. Too bad, because after 6 months, this house has never has an accepted offer on it.

By the way, there WAS mold in the basement, as well. She had several floods at one time or another.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 1/24/06, 8:15 AM
Andy T. Bishop Andy T. Bishop is offline
InterNACHI Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Allegan, MI
Posts: 323
Default Re: Mold; if I can smell it, why can't I see evidence?

Warm air and humidity make cat piss REEK! I know people who had to get new carpet AND put new sub floor down. I have even had to re-place all the corners in a hardwood floor being the people pulled the carpet up and then saw the hardwoods but all the corners were rotten and it smelled bad when the carpet was first pulled up.
I always told myself i would never have an indoor pet for those reasons..................now married with a child, i have two cats!!!!!! Varments! If i catch one take a piss in my home.................BOOT! Really, i am not that mean.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 1/24/06, 11:42 AM
Kenton Shepard, CMI's Avatar
Kenton Shepard, CMI Kenton Shepard, CMI is online now
InterNACHI Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 4,766
Send a message via ICQ to kshepard
Default Re: Mold; if I can smell it, why can't I see evidence?

Carpet and drywall looked new and were spotless. I think I could identify cat piss by smell but you never know... and it wasn't localized to one part of the basement as you'd expect with cat piss.

Soil-borne bacteria? 90% of the time? This was a concrete basement, so obviously soil-borne bacteria aren't limited to dirt-floor basements or you wouldn't be suggesting this, Caoimhin. Is a mold remediation company going to find a bacterial problem? If not, who?
-Kent
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 1/24/06, 10:20 PM
Russell Spriggs's Avatar
Russell Spriggs Russell Spriggs is offline
InterNACHI Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Coeur d'Alene, ID area
Posts: 4,053
Default Re: Mold; if I can smell it, why can't I see evidence?

Hey, Kent, you're really digging up some good stuff!
I never had much mold problem in Colo whole inspecting, but, man, in the Inland Northwest, there's gobs!
Say hi to the gang for me . .

Russ
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 1/25/06, 2:30 AM
Kenton Shepard, CMI's Avatar
Kenton Shepard, CMI Kenton Shepard, CMI is online now
InterNACHI Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 4,766
Send a message via ICQ to kshepard
Default Re: Mold; if I can smell it, why can't I see evidence?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dspencer
Inside wall, under carpeting....sometime owners place plastic down before pad....problem. Deep moisture scan flooring and walls also do an Thermal Image scan, the problem will be easily shown
It should be possible to pick up a reading using moisture meter pins down through carpet and pad (and plastic if any) if that's the case. Remote probes on the meter might pick up moisture on the wall. Should be possible to remove a cover plate and insert them beside the box at a cable connection or electrical outlet.

I guess that's actually a little beyond the scope, but if you're going to fork out good money for electronics you might as well get all you can out of them.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 1/25/06, 2:40 AM
Kenton Shepard, CMI's Avatar
Kenton Shepard, CMI Kenton Shepard, CMI is online now
InterNACHI Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 4,766
Send a message via ICQ to kshepard
Default Re: Mold; if I can smell it, why can't I see evidence?

Hi Russ, good to hear from you.
Are you seeing a lot of wood decay, people feeling ill, bad smell, mushrooms in the carpet? What are they doing for remediation?

-Kent
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 1/25/06, 11:17 AM
Caoimhín P. Connell's Avatar
Caoimhín P. Connell Caoimhín P. Connell is offline
Unmoderated Guest
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Colorado
Posts: 127
Please Note: Caoimhín P. Connell is a non-member guest and is in no way affiliated with InterNACHI or its members.
Default Re: Mold; if I can smell it, why can't I see evidence?

Hello Mr. Shepard –

As you know, concrete is not exactly the impervious material the casual homeowner would envision. The ordours associated with microbial activity are volatile gases, and not surprising, behave like gases. In much the same way that radon (a gas) enters a structure, all other soil gases will similarly enter the structure – there is no filter mechanism that selectively permits some gases but excludes others.

In one particular case, I was called in to find a strong and offensive “musty” odour in an hospital. The hospital administration had spent THOUSANDS of dollars trying to solve their “mould problem.” I arrived on site and using only my nose as my scientific detector quickly tracked the odour down to a main air supply line and thence to the handler. The supply fan was housed in the basement at the corner of the exterior foundation wall and drew air from the outside intake mounted on the roof. The pressure drop in the upstream side of the fan was something on the order of 1in WC. The concrete walls of the of the basement had normal hairline cracks. The negative pressure induced in the fan housing was sufficient to draw soil gas from the surrounding soils through the cracks. I identified the odour coming through the cracks … so that begged the question, what was the source of the odours in the soils?

I inspected the outside and found that approximately two meters from the foundation wall was a leaking steam line buried perhaps 90 cm. The soils surrounding the steam leak were awash with a prolific and impressive collection of microfauna and microflora all producing a soup of volatile compounds that were traveling through the porous soils into the fan housing, where the odours were being efficiently throughout the building.

Recommendation: Fix the steam leak.

My bill to fix the “mould problem:” About $275

Samples collected: Zero

Instruments needed: None

Time on scene: About 90 minutes

Lesson: Stick to the established: A source, a pathway, a susceptible recipient.

Cheers,
Caoimhín P. Connell
Forensic Industrial Hygienist

www.forensic-applications.com

(The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

AMDG
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Interesting article about mold by litigation. gromicko IAC2 Indoor Air Forum 16 5/5/11 8:48 PM
Mold mcyr IAC2 Indoor Air Forum 5 9/13/10 11:31 AM
Mold Remediation & Duck Cleaning Work-If Done Right dplummer Ancillary Inspection Services & Additional Topics 8 10/12/07 3:03 PM
Everyday Events Can Cause Mold jmckenna1 Miscellaneous Discussion for Inspectors 1 3/3/07 3:11 PM
Mold; if I can smell it, why can't I see evidence? kshepard Ancillary Inspection Services & Additional Topics 3 1/19/06 2:30 AM

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 1:03 AM.
no new posts