View Full Version : How would you write this up

04-26-2008, 06:46 AM
Did an inspection yesterday and saw past condensation stains around register. Looked closer and found mold growing inside. How would you write this up and how would you prevent this from happening again. This was in two bedrooms only

Jon Randolph
04-26-2008, 06:55 AM
I tell them that I found mold. I know that a lot of inspectors are afraid of the "M" word, but you, I and they know that that is what it is. Mold needs t things to grow: moisture and organic material. Moisture is provided by the cold a/c causing condensation inside the duct. Organic material is in the form of dander and skin cells.
1. Duct cleaning may be in needed.
2. A de-humidifier may be needed.
3. Ducts in the crawl and/or attic may be disconnected allowing excess humidity in the home.
4. Bathrooms should be exhausted to the exterior with exhaust fans.
5. Crawl space (if present) moisture barrier and ventilation my need improvement.

Mold identification and testing is beyond the scope of a home inspection. I recommend that you contact an indoor air quality company for testing and remediation, if needed.

Victor DaGraca
04-26-2008, 07:09 AM
You dis-assembled a component, which I doubt many Home Inspectors would even think about doing.
However, You were following up on something you suspected.
You found it and now you must comment on it.
You found mold growing on the inside of a duct.
Tell them what you found.
"Mold was found in the HVAC duct in "X" room.

Now.... do you want to stick your neck out there a little and tell them what to do next?

If so.... what would you do if you were in their shoes?

"I suggest contacting a licensed and qualified HVAC contractor to determine the extent of the contamination and to provide you with a cost analysis of correcting the problem"

There... you're done.

However, they will probably come back with ....
"are you sure it's mold"?

To which you answer.....

"no I'm not positive.... However, I'm not positive that the air we breathe is composed of Oxygen molecules, but, I've breathed in enough of it to be quite certain that it is."

"In other words... if it looks like a duck, and, quacks like a duck...."

Jimmy Breazeale
04-26-2008, 09:43 AM
"There is some black, fuzzy stuff growing under one of the vent covers. I don't know what it is, not being a certified MOLD inspector or anything of the sort, but it looks a whole lot like some kind of fungus. I do know one thing; I wouldn't eat it, and I don't think I want to breath it. You'd better get a CERTIFIED MOLD guy to come in and take some samples of it to determine its toxicity.

I suspect that the black, fuzzy, unidentified living stuff is growing there because of the condensation I found on the vent cover, which led me to the invasive act of removing the vent cover in the first place. I also suspect that the condensation is present because of one or more of the following conditions:

A) The insulation on the duct at that point is loose, and some of it has been stolen by the Norwegian rats living in your attic. I know this because one of them tried to bite me when I disturbed its nest (see accompanying photo of squiggling baby rats in nest).

B) Much of the rolled batt in the area surrounding the vent has also been stolen by rats.

C) The filter located at the return air duct has not been changed since Adam was a baby, sorely affecting the A/C system's ability to dehumidify the indoor air. This probably means that your A-coil is infested with fungal material also, but I can't be sure because the coil itself was not visible nor accessible during the time of the inspection. Investigation with a flashlight did reveal, however, gooey black stains around the condensation drain, which also looks suspiciously like fungal stuff. I should reiterate, however, that I am not a CERTIFIED MOLD guy. I encourage you to attain the services of such an individual to ascertain definitively and scientifically these observations, as certain types of fungal stuff (MOLD) are toxic to individuals, especially small clildren with developing lungs.

D) The attic area is lacking any soffit venting, depending solely on gable venting to remove all the water vapor being pumped into the attic by the bathroom vent fans, which are not vented to the outside of the home as they should be.

I recommend bringing in a licensed rat killer, a duly licensed and CERTIFIED MOLD guy such as Scott Patterson, a licensed and insured rolled batt insulation installing person, a licensed, insured HVAC contractor to change the filter and clean the A-coil and condensate drain, and a qualified soffit vent installing contractor guy to ensure proper attic ventilation, and, last but not necessarily least, a qualified bathroom vent installing guy. It may also be necessary to bring in a qualified roofing contractor to go behind the bathroom vent installer guy."

I think the above comments would be sufficient to get the point across in a report, but, what do you guys think? Or, would the agent consider me an "alarmist", or worse still, a "deal killer?"

Victor? Scott?

Victor DaGraca
04-26-2008, 02:39 PM
or... perhaps a disgruntled novelist...........

didn't you do a script for Stephen King?

How goes it Jimmy?

Nick Ostrowski
04-26-2008, 09:40 PM
"Substance noted inside HVAC duct behind register in ______ bedroom that appears to possibly be mold. Have substance tested and professionally removed if proven to be mold. Recommend having entire HVAC system serviced by an HVAC professional and all repairs made as needed which may include professional cleaning of the ducts and servicing by an indoor air quality professional".

chris bollin
04-27-2008, 11:16 AM
write this up as a mold like substance.

Ron Tate
04-27-2008, 04:57 PM
Jim, we, as home inspectors, want to do the best job for our customers as we possible can. We want to be as honest and up front as we can and not over step our bounds. We are home inspectors - not mold inspectors, not pest inspectors, not structural engineers, etc. If we start making statements that are outside our profession we can be putting ourselves in a position that for the most part we don't want to be in. Tell your customer that you found what appears to be a mold type substance at or near the supply vent in room whatever. You can, if you feel comfortable, make some suggestions as to whom they may contact. For the most part leave it alone with the fact that you found it. Now let me ask you a question "how many time do you report mildew in showers to your customer"? This too is a mold type substance but it is something we are not surprised to find and probably don't even mention. Report on what you, as a home inspector, have been trained to report on and be careful in being specific about things you haven't been trained on. You know its mold. I know its mold. If you report it as mold then you open a whole can of worms of what type of mold is it? How do I get rid of it? Is it dangerous? The proper response is "I don't know I'm not a trained mold inspector".