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  1. #1
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default IR Surveys and Mold

    How are the folks offering IR scans dealing with the mold issue? Most SOP's exclude mold identification during a HI so how are you dealing with that exclusion? We all know that all moisture is not mold and that mold can be old, dry, and still airborne. Do you provide air sample to back up your pictures?

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  2. #2
    Todd Stevens's Avatar
    Todd Stevens Guest

    Default Re: IR Surveys and Mold

    James,

    Good question. First, many SOPs state that the inspector "is not required to..." or that it is a general exclusion, but not that the HI "should not" or "cannot." Semantics? Yes. But very important language.

    As for my experience with IR, we offer it as a separate service and not part of the typical home inspection.

    How we deal with the mold issue, is by outlining to the client that IR is a tool for moisture intrusion, building envelope issues, energy efficiency, etc. It cannot see or detect mold, it is simply a study in Delta T and to assist in finding conducive conditions (moisture). We may recommend air sampling in an investigation, as well.

    Regards,

    Todd
    buildingspecs.com


  3. #3

    Default Re: IR Surveys and Mould

    Good morning, Mr. Duffin:

    I’m on board with Mr. Stevens on this one.

    With the additional caveat that air samples cannot be reasonably used to “back-up” photos and are virtually never needed, and are almost always useless in a mould survey. The reason is that one can legitimately get extremely elevated “air samples” from a perfectly normal home, and extremely low air samples from an home with an huge mould issue- no correlation, therefore, no utility.

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Industrial Hygiene


    (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


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: IR Surveys and Mold

    Mr. Connell,

    I was trained to believe just the opposite, that air samples are the most reliable when compared to tape or swab sampling, especially in court if necessary. Any comment?

    Larry Coha
    Chicago, IL


  5. #5
    Greg D. Dames's Avatar
    Greg D. Dames Guest

    Talking Re: IR Surveys and Mold

    Hi Guys - I'm not a HI at least where you are coming from. My work is related to Infrared inspection and water damage consulting as well as mold assessment for both commercial and residential properties. The questions raised here are interesting.

    IR cannot see mold - It is simply measuring surface temps where it is pointed. I am called in to identify locations that have been affected by moisture, a task well suited for the camera amoung others. Having said that I will go on to say that I have found mold as a result of using the camera but what is usually the case is that the moisture is repeditive and that was the source of the mold. The camera again can allow a fairly quick sweep of ceilings and walls and shows suspect areas that need to be looked at closer with a moistue meter the verifing tool. The camera saves my knees.

    Regarding mold - As stated above air tests are not the answer in all cases. When it comes down to it the client could never afford to have the number of tests taken that would make the results a statiscal reality. They are simply a "snap shot in time". The IESO trained the CRMI's to take air samples in a two story residence 1 up, 1 down, 1 outside. That generally will tell you what the air quality was at the time of the tests and may indicate that youre client needs further and more indepth inspections. But if you actually see mold under the sink for instance a tape lift or swab will provide you with accurate information as to what you saw and will support your photos.

    If the neighbor happens to be turning over his compost pile the outside air will be an issue that will have a perhaps negative bearing on the indoor findings and could mask a problem.

    Fungal amplification does not necessarly mean it is airborne.

    So for what it is worth I would not promote the IR Camera as a mold locating tool.

    Greg D. Dames
    National ThermoGraphic Inspections
    Pacific Mold Assessment


  6. #6
    Greg D. Dames's Avatar
    Greg D. Dames Guest

    Talking Re: IR Surveys and Mold

    Hi Guys - I'm not a HI at least where you are coming from. My work is related to Infrared inspection and water damage consulting as well as mold assessment for both commercial and residential properties. The questions raised here are interesting.

    IR cannot see mold - It is simply measuring surface temps where it is pointed. I am called in to identify locations that have been affected by moisture, a task well suited for the camera amoung others. Having said that I will go on to say that I have found mold as a result of using the camera but what is usually the case is that the moisture is repeditive and that was the source of the mold. The camera again can allow a fairly quick sweep of ceilings and walls and shows suspect areas that need to be looked at closer with a moistue meter the verifing tool. The camera saves my knees.

    Regarding mold - As stated above air tests are not the answer in all cases. When it comes down to it the client could never afford to have the number of tests taken that would make the results a statiscal reality. They are simply a "snap shot in time". The IESO trained the CRMI's to take air samples in a two story residence 1 up, 1 down, 1 outside. That generally will tell you what the air quality was at the time of the tests and may indicate that youre client needs further and more indepth inspections. But if you actually see mold under the sink for instance a tape lift or swab will provide you with accurate information as to what you saw and will support your photos.

    It the neighbor happens to be turning over his compost pile the outside air will be an issue that will have a perhaps negative bearing on the indoor findings and could mask a problem.

    Fungal amplification does not necessarly mean it is airborne.

    So for what it is worth I would not promote the IR Camera as a mold locating tool.

    Greg D. Dames
    National ThermoGraphic Inspections
    Pacific Mold Assessment


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Healdsburg Ca
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    2,499

    Default Re: IR Surveys and Mold

    Excellent post Greg.

    Best

    Ron


  8. #8
    Greg D. Dames's Avatar
    Greg D. Dames Guest

    Default Re: IR Surveys and Mold

    Thank you Ron - Best to you and yours

    Greg Dames


  9. #9
    Greg D. Dames's Avatar
    Greg D. Dames Guest

    Default Re: IR Surveys and Mold

    Good Morning All - Just became aware of an online course you might want to consider being presented by Snell. It is in their news letter that you can subscribe to.


    Join us for next week's webinar...

    Introducing Infrared Thermography for Home Inspectors

    Wednesday, April 30, 2008
    1:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -04:00, New York)
    Duration: 40 minutes
    Presenter: John Snell

    Session Fee: $45

    REGISTER HERE

    Overview: Learn about how infrared can assist home inspectors by increasing the effectiveness of their services. Discover why thermography is used, the types of issues that can be detected, what training and equipment are recommended as well as standards and resources that are available. The presentation will last 30 minutes followed by an available 10 minute question and answer session.


    http://www.thesnellgroup.com/newslettermgr/v.aspx?n=193

    I am not promoting this but think that if your interested it could be helpful to you in making an informed decision.

    Good Luck and Stay Safe

    Regards
    Greg D. Dames
    National ThermoGraphic Inspections
    Pacific Mold Assessment
    805-390-4442


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
    Posts
    5,829

    Default Re: IR Surveys and Mold

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Coha View Post
    Mr. Connell,

    I was trained to believe just the opposite, that air samples are the most reliable when compared to tape or swab sampling, especially in court if necessary. Any comment?

    Larry Coha
    Chicago, IL
    One of the reasons home inspectors should not be testing for mold.

    I have yet to see (and I have attended many, many IAQ classes around the country) a class that tells you everything you need to know. Most if not all home inspectors who get into mold testing are doing so with inferior training done in one day by a testing lab or it is sponsored by a testing lab out of Florida.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  11. #11
    Todd Stevens's Avatar
    Todd Stevens Guest

    Default Re: IR Surveys and Mold

    Wonderful additions to the discussion! Indeed, many inspectors do lean way too much on very limited instruction (e.g. one day classes) that get them in trouble. It is very difficult to help HIs realize that this is not like measuring 4.0 piC/L.

    Even more difficult is articulating what a "normal fungal ecology" may mean. What we teach is that visual observations, testing, sampling, diagnostic imagery, etc. are all points of data, but none are conclusive independently. The IAQ concerns when mold is involved does demand some interpretation that simply is not taught in a few hours.

    One of my recent favorites is that a "bad" indoor spore count must be at least 10:1 over the outdoor....simply not true. When in fact, lower spore counts present may be of concern.


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