A professional home inspection is the best way to ensure a house is safe from the most common issues that may impact the safety of its occupants, as well as current resale value. Unfortunately, some of the most expensive fixes are rarely found in a typical home inspection. Mold growth is one of these common concerns that may not be immediately noticeable with a pass through home inspection. This is why home buyers should seriously consider an environmental screening and catch a mold problem before it threatens the structural integrity of the building, or the health of the people living inside.

Mold basics

Like bacteria, mold is actually everywhere, floating around in the air but usually invisible to the naked eye. Only when it finds the right place to grow will it become obvious. Anyone who has left bread out for too long knows that mold can grow quickly and seemingly anywhere. All mold needs to grow is a moist surface.

There are thousands of different molds in the air, but they only become a problem once they find a place to grow. According to U.S. News & World Report, mold growth often gets out of control when it grows in unseen areas, like within walls or in attics. The longer mold is allowed to grow, the more damage it can cause, both to a home and to a person's health.

Not all molds are dangerous, but some can in fact be deadly. Long-term exposure to some molds can cause respiratory diseases that are difficult to treat, and can seriously impact the quality of life. Some people are also allergic to mold spores, and can experience symptoms similar to that of hay fever. Mold can be particularly harmful to those with asthma.

Whether or not you think your house may have a mold growth problem, it's a good idea to rely on a professional environmental screening and know for sure. As U.S. News pointed out, home testing kits for mold are typically unreliable, and there's little incentive in risking a false negative with such serious consequences.

As WorkingRE Magazine explained, professional mold testing is extremely thorough and will give a more accurate result than home testing kits. A mold testing professional will take samples of the air from individual rooms in the home and send them to a lab for analysis. Since mold is always present in the air no matter what the location is, the inspection will compare indoor mold levels to those found naturally outdoors.

WorkingRE recommended inspectors take no less than five samples from a home with two different testing methods. The results may take a few weeks to arrive from the lab. Fortunately for some homeowners, many insurance plans cover environmental screenings. Homeowners should consult their insurance provider to see if this service is covered.

A mold growth problem could pose a serious concern. Thankfully, a high-quality environmental screening can alleviate the spread of mold.