Updated: Sep 25, 2019
Whew, there is nothing better than to complete a project fix that saves both time and money. This week it was dealing with wet and swelling drywall. It is alarming to see the drywall blister and break down from too much moisture. It can create panic and make you believe mold is growing behind the wall! The real questions are: How much moisture has accumulated behind the wall ? Secondly, for how long?
I could not find any facts about how fast mold can grow in a dark enclosed area. The interesting thing is there is limited evidence linking indoor mold as being toxic. Check out what the CDC defines as the term toxic mold.
The CDC does recommend controlling the humidity and clean up. Bottom line, do not delay fixing the problem and avoid mold altogether. Beginning the repair early, can save you hundreds of dollars in testing only to find out.
Repair early and find the source of moisture
Save yourself $500 to $1000 right off the bat and avoid mold testing. Instead, just begin the repair as soon as possible. The Environmental Protection Agency does not suggest sampling for mold if visible.
I went years following the advice of realtors, landlords, tenants and contractors that mold testing is absolutely necessary. There are only two instances I can think of that mold testing might be a benefit. You are the buyer of a property and want to negotiate the price of the house because of a suspicious smell. The other is you are a contractor and need to prove the mold remediation work.
As a property buyer, gaining a reduction in price is as arbitrary as an external test. This type of IAQ is external and does not damage walls. The IAQ process is sampling the indoor air quality vs the outdoor air quality near the building. It compares the volume of mold spores between each air sample. Mold is everywhere on the earth. A comparison of mold spore count in the air may not indicate exactly how big of a problem exists inside the building and where. The information in the final IAQ report does not have enough information to negotiate property price. Your agent may suggest it because they want to avoid all liability.
A contractor may use IAQ testing to avoid liability too and simply prove that the mold spore count did decrease after remediation. It is great documentation but good preventative practices are a much way to solve the problem and save money.
Landlords follow the EPA's guide to mold and moisture prevention and provide your tenants with a mold addendum. It will basically inform the tenant they must be responsible to report moisture or leaks to the landlord right a way.
Simply said by the EPA
Renters: Report all plumbing leaks and moisture problems immediately to your building owner, manager, or superintendent. In cases where persistent water problems are not addressed, you may want to contact local, state, or federal health or housing authorities.