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Can You Inspect My Attic for Mold?


We receive many calls from property owners who are concerned about mold in their attic.  Most attics tend to be unfinished with exposed sheathing, wood supports, and insulation.  Because of this unwelcoming environment, property owners rarely go into their attics which can leave undetected mold problems for long periods of time.  In October of 2017, one of our project managers, Scott, posted about mold problems that went unnoticed in his attic.

When property owners want mold testing inside their attic, they usually ask – How is a mold inspection done in an attic?

In a typical mold assessment in the living spaces of the home, we look for signs of current moisture using an infrared camera and moisture meter.  These two devices are excellent for identifying dampness that may not be visible to the naked eye.  We scan floors, walls, and ceilings to find where any hidden dampness may be.  We also do a thorough visual inspection for mold and often include surface and or air samples. In attics, we can do a visual inspection too, but at times we can be hindered by access.  We look for visible mold and check if any exhaust fans are dumping humid air into the space. In an attic, we also use the infrared camera and moisture meter to find current moisture in the same way as in the living spaces. We also collect surface samples of questionable and discolored surfaces in the attic the same way we might do so inside a home.  However, air sampling in an attic is controversial.

Attics are different indoor environments from the living spaces due to their unique ventilation.  In our climate, most attics are ventilated, which means outdoor air is continuously passing through the space.  Because the ventilation is different from the other living spaces in the home, it is not recommended taking air samples in attics. Attic air is more reflective of outdoor air.   

A few of the takeaways are that we identify areas containing mold and determine the possible causes of any moisture problems.  I should also mention, that attics are considered confined spaces and can be dangerous for an adult person to inspect.  There are times when we are limited in the degree to which we can inspect attics due to accessibility. (We don’t want to fall through your ceiling, as much as you don’t want us falling through your ceiling!).

When setting up an appointment up with us, it is important to discuss your interest in inspecting your attic and to describe accessibility issues. We want to come prepared! To read more about our mold testing procedure, follow this link https://indoorscience.com/mold-testing/

Ian Cull

Ian Cull is a nationally recognized expert in the field of indoor air quality. He is the Chief Science Officer of Indoor Science, a company he started in 2004. He speaks around the world on air quality topics and is a training provider of the Indoor Air Quality Association. Mr. Cull is a Licensed Professional Engineer (PE) and Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH). His degree is in Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign. Mr. Cull has developed 50 air quality related courses for the IAQA University and is the author of the book, “Fundamentals of Mold Remediation”. In his words… “Besides being passionate about indoor air quality, I enjoy cycling, music, the Chicago Bulls, and having fun with my three kids.”