I am regularly asked what I do as a mold inspector, exactly. That’s a great question. What I do is help homeowners, potential home buyers, property managers and tenants determine if they have a mold problem or not. My job is to be a trusted advisor who puts the needs of my clients (and in many cases their clients) first and foremost. I have no vested interest in finding mold or not finding mold, because I do not perform mold remediation, nor am I trying to sell you any additional products or services. Simply stated, I will give you my honest and expert advice and may even tell you that you do not even need a mold inspection. Read my blog post on this question here. https://dcindoorair.com/do-you-need-a-mold-inspection
The most important part of the mold inspection is a visual inspection by an experienced Indoor Environmental Consulting Professional. The tools that should be used during the mold inspection may include a moisture meter; an Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) meter that measures Relative Humidity, Temperature and Carbon Dioxide; an Infrared Temperature meter; and a mold air sampling pump. Mold needs water to grow, so moisture measurements indicate whether conditions are right for mold to grow. Carbon Dioxide is an indicator of adequate fresh air and ventilation. Sometimes offices that smell funny and stuffy do not have a mold problem, just poor air conditioning.
Is it necessary to know what type of mold is growing in your house? Maybe. If you have a small amount of mold or mildew growing around your shower or bathtub, you can easily clean it up with a disinfectant such as bleach. On the other hand, if you are having trouble getting a landlord to take action and/or you are considering litigation, then you may benefit from having documentation of the amounts and types of mold spores in your air. Mold spores are invisible microscopic particles that are in the air outdoors and indoors all the time. I compare the types and amounts of mold spores that are outside and compare them to the indoor levels.
Sometimes I am told, “I bought a mold home test kit and it came back positive.” Guess what? These test kits always come back positive, because mold is everywhere. They do not tell you if you have a mold problem. Don’t waste your time or money on them.
How long does one of my mold inspections take? The inspection only takes about an hour or so, depending on the number of rooms of concern. If samples are collected, they are shipped by overnight delivery to an accredited lab in the Los Angeles area, as there are no accredited labs in the Coachella Valley. It then takes 1 or 2 days to get lab results back from them. If someone tells you they can evaluate the samples themselves, beware! This is a very serious red flag.
You may have found that some mold remediation companies will do a mold inspection for free. That is another big red flag. Some mold remediation companies want to find mold and may make a mountain out of a mole hill. You may be advised to spend thousands of dollars for unnecessary work after your “free inspection”. I can recommend ethical, local remediation companies if needed.
My clients are often concerned about what will happen with the data I find as a result of an inspection. “I don’t want my landlord to know what you are doing.” I work for the person who has hired me for the inspection. No one needs to know your business. Reports are not sent to any government agency. I do not advertise the words “mold” on my car, just my company name. Desert Cities Indoor Air knows the value and importance of keeping your business private.
Other clients ask me, “How do I read the lab’s mold report?” As the only Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant in the Coachella Valley, I have been interpreting laboratory mold reports for over 20 years. No one seeing a mold lab report for the first time will know what it means. There are indicator mold species that are related to hidden mold problems — these only become apparent after air sampling an otherwise “clean” looking house with hints of roof or plumbing leaks. I know what are considered “normal and acceptable” mold spore levels here in the desert. They are not the same as those found in coastal and mountain regions.
Who does the inspection? I do! I do every inspection and write every report and recommendation. Some large consulting companies send out technicians or worse yet, so-called “certified mold inspectors” to do the work. You can buy a wide variety of “certifications” on the internet these days. Go to my About page to check out my certifications which require extensive continuing education and exams. https://dcindoorair.com/about-us
Now for the big question everyone wants to know. How much does it cost to get a mold inspection? Unfortunately, there is no one fee fits all pricing. Projects can range from as little as $200 to over $600, based upon the basic cost of the inspection and the number and type of samples collected. If you would like more detailed information about the sampling process and alternatives, please give me a call. I never charge for advice!