Home Inspectors and Mold
Home Inspections and Mold
The home inspection in Harrisonburg Virginia revealed a visible apparent growth, microbial
growth like substance or whatever words the inspector chose to use to describe it. You see,
without a lab report from a lab certified by AIHA (American Industrial Hygiene Association) or
American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), the home inspector
cannot classify the growth as mold.
Do not allow mold to be downplayed. According to the EPA and AIHA, even dead mold spore
can make some people sick, and mold can impact the health of those that DO NOT have a
known allergy to mold.
Do not be alarmed! Mold is fixable!
Aztec Home Services, LLC employs two certified mold inspectors/testers. The owner has been
conducting mold and moisture inspections and mold testing for many years. Aztec Home Services, LLC
utilizes state of the art sampling equipment, thermal imaging, and labs certified by AIHA or ACGIH.
We have heard some myths about mold and mold testing. We aim to clear the air using reliable,
verifiable and unbiased sources. Our personal position on mold, mold growth, mold testing and health
issues related to mold exposure is irrelevant. We conduct unbiased property evaluations and do not ask
our clients about their health or the health of their family members. We do not downplay mold or up play it either. We deliver unbiased observations and access to reliable sources.
Myth 1: There are no standards for mold.
Myth 2: The EPA says mold testing is not necessary.
Myth 3: Mold does not present a health concern.
Myth 4: Every home has mold.
Is There a Mold Standard?
Stating that there is no standard for mold is taking the statement out of context. There are no
federal or EPA (TVL) Total Volume Limit standards. This means that there is no standard that
states if the mold spore count is 1000 or greater the property has a mold problem. This goes no
further; the EPA and most other organizations use size as a factor to determine how to handle
the mold clean up.
Is Mold Testing Necessary?
Stating that the EPA says mold testing is not necessary is misleading and out of context.
According to the EPA’s publication, A Brief Guide to Mold Moisture and Your Home, “in MOST
CASES testing is not necessary.” The key term here is “MOST CASES”.
In the EPA publication Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Building, which they also
recommend for private residences, “If you do not have extensive experience and/or are in doubt
about sampling, consult an experienced professional. This individual can help you decide if
sampling for mold is useful and/or needed and will be able to carry out any necessary
sampling.” The Department of Professional and Occupational Regulations (DPOR) directs the
consumer to use the internet search terms, “mold inspector certification” and “mold remediator
certification” to learn more about private certification standards and organizations.
This leads to the conclusion that the mold inspector/tester and mold remediator individual
should at minimum be certified by a private organization.
1. If you are residing in the property and have for some time, and there has been no
reported illness related to mold then mold testing would more than likely be a waste of money.
2. If you are purchasing a home and mold growth has been reported, but the area is less
than 3’X3’ then in MOST CASES mold testing may be a waste of money. According to the
EPA’s, A Brief Guide to Mold Moisture and Your Home, in MOST CASES small areas of
3’X3’ or less you can handle the job yourself and provides some cleanup guidelines.
When Should Mold, Testing be Done?
1. If you or someone in your home has suddenly become sick and the cause is unknown.
Consult your doctor and consider having your home evaluated and tested for the
presence of mold.
2. According to the EPA publication, “Should You Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned”, “You
should be aware that although a substance may look like mold, a positive determination
of whether it is mold can be made only by an expert and may require laboratory analysis
for final confirmation.”
3. If you are purchasing a home and you or someone in your family has a known health
condition, such as allergies or any health condition that could be impacted by mold, you
4. You intend to ask the seller to address the visible apparent growth. Testing to verify that
the substance is in fact mold is recommended.d, and in reality, no different than testing
for radon. Without sample collection and a lab report from an AIHA or ACGIH accredited
lab stating that the growth is mold, it’s just growth and the seller may balk at cleaning
it up. They may also want verification that the visible growth is in fact mold. The exact
same thing happens with radon.
5. According to the EPA publication, Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Building
“Pre- and post-remediation sampling may also be useful in determining whether
remediation efforts have been effective. After remediation, the types and concentrations
of mold in indoor samples should be similar to what is found in the local outdoor air.
Since no EPA or other Federal threshold limits have been set for mold or mold spores,
sampling cannot be used to check a building’s compliance with federal mold standards.”
Pre-cleaning samples cannot be collected once the cleaning process has begun. Post
samples cannot be collected after you have moved your personal belongings into the
property. Post remediation sampling without pre-remediation sampling can give false
and ambiguous results.
6. Someone in your family has an unexplained illness.
7. Litigation is being proposed or pursued.
Does Mold Present a Health Concern?
Stating that mold does not present a health concern is assuming that every person that has
been impacted by mold is a fraud.
Mold spore, even dead spore can cause an allergic reaction. The EPA publication, A Brief Guide
To Mold Moisture and Your Home, “In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose,
throat, and lungs of both allergic and non-allergic people.” “Dead mold may still cause allergic reactions
in some people, so it is not enough to simply kill the mold, it must also be removed.” Mold can cause a
number of health-related illness, and the visible mold growth must be completely removed
from the property. You can find a list of known illnesses at this site, CDC (Centers For Disease
Does Every Home/Property Have Mold?
Stating that every home has mold is misleading and out of context. No, every home does not
Mold spore (not visible mold) can be found in virtually every indoor environment. If you have
visible mold growth it needs to be addressed. It needs to be removed and the water source
causing it needs to be stopped. Mold growth can damage structural components and lead to
What Causes Mold Growth?
Moisture is the main cause of mold growth. The moisture can be from roof leaks, plumbing
leaks or groundwater intrusion in crawlspaces and basements and blocked HVAC system
drainage. The first step to controlling and preventing mold growth is to prevent high moisture
levels. This can be accomplished by preventing water intrusion, performing routine and
adequate maintenance on HVAC systems, keeping gutters clean and free-flowing, evaluating
and addressing roof leaks and prompt clean up when a plumbing leak occurs.
Who Should Collect Mold Samples?
Mold sampling should be conducted by professionals with experience and knowledge in
developing mold-sampling protocols, lab report interpretation, and sampling methods. Simply
collecting samples without evaluating the property is a waste of your money and can provide
false results. The individual needs to evaluate the property to determine where samples should
be collected. Do not accept a mold lab report without a property evaluation report.
Who Can Fix the Mold?
DPOR (Department of Professional and Occupational Regulations) suggest searching for
individuals who are certified mold inspectors and certified mold remediators by private
organizations. The EPA recommends consulting experienced professionals and requesting
references. Additionally, the EPA and AIHA both recommend IICRC (Institute of Inspection
Cleaning and Restoration Certification) certified professionals.
Do all Virginia Home Inspector Report Mold?
Unfortunately, No! The Virginia home inspector regulations do not require home inspectors to
report or document on the presence of a mold like substance during a home inspection.
However, the home inspector is required to have in their home inspection contract a statement
alerting the client that the inspector does not inspect for mold. Unfortunately, you may not see
the contract until the time of inspection. You have a few minutes to read and sign a two to
three-page contract just before the inspection starts. Exercise due diligence and talk to your
home inspector several days before the inspection. If you are concerned about mold,
understand the home inspectors position on mold. Ask if they will be evaluating the property
for the presence of mold. Ask if they are certified by a private organization and research that
Mold can be fixed and the cause of mold can be fixed. The question is: Who will pay for the
cleanup and the cause of the mold growth?
(EPA) A Brief Guide to Mold Moisture and Your Home
(EPA) Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings
(EPA) Should You Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned
(CDC) Center for Disease Control Facts About Mold and Dampness
(DPOR) Department of Professional and Occupational Regulations (Home Inspector Regulations
(DPOR) Department of Professional and Occupational Regulations (Mold Remediation and Inspection