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Mold Inspection

Q. What is 'Mold'?

A. Molds are primitive plant-like fungal organisms that make spores instead of seeds.  Spores float in the air like pollen.  The spores and chemicals that molds produce are a common trigger for allergies and sometimes more serious health consequences.  Molds have been in our environment for millions of years, and as you have probably seen on TV ads, all homes have mold to some degree.  

Q. How do I know if I have a 'Mold Problem''?

A. Some of the signs that mold may be prevalent include: persistent musty or 'earthy' odors indoors,  mold seen growing on walls, ceilings or other surfaces and/or experiencing cold, flu or allergy-like symptoms when in the home.   In some cases, people may suffer sneezing, itching watery eyes, runny nose, coughing, and congestion.   Mold is a foreign protein.  It releases spores, hyphae parts, and volatile organic chemicals.  Exposure can aggravate respiratory illness, trigger asthma attacks, and cause other serious maladies.  Not all molds cause the same reactions and people often react differently to different molds.  In some cases, these reactions can require hospitalization.  

Q. What is a 'Mold Inspection'?

A. A Mold Inspection is really two inspections: one is for mold, the second is for the source of moisture and dampness that allows mold to flourish.  A detailed report with findings and recommendations is provided. Click here to see a sample Mold Inspection Report: Sample Mold Report.pdf.   The laboratory analysis report is sent separately.   

The strategy for dealing with mold includes detection, containment, removal and prevention.  

Detection:  American Home Inspections provides thorough mold inspection and reporting services designed to locate and document the amount of mold in the home and identify sources of moisture that allow it to flourish.  The inspection involves the use of sophisticated equipment including infrared camera and moisture meters to detect sources of dampness and moisture in the building; laser particle counter to determine the quantity and sizes of the airborne contaminants; and sampling equipment for laboratory analysis of viable and / or non-viable air, swab, and bulk samples.


Containment & Removal: Depending upon the scope of contamination found, a company specializing in mold remediation may be recommended. Ordinary contractors are not equipped to handle mold problems.  If the proper containment, disposal, and safety measures are not observed, demolition and construction may worsen the situation by spreading the contamination and increasing occupant exposure.  American Home Inspections may be asked to provide Clearance Testing to measure the effectiveness of the remediation.


Prevention: If moisture and dampness problems are not corrected, even the best remediation work can be undone by return of the mold organisms. An American Home Inspections report will identify those areas were moisture was found and how to remedy the problems. It is critical that moisture and dampness be eliminated to keep mold from coming back.

Key Features of the Inspection (not an exhaustive list)

The following equipment and processes may be used:

  • Laser Particle Counter    
    • Particle counters use lasers to provide intense light and thereby count very small particles.  
    • Counts are taken to determine the amount of contaminants in the air.  The counter used by American Home Inspections measures particles in 3 sizes:
      • 0.3 um --  These are particles which can be inhaled deeply into the lungs and include viruses, smoke particles, atmospheric dust, etc.  Counts are often in the 10's of thousands per ft3 of air.   
      • 0.5 um --  These are particles caught near the bottom of the bronchial portion of your respiratory system and include bacteria, copier toner,  insecticide dusts, etc.  Typical count levels are in the low to mid thousands per ft3 of air..
      • 5.0 um -- These are particles that are usually arrested mid to early in the bronchial portion of your respiratory system and include small mold spores, mold body parts, dusts, etc.  Typical count levels are less than one hundred per ft3 of air.  Elevated levels help confirm the presence of mold.
  • Infrared Analysis, moisture meters and hygrometer measurements
    • Because water releases its heat differently than the material around it, infrared scanning of walls, ceilings and floors can tell if moisture is present and where it is emanating from.  (See sample report for examples.)  Without moisture, mold will not grow.  
    • Two types of moisture meters are used.  One uses ultrasound to detect surface and sub-surface moisture in the tested material.  The second is a pin-style meter which measures conductivity between two points -- moisture reduces electrical resistance and results in an elevated reading. 
    • Hygrometer meters measure humidity in the air.  The more water vapor present, the more moisture that will precipitate out when the dew point is reached such as when warm, humid air comes in contact with a cool concrete floor in a basement.  (Mold is frequently found under basement carpeting.)
  • Air, direct lift and/or bulk sampling
    • Air sampling is done with air impaction cassettes that trap spores and mold pieces on a sticky microscope slide that is analyzed at a laboratory.  Testing can be done for viable (culture-able) samples and non-viable (non-culture-able) samples.  Species are identified and counted.
    • Direct lift sampling is done with either a culture swap or or pressed onto transparent media (tape) for species identification. 
    • Bulk sampling involves cutting away a section of contaminated material and sending for analysis.  

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Contact Information:                                                      

Telephone: 845-224-6920
Postal address: 116 Judith Drive, Stormville NY 12582  
Last modified: May 30, 2013