Recent studies have shown that most of us spend the vast majority of our time indoors – up to 90% for some people. And that means that we are captives to the influences of our indoor air quality which can affect our health negatively if our homes are affected by toxic mold. Mold, of course, is just one dangerous issue that may be affecting our houses, endangering the health of our families and, in some cases, lowering the value of our homes. But it is also a situation that can be resolved, restoring your health and the health of your family, not to mention restoring your peace of mind and an appropriate resale value on your home.
Unfortunately, due to the recent heightened awareness of the adverse effects of mold, many disreputable people are marketing themselves as qualified, trained mold inspectors (and sometimes mold remediators as well) to worried and unsuspecting homeowners. And, as most insurance companies do not cover mold remediation under a standard policy, some of these “inspectors” are swindling people out of their hard earned money by brandishing both the fear associated with mold infestation and the promise of complete mold removal. In pursuit of a fast buck, many less-than-trustworthy companies sell themselves as seasoned experts when, in fact, they have no background in microbiology, mold testing or mold remediation planning.
Moldy homes, the possibility of ill health and con artists waiting in the wings … this all sounds like bad news. But there is a silver lining: certified mold inspectors. Certification is a guarantee that your mold inspector is highly qualified to fully investigate and identify the sources and causes of mold in your home, including training in and proficiency with the following:
- Mold and the health effects associated with mold in your home
- Sampling procedures, standard industry practices and minimum hands-on hours working with sampling equipment
- Strategies for discovering hidden mold
- Proficiency with sampling report analysis and remediation plan formation in accordance with recognized industry standards
- Ability to create and present a remediation plan for the homeowner
Who is Not Considered a Certified Mold Inspector?
- An individual or business whose sole purpose is anything besides mold inspection. (You will find many generalized home inspectors who sideline in mold. Run, do not walk, to find a certified mold inspector!)
- A homebuilding tradesman (plumbers, HVAC contractors, fire restoration consultants) without specialized training in mold inspection and testing.
- Anyone who plans to eliminate your mold problem with ozone, bleach, sand blasting, whitewash (or other anti-microbial surfactant) or aromatherapy.
- An inspector who cannot answer your questions about mold, how to identify hidden mold, how to test for mold or how to formulate remediation plans.
- Anyone without a certification from a reputable program (or, alternately, a degree in microbiology or environmental science).
- Someone who holds a certification in mold remediation. They may have a conflict of interest that could make the results of your mold inspection suspect.
Unfortunately, in most states, the mold inspection and remediation industry is not regulated so you do need to do your homework to make sure you are dealing with a qualified and certified mold inspector. While there are a handful of certification programs in this nascent industry, you will need to do some due diligence to find out if their certification program is solid gold or not. The good news is that you can, in general, count on companies that hold a verifiable, current certification from IAQA (Indoor Air Quality Association), NAMP (National Association of Mold Professionals) or NORMI (National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors).
Mold can be dangerous. If you can smell it in your home or feel its ill effects but cannot see it (or if you can see it but it covers an area of your home that’s larger than 10 square feet), you need to hire a certified mold inspector to investigate the types, causes and extent of your mold problem before you take steps to remediate it. You can trust certified mold inspectors to do a thorough inspection and generate a meaningful and comprehensive plan for remediation that will set your home and your family back on the road to good health.