IAQ pumps

As a homeinspector, how often to you get requests for indoor air quality tests in regaurds to mold. I’m thinking about buying the equipment and wondering if it will just collect dust.

Next to never.

We do on average about 2 tests per day. Great income but the liability is present and more you have to learn. Well worth it to me. Need more info just email me.

Russel -

What do you say or offer to get this many pople doing mold tests?

First of all I live in a sub tropic climate. We get TONS of humidity and rain during certain portions of the year and some of the houses do not use their AC properly during our rainy months thus high humidity and lack of AC results into mold within the house.

What we try to get across is that we are doing our inspection within a short time period. We have NO IDEA what the history of the house has been. But we can get get a reading of the air quality which can tell us a history of the house that maybe the present owner doesn’t even know or (maybe hid or remediated improperly).

This is where mold education comes across. There are certain mold that need certain conditions to grow.

Example we did a mold test on a house that sat lower that the houses on both sides. The buyer asked all the neighbors about flooding in the area, all of them said drainage was perfect. No problems.

When inside the house we saw no visual mold, just stained tack strips and some minor stains on the carpeting. We did an air quality test and the mold type stachybotrys “black mold” was noted at a moderate level. This indicates that the house has had significant water intrusion for a loner period of time.

I have no idea where the mold was, but it was/is present. The clean-up estimate was $9,250.00 and that was just cleaning and if areas showed up then the cost would get higher.

So for $299 the buyer was facing about $10,000 in cleanup fees. Not a bad return on their investment.

So what you can tell many times is a history of the house just by using the air quality report. Just you have to be educated in what you are doing. But with this amount of knowledge, you can increase your income drastically.

Yea many people think this is a scam. Well here are a few link of organizations that DO NOT THINK mold is a scam. Pretty reputable organizations and all are UNBIASED in their findings.

EPA - Mold Resource[size=4] [/size]
EPA IAQ Reference Guide
EPA Healthy School Environment Resources
EPA - A brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home[size=4][/size]
[size=4]EPA - An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality](“http://www.epa.gov/iaq/biologic.html”)
EPA Mold Course
FEMA- Removing Mold From Your Home
FEMA- Clean Mold Thoroughly and Safely
Mayo Clinic - Mold](“http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mold-allergy/DS00773")](“http://www.moldtips.com/”)](“http://www.cdc.gov/mold/”)](“http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/community/indoor-air/lodginginfo.htm”)]("http://www.fema.gov/government/grant/pa/9580_100.shtm”)[/size]

Great info Russ thanks

I have done 3 in the past year. class = 250 bucks,
pump and cells = 350 bucks
income generated = 450.00
staying at a quality inn = priceless

Hi Russell,

That’s not entirely accurate; is it? I too live in a rainy/humidity-laden environment and mold spore counts are very high here regardless of season. The difference here is that AC systems are few and far between; so, without an AC system to help dehumidify the air in a home, they rely on fan systems that suck interior air out of the house and replace it with mold-laden exterior air. Here’s what we know here:

Mold is ubiquitous in the environment, so there will always be mold in the air of the house 24/7/365 and there’s no way to rid the interior air completely of mold. The only thing that you can do is try and limit opportunities for the mold that’s in that air to get out of hand.

Do you bother to tell that client when he/she calls, “There is going to be mold in the air of that house regardless. Every cubic centimeter of air that you and I breath 24/7/365 contains mold spore and there is always going to be some of the so-called “toxic” mold spore present in that air. My taking air samples will only confirm that and really won’t be able to tell you anything beyond that.”

Do you mean the condition such as “All molds need moisture to grow” which is stated in just about every linked resource in your post?

Ahem, where is that “mold education” you spoke of? Stachy is ever-present in the air and there are more than 50 varieties. What have you proven? You certainly haven’t proven that “The home had significant water intrusion for longer periods of time” by the presence of Stachybtrys in the air of the home. Every reference you’ve cited will verify that. How does the presence of mold in the air indicate anything other than that there is mold in the air, unless you have other indicators that something has been going on?

Except that exercise can be repeated in house after house. Open the doors and window and an hour after the mold remediation company leaves you can re-test the air of the house and again find stachy/aspirg./clado-/peni. - So what useful information did air sampling provide?

Yes, you can increase your income dramatically, but where in any of the references you’ve quoted does it say that an air quality report can tell you the history of a house?

You’re right, none of them says mold is a scam. However, where in any of those references is there a recommendation made for air sampling? If you’ve read them carefully, you have probably noted that they do not recommend sampling for mold. Here’s what EPA says in it’s primary reference, Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings.

*Is sampling for mold needed? In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is unnecessary. In specific instances, such as cases where litigation is involved, the source(s) of the mold contamination is unclear, or health concerns are a problem, you may consider sampling as part of your site evaluation. Surface sampling may also be useful in order to determine if an area has been adequately cleaned or remediated. Sampling should be done only after developing a sampling plan that includes a confirmable theory regarding suspected mold sources and routes of exposure. Figure out what you think is happening and how to prove or disprove it before you sample! *

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. It is important to remember that the results of sampling may have limited use or application. Sampling may help locate the source of mold contamination, identify some of the mold species present, and differentiate between mold and soot or dirt. 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 air 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.

*Sampling for mold should be conducted by professionals with specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods, and interpretation of results. Sample analysis should follow analytical methods recommended by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), or other professional guidelines (see Resources List). Types of samples include air samples, surface samples, bulk samples (chunks of carpet, insulation, wall board, etc.), and water samples from condensate drain pans or cooling towers. *
A number of pitfalls may be encountered when inexperienced personnel conduct sampling. They may take an inadequate number of samples, there may be inconsistency in sampling protocols, the samples may become contaminated, outdoor control samples may be omitted, and you may incur costs for unneeded or inappropriate samples. Budget constraints will often be a consideration when sampling; professional advice may be necessary to determine if it is possible to take sufficient samples to characterize a problem on a given budget. If it is not possible to sample properly, with a sufficient number of samples to answer the question(s) posed, it would be preferable not to sample. Inadequate sample plans may generate misleading, confusing, and useless results.

Keep in mind that air sampling for mold provides information only for the moment in time in which the sampling occurred, much like a snapshot. Air sampling will reveal, when properly done, what was in the air at the moment when the sample was taken. For someone without experience, sampling results will be difficult to interpret. Experience in interpretation of results is essential.
Do you consider yourself to be one of those experienced professionals that EPA says should be consulted before sampling? I hope not, because a local researcher I know, who has a PHD, runs a mold lab for an internationally reknowned firm, who has been researching mold for more than a decade and has been quoted in books on mold, does consider himself to be an experienced professional and he’d be the first to tell you that there is more that he doesn’t know about mold than he knows. I’m guessing that he’d probably call you something else.

Based on the references below, the only thing that’s really accurate about your statements above is the one sentence in the last paragraph above. An air pump only tells you what’s in the air at the instant that the air sample was taken. Since there is mold spore in every home all day every day what possible useful information have you provided the client?

Here’s a more accurate statement, Russell. Take it to a real researcher and ask about it’s accuracy. Taking air samples to look for mold in a home is like taking air samples to look for asbestos along the side of a busy highway; you are sure to find it, but you haven’t really told the potential client anything useful - certainly nothing that he or she couldn’t have learned by taking the time to review any of the references you’ve cited below.

Hey, if the client wants it and there’s no way you can convince the client that it’s not necessary in the absence of other indicators, go for it; but when there is nothing else to indicate that there could be a mold issue at least warn the client that he or she is probably paying you to tell them what they already know - that there is mold spore ubiquitous in the environment and there will always be some so-called “toxic” mold spore present in that sample.

The references below are excellent. I recommend that you read them, really read them and then educate potential clients before you take their money.


Mike O’Handley, LHI
Your Inspector LLC., Kenmore, WA
WHLI# 202

EPA - Mold Resource
EPA IAQ Reference Guide
EPA Healthy School Environment Resources
EPA - A brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home
[size=4]EPA - An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality[/size]
EPA Mold Course
FEMA- Removing Mold From Your Home
FEMA- Clean Mold Thoroughly and Safely
FEMA - Mold Remediation
EPA - Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings
EPA Mold Florida

Florida Department of Health - Mold
Florida Department of Health - Indoor Air Quality Complaints in Apartments and Hotels
Florida Department of Health - Indoor Air Quality in the Workplace
NAHB - Household Mold Tips

Mayo Clinic - Mold

Mike some valid points made. But in the lack of honesty in the disclosure statements the air quality sampling is the best means to determine what is/has occurred with the residence. What about a foreclosure that was filled with mold and the person just wiped it down and painted over it. No visual mold to be seen. So now what? The best way I know how to determine the air quality is to do an air quality test.

I have had results that had over 100,000 spores at the interior vs the exterior and no visual mold to be seen. So I feel I did the client a service. It was remediated according to iicrc s500 and iicrc s520 and the levels were drastically reduced to where the interior was less that the exterior.

You have your views and that is great, I never said for you to do mold testing and if you want to great and if not that is awesome as well.

As far as “toxic” mold that is vague and depends on a persons sensitivity.

Good luck and run your business as you see fit and I will do the same.

Something similar to this gets painted over and the buyers don’t have a clue until moving in unless you provide an air sample. If your not selling them then its your own fault.


Hi Robert,

Yeah, I agree, painting that over would be a really stupid, and criminal thing to do; but finding mold in the air of a home doesn’t necessarily tell you that you’ve got something like that concealed. With something like that, your nose and eyes are more reliable tools.

My whole point is that air samples only tell you what you already know - that there’s mold spore in the air of the home. You can have high mold spore counts in a home and the home could have never have had what your picture depicts; in which case, you haven’t provided the client with any useful information. What useful information do the experts - not you or Russell or other air sampling guys - say an air test provides in a home where there is nothing else to indicate mold is present?

I’ve reviewed a lot of literature on the subject over the past 14 years and I’ve never seen where any credible researcher has ever said that air samples taken during the sale of a home provide any useful data. They pretty much all agree that air sampling is useless and that tape lift sampling is the only credible protocol; and that should only be done when there is a reason to suspect there is a mold issue present - which basically means one has to use one’s eyes and nose to find the clues first.

This is why I don’t understand the whole air sampling thing. I could understand it if it were providing a client with useful data but mold spore counts on their own don’t do that - at least not according to the experts who wrote any of the references that Russell has linked to above.

Still don’t get it but I’m trying to understand it.


Mike O’Handley, LHI
Your Inspector LLC, Kenmore, WA
WHLI# 202


Mike is like a breath of fresh air, there is hope out there for the consumer.

We would like to thank our NACHI member clients we have worked for during 2010. Hope everyone has another great year in 2011.

We are at job # 1106 this morning; about 12% from NACHI inspectors. Thank you :):):slight_smile:



Although extreme mould conditions are nothing to be ignored, experts in the field have stated that it is being over-hyped and sensationalized by the press.

Here’s from my website:


The mention of “mould” today raises fears in just about everyone. In order to maintain and protect a family’s health, the control of mould in housing is a must!! BUT the press and companies with services and products to sell have raised the level of fear to near hysteria! Following are some examples :

  • From a company selling a service: “Building inspectors hired by prospective purchasers look for mould growth in the attic” and “Prospective purchasers do not buy houses with mould growth”

  • From a court case: “claiming in the court document that **deadly mould **growing in their apartment homes made them seriously and chronically ill.”

  • A newspaper headline: “Erin (Brockovich) Works for California **Toxic Mould **Law”

To clear the air a bit (poor pun), we include some recent quotes from Indoor Air Quality and Healthy Home experts:

From the [FONT=Courier New, Courier, mono]***[size=]MOLD REPORTER***[/size][/FONT] (An Online Journal) in an article titled “2002 Air Quality in Review”

•• John Bower, owner, The Healthy House Institute, Bloomington, Ind.:
"The worst thing that has happened to the indoor air quality marketplace in the last year or so is mould. This is because much of the media coverage is designed to sensationalize the topic and frighten the public - so much so, that the word ‘mould’ always seems to be preceded by the adjective ‘toxic’. Thus*, homeowners and building managers are scared to death** of any minor infestation that might possibly be toxic mould, and they often ignore other health issues, such as combustion byproducts, VOC’s, second-hand tobacco smoke and poor ventilation."*

•• Dr. Joseph Lstiburek, president, Building Science Corp., Westford, Mass.: "The biggest news is the insurance people getting out of covering mould claims. This is great news because the easy money is gone. Now we are dealing with real money——yours and mine; insurance money was always viewed as someone else’s. Now, attorneys are wary of taking mould cases on contingency. They actually have to work for their money" (and you still have to pay them whether you win or lose- our comment)

•• Larry D. Robertson, president and CEO, Mycotech Biological Inc, Jewett, Texas: "As industry leaders, our failure to have in place an appropriate outlet for public knowledge and education has resulted in* gross misrepresentations and misunderstandings of basic Indoor Air Quality fundamentals." ***

Other quotes:

"If you see it or smell it, you do not have to test for it. It is more important to get rid of the mould rather than spend a lot of money trying to find out more about it***.***" (by sampling and identifying the species of mould- our comment) Dr. Joe Lstiburek, P. Eng., Phd.; Building Scientist and principal at Building Science Corporation (Website: www.buildingscience.com)

Why Air Sampling Results Are Undependable
By Jim H. White
(Senior researcher at Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation)
The problem with most air sample methodologies is that they take a “snapshot” of a highly variable measurement. Several studies have shown that the number of viable spores in a building, at a given location, varies by orders of magnitude over a few days to weeks. This is due to changes in weather (and the way air moves through the building), changes in colony condition (moisture and food availability, energy available for sporulation, and so on), etc. Sampling outcomes are also highly dependent on the specific location of the sampling, especially if the mould is growing.”

No useful information… if it confirms there is nothing there. But perhaps lots of useful information… if the test indicates that mold is present. Just because you can’t find something without equipment doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

The information provided by an air test is most useful when you don’t think you have mold but, in fact, you do have mold.

Furthermore, the real estate industry and the courts aren’t going to let you just “smell” for it. You need documentation for reasons other than what the documents reveal.

What do you do when the mold spore count inside is just slightly elevated from the outdoor count?

Scenario: From the mould spore collection/test, there is an elevated indoor spore count but no visible signs of mould, no wet/damp conditions and no smell of active mould growth.

  • Where does a remediation contractor determine where the mould is?
  • What happens if a remediation contractor does not find any areas in the home where there has been a mould bloom, rot, etc after ripping out walls etc? Is there a potential lawsuit looming?

It’s simple[/size][/FONT]
Remediators clean up mold and inspectors (assessors) find mold. Is that really so hard for people to understand?
If you are going to just do air sampling, why not recommend a real mold inspection (assessment) if your samples are elevated. If you cannot document the source, amplification and extent of the mold problem, refer someone who can.
PRO LAB http://www.reliablelab.com/store/index.html?lang=en-us&target=p32.html](http://www.reliablelab.com/store/index.html?lang=en-us&target=p32.html)
“… can be easily used by home inspectors to get preliminary information on whether a mold problem may exist and further investigation is warranted.”

“But all I want to do is air sampling and collect money” :twisted::twisted:

Sorry Nick,

I don’t consider you to be any more of an expert on mold than I am, though I do appreciate Brian posting some quotes from folks that one **would **consider to be experts on the subject.