Airborne Mold Sampling

Often we get questions about airborne testing results. Here’s a sample:

air mold test sample2

Here we see that the exterior sample (#3) serves as the “control” value for the home, while the laundry room (#1) and the master bathroom (#2) are the “experimental” values.

With this understood, interpreting the tables becomes easier. The outdoor air has considerably more total spores (420 to 110 and 44), but the master bathroom air has the “water indicator” spore¬†chaetomium, which indicates a more serious moisture issue in the walls, floor, and/or ceiling.

IAC2 Certification


In addition to our many other certifications and honors, we recently received the Mold and general certifications from the International Association of Certified Indoor Air Consultants. Check out our mold inspection guidelines at .

Occupant-Introduced Dangers in the Home

We once inspected for an owner who didn’t know the source of a menthol smell. Upon investigation, we found that the previous owner had smoked in the same room – for thirty years.¬†Indoor air quality is often affected not only by building components (roof, HVAC, foundation), but also by occupant use of the home.

Occupants can affect indoor air quality through:

  • Smoking
  • Woodworking
  • Chemical Use (Legal or Illegal)
  • Pets and Pests
  • Spills
  • Paints and VOC-producing materials
  • Dust Buildup and Failure to Clean

Paying attention to occupant use can also help clean up your indoor air quality.

Allergens in the Home

We often tell clients and trainees, “Trust your nose.” If you like being in a home, it’s more likely to be safe. If you can’t stand the smell, it’s likely worth finding out why.

Allergens can be hidden, but often our sneezer finds them quickly. Those suffering from asthma also can sense air quality issues.


Certified home inspectors and other indoor air quality consultants can help you determine if you need testing and/or repairs in your home.

Moisture Makers in the Home

Controlling moisture is the only way to control indoor mold growth, and controlling it also helps with pests and other issues.


You may not know that the following activities and appliances add moisture to indoor air:

  • Running dishwasher
  • Drying firewood indoors
  • Standing water in the foundation/crawlspace area
  • Showering and running the tub
  • Humidifier use
  • Venting clothes dryer indoors

By watching your in-home use of these items, you can better monitor your indoor moisture.

Mold in Your Home?

Often clients are bewildered by the presence of mold. “How could this happen?!?” But truly, when we understand how mold grows, it actually happens very easily.

Mold in Bathroom

Our partner organization, InterNACHI, has a helpful paper on indoor mold. They explain:

It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors. Some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. Mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present.

InterNACHI – Mold Moisture and Your Home.

When to Walk Away


Often we speak with clients who are in a tough situation, trying to save money while taking on a project that’s likely too large. Occasionally, these properties are “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) and/or friends and family transactions. The home may be intended as a long-term rental. We’ve even seen some ill-managed properties given away.

Still, living in (or renting out) dangerous home is a lose-lose situation for any length of time. Air quality issues, falling hazards, moldy furnishings, unsafe electrical systems, and leaky roofs are just a sampling of the unhealthy issues in such a home.

A good rule of thumb is: do you like being inside the home? If not, and you have neither time nor money to fix it, it’s often best to walk way.