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Inspections plus mold specific

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I'm getting an increasing number of potential clients for home inspections including asking if I "do mold".

My typical answer is that I am always looking for anything unusual during the entire inspection and if I see something that looks like mold, I photograph and report on it. I go further to tell then that I may not be able to say for sure if it actually is mold, or what kind of mold if it is, or whether it is harmful or toxic to persons. I tell them my usual recommendation is to correct the condition that allowed the growth and replace any affected materials.

So far, the people that ask me specifically about mold have not hired me.

Am I handling these calls wrong? What are these people really looking for? If you were an inspector who doesn't specialize in mold, how would you handle these calls?

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No, you're not handling them wrong; they've just got unrealistic expectations that they've developed from watching shows like Extreme Home Makeover or reading the horrer stories in their local paper wherein some homeowner says, "My home has made me sick and has to be torn down because my inspector missed the mold growing in it." Whenever you see those situations, there's always some alleged mold "expert" that says that he or she can clean the house and eliminate all of the mold. That's a blatant lie and that's where folks get such foolish ideas.

Google mold inspections and see what crops up and how much junk science some of these mold "inspectors" are putting out there; especially those who're claiming that the fancy new infrared camera that they just bought is going to be able to find mold wherever it's hiding in a home. People tend to believe that only 'cuz the mold "inspector" says it; usually without any basis in fact.

We have this problem; the media doesn't like to report boring stuff 'cuz it doesn't sell; so, they report the not-so-boring stuff. Mold is a good example; for every person that says they've been injured by mold there are literally hundreds of thousands that haven't. For every mold cowboy that's helping to keep this stuff hyped and continues to call it "toxic" mold whenever there's a newspaper or television reporter around, when there is no such thing as toxi mold, there are probably 100 that will tell the media the truth. When that happens, the reporters will discard the boring truthful testimony from the level-headed inspector or true scientist working for the reputable IAQ firm and report only the scary stuff.

Occasionally, I'll get a client whose mother, father or sibling has accompanied them on the inspection and that person will ask me whether I'm going to test for mold. I just stop what I'm doing, lick the end of my index finger, wave it in the air, taste it and then say, "Yep, there's mold here; no doubt about it." When they get done chuckling, I tell 'em the truth and advise them to never, under any circumstances, hire anyone that has a business doing home inspections and offers mold inspections. I tell 'em that if they're that concerned about it they need to bring in a 'real' scientist, not some home inspector that's wasted his money on some 3-day seminar and is now telling folks that he's qualified to be dealing with mold. Then I tell them to make sure that they also tell that to all of their friends, co-workers and relatives so that someday we can eliminate this goofy expectation from people's mind.

Works for me; if they're so stuck on the idea that they think that inspectors need to be inspecting for mold, I really don't want their business anyway.



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I agree with Mike. I tell them that I do a visual inspection and if I see something specious I'll point it out, but I do not take samples and send it to a lab for analysis.

Sometimes I’ll ask what their specific concern with mold is. If they say something like, “we saw a TV show…â€

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I agree with Mark and Mike. I think you are "handling" it correctly.

I have looked at hundreds of mold reports from inspectors and they are all worthless. I have only one lab that I recommend for IAQ work. I have dozens of files in my office that involve inspectors and their mold testing and all were found responsible for selling junk science.

A home inspector has his/her hands full just doing an inspection. If the inspector feels they must increase revenue - try offering and delivering a better more comprehensive inspection and charging accordingly.

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I think the CDC does a better job of dispelling the mold myth than the EPA site.


I also like what this law firm has to say about mold litigation.

http://www.thompsonhine.com/publication ... on153.html

I've lost jobs, too, because I don't do mold inspections but ot doesn't stop me from trying to give out good, credible info.

The REA of a young couple who I did an HI for was setting up a mold inspection AND a duct cleaning at their expense, of course, at the end of my inspection. There was mold on the basement drywall. I squashed those ideas pretty quick.

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