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  The presence of mold in homes, schools and business is of growing concern in California and the rest of the U.S. Mold can thrive on virtually any organic material such as wood, paper, carpet, food, insulation, etc. Just add water and in 48 hours mold can begin to grow. Any time water intrusion occurs, be it a major flood or a minor plumbing leak that was not immediately and thoroughly dried out, there is a high probability of mold growth. Mold can cause significant aesthetic and structural damage to building materials and other personal property. Indoor mold growth can also negatively impact indoor air quality and pose certain health risks to occupants.

Mold often grows behind walls and inside ceiling and floor cavities long before it is ever detected. By the time you start smelling an unpleasant odor rest assured mold has been growing somewhere for some time and every day is growing more. If you suspect you have mold growing indoors, the time to act is sooner rather than later.

Mold inspections and mold testing are the means to identifying indoor mold problems. Most often inspections and testing work best in conjunction with each other, however, there are instances when certain questions can be answered with one or the other. Understanding the difference between inspections and testing will help you get the answers you're looking for. This web page focuses on mold inspections. For information about mold testing see our Mold Testing page.

For more specific information regarding your personal mold inspection questions and concerns, call AMI to speak to a Certified Professional.

What Is A Mold Inspection?  
  An AMI mold inspection is a non-destructive visual inspection for mold and conditions that cause mold in buildings. The purpose of a mold inspection is to identify and document visible evidence Thermal imaging infrared camer used in AMI mold inspection.of mold growth, moisture issues, and other suspect conditions that are indicators of indoor mold growth. With state-of-the-art technology such as infrared thermal imaging cameras and electronic moisture detection equipment, no physical damage is ever done to any structure.

If your mold inspection is conducted without infrared thermal imaging, your inspection may be inconclusive.
While infrared does not specifically detect mold, it does provide Inspectors with the distinct advantage of quickly and accurately identifying conditions where mold typically grows. Thermal imaging cameras are now the standard by which true IAQ professional investigators are measured. Yet very few mold inspection companies use thermal imaging technology because of the high cost of infrared cameras. Those who do use infrared charge an extra $200 to $500 in addition to their standard inspection price. AMI mold inspections include thermal imaging technology at no additional cost. That means you get a lot more for your money and a much more reliable mold report.

For more information about the role of infrared cameras in mold inspections visit our Thermal Imagining Page.   AND REMEMBER.... before you choose a mold inspector, be sure to visit our Mold Scams Page to learn how to avoid the most common mold-related rip-off schemes.
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What Will I Learn From A Mold Inspection?  
  The goal of a mold inspection is to determine:  
  • Is mold growing or has mold growth occurred indoors
  • What conditions exist that would cause indoor mold growth
  • What areas of the structure have been effected
  • What conditions still exist that may promote further mold growth
  • What steps should be taken to properly address your mold issue
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What Will I Not Learn From A Mold Inspection?  
  Sometimes indoor mold growth is obvious and other times it's not. Sophisticated equipment and years of experience are vital assets in identifying indoor mold problems that may otherwise go unnoticed by an untrained eye. But when it comes to hidden mold, there are certain limitations to a physical inspection that require a more scientific approach to determining whether a “suspect condition” is a mold problem or not. When a suspect condition is found in a mold inspection, mold testing may be the only way to confirm or rule out indoor mold growth when you can’t visibly see any mold.

Mold testing is also the only way to determine the likelihood of health risks that are commonly associated with indoor mold growth. A mold inspection will not tell you what kind of molds are present inside a structure, or if the airborne mold spore levels are potentially dangerous to your health. Answers to those questions can only be determined by testing.

Mold testing is done by collecting samples, either from a surface or from the air, and having them analyzed by an accredited laboratory that specializes in mold analysis.

For information on mold testing services visit our Mold Testing page.
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Examples Of Hidden Mold Growth  
Picture of hidden mold growing inside bathroom walls. The only suspicion of hidden mold in this bathroom was a musty odor. The top half of this picture shows no visible evidence of mold growth. And, even though the tiles were dry to the touch, our moisture detection instruments revealed damp conditions behind the tiles. An air sample from this room confirmed the suspicion of indoor mold growth with airborne mold spore levels over 50 times higher than normal. Inside the wall was full of mold.
Picture of how a mold inspection can detect mold problems that are not obvious to the naked eye. Long before you can smell or visibly see a mold problem the water intrusion that caused it is likely to have occurred for some time without your knowledge. Shower door frames can leak at corners allowing small amounts of water escape. During a single shower these leaks are usually insignificant and often go unnoticed. By the time they are noticed it's usually too late. After many showers over weeks, months and even years, the damage is done.
Picture of black mold behind baseboards. This is the same bathroom as the picture above. A significant amount of mold was found under the carpet, behind the baseboards, and inside the walls. If a shower is located on the first floor, water is likely to wick up into the walls and keep spreading out across the bathroom and sometimes into adjacent rooms. If the shower is on the second floor, water damage and mold growth can spread through the floor and into the ceilings and walls below.
Hidden mold growing in a nursery.

Picture of hidden mold growing on a wall placard in a baby's bedroom.
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Mold growth can occur in places we would never expect.
It can cause significant damage to property, produce embarrassing foul odors, and cost thousands of dollars to repair. But the tragic side to mold is the harmful effects it can have on the health of people and animals that live and work in mold contaminated buildings. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation, chronic lung illnesses, and may develop mold infections in their lungs. The CDC concluded that "excessive exposure to mold-contaminated materials can cause adverse health effects in susceptible persons regardless of the type of mold or the extent of contamination." 1

For more info of the health effects of mold click here.
What Credentials Do AMI Mold Inspectors Have?  
  AMI Inspectors carry multiple certifications from one or more of the following certifying bodies;

The AmIAQC - American Indoor Air Quality Council - promotes awareness, education and certification to Indoor Air Quality Professionals and establish credible Council-certifications that provide lasting value to IAQ professionals, their clients and the public. Only AmIAQC certifications are fully accredited by the Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards (CESB).

The CESB was created in 1990 by the engineering and technology communities as an independent body which accredits certification programs organized and operated consistent with sound credentialing practices tailored to the needs of engineering and technology specialties.

The ESA - Environmental Solutions Association - is a membership-based training organization formed exclusively to provide industry professionals with the training and education necessary to confront today's Indoor Air Quality issues. ESA is a major provider of educational courses for the IAQ issues of Radon, Mold, VOC's, Allergens and Bacteria. Our courses are recognized to be the most up-to-date in the IAQ industry.

In addition to qualifying for these prestigious industry certifications, AMI Certified Mold Inspectors are required to meet rigorous standard practices and annual re-certification credits to maintain their certifications.
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1 Mold Prevention Strategies and Possible Health Effects in the Aftermath of Hurricanes and Major Floods - Center for Disease Control & Prevention June9, 2006


Moisture detected in a first floor bathroom ceiling caused by a leaking shower on the second floor.
Moisture detected in a first floor ceiling caused by an improperly sealed shower door gasket above.
Moisture detected in a bedroom ceiling caused by a roof leak.
Moisture detected in a first floor kitchen ceiling caused by a leak under a second floor kitchen sink.
Moisture detected in a bedroom closet ceiling caused by a roof leak.
Moisture detected in a bedroom ceiling caused by an improperly installed drain in a second floor deck.

Mold Scams and the Real Price of "Free Inspections". Read this before calling anyone.

Are Free Mold Inspections and Samples Really Free?

Free always sounds good until you find out what it really costs. In a perfect world you could trust everyone, but it's not perfect yet. Be aware of the most common mold scams and how to avoid becoming the next victim... click here.


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What Is A Mold Inspection?

A mold inspection is a non-destructive visual inspection for mold and conditions that cause mold in buildings. The purpose of a mold inspection is to identify and document visible evidence of mold growth, moisture issues, and other suspect conditions that are indicators of indoor mold growth. Mold inspections are the means to locating indoor mold problems. AMI mold inspections include thermal imaging technology at no additional cost.

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