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Surface Samples  l  Air Samples  l  Dust Samples

  The presence of mold in homes, schools and business is of growing concern in the United States. But before you can stop it in your property, you first have to find it. Mold inspections and mold testing are the means to locating indoor mold problems. Most often they work best in conjunction with each other, however, there are instances when certain questions can be answered with one or the other alone.

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

Check these links for more detailed information:

  • Mold inspections see our Mold Inspection page

  • Extensive commentary on mold testing see our Mold Inspectors Blog where you can interact with an AMI Certified Mold Inspector and other industry professionals.



Picture of mold analytical laboratory professionals.Mold Testing Methods
There are several different ways to test (or sample) for mold, the two most common of which will be explained on this page along with what each method accomplishes. The following information will help you better understand the various mold testing services that AMI provides and what you can expect to learn from the results of each one respectively.


 What Is Mold Testing (sampling)?  
  Mold testing involves collecting samples in order to:
        1) IDENTIFY the types of mold present
        2) QUANTIFY the levels (amount) of molds present

The two most common types of samples used in a mold inspection are:
        1) Surface samples
(testing mold growth on surfaces)
        2) Air samples (testing airborne mold spores)

The primary objectives of mold sampling are to:
Confirm or rule out the probability that mold is originating from a
             suspect condition indoors
        2) Assess the potential for property damage caused by mold without
             invasive procedures
        3) Assess the potential negative impact of mold on indoor air quality

For more information on mold testing visit our Inspector's Blog.
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 Surface Samples  
  The purpose of surface sampling is to evaluate whether a suspected stain, discoloration, blemish, or other irregular appearance on a surface is mold.

When Should Surface Samples Be Taken for Mold Testing?
Mold should not be growing on any construction materials or your personal contents indoors. Therefore, seeing visible mold growing indoors is enough to confirm that there is a mold problem. A surface sample should be taken if and when your primary objective is to positively identify the specific types of mold present on a surface and whether it is viable or non-viable (alive or dead).

NOTE: The results of a surface sample applies only to the specific surface from which the sample is collected, and are not appropriate for conducting risk assessment or airborne mold spore levels.

For more information on mold testing surfaces visit our Inspector's Blog.
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 Air Samples  
  The purpose of air sampling is to evaluate whether or not an elevated or unusual mold condition exists indoors when such a determination cannot be by visual observation alone.

In a non-invasive inspection it is not always possible to visually determine if a "suspect condition", such as water stains or high moisture in ceilings, walls, floors, is a mold problem or not (see pictures below of hidden mold growth). Testing the airborne mold spore levels provides valuable information in identifying hidden mold issues, assessing the scope property damage and cost of abatement, and in evaluating potential health risks associated with exposure to high levels of mold contaminated air. 

When Should Air Samples Be Taken for Mold Testing?
If you suspect you have a mold problem, don't wait until you can visually see it. Half of the people who call AMI say, "I don't see any mold". The fact is, most mold problems go unnoticed long before any visible signs appear, and the costliest mold repair jobs are caused by mold that no one knew was there. Mold growth can spread exponentially inside walls, under under cabinets and floors, above ceilings, and deep into heating and air conditioning vents as long as the right conditions exist. By the time hidden mold is detected, it can cause thousands of dollars in property damage and pose significant health risks.

The time to test for mold is the moment you suspect you might have a mold issue. If you smell musty odors indoors, if your property has experienced a roof leak, a plumbing leak, or a flood - past or present, mold testing is warranted. Prompt action can mean the difference between an inexpensive repair project or a several thousand dollar mold remediation job and health implications.

Below is an example of how hidden mold in a bathroom can cause damage long before it becomes visible. These pictures were taken on an actual AMI inspection.

For more info on mold testing indoor air visit our Inspector's Blog.
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Examples Of Hidden Mold Growth  
Picture of hidden mold growing inside bathroom walls. Suspect conditions in this bathroom were a musty odor and high moisture retention in the shower wall. The tiles were dry to the touch but moisture detection instruments revealed wet conditions inside the wall (see top half of picture). An air sample showed that airborne mold spore levels were over 40 times higher than normal, confirming indoor mold growth. The bottom half of this picture shows significant mold growth inside the wall.
Picture of how a mold inspection can detect mold problems that are not obvious to the naked eye.

Picture of black mold behind baseboards.
Long before you can see or smell a mold problem the water intrusion that caused it has usually occurred for some time without your knowledge. Once mold begins to grow indoors you usually smell it long before you see it.
In this example the client noticed a musty odor in the bathroom for several months but the thought of mold never occurred to her. When her 2-year old daughter developed a severe respiratory infection she suspected more than just an odor. The top picture shows no visible  mold growth or water damage. However, high moisture retention was detected in the drywall which resulted in a significant amount of black mold growing behind the baseboard, inside the wall, in the carpet and inside the cavity between the bathroom floor and the kitchen ceiling below. The cost of mold remediation and re-construction exceeded $10,000. Had the client acted when she first detected the odor the cost would have surely been less.
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 in 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 on 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


Picture of car with mold. Mold gets into cars heater and air conditioner.

Can Mold In Your Vehicle
Cause Fungal Infections?

Yes. Have you ever turned your vehicle's air conditioner or heater and smelled mold? Our cars, trucks, SUVs, RV's, motor homes, boats, and airplanes can all be a source for exposure to high levels of airborne mold spores.

If you live or work in a moldy building, mold spores that cling to your clothing often end up in your car's air conditioner or heater. Water-damaged vehicles and even vehicles that have been cleaned but the upholstery or carpets have not been dried properly can all be infested with mold.

For more information visit our page titled ALL ABOUT MOLD




Picture of mold inside air conditioner vent and HVAC duct.

Can air ducts become contaminated with mold?

Yes. Dusty HVAC ductwork provides an ideal environment for mold and other allergens to grow in. Air duct systems may be constructed of bare sheet metal, sheet metal with fibrous glass insulation on the exterior, or sheet metal with an internal fibrous glass insulation. Bare sheet metal systems and sheet metal systems wrapped in fibrous glass insulation can be cleaned and disinfected. If ductwork made of sheet metal with internal fibrous glass liner or ductwork made entirely of fibrous glass becomes water damage or mold growth occurs, replacement may be necessary. For more information visit our page titled ALL ABOUT MOLD

Call AMI today for a quote on
testing your recycled indoor air.



Are you concerned about mold? With the abundance of information available on the internet and other media sources it can be difficult to separate the facts from all the hype. But not anymore. Now you can get straight talk from some of the Nation's leading experts with AMI's Certified Mold Inspector Hotline.

Click here to read it online
OR call toll free
to speak to a Certified Inspector now.


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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