Following a preliminary mold investigation, additional mold sampling options are available to determine the specific types of mold(s) present and the quantity of the contamination. Mold samples are analyzed by a degreed microbiologist at an AIHA, ISO/IFC 17025 accredited laboratory.


Mold Testing

Mold Inspection Code of Ethics

In compliance with American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC) code of ethics, we investigate and test for mold only; we do not remove or remediate mold, nor do we have any financial relationship with remediation companies, real estate, or insurance companies. We will refer you to ACAC certified mold remediation companies that will provide you with a FREE estimate for safe mold removal based on our written report.  Be sure to investigate other “mold” company claims with their past customers, your physician, and verify their accreditation by ACAC, at

Mold investigation is a scientific work in progress; beware of companies that claim cures such as: duct cleaning, mold dogs, ozone treatments, heat treatments, miracle mold killing solutions, or biocides. None of these approaches have scientific support as being effective for mold investigations or problems.

California Mold Law

California’s SB655 took effect on 1/1/16 and makes visible mold code enforceable as substandard housing. California is the first state to legislate mold growth as a health and safety concern.

The California Department of Public Health has also concluded that “the presence of water damage, dampness, visible mold, or mold odor in schools, workplaces, residences, and other indoor environment is unhealthy”. (2015).

See the PDF’s Below for Additional Information:



The Environmental Relative Moldiness index (ERMI) was developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development (ORD) as a research tool to investigate mold contamination in homes. The methodology is based on using mold-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction (MSQPCR) to quantify 36 molds and calculate an index number for comparison with a database of reference homes. Our firm was one of the first collaborators to help establish the use of the ERMI in the field and to offer this service to clients for the identification of mold problems in some buildings.

The ERMI is the most recommended test by mold illness doctors and specialists. This test, was originally developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and examines the proteins in a dust sample from the house or building being inspected. Using DNA analysis, the sample is tested for the genetic presence of 36 different mold species. The ERMI report provides a score that compares the building in question to a variety of 1,000 other U.S. buildings, with regards to the likelihood that it may cause harm to its occupants.

Although experts believe that the ERMI does a generally good job in identifying unhealthy buildings that are harming people, it is not considered a perfect test and is still classified by the EPA as a research tool, even though it has been in field use for over a decade.The ERMI is a moderately priced test, costing around $400 depending on the laboratory used.


Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker developed this test by looking at the ERMI scores of thousands of patients suffering from mold illnesses and determining which species of mold seemed to be most problematic for them.

The HERTSMI-2 is the same basic DNA test as the ERMI, except that it looks for the presence of only five particularly dangerous species of mold – Aspergillus penicilloides, Aspergillus versicolor, Chaetomium globosum, Stachybotrys chartarum, and Wallemia sebi. Testing for the HERTSMI-2 is offered by Mycometrics at a cost that is slightly lower than the ERMI. A HERTSMI-2 score also can be calculated by looking at the scores of a regular Mycometrics ERMI test.

Dr. Shoemaker suggests this test for people who already know that mold is a problem for them, rather than using it to determine whether a residence is unsafe in general.

The use and research for this test is in its early stages.

Air Tests

Air tests look for the presence of whole mold spores of a different genus (not species) of mold in the air at a particular moment in time. Those evaluating the test results look at the amount of mold present under a microscope. The laboratory then looks at how indoor samples compare with outdoor samples.

The main disadvantages to air testing are:

  1.  The test measures spores that are floating in the air rather than in genetic material; it tends to miss important mold particles.
  2.  Human error at the laboratory has been researched at 30%.
  3.  Doctors specializing in toxic mold illness suggest that air tests are not reliable enough to be used as a gauge of whether a building is safe for people with mold illness.
  4.  Most air tests used are non-viable to allow for a 24-hour turnaround; these test results may miss viable mold present.

Petri Dish Tests

Petri dish tests are relatively inexpensive test kits that can be purchased at stores like Home Depot.

These test kits are inexpensive, usually costing between $10 and $80. Though affordable, mold experts and research indicate that petri dish tests are unreliable.

Direct Sample Tests

If mold is visible, it is possible to take a tape lift or swab sample and send it off to a laboratory to be identified. While direct samples verify the types of mold present in the area tested, they do not provide information on overall mold types and levels in the living environment.

Mold Inspection Instruments

Moisture Meter

A problem with modern houses or buildings is that major mold infestation can occur between the walls without anyone knowing it exists. Typically, a leak or condensation inside the wall will allow mold to start to grow, using the drywall or insulation as a food source.

A moisture meter is used to identify sections of the wall that have a humidity level that is higher than expected. This gives the mold professional a better idea of where to look in the walls for problem spots so that moisture issues can be proactively addressed, and so that any existing mold growth can be dealt with safely. Moisture meters are very useful in finding leaks or other water intrusions.

Thermal Imaging

Thermal imaging technology (also called infrared or thermographic imaging) is a tool that identifies variations in temperature. It is used by professionals when looking for places in walls where mold may be hiding.

Because moisture can alter heat patterns, this device can be helpful in finding leaks or other water damage. An infrared camera can also detect cold spots inside walls where condensation may be occurring on a regular basis. Thermal imaging only measures surface temperature and cannot look inside of walls, so any scan must always be confirmed with a moisture meter.

Visual Inspection

Experienced home inspection professionals have seen many houses and buildings and can often easily pinpoint where mold problems are likely to be hiding. This type of inspection is considered more reliable than mold testing (other than an ERMI). During the visual inspection, the investigator looks for malodors, moisture damage, visible mold, and elevated moisture conditions.The industry convention and code of ethics requires that a mold inspector should not also be hired to do mold remediation work.

Beware of Duct Cleaner and Contractor Scams

I was a consultant on Dateline NBC news segments that discovered both duct cleaner and contractor scams. THE Environmental Protection Agency RECOMMENDS AGAINST MOST DUCT CLEANING. The dust you may see in ducting is typically harmless.It is also illegal to clean asbestos ducting, and does not work on fiberglass lined ducting as well.  BEST NOT TO CLEAN YOUR DUCTS, UNTIL THEY HAVE BEEN INSPECTED BY OUR FIRM.

Mold Certification

Professional Development and Recertification

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