As a Home Inspector I see mold all the time. In fact, most of us see it and know what it is. However not every home owner crawls around under stairs or in crawlspaces, so when you hire a home inspector you expect us to do that for you. That is what we do… inspect!
Currently I’m not ‘certified’ to tell you what is and isn’t mold so my insurance carrier says I have to say something like, “There is a substance that appears to be mold or mildew noted” or, “there is an unidentified organic growth…” “This inspection does not include testing for mold type or toxicity….” Yada, yada, yada.
The truth is, mold is everywhere. Given the correct conditions it will grow, remove the conditions and it will usually stop growing. Moisture is the problem for so many home issues. I’ve gotten on my soapbox before about moisture. Keeping humidity between 30% and 50% will help slow mold growth. The sooner you eliminate moisture the better.
I feel it’s my responsibility to tell the home owner what I see regardless of my certifications. It’s not rocket science when you see a green, black or white fuzzy substance to assume it doesn’t belong there unless it’s part of a Halloween decoration. I will always recommend having it tested. With so many different types of mold there is always a possibility that you may be exposed to serious health hazards.
The EPA has some good information and a booklet that will answer many of your questions and then some.
If I was a lawn inspector and wasn’t certified in trees I would have to say something like, “I was looking at your front yard and there is a big wooden thing with oak leaves on it.” “It appears to be an organic growth.” “I recommend further evaluation.” One of my mentors told me to not be a ‘girlie man’ and say what it is, not that it appears to be, or seems to be or could possibly be………………………… OK………………… On your lawn is an Oak Tree. There, I said it!