<title> Air Quality & Mold Testing</title>

Air Quality & Mold Testing


The Issue…

Think of your home as an ecosystem with its own unique environment, often completely different from that of your own backyard.  When it’s hot outside, it’s cool inside.  We sometimes have humidification or dehumidification systems to adjust moisture in the air.  While outside temperatures can vary by as much as 30 degrees, our homes are typically kept within a narrow range.  Controlling your home’s ecosystem is not only a key to your comfort, it is critical to your health.  This is especially important here in South Central PA where even outdoor air often contains unacceptable levels of pollutants and/or irritants.  In fact, according to the American Lung Association:

York-Hanover-Adams Area:

  • Ranked 45 for high ozone days out of 277 metropolitan areas
  • Ranked 60 for 24-hour particle pollution out of 277 metropolitan areas
  • Ranked 24 for annual particle pollution out of 277 metropolitan areas

*For Ozone and Particle Pollution, the area receives an “F” and a “D” respectively.


Lancaster Area:

  • Ranked 47 for high ozone days out of 277 metropolitan areas
  • Ranked 60 for 24-hour particle pollution out of 277 metropolitan areas
  • Ranked 22 for annual particle pollution out of 277 metropolitan areas

*For Ozone and Particle Pollution, the area receives an “F” and a “D” respectively.

(Source:  American Lung Association, 2011 State of the Air)

How does your town rank for 2011?  Click here to see the results of the American Lung Association’s State of the Air findings and rankings.

What Causes Indoor Air Problems?

Indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air are the primary cause of indoor air quality problems in homes. Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the home. High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some pollutants.  In fact, moisture in a home is often the number one contributor to IAQ issues such as mold growth.

What about home test kits?

(Please click here for a link to Consumer Reports’ evaluation of several home test kits and why these are not an option for reliable testing.)

Who should have their home tested?

Mold and Indoor Air Quality testing can be expensive and is typically reserved for homes in which occupants may already be experiencing health issues such as allergy symptoms or chronic illnesses or for those who may have a weaker immune system such as infants, the elderly, or those who have recently undergone major surgery, chemotherapy, etc.  If you are concerned about your indoor air quality, here are some factors to consider in selecting an indoor air quality testing professional:

What qualifications does the inspector have to perform mold testing?

New Leaf Home Inspection’s Keith Williams is certified through Environmental Solutions Association as a Master Indoor Environmental Specialist (MIES).  The credential requires annual re-certification, coursework, and passing scores on the NEHA/NRPP national radon exam, ESA Mold exam, ESA IAQ exam, and the MIES certification exam.

We DO NOT offer remediation as this could be a conflict of interest.  However, we do offer post-remediation verification for homeowners who have had remediation work completed by an appropriately certified mold remediation company.

What is the inspector’s philosophy regarding mold sampling?

Every situation is different, and in many cases, mold sampling or testing is not necessary.  For example, if a homeowner does not intend to remediate an issue or if a potential home buyer’s decision will not be affected by test results, mold or other  IAQ testing is probably not necessary.

How many mold samples will the inspector normally take?

At a minimum, we will typically take an outside air sample (as a control for comparison) and two indoor air samples.  Sampling methods and specific tests will vary depending upon each unique situation, but it’s safe to say that 3 air samples are typical.  In cases of visible mold or bacterial concerns, we may also take swab samples in several areas of the home.

Does the inspector perform the mold sample analysis himself?  Does the company also perform mold remediation?

As indoor air quality professionals, we do not provide remediation or any other corrective services and hold the position that involvement in both testing and remediation clearly represents a conflict of interest.  Upon request, we may provide a list of remediation professionals in your area but will not promote or receive commissions or referral fees from any remediation company.  We work for you!

How long has the inspector’s mold lab been in business and what are the lab’s qualifications?


We use EMLab P&K, LLC for all of our indoor air quality and mold testing.  EMLab is recognized as the nation’s leading environmental testing firm. With over 30 years experience in fungi and bioaerosol analysis, EMLab P&K has helped shape the IAQ industry.  The lab maintains AIHA, NVLAP, and CA-ELAP accreditations.

What are the inspection company’s payment terms?

We do not charge for testing until the job is complete.  Payment is due upon receipt of test results.


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