Not all businesses are created equal. The same can be said about professionals, like a mold inspector. While many mold inspectors are credible, experienced, certified and up to speed on all of the latest industry techniques and practices, others are everything but – and only looking to make money off of a homeowner’s misfortune of discovering (or thinking that they may have discovered) mold growth in the home. Here are 10 Foolproof Questions to Ask Your Mold Inspector that will help you make the right choice.

Most of the time, you can separate the good inspectors and remediation companies from the bad ones by simply browsing their website or doing some research on consumer-oriented sites like Angie’s List. But aside from this background vetting, it’s never a bad idea to get a feel for their qualifications for yourself as well, whether it’s over the phone or in person at a mold estimate appointment. With that being said, here’s a look at 10 questions to ask your mold inspector so you know you’re not getting ripped off:

Certification Questions to Ask Your Mold Inspector

Are you familiar with the IICRC S520?

The IICRC, or International Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, has published the S520 standard – its official reference guide for mold remediation. While mold inspectors aren’t required by law to follow this, the credible ones generally do. The IICRC is a leading trade association serving cleaning and restoration/remediation professionals.

Are you WRT or AMRT certified?

WRT, or water restoration technician, and AMRT, or applied microbial remediation technician, are two certifications offered by the aforementioned IICRC. Ideally, your mold inspector should have both, but in this case, the AMRT one is more important. Such certifications require continuing education credits to uphold.

Are you a CIE?

In addition to the above certifications, ask if your mold inspector is a CIE, or a certified indoor environmentalist. This is another credible title to have in the industry.

How Your Mold Inspector Works:

Are you going to test/sample the mold?

If you simply want the mold remediated, there’s really no reason why mold has to be tested to determine what species it is. All molds are removed by the same technologies. So if they’re planning to send the mold out for testing, it could end up costing you extra. Sampling/testing is recommended, however, if you’re unsure if a certain substance is mold or if you smell a musky odor that you think may be mold, but aren’t sure where it is coming from.

Where does the sample go to be tested?

If they say “we buy test kits from the local hardware store,” then run. The most credible inspectors have testing labs that they do their work out of.

Do you also remediate the mold?

Some mold professionals or mold companies inspect and remediate mold, though there are some exceptions to avoid conflict of interest. If a mold inspector simply does the inspection, make sure they can recommend you to a qualified company for the remediation. Platinum Engineering and Consulting is one of Houston’s Leading remediation companies, and we work closely with them to ensure our customers get the absolute best pricing.

What technologies do you use to remediate mold?

Generally speaking, mold professionals either remediate using mold-killing and removing chemicals or via media blasting. If a mold inspector tells you anything different, make sure it’s legit.

A Service Outline for your Inspector

What other services do you provide?

Most good remediation companies specialize only in mold inspection or removal, environmental remediation (i.e. asbestos, lead) or related services, like water damage restoration. Anyone who does an abundant of other services (i.e. handyman, HVAC maintenance, landscaping, etc.) may be the sign of a bad company. Just how qualified and specialized are they? This is one of the best questions to ask your mold inspector to ensure you know who you’re working with.

What’s the cost of the Inspection?

Get a cost breakdown, from inspection and sampling fees to the cost for remediation (should the inspector or company also perform that work).

How can I ensure that the mold won’t return post-remediation?

Most unethical inspectors/companies won’t be able to answer this question. Why? Because as long as they get paid for the work, they don’t care. But good companies will work with you to determine the source of the mold growth and get it resolved to eliminate future problems. Wherever moisture is present, there’s the potential for mold growth – and growth can occur in as little as 24 to 48 hours. Many good companies will offer warranties and guarantees that they’ll not only remove all of the mold, but will have solved your mold problem in a specific area once and for all.

It’s never fun to discover what appears to be mold in your attic, basement or elsewhere in the home. But perhaps just as frustrating is hiring an under-qualified and unethical professional to inspect and remediate it.