On nearly a daily basis we receive calls from concerned homeowners who have made the trip to the hardware store, purchased a home use “mold test kit”, and are concerned with what they have found.  Most of the time when we receive these calls, the homeowner is not really sure what to make of the small dish that they have place in their homes. In many cases these little unscientific dishes are loaded with mold growth.  The simple truth is that there is mold present in every home in America…..and quite frankly….there is mold in the air almost everywhere.  A mold test kit usually has the homeowner place a small dish in their home for a predetermined amount of time….hoping that mold spores will settle out of the air and onto the media that has placed in the dish by the manufacturer.  Over a period of time, mold may or may not develop in the dish….depending on whether or not mold spores ended up settling out of the air and directly into the dish.  Now the homeowner is faced with a decision, should they package up the little dish they have purchased with a check and mail it off to be analyzed by a laboratory or should they make a determination on their own based on the appearance of the growth in the dish with their untrained eye.  The best advice we can offer is if mold testing is something that you are considering, use a professional service.  As a consumer you will find that professional mold testing is in fact more expensive than a common mold test kit, however there are definite advantages when using a professional to take the samples.

1.     A mold professional will come with all of the knowledge and real world experience that simple directions inside of a home test kit can not offer.  Where should you take the sample?  What should I be looking for to know if I have a potential mold infestation?  How do I interpret the laboratory results?  These are all common questions that will not be answered by reading instructions.

2.     A mold professional will come with the right tools to take sampling properly.  Mold testing should not be minimized to the “crap shoot” style that home mold test kits bring.  Setting a dish in your home and hoping mold spores land in it is a practice that is really not worth the cost of the dish….let alone the extra fees that you will need to mail in to the lab with samples.  A mold professional will have equipment that will allow for precise measurements to be made by the laboratory.  Air samples should really be run through cassettes that allow an air pump to draw a precise amount of air through.  As anyone who has attempted any “DIY” project can attest to….having the right tools makes all the difference in the world.

3.     A mold professional can give you direction on where you should go based on the results of the samples taken.  Once the professional has received the report back from the lab, they will have a clearer picture of what the air quality is like throughout the home…and what will need to be done to rectify the situation.  You may find elevated levels of mold in your basement air…..which may warrant further investigation and potentially basement mold remediation.  You may find that surface samples in your attic confirm your suspicion that you have attic mold and are in need of attic mold remediation.  You may find that the air quality in your home is not affected by mold at all….and you can have the peace of mind you were looking for.