Why Professional Mold Testing is Better than DIY

Search the web for a mold test kit and you will see that the DIY route will put you back as little as $9 to more than $115.  

If you are seriously looking, chances are, this is the first time you’ve ever considered buying a pre-packaged single use mold test. And chances are, you never will again. With exact;u zero experience, as you evaluate all your testing options, there is no way for you to assess whether a test that  costs 12X more is better? In an attempt to save $100, you end up wasting both time and more money. This is why testing done by a mold remediation company is your best bet. We have performed professional mold testing in Greenville for years, and have come across customers who have tried testing mold themselves, many of which wish they had come to us to begin with. Here’s why…

  • In many cases, it is unnecessary to spend any money at all on a mold test.  For example: when it is clear there has been water damage, and that materials have remained wet for a sustained period of time, there is 100% probability that you will have mold growth in that area.  One of the biggest reasons people buy mold tests is because they see the mold where they know there has been an unwanted excess of moisture.  In these situations it is best to act with urgency, even when it is likely not urgent. This is when you skip the test and go straight picking up the phone and get quotes. Or you chance and clean it up yourself. 
  • Many shopping for a mold test, think the kit is the primary cost. Reality is, it is only a portion of the cost.  The paper, the swab and,  container and envelop all cost pennies to make. The real expense comes from the lab fees. It is easy to forget that after you buy a kit, you still have to ship the samples you have taken, then wait, then pay for the samples, then interpret the results best you can when you get them. 
  • Mold tests in the $75 or less range almost invariably produce a result that says you have mold. This is because invariably you will have some mold in your home. Even the freshest mountain air will have some mold in it.  In short, the time, effort, and waiting for results is most likely a waste. A positive result therefore becomes irrelevant, and an experience professional assessing the lab report then becomes far more important
  • Most mold testing companies’ pricing is very competitive. They want your business, and mold testing is a way to get in the door.  This means, in the end for your time investment, you will either come out even or behind when comparing the cost to have mold tests conducted by a mold specialist vs. conducting it by yourself.

What is Mold Testing?

Mold Testing is either a tape test or swab test of a surface, or a test that consists of acquiring a time-lapsed air sample. The swab or tape test typically looks just for mold, while an air test can look for as many air contaminants, including mold, that you want to test for. This could include any plant or animal, chemical or other allergen.  

If you go the tape or swab route, there is no reason you would even need a kit. You could  take out q-tip or household scotch tape, take a sample, put it in a baggie and ship it off to a microbial lab nearby.  This would have all the drawbacks bulleted above.  But if you are set on just determining the type of mold, you might as well go as inexpensive as possible.

For those suffering from specific ailments that might be mold-related? You may want to consult with your doctor about what she or he thinks you should test for.  Several hundred mycotoxins have been identified to date, and based on bloodwork or other tests, a doctor may suspect one or two toxins and recommend that you test your home specifically for those.

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Determining the Types of Mold

lab technician take notes in response to petri dish mold growth

Figuring out what molds are in your home are best acquired over a longer period of time like an hour.  This allows enough air circulation to ensure that if you have a type of mold or mold toxycin, that is captured.  If an air sample is captured correctly… from there, all of the work is done by the lab, which can then tell you exactly what types of mold and at what concentrations they exist in your home.  There are hundreds of molds and mycotoxins that can effect your health.  Some of the more common types of mold are can be found at the following webpage.

Air Mold Test Process

Air tests are far more valuable than swab tests for evaluating the level of mold contamination in a living space.  One common type is the air-o-cell machine, whith takes a unique sample of air within a given room. It collects mold spores found in the area over a given period of time, typically 5 minutes. Trapping the contaminants of roughly 75 liters of air.

It is recommended that an one air cassette is used per room, where air contaminants are suspected. An outdoor sample can be taken as well, as a control sample. However, given how often Mold Busters Greenville samples the air for mold, we have a very good idea of what the outdoor air contains.  Based on a consult we may recommend to forgo what will likely be deemed an unnecessary additional expense to trap and mail an extra air sample for lab analysis. 

The air mold test process can be done before, and is always recommended after remediation or removal work has been completed. Testing for mold before remediation is valuable some of the time.  While testing conducted after mold remediation to verify a job has been done well is valuable 100% of the time. 

Third-party Lab Analysis

It is critical to have all tests sent to a reputable third-party lab fully equipped to analyze air samples.  Whatever mold company you work with, can handle this for you, but if you want to be extra sure, you can let our tech or whoever hire know that if they would leave the envelope that you would be happy to ship the samples to the mold lab of their preference. 

While this is unnecessary. There are many who consider DIY because they don’t trust professionals. If you are going to wonder, or be bothered at the end, this is one option around any anxiety you may feel..  It is a way to ensure from an independent lab that the job was well done.


Lab Results: MoldREPORTTM

The results for any indoor sample should come back as good and in some cases even better than your outdoor air.  Since mold is everywhere, then it should be expected that an air sample will contain some mold even after a mold remediation project is complete. 

That said, since you aren’t sterilizing the outside air, but are doing exactly that inside, it should also not be a surprise if the indoor air is abnormally low. 

In either event, the mold technician that took the air samples, will be emailing you the results, then following up that email with a phone call in order to review those results together.

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