Should I test my home for mold? It’s a good question and the internet will give you plenty of confusing, panic inducing answers. In the end, it’s up to you and what gives you the peace of mind you need, but we want to provide some helpful insights to help with the decision to test for mold.
Before we get into the why’s and why nots of mold testing, it’s important to know a little about the most common types of tests. At GHS, we utilize 2 main methods for mold testing. Air sample testing collects air in specific locations through a home or structure. The mold spores in those samples are collected on a slide and sent to a lab for analysis. The resulting report outlines the different types of mold and quantities found in those samples. In most cases, an air sample is also taken outside the home to serve as a control for indoor results. Why the control? The CDC has not set specific parameters for what constitutes acceptable mold levels. With the exception of the presence of some toxic molds, the levels are considered acceptable if they are reasonably similar to the outdoor mold counts. The major benefit of air testing is that it allows for general assumptions about the overall concentration of mold in a home as well as indicating problems when they are not visible.
The second most common type of mold testing is surface sampling; also called a tape sample. In this method, a sample is taken from a surface with visible or suspected mold growth. That sample is sent to a lab to determine the concentration and type of mold present. These types of tests are helpful if it is necessary to know they exact type of mold in a very specific location. These results, however, cannot be used to generalize the overall mold problem in a home.
It’s important to note that mold testing is not usually a clear pass/fail test and that many factors contribute to the decision to remediate. Each home is unique and the location, type, contents, and inhabitants have to be factored into the results. That said, a test result is always considered problematic if toxic molds are present.
We suggest conducting an air quality test for mold in the following situations;
- Mold is suspected but cannot be found visually.
- As a clearance test following mold remediation.
- When advised by a medical professional.
- If there is a history of water damage or flooding.
- If the occupant has unique mold sensitivities or health concerns.
We typically do not suggest mold testing if;
- Mold is visible throughout the structure (save your money for remediation!)
- The area is directly vented outdoors like a crawlspace or attic.
- You are hoping for zero mold spores (sorry, that’s impossible)
We understand that all this may still be confusing. Green Home Solutions is always available to answer questions and help with your decision to test or remediate.