Many people are worried about having a mold infestation in their home or office building, but they don’t really know what to do about it. Even the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not give clear guidelines about when a person should get a mold test. Instead, they say you don’t need a test if you have visual mold because you can already see that the mold is a problem.
A mold test may mean different things depending on who you ask. A home inspector may claim to check for mold by simply doing a visual inspection. Although this seems minimal, it is actually one effective method for detecting significant mold problems. The inspector should check HVAC systems, the attic, crawlspaces, and each room of the house. Once mold is detected, the homeowner can decide whether they will clean the mold themselves or hire a professional mold remediation company to ensure the mold is safely removed.
Aside from the visual inspection, there are many other more-scientific tests that can detect mold infestations. There are at-home testing kits, but they are not very reliable. They are known for creating false positive results.
Professionals will use a variety of tests. They range from swabs to fixed volume air pumps that can estimate how much mold is in the air in your home. This is especially important for those who are sensitive to mold spores.
Unfortunately, many homeowners have been scammed by companies claiming to offer mold tests that don’t really do anything…except charge you money. On top of this, there aren’t a lot of regulations regarding mold companies, so you have to perform your own investigation of mold removal companies.
Beware of mold remediation companies that have not been in business for very long. Check websites, check reviews, and check for any certifications. For example, the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors (NORMI) certifies mold remediation specialists, and their certification is a stamp of approval that means the company has the know-how and the ethics to properly and safely remove mold.
There isn’t always a clear answer about if you need a mold test for your home. If you are having respiratory problems and cannot come up with a reasonable reason why, mold testing may be appropriate. If you are purchasing a home, sometimes a professional mold test (sent to a laboratory) clears up any mold concerns. If you see mold, then the EPA is right. You already know you have a mold problem, and the next step is figuring out how to fix it. Mold tests are very useful tools for mold remediation specialists because they confirm that a mold problem has been remedied. Diagnostically, their use varies, but they can be very helpful.