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How Does Mold Testing Work?

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Posted: November 22, 2021
Category: Mold

Dingy walls…musty smell…could it be…mold?

Here’s how professional mold testing works and why it may (or may not) be right for you.

 

Whether you see it, smell it, or simply suspect it, no one likes the idea of mold growing in their home. But how do you know it’s really an active mold colony?

Mold testing can tell you whether you have a mold problem in your home and help you decide what your next steps should be. But not all mold tests are created equal. Not only are there various types of mold testing, the tests should be done in a specific way to give the most accurate results.

 

Types of Mold Testing

There are two basic categories of mold testing: air sample testing and surface testing.

Surface testing involves taking a sample of the affected area with a cotton swab or a piece of clear tape. Air sample testing involves pulling air through a device to collect mold spores that may be present.

surface mold test with cotton swab

Although both types of testing are accurate at detecting the presence of mold, air sample testing is the most accurate way of determining whether the mold is actually affecting your indoor air quality.

Once air samples have been collected, they are then sent off to the lab to determine whether the amount of mold present is within an acceptable range.

 

Acceptable Levels of Mold

Many people are surprised to find out that there is such a thing as an “acceptable” level of mold.

Mold spores can be found in every environment, from the arid deserts of Nevada to the swampy Everglades. The spores can live in conditions that a growing mold colony can’t, and they don’t usually pose any concern as long as they don’t land on a wet surface and begin to multiply.

This is why, when taking air samples for mold testing, one should always be a sample of the outside air. The lab will compare the two samples against each other. If the mold spore count is the same indoors as it is outdoors, that would be considered an acceptable level of mold.

mold samples growing in petri dish

Is Professional Mold Testing Necessary?

“I can get a DIY mold test kit online for less than $40. Do I really need to hire a mold testing professional?”

Of course, you’re free to choose whatever method you want. But an at-home mold testing kit isn’t as accurate or reliable as a professional air quality test.

DIY mold test kits test whether mold is present or not. They aren’t designed to give you information about the concentration of mold spores (in or out of your home) or where the source of the mold is. Tests like these result in a lot of false positives (not to mention panic).

Mold testing should always be performed by a licensed professional. Certified mold inspectors must complete rigorous training, take continued education courses, and carry insurance.

However, steer clear of any company who offers to complete the mold remediation within 12 months of administering a mold test, as this is illegal.

 

Do You Need Mold Testing?

It might come as a shock to hear this, but probably not.

If you can see or smell an obvious mold growth, mold testing shouldn’t be necessary. Visible mold colonies should be handled thoroughly and promptly by a mold remediation specialist. (Do not attempt to get rid of mold yourself!)

On the other hand, if you merely suspect that you have a mold problem, professional mold testing can help to pinpoint the source of your symptoms so you can tackle the issue head-on.

 

Conclusion

The choice of whether or not to test for mold is up to you, but when it comes to removing the source of the problem, make sure you hire a quality mold remediation company who will get the job done right. (Bleach isn’t gonna cut it!)

If done improperly, mold removal will only release more spores into the air, where they can take their sweet time finding a new place to grow and thrive. Proper mold remediation involves high-tech, specialized equipment—such as air scrubbers and plastic barriers—to contain the infestation as much as possible.

At Axel Works, we don’t just remove the mold, we destroy it at the source so that the problem is taken care of once and for all.

Call today to see how we can help you.

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