Home mold test kits. Do they work?
This is a question that we get daily. These home mold test kits are sold at most of the larger home improvement stores and promise “fast results.” The problem is that most people have no idea what the results mean and why they detected mold. Well let me clear something up for those of you that are considering a home mold test kit.
Mold is everywhere in our indoor and outdoor environments. These kits are made up of a growth media that supports mold growth. They are chock full of organic matter and have plenty of moisture to promote microbial amplification. All they need is a few floating mold spores to land on them – and they’re off and running. What most people don’t realize is that these kits will grow mold regardless of location. They don’t differentiate species or levels and certainly don’t detect moisture sources that cause mold in the first place. In other words – don’t waste your money.
Mold investigations are best left to a professional mold inspector with the proper training, experience and equipment. Finding mold is the easy part. Figuring out why it developed in the first place can be tricky. A solid understanding of building envelopes, construction, land grading and plumbing are just some of the areas that a mold inspector must be proficient. The biology of microorganisms and understanding microbial contamination is necessary as is the ability to understand lab analysis. Knowing how to use moisture meters, boroscopes and thermal imagers helps – and if you don’t mind being in crawl spaces, attics and basements – you’re already ahead of the game. Although this is just a small portion of what is required of a mold inspector, it should give you a good idea why a $20 test kit is just not the answer.
If you are concerned enough to consider a home mold test kit, please understand that you will get what you paid for. You would be better off soaking a twenty dollar bill and leaving it in a place where it will stay damp. Check it in a week and see how much mold it develops. Just like the test kit – it will end up moldy.
My father’s generation was of the opinion that mold was just mold. “It ain’t gonna kill ya” he would say. Well in my case, it nearly did. As a child, I spent a month in the hospital from mold-related respiratory problems. I now have asthma and will for the rest of my life. Fortunately, we now know much more about mold and its effects on our health. We know that it affects children and the elderly and those with insufficient immune systems more that it does a healthy, middle aged adult.
If its mold that you suspect – make it a point to have it assessed by a professional mold inspector or hygienist. They will be able to determine the air quality in your home, find moisture sources and develop a safe and effective remediation plan if mold is found. I didn’t see any of that on the packaging of the home mold test kit.
In other words – don’t trust your family’s health to a $20 gimmick.
For more information on mold testing, click here or call us at 1-800-310-3226 or email your inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.