Testing for mold is a good idea if you are experiencing any kinds of respiratory, cognitive, or general health symptoms that could be mold-related or if you suspect your home may be harboring mold.
But what does a mold test actually entail?
In this article, we’ll explain what a mold test is, how we do it here at UP Home Inspection, and most importantly, what exactly our mold inspector is testing for when he visits your home with mold testing equipment in hand.
What Is A Mold Test, And Can’t I Just Test For It Myself?
In theory, a mold test is just what it sounds like: a test to find out if you have mold in your home. But in reality, it’s a bit more complex than that.
You see, mold is actually present in EVERY home. It’s a normal part of natural air. So the real question is not whether you have mold, but what type and how much.
That is why home mold test kits generally won’t give you meaningful results. They simply test for the presence of mold spores in your home – which we already know are there. They are also very prone to false results.
Types of Professional Mold Test
There are two most common types of professional mold test you should know about. The most common are:
- Air Sampling – This tests the concentration of mold spores in the air of your home. It can tell you if you have a mold problem whether or not you can see mold growing.
- Surface Sampling – This is done by swabbing household surfaces for mold. It can tell you what types of mold may be present in your home but won’t reveal the concentration in the air you breathe. However it can be useful in certain circumstances such as testing for the presence of mold in hard to reach areas such as heating ducts.
At UP Home Inspection, we test for mold using the air sampling method. This is because most people we work with are concerned primarily about air quality. Air sampling is the most accurate and direct way to determine how mold might be affecting the air quality in your home, cost effectively.
What’s Included in Our Professional Mold Test?
Our mold testing protocol includes two components: a visual walk-through inspection for mold, and the mold test itself.
Visual Mold Inspection
When our mold inspector visits your home, he will start by visually inspecting all areas of your home. What’s he looking for?
- Signs of visible mold that you may have missed
- Any feature of your home or possible damage that may give a clue where mold might be growing unseen in your home.
Examples of the latter could be signs of water intrusion, whether current or in the past.
Not all mold specialists include a visual mold inspection. We do, because we think it’s important. If your mold test does come back positive, anything our mold inspector finds that may give a clue to where the mold is growing can help you determine the source of the problem within your home so you can get rid of it as quickly as possible. We do not charge extra for this service.
Professional Mold Test
Next, your mold inspector will set up canister air tests for mold. Typically he will take two samples indoors and one outdoors. The outdoor mold test provides a very helpful comparison to your indoor air; healthy indoor air will have a similar concentration of the same kinds of mold present in your outdoor air.
If it is wintertime, it is unlikely that mold and will show outdoors in our climate. So your mold inspector will take an extra mold test sample within the home instead.
Once he leaves your home, our mold specialist will send your samples to an accredited lab for testing. We test for 17 different types of mold commonly found in homes, including:
- Stachybotrys (including “black mold”)
Our mold test will tell you exactly which of these mold types are present in your home and—most importantly—how much. Mold test results usually come back within 2-3 business days. We send you the results as soon as we receive them.
If You Really Want to Know What’s In Your Air: Mold Test Plus Airborne Particulate Testing
Mold isn’t the only thing in your indoor air that can cause respiratory or other health symptoms. Another big culprit is airborne particulates. These are small particles and allergens that are often found floating in the air in your home.
Types of airborne particulate that often cause health issues include:
- Synthetic fibers
- Insect parts
For an additional fee, we can also test for these and many more types of particulate when we visit your home to conduct a mold test. You can read the full list of what’s in our particulate test here.
Need A Mold Test for Your UP Home?
If you are concerned about mold in your home, there’s no better time to schedule a mold test than now. Call us at 906-360-3879 or click here to book an appointment with our mold inspector today!