There are two primary ways of testing for mold in homes and businesses in California, either a homeowner does it themselves, or they call in a professional environmental inspection and testing company .
Bear in mind that even in the case of hiring a professional, rarely will they actually do the final testing themselves. In both cases, they send it to a professional lab. So what is the difference between a homeowner buying their own testing kit and then sending it to a lab and having a professional mold remediator do it for them?
Two main elements. The first is that with a professional remediator, they are likely to test in several key elements of the home such as with the HVAC air conditioning and heating system. They know where to look, whereas an amateur may miss many spots that a professional will not. Secondly, is interpreting the lab results. While labs sell testing kits. Since they are not on scene at someone’s home, they can’t really detect how dangerous or relatively safe the results may be.
And not all labs are consumer-friendly either. Since there are over 100,000 different types of mold, will the average homeowner really be able to interpret the results? Fairly unlikely in many cases.
Finally, even if dangerous mold is detected in the home, the lab tests don’t really tell a homeowner how to remediate the damage of the mold. A homeowner simply will have to content themselves on searching the internet to interpret the lab results and how to counteract the effect of mold, or simply guess.
Professionals, of course, make it their business to check, remove and point out situations such as plumbing leaks or roof leaks, which may involve another professional as well.
What’s the difference in cost?
A command mold kit, including lab fees, typically runs around $50 or so, whereas a professional mold inspector may charge between $300 to $650.
Seems like a no-brainer to go with the cheaper method, but not so fast. Organizations such as Consumers Reports do not recommend that homeowners resort to home testing?
Why? Because many home testing kits are fraught with error. And even if the kit and the label are reputable, that doesn’t mean the typical homeowner will be able to use the testing kits properly.
Those who are considering the more reliable professional mold remediator route still need to be careful.
Before choosing a remediator, not only check their standing in the community very carefully, but experts advise getting at least three quotes to pin down accurate pricing.
And be extremely careful of any company that offers free mold testing. Since their profit margin comes solely through remediation, they are likely to recommend it even if there is little or no problem.
Mold can be a serious problem, but mold is also a big business. For example, in Austin Texas, there are nearly 25 mold removal companies just within the city limits.
Mold can be a serious problem, but unless someone is really experiencing health problems immediately, don’t freak out about it and use due diligence in deciding how to remove it.