Do I really need professional mold testing or can I do-it-myself?

For many homeowners, the do-it-yourself option is usually very appealing. Not only do you get a chance to save money by not hiring a professional but you also learn a new handy skill during the process. However, when it comes to important aspects such as the health of you and your family, a do-it-yourself approach will only lead to more trouble down the line. Ultimately causing you to spend more money.

In the last few years, mold testing kits have appeared on the market both online and offline. These do-it-yourself kits promise easy results by simply shipping your samples to a lab to get a specific area of concern tested. Sadly, independent research has found that mold test kits are unreliable in part because of the testing methods used and operator error that occurs by the homeowner not following the steps correctly. In this article we’ll dig deeper and see why you should not use these DIY mold test kits and instead hire a professional mold testing company.

Are DIY mold testing kits that unreliable?

DIY mold testing kits are not only unreliable but also lead to false positives and false negatives. The process of collecting samples accurately requires an understanding of house construction and the different areas where moisture occurs. Unless you're trained in mold detection, you'll easily overlook important details that may affect the results of the test. Shipping and evaluating these samples also creates an opportunity for mishandling and poor testing leads to inaccurate results. Sadly you won't know for sure if the samples were incorrect or tampered with and that can put your family's health at risk.

Consumer Reports advice against DIY mold kits

Consumer Reports recommends against using mold testing kits because after testing a number of them they found major problems thus making them unreliable, at best. Consumer Reports also highlighted the fact that if you think you have mold or have seen traces of it, the important thing is to focus on eradicating the problem as opposed to just testing it.

DIY mold testing kits do not give a full evaluation

Mold usually occurs as a result of water damage. It takes a good understanding of building construction, knowledge of different moisture sources and experience with poor drainage issues that are often not apparent to an untrained eye. DIY kits do not provide comprehensive information simply because they can't cover every possible situation. Useful information that can be acted upon are not and cannot be given with these type of kits. On the contrary, a professional mold inspector is able to carry out a thorough inspection from top to bottom and find sources you may not have thought of. A trained professional will also be able to tell the level of infestation and the areas affected. This is something you won't find in a DIY testing kit. After a full evaluation, the professional will be able to recommend the right treatment for the specific situation.

How can DIY mold test kits put your family's health at risk?

Untreated mold infestation that goes undetected because of faulty mold test kits can cause your family a wide range of health issues. Exposure to a moldy environment in a home can cause issues such as eye and skin irritation, coughing and wheezing, or upper respiratory track symptoms. According to the Center for Disease Control,
 

People with mold allergies may have more severe reactions. Immune-compromised people and people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may get serious infections in their lungs when they are exposed to mold. These people should stay away from areas that are likely to have mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas.
https://www.cdc.gov/mold/dampness_facts.htm

While you may save some money with the test kits, you open your family up to a number of health issues that will be much more costly. So think about protecting your family by hiring a professional mold test company.

Benefits of hiring a professional mold inspector

Another way of comparing professional mold testing vs the DIY kits is to look at the benefits you’ll receive when you hire a professional. Here’s a short list of the benefits a professional brings to your home when dealing with mold infestation.

A professional knows where to look:

Mold occurs in a number of places and in different forms. While you may not know where to look, a professional is able to apply his/her knowledge to look for these hidden areas and thoroughly evaluate the extent of the infestation. DIY mold test kits on the other hand won’t tell you all you need to know.

Eliminate false results:

Testing for mold can easily go wrong when the person carrying out the test is not trained. This is why these DIY kits are a waste of money. A professional mold tester is well versed in the collecting of samples and proper handling of these samples, all the way to a testing lab. This ensures accurate evaluation of the level of mold infestation and this will eventually lead to effective eradication of mold in your house.

Find the source:

A professional will not only find mold, if it exists, but also trace the source of the mold. Mold in the home is caused by moisture usually due to water damage which only a trained professional is able to track down. It is only by fixing the source that you will completely eliminate the problem.

Detection and elimination of mold in a home will save your family from a number of health issues associated with mold infestation. Using DIY mold test kits will not help you thoroughly assess the level of mold infestation in your home because of the reasons we’ve looked at above. Your best bet is to hire a professional to do the mold test and eliminate it from the source.