Can I use a Home Mold Test Kit for my sampling needs?
So, you have a suspicion there may be mold in your home. Whether you are experiencing adverse health symptoms or are curious to know if there is mold elevation in your home, there are factors that drive our decision-making process. Time, price, accessibility, and ease! A few clicks on the internet, low and behold the answer appears. Home Mold Test Kit! Not only are they affordable, but they are readily available online and at big box stores. Sounds too good to be true. Well, there are several reasons why we advise against these test kits.
Every home has mold in it!
Yes, you read that statement right. Any home, building, or office will always have some level of mold inside. Molds are naturally outside. They float in the air, are on plants, leaves, and several other objects. Our bodies are naturally immune to these “normal,” levels of mold outside. When we open our doors and windows the outside air enters our homes. And there you have it; mold is now present in your home.
Its important to note that these levels are not considered elevated. There isn’t enough of a concentration to pose any risk or cause adverse symptoms. For these molds to thrive they will need moisture, and a food source. Absent both these factors you will have little to no harm.
But the petri dish I set up was covered in mold within 2 days…
Your home mold test kit uses gravity to collect mold found in the air. I’ll admit, the mold that I’ve seen grow in some home test kits can look frightening. But truthfully its no worse than leaving a piece of fruit or bread out and finding mold growth on it a few days later. These tests can be misleading and highly inaccurate. They are also highly ineffective, known for both false positives and false negatives.
How does this differ from a mold inspector performing an air test?
When a professional performs air quality mold testing there will always be a control. One sample will be performed outside collecting a specific amount of air volume per minute at a designated time (the control sample). An additional sample is then performed in the area you want tested for the same amount of volume and time as the control was. These two levels are finally compared against one another.
Your inspector will analyze what molds came back elevated and appropriate actions thereafter. To perform testing with no control lacks important information. And yes, setting up a second home mold test kit outside as your control will still lack important data. There needs to be a precise volume of air and time for an accurate collection of data. We have machines that are calibrated for these purposes.