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Mold Mold Testing Testing vs. Remediation

Mold Testing: Do-It-Yourself Kits vs. Professional Testing

Mold Testing: Do-It-Yourself Kits vs. Professional Testing

Is it ok to use a do-it-yourself mold testing kit? Are home testing kits for mold reliable? Will a home testing kit ensure the health of my family? We get questions like these all the time. The answer is simple – no.

There are offers for home mold testing kits everywhere, from your hardware store to the internet. Each guarantees you will be able to determine if there is mold in your home. But before you invest in one of these kits, there are some important facts to keep in mind.

Basic Science

Mold is everywhere, and actually plays an important part in our ecological system. For example, if it weren’t for mold, fallen leaves would not break down, with the result being mountainous piles of leaves everywhere.

Home mold kits are basically science experiments that tell you if your home has mold. All homes have some level of mold. What you need to know is:

– The type of mold present in your home;

– Where the mold is located;

– The source of the moisture in your home; and

– What can be done to rid your home of mold.

DIY-mold testing kits do not reveal this information. You need a professional mold test, conducted by a certified microbial investigator (CMI), to accurately report these important facts.

How DIY Mold Testing Kits Work

Home mold testing kits use “settle plate applications.” You set the provided dish out for a specific period of time, usually 24 to 48 hours, and the spores are supposed to fall into the dish. Unfortunately, false negatives and false positives are common with home mold tests. Additionally, even if the test discovers you have mold, it does not identify the type of mold, and whether it is toxic or not. To find out this important information, you have to send the dish of collected samples back to the company who distributes the testing kit, of course at an additional cost.

The results come back, and in most cases, they are unreadable. Instead of saying you have black mold or that you need black mold remediation, it will, for example, give the scientific term, “stachybotrys.” It’s up to you to find out what type of mold this is, and whether you need mold removal or remediation.

Where is the Mold?

Sometimes you can see mold growing. In most cases, you cannot. It’s hiding behind your walls, in your ceiling, or under your carpets. Home test kits will not tell you where it is, so without your knowledge, mold is still spreading out of sight.

CMI’s Tool Kit

A CMI’s report is accurate and precise. The investigators test for mold with sophisticated tools, including infra-red equipment, borescopes (to view inaccessible areas), moisture meters and hygrometers (to measure moisture content).

Professional Mold Testing

It’s important to hire a professional environmental testing company that only conducts testing, not mold remediation or mold removal, so you are assured of an accurate and unbiased assessment. A CMI’s inspection will:

  • Discover where and why excess moisture is entering your property;
  • Conduct air monitoring, air sampling and bulk sampling to compare the results with normal background mold levels;
  • Send all samples to independent laboratories accredited by the American Industrial Hygiene Association;
  • Identify the affected areas and measure the amount and types of mold present;
  • Determine if the health of your family is at risk and if professional mold remediation is necessary;
  • If mold removal or mold remediation is required, once it is completed, the CMI will return to your home to conduct a final mold testing. This is the only way to make certain all your mold is gone.

Click here or call 800.392.6468 to contact RTK Environmental Group and set up a mold inspection.

 

 

 

Categories
Mold Testing vs. Remediation

Buyer Beware: Is Your Mold Contractor Ripping You Off?

One-stop shops that both test for and remediate mold woo customers with low prices, but consumers can end up paying thousands more in the repairs.

The environmental testing industry is plagued by companies offering mold testing on the cheap, and when they claim to find mold conveniently offer their own remediation services to fix the problem. “This is a clear conflict-of-interest, with the result that the problem is not often remediated – if it exists at all,” warns Robert Weitz, a certified microbial investigator and principal at RTK Environmental Group, which only provides testing services. According to Weitz, the result is the consumer may be paying thousands of dollars for bloated repair estimates or an improper and ineffective remediation.

There is a very big distinction between environmental testing companies. Independent, certified testing companies do not do remediation and therefore offer consumers unbiased opinions and remediation recommendations. They won’t magnify or make-up the problem in hopes of making money on the remediation to follow.

Recently, investigative reporter Jeff Rossen conducted an undercover investigation on NBC-TV’s Today show into mold remediation, and the results were shocking. He found that some companies were willing to claim that eye shadow smeared on a wall was mold, then would charge upwards of $10,000 to remove the ‘mold problem.’

The bottom line is that a company whose practice is strictly limited to environmental testing and consulting and never remediation will assure you of an accurate and unbiased assessment.

 

Categories
Flooding & Water Damage Mold

Drought + Sudden Rainstorm = Flooding & Mold

The Northeast is about to switch from fire warnings to a flood watch. Our parched yards are going to meet some wet weather, and that can actually cause flooding, then mold to grow in your home if you are not prepared. Here’s why…

When a large amount of rain falls in a short amount of time on very dry soil, water cannot be absorbed at the same rate that the rain is falling. So it travels, as it needs to go somewhere. That ‘somewhere’ might be your basement. And if your basement floods, mold is not far behind.

Here are some tips to prepare your home for spring storms:

Tip 1: Be sure your gutters and downspouts are free from leaves and debris.

You probably haven’t thought about your gutters since last fall. But throughout the winter, leaves and organic debris collect there. When that happens, water (from rain) cannot be channeled away from your house. A flooded basement can result. So, make sure your gutters, downspouts, and outside drains are clear of debris.

Tip 2: Prepare your basement.

If you think you’re vulnerable to flooding, check your basement floor drains to be sure they are not blocked. Remove anything from the floor or next to windows that you do not want to get wet. If there are boxes or any other cellulose materials on the floor, place them on tables or crates to alleviate direct contact with water. Once wet, they can rot or turn moldy.

Tip 3: Anticipate leaks in advance, if you can.

Some of us already know where there are trouble spots in our homes. Place towels and buckets on the floor in the affected areas. If you know a window leaks, secure towels in that area before the rain begins. In heavy rains, you may need to change the towels and empty the buckets several times. Most importantly, once the rain and leaks have stopped, remove the wet towels and buckets from the area immediately, or you risk mold growth, which can start in as little as 24 hours.

If you have concerns about mold growth in your home, have a certified mold inspector in to test and assess the damage and give you options as to how to fix it. Mold can cause serious health problems, including asthma, coughing, and wheezing in otherwise healthy people. When there’s a dry spell, we desperately need rain – just keep it outside of your home!