Black Mold Test Kits: What to Look For and What to Avoid

Author: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Last Updated on

You don’t want to take any chances. You know you have a problem, but you can’t be sure about its type. Before you gave it the bleach test, you were sure it was mold and not just harmless mildew. Now, you want to find out exactly what you’re dealing with.

You need to know if the stuff under the sink is ordinary fungus or toxic black mold that can cause serious health problems. How do you choose a reliable mold testing kit?

If you’re confused by all the different products available, you’re in good company. When we tackle black mold removal in Chicago homes, we’re often asked about the effectiveness of DIY mold testing.

Mold Testing Kits Don’t Work Everywhere

mold in crawl space
Mold in crawl spaces can be difficult to test

Most home kits include clear instructions on how to test for black mold and different types of fungus. The products don’t always come with disclosures about where they do and don’t work. If you’re worried about damp basement walls or slimy growth behind the washing machine, a home test kit comes in very handy.

Every type of mold can thrive in unexpected places, and you can handle most of them. However, make sure you can access affected areas before you invest in a home testing kit. If you’re dealing with mold hiding behind walls or growing in crawl spaces, DIY mold testing can get complicated.

Tests Aren’t All Alike

mold petri dish kit
Mold testing kits test for mold in three different ways

There are three types of home mold tests, and each is designed for taking a specific kind of sampling. Some kits only include one test while others offer all three.

1. Plate Sampling

This kit includes a petri dish that you coat with an included mold growth medium. After exposing the open dish to affected areas, seal it, and send it to a lab for testing.

2. Visual Sampling

Using an included sterile swab, wipe suspected mold growth, and transfer a sample to the petri dish containing growth medium. Seal the dish, and send it off for lab analysis.

3. HVAC Sampling

Expose the petri dish coated with growth medium to an air vent farthest from your HVAC unit. Close all other vents, and run the system for 10 minutes. Quickly seal the petri dish, and send it to a lab for results.

If you’re not sure about where to buy black mold test kits, start with a little online research. After you’ve checked out in-depth reviews with detailed kit information, you’re ready to shop at the nearest big box store, hardware store or home improvement center. You can also order from many of these same outlets through their websites.

Know What to Look For

Before you make a final decision on the best black mold test kit for your home, make sure it contains the right sampling types. Whether you go with a plate, visual or HVAC kit or decide to use all three, look for:

• A product with an easily researched online presence.
• Affiliation with an AIHA certified mycology laboratory.
• Reasonable expectations for turnaround time.
• Options that include testing for yeast, mildew and bacteria.

Know What to Avoid

Keep in mind that the shelf price of a DIY mold testing kit isn’t your final cost. You also pay for shipping samples to a lab, and you’re charged a fee for analysis too. Avoid kits that don’t outline total costs, and also be cautious of:

• Kits that require sending multiple samples from testing one area.
• Directions that include taking and sending outside air samples.
• Packaging that doesn’t clearly indicate a product expiration date.
• A lack of information about accredited lab affiliation.

Add Up the Costs of a Big Project

The combined costs of a home mold testing kit, shipping and lab analysis can range from $40 to more than $150. If you’re dealing with the aftermath of serious water damage in your home, you might be facing extensive testing. In some situations, it’s more cost-effective to call in a restoration contractor who specializes in mold removal.

Homeowners insurance covers most mold remediation, and that can include the cost of testing for black mold. After any type of flooding at the house, check with your agent for details about your home’s water damage coverage.

Don’t Take Any Chances

mold removal company
If the problem is extensive, let mold remediation companies tackle the job

We hope our post helps you understand your mold testing options, so let us know how we’re doing through our Comments Section. If you find that you do have a toxic mold problem, be extremely careful with DIY black mold removal, and take all necessary precautions.

If you decide to let professionals handle everything, you can count on us. We’re one of the most trusted mold remediation companies in Chicago and the suburbs. When you don’t want to take any chances, give us a call here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba.

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