We are often asked about a mold test kit that homeowners can use to test their homes for mold. Mold testing kits are available at many home improvement stores and can also be purchased online. They are fairly effective when used correctly but the test must be conducted in a very precise way in order to get accurate results. In addition, some mold testing kits only test for a few kinds of mold while there are hundreds of types of mold that can be found growing in homes in the U.S. Read the information provided with your mold test kit to see what types of mold it will identify.
We looked at some popular home test kits to see what consumers thought of them.
IAQ – IAQ offers relatively low cost test kit that test for 32 common types of household mold, including Stachybotrys chartarum, sometimes referred to as black mold. This test kit provides results in just five minutes. Most consumers that bought this test kit said the instructions were easy to follow and they liked the fact that they got the results in just five minutes. However, this kit only tests one specific area for mold and some consumers felt that for the price, they should have been able to test more than one area; one consumer said the area he tested got a negative result but when he had a professional come to test his home for mold, visible mold was found in nearby areas. Rating: 4/10
First Alert – First Alert offers low cost testing kits that test up to nine areas of the home for mold. The test will tell you if mold is found but if you want to know what type of mold, you need to send the samples to their lab for analysis. There is an extra charge for that service. A number of consumers that purchased First Alert mold test kids complained that it took a very long time to get the results back and some said they never received the results although they paid the extra lab fee. Because of the way this test is administered it is not considered accurate. Rating 3/10
A-1 Basement Solutions – A-1 Basement Solutions offers low cost test kits that provide results in just one minute. It doesn’t tell you what kind of mold is in your home, though. Some consumers that purchased this mold test kit complained about getting positive results when they did not really have mold in the home. Rating 3/10
Mold Armor – Mold Armor offers low cost testing kits that will tell you if mold is found but if you want to know what type of mold, you have to send the samples to their lab for analysis. There is an extra charge for that service. Some consumers that purchased Mold Armor test kits complained that it took a very long time to get the results back and that the results they received were hard to understand. Rating 5/10
Pro-Lab – Pro-Lab offers low cost mold test kits that will tell you if mold is found but if you want to know what type of mold, you have to send the samples to their lab for analysis. When sending samples for analysis, the lab requires at least two samples, one from the area affected by mold and one from outside the affected area to use as a control. Consumers that purchased Pro-Lab mold tests reported receiving their results from the lab in a timely manner but some did not like the fact that they had to purchase two test kits and pay two lab fees, which in effect made the cost of this test kit much higher than it initially seemed. Many complained about inaccurate results and false positive readings. Rating 3/10
As you can see, many consumers were not happy with the mold test kits they bought. We understand why. A home test kit is not a substitute for a professional mold tester. Most professional mold testers are engineers. They are highly trained to perform mold tests accurately, and use precision testing equipment. They know where to test for mold, will test multiple areas of the home, can locate mold you might miss yourself, and you’ll get results in a timely manner. They’ll tell you what type or types of mold are found and if the amounts are considered potentially harmful. The benefits far outweigh those of do-it-yourself mold test kits. To find professional mold testers in your area, just follow the link.