When To Perform Mold Tests & When To Skip Them
Behind every new job we embark upon, is the question of whether to perform mold tests, how many, and when is it ok to skip mold testing altogether? We reach out to our customers through this website, through social media, in hopes of educating NJ homeowners about the facts of mold testing. Over the years we have heard stories from hundreds of clients, who have forked over thousands of dollars on mold tests that never needed to be done in the first place.
So it is very important to understand why mold testings is done, and more importantly – why mold testing isn’t done.
Science Never Tells Us To Do Mold Testing, Mold Inspectors Do
There are no standard procedures, there are no national or federal regulations, there are no scientific formulas that tell us when to do mold testing and when to skip it. The recommendation of mold testing is always made during the initial assessment by the mold inspector. And in the end, there are 2 polar opposite approaches for mold testing.
Those Who Say “The More Mold Testing, The Merrier”
You will run into companies who will tell you there is no such thing as “too many” mold tests. In fact, this line of thought is taught in many certification classes. Due to the limited and variable nature of any given mold test, changing conditions, etc – one could perform hundreds of mold tests on your home, and still find reasons to do more. Mold spores are transient in nature. So they are always floating around to different areas of your home. You can test an area 1 minute, then test it 5 minutes later and get a completely different reading. So mold testing rarely provides us with an accurate, consistent glimpse into the true conditions of your home.
Mold testing can give us a basic idea of where problems lie, but it is only a tool. And it is a tool that is very commonly abused to the benefit of companies and labs, rather than homeowners. Some companies recommend dozens of mold tests. They take pictures of every odd mark in your home. Rust, crayons, corroded paint, anything that could be misinterpreted as mold. Then they charge thousands of dollars for the testing and pictures, and provide homeowners a “comprehensive” 30 page report that 99% of homeowners can’t even understand. Then these homeowners call us up and ask us to interpret the reports for them. Since every company has its own unique methodology & terminology, it makes it very difficult for us – a company with decades of experience – to interpret the results for them.
We are not saying that mold testing isn’t needed or isn’t an important part of the mold remediation process. What we are saying is that a lack of regulations in NJ creates serious problems. Some of those problems being the extreme misconduct, misuse, and abuse of mold testing.
Those Who Say “Mold Testing Is Out of Control”
Although our company provides mold testing for its clients, we understand that it is only a tool. And we take very seriously the saying, “when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail“.
There are many other tools a mold inspector should use to conduct his assessments. Some of these tools include – a moisture meter, a barometer, RH detectors, UV lights, mold detecting flash lights, boroscopes, microscopes and sampling protocol. But the most useful tool any mold inspector has is their eyes, their brain, their experience, and their ability to interpret the present conditions of a home.
One common mistake we see is mold inspectors will collect samples from areas of the home that are not conditionally favorable for the growth of mold. Or they collect samples from areas where it would be impossible for mold to grow. A moisture meter and RH detector can reveal more about a home than mold tests can. Yet so many inspectors are intent on collecting samples and justifying reasons why homeowners should pay for testing.
Our job and our mission is to keep toxigenic molds out of NJ homes. We have no right conducting an unlimited number of mold tests when in most cases, there are much cheaper and more economical ways to identify problematic areas.
Additionally, 4 out of 5 of the largest authorities on mold, are either against mold testing, or have no substantial opinion either way (OSHA, EPA, IASA, IAQ & ESA). A couple of them don’t consider it important enough to talk about. And only one of these authorities (ESA) strongly advocates the use of mold testing. But if you consult the EPA, they believe mold should be remediated only when its visually identified. Once identified, there is no reason for mold testing, the mold should be killed no matter what.
So our unique method, incorporates very limited use of mold testing, more economical & rigorous use of other identification procedures, and a dominant focus on the stabilization of your home, and the removal of all toxigenic molds. This is something we are able to accomplish for far less than our competitors. We treat every home like we would treat the homes of our family. If a family member had mold, the last thing I’d personally recommend is getting $3,000-$10,000 worth of mold testing…. especially when you can have an entire home remediated for that cost. So you really have to ask yourself, “what makes more sense to me?” And you don’t need to be a certified microbiologist to figure it out.