Molds are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors, and are part of the natural environment. Outdoors, molds work in nature to break down dead organic matter, but indoors, molds destroy the materials they grow on and can cause a number of health issues.
Molds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and reproduce by means of tiny spores. These spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through the air. Some common indoor molds include Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, and Aspergillus.
Where are Molds Found?
Mold can enter your home through open doorways, windows, vents, and heating and air conditioning systems. As mold growth is encouraged by warm and humid conditions, it can be found where humidity levels are high, such as in basements or showers.
Although bathrooms (particularly shower stalls) and basements are typical moist areas prone to mold growth, any moist areas in the home can be moldy. Drywall, ceiling tiles, carpets, furniture, ductwork, roofing, paneling, wallpaper, under sinks, and the areas around plumbing pipes are examples of areas in the home that can harbor mold.
How do Mold Affect People?
If mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing, they can produce allergens, irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions, leading to symptoms such as a blocked nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes or skin.
Some people, such as those with allergies to molds, asthma sufferers, or people with a weakened immune system, may have more intense reactions.
For more information about mold, including some helpful tips and techniques for the prevention and removal of mold, check out the testing guide below.
3 Common Test Kit Errors to Avoid
READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS - Please read the instructions carefully before beginning the test. This will eliminate nearly 95% of the errors that may occur.
DO NOT CRUSH THE SPORES - When collecting spores using the lift tape, do not press too hard, as this will crush the spores. Crushed spores cannot be identified.
KEEP THE SERIAL NUMBER - Keep the top section of the instructions, with the Test Kit serial number, for your records. You will need this number if you need to contact the lab.
Helpful Resources and Downloads
The instruction video is currently being filmed and will be uploaded shortly.
If you want to learn more about mold or how to take care of it, the U.S. EPA websiteis a great resource to look up.
Frequently Asked Questions
Your mold test report will be sent to your email once it is completed.
Yes. The samples will be analyzed by an AIHA-accredited laboratory. This is the highest accreditation standard available for mold testing.
Yes, the lab fees are covered for 3 samples. You can submit either 3 surface or bulk samples, or a combination of them (e.g. 2 surface samples and 1 bulk sample). In addition, the return shipping back to the lab is included in the price of the testing kit.
We will prepare and send your report within 5-7 working days after receiving your sample.
This mold test kit is analyzed by an AIHA-accredited lab and includes everything in the price - 3 samples tested (surface and/or material) and pre-paid return shipping to the lab. “Bargain” kits can have hidden lab fees and don’t include shipping, meaning you spend a lot more than planned.
The return shipping is free of charge and the lab analysis fees are already included for 3 samples (bulk or surface, or a combination of both.)
The mold does not have to be visible. This test kit allows you to sample any surface or material you think might have mold growing on it.
The kit is simple enough for anyone to complete. However, if we could point out some errors, here are the following 3 common test kit errors to avoid: 1. Read all instructions - Please read the instructions carefully before beginning the test. This will eliminate nearly 95% of the errors that may occur. 2. Do not crush the spores - When collecting spores using the lift tape, do not press too hard, as this will crush the spores. Crushed spores cannot be identified. 3. Keep the serial number - Keep the top section of the instructions, with the Test Kit serial number, for your records. You will need this number if you need to contact the lab.
Surface testing - surface testing takes samples from household surfaces to find the amount of mold growth and spores deposited around the home. Samples are collected by tape lifting and are then examined in a laboratory. Bulk testing - bulk testing involves collecting pieces of material (such as drywall, insulation, fiber, etc.) from the home and taking them to a laboratory, where mold particles on the material can be examined under a microscope. Ideally, you should use all three types of tests (air, surface, and bulk testing), since each has its own strengths and weaknesses.
No. The test kit is not for sampling airborne mold. This kit includes the equipment for taking both surface and bulk samples. That means you can do a tape lift on any surface in your home, or you can submit a piece of material such as drywall or insulation.
Most molds are considered allergenic and some may be toxigenic, so if you are going to disturb mold with cleaning methods, you increase your chances of exposure to the mold particles. A good rule of thumb is that if the contaminated area is small and the material is non-porous, it can be cleaned by traditional methods. Porus materials, on the other hand, are difficult to clean because of the tiny microscopic holes in the material. The root type structures of the mold can grow down into the holes and make it hard to clean completely.
Just follow the step-by-step instructions, collect your samples, and send them off to the lab using the included pre-paid shipping label. We’ll then email you a detailed report within 5-7 business days.
It certainly can if the conditions are conducive to its growth. Different types of mold thrive in various conditions. Some types of mold grow in high moisture, some low; some like cellulose, some prefer decaying material, etc.
The Health Metric Mold Test Kit report will list all mold types detected in the sample to a genus level identification in most cases. Our list of spore types that we identify is as follows:
Pestalotiopsis / Pestalotia
Mold samples are directly examined under a microscope, so any mold present will be viewed by lab technicians, who are highly trained and must possess a Bachelors of Science degree. Rigorous quality standards are followed, and according to these standards many samples are double-analyzed to confirm accuracy. Overall, the lab maintains a less than 1% monthly quality control error rate.
There is no time limit on mailing the test to the lab.
The results of the test will be very detailed and will identify all types of mold found and the relative quantities of mold present. The Frequently Asked Questions section will detail information about the types of mold found. Regarding the health impact of any mold found, this is a question for your doctor. Every person is different and mold affects people differently; only your doctor can tell you the health risk of any mold found. We recommend discussing your mold report with your doctor who is qualified to inform you about how it may or may not affect your health.
The test will identify all of the types of mold present, if any. The report cannot determine if the mold is dangerous, as every person reacts differently to mold. Older people and people with compromised immune systems may be more sensitive to mold and have worse health effects than a young and healthy person. Once you receive your report, we recommend discussing it with your doctor who is qualified to inform you about how it may or may not affect your health.
The Lift Tape sample collection method will collect spores from the surface of any object, including carpet. If you wish to test for spores inside the carpet fibers or deep within the carpet, it would be best to use the Bulk sample collection method and send in a piece of your carpet.
The test is analyzed by a laboratory used by professional mold inspectors. While the test itself is professional quality and is accredited, you should check with your local health department to determine what qualifications and/or licenses are required in your area to be a mold inspector.
This test report contains the following sections: Cover, Report, FAQ and Glossary. The Report section shows what type of mold if any were found in the provided sample. The answer is provided in a rating system of "No mold detected", "Minor", "Moderate", and "Heavy". "No mold detected" = the substance on the sample you submitted did not contain a detectable level of mold. "Minor" amounts of mold can be found in typical dust samples because mold spores are a normal part of our air make up. "Heavy" amounts tend to come directly from the source of the mold. For example, you saw mold growing on a piece of fruit, sent in a sample, the lab would report a "heavy" rating.