How much does mold testing cost?
Which mold testing company should I hire?
There are several key factors to consider when selecting a mold inspector or testing company. The three most important questions you should ask every prospective inspector, in order of priority:
1) Have they been certified and trained by the American Indoor Air Quality Council (AIAC)? This organization is the industry standard and has established uniform comprehensive standards for indoor air quality professionals. You can see an example certificate here, which indicates that the person has successfully undergone training for various building materials, construction issues, ventilation problems, moisture-related issues such as leaks and dampness, and health effects caused by exposure to hazardous building materials such as mold. Although this certificate is not required for individuals to perform inspections or tests, it indicates that they have gone through training related explicitly to mold (and other key IAQ issues). Anyone without this certificate should not even be considered.
2) Have they been certified by the Mold Inspection Certification Board? Although this organization is relatively new, it is becoming more popular. It also offers three levels of certification – Certified Mold Inspector (CMI), Certified Indoor Environmentalist (CIE) and Certified Industrial Hygienist / Safety Professional in Toxicology or Industrial Hygiene (CIH/SP-TIH).
This indicates that someone has undergone extensive training in mold testing procedures, inspection procedures, health effects caused by exposure to hazardous substances such as mold, and industrial hygiene concepts. Like the AIAC certification, this certification is not required for individuals to perform inspections or tests. Still, it does indicate that the individual has gone through extensive training specifically related to mold (and other key IAQ issues). Anyone without this certificate should not even be considered.
3) How long have they been in business? In addition to being up-to-date on technology and techniques, a company with experience will usually have access to resources such as low prices for laboratory testing of samples taken during their inspection.
What is the best way to protect my home from mold damage due to flooding? This is a tricky question because there are so many different factors involved – a type of flood (e.g., sewage/wastewater vs. rainwater), how much water entered the home (e.g., 1″ of standing water vs. 6″ of flowing water), the severity of the damage, type/age/condition of materials in the home that may have been damaged, location within the house where mold was present (e.g., directly behind a collapsed sheetrock wall vs. on an outside surface not exposed to floodwaters), etc. If possible, remove all affected material – especially porous ones such as drywall and insulation – for proper disposal and complete cleanup by trained professionals using procedures approved by your state’s Department of Environmental Quality or equivalent agency. Once everything is cleaned up, it is essential to fix any leaks or moisture problems that allow the flood to occur to prevent future flooding events. Mold can increase wet materials, so it is critical to control the moisture and humidity levels to prevent mold growth.