I recently did a Google search for mold inspection and felt a bit overwhelmed by the results and conflicting advice.

I am asking because I am chronically ill and have recently been diagnosed with severe mold allergies. I just started a five year allergy immunotherapy program, but I'd like to know what I can do right now in order to reduce my exposure to environmental allergens. Nasal sprays help enormously, but I'm constantly suffering with fatigue, malaise, and now I'm getting a flaring up of tinnitus on one side, too.

It may or may not be relevant to point out that I have lived in my home for four years, it was built in 1982, and the previous occupant of the home was an elderly man who only did work on the house if it was absolutely broken.

By my Google search, I found that there are two routes I can go. One way is to get a home test kit. The ones I've seen only test suspect surfaces. Critics say that these kits are useless and I'm inclined to agree because I'm concerned about what I am actually breathing. (I have a gut feeling that it likely has to do with the ventilation downwind from the air filter, which does get changed regularly)

The other way is to call for a professional mold inspector. This is even more confusing, with advice about inspectors advertising questionable credentials and charging a huge range of prices for services. I have no idea how to tell who is a credible professional or how much I should expect to pay.

I also have no idea what to do with any test results.

I don't know what to do, but I want to get some actionable information.

1 Answer 1


I don’t like the self test kits either. Part of what you are hiring a testing agency for is 1) knowing what to test, 2) knowing how to take a “clean” test, 3) interpreting the test results, and 4) giving an estimate for abatement.

1) There are agencies that specialize in mold and some specialize in asbestos. If you suspect mold, I’d ask for their resume and then verify it. They will know where and what to test. Make sure they are bonded (ask the name and phone number of their bonding agency) and if they have worked for a local public agency like the school district, city, water board, county, etc. is a plus.

2) The containers must be “clean” and a sufficient amount of the sample suitable to test. The test samples are sent to an independent testing lab and will test for what the testing agency requests. BTW, it might not be your home. It could be furniture, clothing, car seats, etc.

3) The lab does not interpret the results. The agency will give a range of “acceptable” results. There is good and bad mold... not all mold needs to be removed.

4) Each test will cost about $25 - $35 each, where I live. The report (interpretation) will cost about $500 - $1800 depending on the number of “positive” results. The testing agency will be able to give an estimate of the cost of abatement based on quantity and location.

GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING. Make sure they give a start date and end date.

Oh, btw, if the report comes back positive and you don’t have 100% removed, you must include it your disclosure statement when you go to sell.

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