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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

How is a mold test done?

Mold testing can help identify a mold infestation in your home or business. Mold inspection costs can vary based on the type of test you want done and the number of samples you request. The national average mold inspection cost is $250-$300. The EPA explains that if you have a visible mold problem, in most cases sampling and testing is unnecessary. However, if you have unexplained and potential mold-related illness or can smell mold in your house, mold inspection costs may be a good investment. To avoid unscrupulous testers, the EPA recommends working with a testing agency that adheres to the analytical methods laid out by professional organizations such as the American Industrial Hygiene Association or the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. Mold inspection costs can vary based on the type of testing done. Prices can also vary, depending on the size of the home, the number of surface areas to be tested, and the extent of the mold infestation. Here are some examples of mold inspection average costs:

  • Swab testing: $200-$300
    • A professional collects a surface swab from a potentially infested area for testing in a lab. Some professionals have concerns about this being the sole test done because it only gathers a small amount of data from a certain area of the house. That’s why it’s frequently done in conjunction with air cell testing.
  • Air cell testing: $250-$350
    • A professional collects an air sample in the home to measure the amount of mold spores in the air. This test is frequently done in conjunction with swab testing to ensure more complete data. Costs are higher for this test because the equipment required of the contractor is more expensive.
  • Both air cell and swab tests provided by the same company: $400-$600.

How does mold remediation work?

Mold remediation can eliminate mold colonies from your home or business. Mold is a normal part of daily life, but in wet or humid settings mold can quickly colonize and spread by making spores. Whether visible or hidden, untreated mold can cause real health problems and cause extensive (and expensive) damage to your property. Mold remediation involves killing the mold, removing the dead mold and preventing future mold growth. Here is an example of the steps involved in professional mold remediation:

  • Contain work area and apply negative air pressure HEPA air purifiers to prevent cross-contamination. If spores spread, the colonies can easily regrow elsewhere in your home.
  • Mist an EPA-registered antimicrobial to suspend and kill mold spores.
  • Remove affected building surfaces.
  • Bag and dispose of contaminated materials properly.
  • Treat cavities/underlayment and dehumidify.
  • Abrasively remove dead loose mold.
  • Apply EPA-registered protective sealer.
  • Perform clearance testing.

Remove containment materials.

What is a mold remediation?

Mold remediation is the process of identifying and removing unhealthy levels of mold that have colonized in a home, office, school or other building. Over time, if untreated, mold can destroy a home by breaking down cellulose-based materials (like wood or ceiling tiles) and causing a slow and messy decay. In the shorter term, a mold infestation can cause severe health problems. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), mold can trigger respiratory problems, nasal and sinus congestion, eye irritation, nose or throat irritation, skin irritations, problems with your nervous system, and aches and pains. Mold inspection and mold remediation are often requested in tandem, although they are two separate services. Nationally, mold inspection costs range from $250 to $300. If mold has been positively identified in your house, either by visual examination or through mold testing, remediation can safely remove it. Properly trained and equipped professionals use specialized equipment (like vacuums and air scrubbers with HEPA filters) to keep mold spores contained while they remove contaminated materials and treat infested areas with antimicrobial spray. A key component to a successful mold remediation after eliminating the mold is ensuring that the water source that caused the mold infestation is also resolved.

Can mold grow behind drywall?

Mold can grow behind drywall, in your attic, in the basement, under floors — mold can grow anywhere. The key to controlling mold is controlling moisture and water. If your home has been exposed to excessive water due to flooding or heavy rains, if you have an old home with leaky pipes, or if you live in an area with high humidity, you need to be vigilant about mold. Mold is most easily identified by sight. You may see blooms of mold on furniture, on walls, or along the floor. If you can spot mold, you probably don’t need to test for it and can save on mold inspection costs and direct your energies towards mold remediation. But if you’re not certain, you may need a pro to help you determine whether you have hidden mold. Scent and illness are two potential signs of hidden mold. You may smell anything from a musty earth scent to a foul stench, and you may experience respiratory problems, nasal and sinus congestion, eye irritation, nose or throat irritation, skin irritation, problems with your nervous system, or aches and pains. The national average cost of mold inspection and testing is $250-$300.

How long does it take to get rid of mold in a house?

You can never completely remove mold from your house; a small number of mold spores will always exist indoors and are a natural and helpful part of our world. However, if water or moisture is left unchecked inside your home and mold begins to colonize, it can pose a serious health risk. Mold remediation can quickly and safely remove a mold infestation from your home or office. Depending on the size of your problem, mold remediation might take anywhere from one to seven days (or more) to wipe out the major sources of mold in your home.

Mold growths (colonies) can establish within 24-48 hours, so it is important to act immediately if you have a water spill or leak — especially if you live in a hot or humid climate. If you are past the point of DIY and need professional help, mold remediation teams will come to your location, assess the extent of the mold problem, identify and rectify all water leaks and sources of dampness, identify all mold sources (both visible and hidden), use specialized equipment to contain and prevent migration of mold spores, safely remove contaminated materials, treat infested areas with approved antimicrobial sprays, dehumidify and dry the appropriate areas, and seal areas as needed.

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