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.
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.
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.
Mold is a naturally occurring and important part of our ecosystem. That said, excessive mold can actually be hazardous to your health. Mold remediation is usually the best strategy to get rid of unhealthy levels of mold in your home or office. If you’re not comfortable working with mold or the area is larger than 10 square feet (3 feet by 3 feet), it is highly recommended to hire a mold remediation professional to resolve the problem. However, if you’re DIY-savvy, don’t have any health risks, and are not freaked out by mold, the EPA gives homeowners the greenlight to clean mold areas that are less than 10 square feet. Here are some EPA-recommended DIY cleaning tips:
- Fix plumbing leaks and other water problems as soon as possible. Dry all items completely.
- Scrub mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely.
- Throw away absorbent or porous materials (like ceiling tiles and carpet) if they become moldy.
- Avoid exposing yourself or others to mold.
- Do not paint or caulk moldy surfaces. Clean up the mold and dry the surfaces before painting. Paint applied over moldy surfaces is likely to peel.
- If you are unsure about how to clean an item (art, fine furniture, etc.) consult a reputable specialist affiliated with a professional organization in their field.
Mold damage may or may not be covered by your homeowner's insurance. Mold damage is caused by standing water and excess moisture. Mold damage can be covered by insurance when an item already covered under your homeowners insurance breaks accidentally — for example, if your plumbing suddenly ruptures and water floods your house, the homeowners insurance will cover part or all of the costs for the plumbing repair and any mold remediation costs necessary as a direct result of the water damage.
But you may not be able to get insurance to pay for your mold remediation costs if the damage is a result of your neglect — for example, if you’ve had a slow leak under your bathroom sink for years and have ignored the issue. If the insurer can determine that the mold damage is a result of your negligence, they likely won’t cover mold remediation costs. Also, most homeowners insurance will usually not cover mold remediation costs after a flood unless you have a special insurance rider covering your home in case of a flood. To help prevent mold damage, always keep humidity levels in your house between 30 percent and 60 percent, clean up water spills and damp areas right away, and ensure you have exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom.
Mold remediation can be hazardous to the health. DIY cleanup is possible if your health and abilities permit it, but the Environmental Protection Agency recommends hiring a professional if your mold infestation is 10 square feet or larger. The cost per square foot for mold remediation will vary based on where you live (regional labor rates), the size and severity of your mold infestation, and the accessibility of the mold colonies. Here are some examples of mold remediation average costs per square foot:
- Basic mold remediation in attics and crawl spaces: about $2 per square foot.
- Mold remediation involving demolition: about $4 to $6 per square foot.
- Mold treatment of 15 square feet in an accessible area with a less aggressive type of mold: $3,400.
- Price includes mold inspection costs.
- Mold treatment of 27 square feet inside an HVAC system requiring a higher level of chemicals and processes: $9,500.
- Price includes mold inspection costs.
No one wants to have a mold infestation. Mold can lead to illness, lowered property value, and damage to your home or building. If you’re concerned about mold, mold inspection costs may be a wise investment in your health and home. Any home will have a small amount of mold; it’s a naturally occuring part of the environment. However, if water or moisture is left to sit, mold can begin to colonize in as little as 24-48 hours, especially if you live in a humid climate. Signs of mold colonies in your house include a musty, earthy odor (from mild to overpowering) that can ebb and flow with air current changes and moisture levels; water staining or discoloration spreading on the walls or floors over time; and health problems such as respiratory problems, nasal and sinus congestion, eye irritation, nose or throat irritation, skin irritations, problems with your nervous system, or aches and pains. Mold can be especially dangerous for people with compromised immune systems. Nationally, mold inspection costs range from $250 to $300. A reputable mold remediation company can provide helpful information about the best next steps.
The cost to clean up mold in your home or business will vary based on the pervasiveness of the mold infestation, regional labor rates, and the accessibility of the mold sources for remediation. Mold remediation costs will increase anytime demolition is necessary or the crew must access interior areas like HVAC ducts. For example, these two homes have approximately the same size floor plan but a different number of square feet of mold to be treated. The two homes also have varying levels of accessibility to the sites of mold the mold infestation.
- House 1:
- Mold treatment of 15 square feet in an accessible area with a less aggressive type of mold: $3,400 (average).
- Price includes mold inspection costs.
- House 2:
- Mold treatment of 27 square feet inside an HVAC system requiring a higher level of chemicals and processes: $9,500 (average).
- Price includes mold inspection costs.
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.
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.