Professional mold inspectors can help determine if a home, office or commercial property contains unhealthy levels of mold. Mold is a natural part of the environment, according to the EPA, and can be found almost everywhere, including inside of homes in safe levels. However, mold can also damage a home and people’s health when it grows at an abnormal scale indoors. Typically caused by excess indoor moisture, mold spores can bloom and trigger allergies, respiratory illness and asthma. Many types of mold can trigger illness and allergies, most notable among them is Stachybotrys chartarum, commonly referred to as "black mold." Several factors affect the cost of having a professional mold inspection.
Signs of mold
Mold can be present and visible to the naked eye in areas where moisture gathers. However, the EPA recommends professional testing if there could be a hidden mold problem. Pros have the expertise and tools to do the testing without disturbing any existing mold—digging under wallpaper or into drywall can potentially release trapped mold spores and make a problem worse. Signs to look for include visible mold in the home, a noticeable odor of mold, or people living in the home who have a persistent cough or sore throat. Other signs of mold can be cracks in paint, rust, dust, warped ceilings or walls, and water stains. Mold is often found in the basement, air ducts, attic, bathroom and other locations where moisture gathers.
Type of test
Several types of mold tests are available, including air samples, cavity samples and surface samples. Mold inspection experts may employ more than one type of test to determine what the mold levels are in a home. It’s important that the testing professionals take a wide swath of samples because a high level of mold in one place does not necessarily mean there is a serious mold problem throughout the entire house. Testing prices vary depending on how large the home or property is, how many surface areas need to be tested and how extensive the mold infestation could be. Here are some examples of mold inspection costs:
Pricing per property type
Unbiased Mold Inspection & Testing in Washington, D.C.
Residential testing: $250–$350, including inspection, reports and two mold tests—one control and one inside
Commercial testing for an entire building: $500, including inspection, reports and two mold tests—one control and one inside
Commercial testing for an isolated area: $300, including inspection, reports and two mold tests—one control and one inside
- Samples: $75 for each additional sample taken
Polar Tiger in Palos Hills, Illinois
Residential testing: $250, including three total samples of air or surface
- Each additional sample: $35
Pricing per test
Rite Way in Zionsville, Indiana
Swab testing: $200–$300
- This test collects a surface swab from a potentially infested area for testing in a lab. Some pros 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. It’s frequently done in conjunction with air testing.
Air cell testing: $250–$350
- This test collects an air sample in the home to measure the amount of mold spores in the air. It is frequently done in conjunction with swab testing to ensure more complete data. Costs are higher for this test because the equipment required is more expensive.
- Both tests done at the same time: $400–$600:
Qualifications and experience
There is no federally regulated licensing for mold inspection or EPA-determined safe levels of mold to measure a home against. The EPA acknowledges that mold poses a health risk and remediating mold, or removing it and treating the home against further mold buildup, is beneficial for health in many cases. The EPA recommends that property owners inquire about the qualifications, training and experience, and references of potential testers.