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Everything you need to know about Mold Testing

Always test your environment to make sure you are dealing with "TOXIC MOLD", never assume it is safe
"Not all molds are toxic and not all molds that may be toxic are toxic to ALL people" 

It is important to know what you are dealing with before trying to touch it, clean it or make difficult decisions on whether to remediate your home or throw out possession and leave the environment.  Toxic mold "may or may NOT" be the problem, so we always recommend testing before doing anything.


*Important Warning:

(Toxic molds put off a neurotoxin when they are touched or disturbed.  These neurotoxins are called mycotoxin that
if inhaled, swallowed or land on your skin can lead
to serious health consequences like permanent neurological damage, cell and DNA death, hemoraging, strokes, permanent heart damage, autoimmune disease, cancers and death)


3 tests are required to know what you are fully dealing with. 
Getting just one test does not give you all the pieces to the puzzle. 

  1. SWAB testing: Also called Swab, Tape Lift or Bulk sampling.  This test is required for all visible mold colonies that one suspects as possibly bein mold. Visual? - Do you see actual mold? If so, a standard swab or some might call it "tape lift" test can identify this mold.
    • Using a professional is recommended. 
    • It is important to locate a reputable mold testing company before spending money on a professional mold test. We are working on getting a substantial listing of mold testers HEREIf you do not see anyone listed in your area yet we suggest googling { Mold Testing in "name of your city and state" }
    • Swab testing ONLY reveals what is in that particular swab.  It does not identify mold spores in the aire that you or your family are breathing.  It is important to also get AIR and ERMI testing below for safety.
  2. AIR testing or (control testing): Air samples can be used to gather data about mold spores present in the interior of a house. Usually testing is done outside the home and then also inside the home to compare normal outside natural mold levels to indoor levels. These samples are taken by using a pump that forces air through a collection device which catches mold spores.  Air samples alone are not enough to confirm or deny the existence of toxic molds because some molds are light and float in the air and some of the most deadly molds are considered "HEAVY" and never float in the air such as "Stachybotrys" (the worst mold in existence).   Air testing needs to be in addition to a visual inspection and other methods of data collection, such as a surface samples that include BOTH Swab and ERMI testing.

    Within the AIR testing there are two types that you should know about: Viable AIR testing and nonviable AIR testing.
    Viable mold testing -  tests for live molds and tests for live spores that may be inside a home or building
    NON-Vialbe mold testing - this tests for spores both living and dead. This test is important because you will want to know if you are breathing in dead spores and also live spores.

    All spores: Dead or alive, contain mycotoxins and are dangerous when inhaled.

  3. ERMI testing:
    The ERMI is an acronym for Environmental Relative Moldiness Index.  This test is based on dust samples collected from throughout a home or building. 36 different fungi make up the ERMI and are designed as Group I (those found in a typical, water damaged home) and Group II (those commonly found in all homes) Get your ERMI testing HERE 

    To get an accurate ERMI test score you need to make sure that the cloth is wiped over the following surfaces:

    Floors in every room, walls in every room, all closets, all air ducts, all tops of furniture, tops of pictures and art frames, surfaces of all kinds, lamps, books etc. This is the only way to get an accurate ERMI score.

    So how do I interpret the ERMI test I have?  
    We've created this little graphic to help simplify the information that we need to know as homeowners or home dwellers.  Forget all the jargon and is a simple way to see if you should stay in the house? or leave. 

    *It is recommended to use:  OR for ERMI and HERTSMI-2 testing.  You can order your kits through either of these websites. 

(Optional ARMI testing): The ARMI is an acronym for American Relative Moldiness Index. This test is a more cost efficient version of the ERMI testing but is not as thorough.  This test correlates with the ERMI for predicting the moldiness of homes. 13 different fungi make up the ARMI and are designated a group 1 (found in typical, water damages homes) and group 2 (commonly found in all homes). The fungi identified in the ARMI tests are: Stachybotrys chartarum, Chaetomium globosum, Cladosporium sphaerospermum, Aspergillus versicolor, Eurotium (A.) amstalodami, Penicillium variabile, Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus restrictus, Penicillium crustosum, Penicillium purpurogenum, Aspergillus fumigatus, Penicillium corylophilum,

(Optional MSQPCR testing): MSQPCR is an acronym for Mold Specific Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction. This test is a FAST, ACCURATE, and SENSITIVE DNA-based analytical method for identifying and quantifying molds to the species level types they belong to.  This testing method looks for the presence of DNA sequences that are unique to a particular mold species.

List of possible places one could be exposed that need to be tested:


  • Homes: Basements, Bathrooms, Attics, Bedrooms, Closets, Laundry Rooms, Garages, Kitchens.
  • Schools: Bathrooms, Pool Areas, Locker Rooms, HVAC Units & Duct Work, Ceilings, Cafeterias, Classrooms, Utility Rooms, Janitorial Closets.
  • Cars: Air Conditioners (Vents & Filters) Upholstery, Under seats, ceilings, trunks, floorboards. 


How much does Mold Testing (By an expert) cost? 
Thorough Inspection: Will be between $150-$300 depending on the size of the home or if there are hard to reach attic or crawl space areas. 
Air Testing: Will be between $200-$300 (for one outside/control sample and one inside room sample).  Most additional room samples cost between $75 - $150 each additional room. 
Swab/Tape samples - Each small area physical samples will be $75 - $150 per sample (This is for visible mold colonies you are concerned about)
ERMI Test - ERMI tests (Done yourself) cost about $275, however most people do not collect the samples correctly.  If you want your expert technician to do it for you it will cost an additional $100-$150. 

For an expert and thorough testing and inspection of a home figure about $1200-$1400 Total.  This will tell you "everything" you need to know about the possible mold in your home. 

Is mold making you sick?  Follow our Step by Step

Do you think you might have mold in your home, place of business or school? Are you or someone you love suffering from an unknown illness that doctors can't diagnose?  Is mold making you sick? Go to our Step by Step and start Surviving Toxic Mold.