Our recommendations for services and devices for detecting the presence of mold inside a building as well as measuring overall indoor air quality.
Mold Testing Kits and Indoor Air Quality Measurement & Monitoring
Best DIY Mold Test Kits with Lab Analysis
Do-it-yourself mold testing kits offer significant cost savings over having a local contractor come to your home or business. These DIY tests are meant to provide a clear understanding of whether you will, or will not, need a remediation professional. Both of the kits below are known for their ease-of-use and accuracy.
As far as do-it-yourself kits that leverage a lab to do the actual analysis, Health Metric’s DIY mold detection kit is a strong option. The EPA/AIHA lab that does the actual detection and analysis accepts both surface test strips as well as submission of actual material such as drywall or insulation.
This mold test kit includes the shipping and lab analysis of three samples.
AIHA Lab Testing is the EPA’s recommended way of getting the most accurate results. Everything you need to collect, isolate and ship the samples is included as well as directions. With accuracy comes a bit of time. Expect 5 to 7 days to receive your results.
Similar to the kit above, The Mold Inspection Network’s DIY mold kit provides a three-sample test for harmful mold and mycotoxins. All processing is done by an accredited lab. The cost of analysis is included in the price except for all U.S. states except Texas (a $24 additional fee).
While the Health Metric kit does allow supplying material from the suspected water-damaged or moldy area, this kit specifically accepts surface tape-lift strip samples only.
Turnaround times vary but are generally within a 7-day window. In addition to a professional analysis, a lab technician will have a conversation to review your mold inspection results.
Best Mold Detectors and Indoor Air Quality Monitors
As opposed to testing specific surfaces or samples for the presence of mold or other contaminants, electronic indoor air quality monitors provide constant monitoring of indoor air quality. The IAQ monitors below offer the best accuracy and reporting for residential and small business applications.
Airthings’ 4200 is a state-of-the art indoor air quality monitoring system which actively samples the air. The system tests for mold, radon and other VOCs. VOC stands for volatile organic compounds, and harmful VOCs are found in many products that we bring into our homes and offices everyday.
The kit includes one 2nd Generation Wave radon detector, one Wave Mini, which tracks the presence of mold and VOCs as well as humidity and temperature, and one Airthings Hub which ties the whole system together.
Setup and monitoring is easy and straightforward using any smartphone (apps are available for both Android and iOS). As a connected device, owners can track indoor air quality from anywhere they are, not just when they are at home.
Smart home integration platforms include Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT.
Of all the options on the market, Airthings’ House Kit Plus is the best holistic IAQ monitoring station available.
Best Handheld Moisture Meters
The presence of moisture in drywall, wood or masonry can be and early or late indicator of mold’s presence. While not a direct mold test, handheld moisture meters are often used to pinpoint trouble areas.Wagner Orion Smart, Pinless Wood Moisture Meter
Wagner’s Orion 950 is as good as it gets for measuring moisture inside wood. Using a non-damaging pinless sensor, the 950 can accurately measure the presence of moisture at both 1/4″ and 3/4″ depth.
Use is simple, and calibration can be performed on-site. Material can be set to a variety of levels to target the specific wood species being measured. Species include softwood, hardwood, bamboo, MDF, plywood and OSB.
While the Wagner 950 is most often found in the toolkit of wood floor installers, it’s also used to detect moisture when mold is suspected.
While moisture detection is necessary to understand if there may be a presence of mold in drywall, Klein’s ET140 Moisture Meter is a good choice. It is not as accurate as Wagner’s meter above, but it does do a reasonable job.
Like the Wagner model, the ET140’s pinless design means that you won’t be patching drywall later if no moisture is present.
Electromagnetic field (EMF) technology performs the measurement which is displayed on a 9-stage moisture range LED readout.
The unit is good for up to 3/4 inch material depth (approximately 19mm). While most often used for detecting moisture in drywall, the manufacturer claims it is also capable of testing soft wood, hard wood and masonry.