Mold testing is one of the least common inspection tests I see as a Utah Realtor.  Here are the answers to the most common questions I hear about mold from home buyers and sellers.

Mold Testing Utah

Fully understanding the mold testing and remediation process can be intimidating. But, if you're anything like me, you are doing plenty of research before deciding if a home with mold growth is safe to occupy.

As a homeowner and full-time discount real estate agent, I'm answering the most common mold questions I hear.

You will learn what levels of mold are considered safe, how much a mold inspection costs, and the health effects of living in a Utah home with unsafe mold levels.

After reading this article, you will be prepared to make informed decisions about buying a house with mold or remediating a house you already live in with a mold problem.

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How Much Does Mold Testing Cost In Utah?

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Mold inspection prices vary
 depending on who collects the air and surface samples. 
ALS labs in Salt Lake City, Utah, will analyze regardless of who conducts the mold test.

Air sampling is the most accurate way to determine the mold spore count in the contaminated area. The laboratory will determine fungal spore counts by analyzing the spore trap cassettes from the inspector's mold test.

As a full-time real estate broker in Salt Lake City, Utah, I use my 
home inspector, a certified mold inspector. He charges $300 for mold testing and delivering the mold test samples to the laboratory.

You will typically receive your test results within 72 hours of the laboratory receiving the air samples.

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What Is A Mold Inspection?

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A thorough visual inspection should identify water stains and past or present water intrusion sources. Staining, cracking, peeling, or bubbling in a home's ceilings, walls, or floors are signs of water damage and a prime area for a mold test.

signs of mold in house

A professional mold inspection should identify the water leak or suspicious moisture for potential mold growth. Many leaks are undetectable to the human eye. A good inspector will use an infrared camera to assist in their visual inspection to detect active water leaks behind the walls.

Infrared Camera Mold Detection

Additionally, if mold is present on the property, the inspector should evaluate the extent of the affected areas and recommend appropriate cleanup methods. A certified mold specialist will estimate the cost of the cleanupincluding removing building materials and remediation for Utah homes contaminated with mold.

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What Levels Of Mold Spores Are Considered Safe In A Home?

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Mold exists in almost every home
  The lower the mold levels, the better for the homeowner occupying the property.  However, levels below 1500 are normally considered safe and do not usually require remediation.  

Higher levels can also be considered safe based on the mold in the outside air.  If a Utah homeowner lives in an area where the mold spore count outside is 2,000, it is unreasonable to expect the inside air to be below 1,500.

High Levels Mold

Conversely, if the outside air levels are 100 and the inside is 1,500, then there is likely a moisture issue in the home that can be fixed to lower the mold exposure to the residents.

Safe Utah Mold Levels

0-500: The spore counts are very low, and only Stachybotrys and Memnoniella should be considered problematic at this level.

500-1500: 1,500 is in the higher range of what is considered safe but doesn't require mold remediation unless moisture or active water leaks are discovered.

These levels may occur due to normal living in an enclosed environment.

Over 1500: A mold test with a spore count above 1500 indicates an issue may be present unless there is a corresponding spore count in the outdoor air sample. Utah homeowners should consult with a licensed Utah mold inspection and remediation company at these levels.

Pro Tip: The mold spore count inside should be lower than the outside levels. Utah homes with inside levels higher than the outside and above 1,500 should consider mold remediation.


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Utah Mold Remediation Process

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What steps are required to eliminate a mold problem in your home or commercial building? Mold remediation will typically take three to five days from start to finish.

Step One - Containment

Isolating the affected area with temporary plastic walls is essential to prevent mold spores from spreading through the house. Negative air pressure machines remove contaminated air and filter clean air into the contained area. 

Mold Clean Up Utah Homes

Step Two - Mold Removal:

Remove anything in the home contaminated with mold. If framing has visible mold growth but is still structurally sound, it can be High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) vacuumed, sanded, and cleaned. 

Step Three - Neutralization and Cleaning:

Once the mold removal is complete, thorough, detailed cleaning is necessary. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved fungicides are used to clean contaminated areas. 

Pro Tip:  Bleach does not eliminate mold on porous surfaces like lumber or drywall. It is not EPA or OSHA approved for mold remediation.

Step Four - Antimicrobial Coating:

Mold Clean Up Utah Homes

As a final step in the mold remediation process, all building materials affected by mold that will remain in the home should be treated with an antimicrobial solution

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What Symptoms Does Mold In Your House Cause?

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Numerous toxic molds, such as black mold, can produce mycotoxins (toxins produced by fungi). These toxins can lead to serious allergic reactions and health problems

Mold Health Effects

 from black mold have been linked to serious health effects, including headaches, flu-like symptoms, nosebleeds, skin irritation, worsened asthma symptoms, weakened immune system function (resulting in increased infections), hair loss, chronic fatigue, depression, diarrhea, sore throats, and dermatitis and other severe reactions.

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How Does Mold Get In My House?

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Mold exists in both indoor and outdoor environments. It enters your property through open windows, doors, vents, and HVAC systems.

When mold spores land in areas with excess moisture, such as areas that have experienced water damage from leaking pipes, roofs, walls, or flooding, they can flourish. 

Building materials can be a breeding ground for mold. For example, wet cellulose materials, like paper and cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood, and wood products, among other areas, can provide the perfect scenario for certain types of mold to thrive.

Other materials commonly support mold growth, such as dust, paint, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.

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Now you should know what mold levels are safe, how much mold testing and thorough inspection costs, and the steps to remediate your mold problem and the health effects of mold spores or mycotoxins.

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