23 Tips Meth Testing Utah Homes [Meth Specialist Interview]

Meth Testing Utah

Meth testing Utah homes should be a top priority for every buyer. Here are the answers to the most common meth contamination questions.

Meth Testing Utah

Methamphetamine contamination is a huge problem in real estate.  As a homeowner and full-time discount real estate agent, I always recommend meth testing Utah homes before the buyer's due diligence deadline.  Test every house every time!

You will learn how to test a home for meth, what levels of meth are considered safe, and how to decontaminate the home if the test levels are above the legal limit. 

After reading this interview, you will understand how big of an issue meth is in Utah and how to protect you and your family when purchasing real estate.

This is an interview about meth testing Utah homes with decontamination specialist Ann Atkin from Meth Mob.

Ann Meth Mob

Ann Atkin



"The number one user of meth in Utah is a white mom."

Meth Mob

You have the best name in the industry. How'd you decide on "Meth Mob''?

I didn't come up with Meth Mob. My grandson did.

I held a competition with all my grandkids. I told them I would pay them to come up with a cool business name.  I would have never dreamed up the name Meth Mob. They're much more creative than I am.

Randall Wall referred you to us over the phone five years ago.  I never wrote your company's name down because Meth Mob was so easy to remember. Your grandson is a smart guy.

We added Decontamination Specialist to the end so people would know we're the good guys. It's kind of evolved back to just Meth Mob. Everybody just knows our name now, and that's cool. I love it

How many years have you been a meth decontamination specialist?

We incorporated in 2016. We decontaminated our first "meth house" about six years ago.

How many Utah homes have you decontaminated?

Over 1,000 homes.

Customers served! 0  Utah Homes Decontaminated by Meth Mob!

List Number 1

Decontamination Specialist Licensing Requirements

What are the requirements in Utah to become a licensed meth decontamination specialist?

You must complete the 40-hour Hazardous Waste and Emergency Response standard (HAZWOPER) class. HAZWOPER class is an OSHA course about safely handling hazardous material and waste.

Then you take a test with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The DEQ is in charge of certified Decontamination Specialist licensing, and the local Health Departments enforce the laws pertaining to meth decontamination.

So when you say local, are you referring to the county?

In many cases, it is the County Health Department, like Salt Lake, the Salt Lake County Health Department, Davis County Health Department, and Utah County Health Department. But then you get Central Utah Health Department, which covers multiple counties. 

There are 13 Health Departments in Utah.

Neither the HAZWOPER class nor the DEQ test prepares you for how to decontaminate meth. It's the mechanics of meth contamination, but it doesn't test you on how to solve the problem.

So how did you do you learn to decontaminate a house with meth properly? Is there a different school or additional education for that?

I called another decontamination company and offered them some money for training. I told them I wanted to learn from the best and asked them to teach my team and me, and they did. I still call them to this day with advice on freaky little things to which I don't have answers. They refer work to us, and it's been an awesome relationship.

List Number 2

What is Methamphetamine?

What is Meth?

It is a highly addictive drug cooked in a meth lab. There's only one molecule difference between Sudafed and meth, and the cooking process is to change that one molecule. 

Meth Looks Like Salt

Are there "street names" for methamphetamine?

There are quite a few street names for methamphetamine. Speed, crank, meth, white crunch, ice, rocket fuel, cookies, and go-go juice.

What does meth look like?

It looks like large dirty salt crystals to me.

List Number 3

Public list of meth-contaminated Utah homes.

Is there a public list of contaminated homes?

Yes and no.

Keeping track of contaminated homes is delegated to the local Health Departments. The availability of a public list of contaminated homes depends on where the home is located. 

So, for instance, in Salt Lake County, if a home is reported as contaminated, the home is added to the public list of contaminated properties.

Homes will be removed from the list once it is decontaminated and cleared by a licensed Decontamination Specialist with the Health Department. Once a home has been removed from the public list, Salt Lake County will not provide you with information without a Government Records Access and Management Act(GRAMMA) request.

Weber or Morgan County Health Departments require a GRAMMA request for information about any home. They do NOT provide a public list of currently or previously contaminated homes.

Can you use a DIY test to remove a home from the public contamination list?

Absolutely not.  The only people who do clearance testing are certified, Decontamination Specialists.

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List Number 4

Reporting Requirements of Contaminated Homes

Are homeowners required by law to report a property contaminated with meth?

Yes, the homeowner of record is required to report when their property test over the legal limit of one microgram per 100 square centimeters. 

Many contaminated homes go unreported. 

Are home inspectors required to report a contaminated home to the Health Department?

No, they are not.
The homeowner and certified Decontamination Specialist are the only people required to report a home that exceeds the legal limit of 1.00 micrograms per 100 square centimeters.

Does the state require reporting to happen within a certain time frame?

Decontamination Specialists have five business days to report the home.  Once reported, the Health Department will place a placard on the front door the following business day.  

Are restrictions placed on the home once the home has been reported as contaminated? 

Yes, a house that tests over the standard 1.00 microgram per 100 square centimeters from a legal standpoint, the home should not be lived in at all.  Meth Mob changes the locks on the house, so only my team has access.

There are some Health Departments that will condemn the property and close it to occupancy, and other Health Departments won't.

Salt Lake County Health Department, Bear River, Cache, Weber, Morgan, and Tooele all tag homes contaminated with methamphetamine.  Homeowners in these counties that choose to enter their home once it has been tagged could be fined. 

What does it mean to tag a house?

The local Health Department will tape a green or pink placard to the front door notifying the owner that the home is not to be occupied. 

What areas have the highest percentage of meth-contaminated homes?

That's tough to say since not every home gets reported to the Health Department.  I've decontaminated homes in every zip code in SLC.  Well, except for one. 

Do the neighbors of a "meth house'' need to test their home?


Are homeowners notified if one of their neighbor's houses tests positive for meth?

No. The only notification is the placard taped to the front door by the Health Department.

List Number 5

Methamphetamine in Utah

We live in Utah. Is meth really a problem?

Yes, it is. Unfortunately, we do a ton of meth in Utah!

Utah Loves Meth

There was a study about four years ago that showed Utah was in the top five per capita in the nation for meth use.

The United States statistic is that one in ten houses has meth.  If you figure we're top 5 in the nation per capita for use, our numbers are higher than one in ten. 

I have found that to be very true. Based on the testing I do with home inspectors, we are closer to one in seven homes pre-test positive for meth.

The Utah Department of Health statistic shows that 75% of the people in rehab for meth in Utah are women and moms.

Believe it or not, the number one user of meth in Utah is a white mom.

The demographic that ranks second highest for meth use in Utah are contractors.

List Number 6

Safe Meth Test Levels

What levels of meth contamination are safe?

The State standard for required decontamination is over one microgram(ug) per 100 square centimeters. 100 square centimeters is about 4 inches by 4 inches, and one microgram is about one millionth of a popcorn kernel. So the allowable meth contamination levels are teeny tiny.

The Utah state standard is 1.00 ug (micrograms) per 100 centimeters or below, which is considered safe for an infant. Meth test levels above 1.00 ug per 100 centimeters legally require the homeowner to report the house as contaminated.

Decontamination is required above 1.00 ug per 100 cm or clearance testing from a certified decontamination specialist. Certified decontamination specialists are the only ones that can clear a house for safety and can override an inspector's test results.

Does a homeowner need to disclose prior meth use in the home to a potential buyer once it has been decontaminated?

You don't need to disclose anything once the home has been decontaminated and clearance tested by a Decontamination Specialist and cleared by the Health Department. 

Who determines what levels of meth are considered safe? 

Utah State Health Department determines what levels are safe, and then the local health departments enforce it.

What is the highest meth contamination level you've ever seen?

Meth Test High Levels

The highest level of meth contamination in a home Meth Mob has ever decontaminated was 10,000 times over the legal limit.

Can you decontaminate a home 10,000 times above Utah's safe levels?  Did you need to take the interior walls to the studs?

We did decontaminate it, and it was a cute little house listed for sale on the MLS. You would have never suspected this home tested 10,000 over the legal limit.

List Number 7

Areas Of The Home To Test For Meth.

What are the best areas to take samples for meth testing in Utah homes? 

Any area of the home that pulls air is an excellent place for a meth inspection test. The furnace, air ducts, duct returns, and bathroom fans are common areas to test if a home has been contaminated with meth.

Meth Test Furnace

Should home buyers test other areas outside the home?  Garage, shed, soil?

I would say no.  Some clients want me to test the shed,  garage, crawl space, or attic. 

Most meth users in Utah are working professionals, so they're not hiding it.  They're generally the household's adults, so they have no problem smoking at their kitchen table or front room. Meth users are not hiding out, they're hanging out.

From the garage standpoint, there are probably worse things on your garage floor than third-hand meth.

Is eating food from a garden safe if the home previously tested positive for methamphetamine?  

I think the soil probably could be contaminated, but I would not be concerned about third-hand meth in the soil. 

What rooms are the most likely to have the highest contamination levels?

Kitchens, great rooms, and bathrooms generally test higher.

List Number 8

Grandma Lives In A Meth House?

Do I need to test for meth in my grandparents' homes?

Oh yes! 

Grandma Smoking Meth

Grandma and grandpa are hotbeds for meth users. There's probably no point in time since founding Meth Mob that I'm not working on a grandparent's house

Really?  Why is that? 

In most cases, mom, dad, brothers, sisters, family, friends, and coworkers will get fed up and kick the meth user out of their house. Right before the addict becomes homeless, guess who has room?

Grandparents have plenty of love in their hearts and extra room in their homes.

So is the meth contamination in the grandparent's house usually contained in the bedroom of the meth addict? 

It is usually in the grandparent's bathroom. The family member mooching off grandma and grandpa usually smoke in their bathroom.  It's rarely the room that the user is living in.  It's like the saying a dog doesn't crap in its kennel.

List Number 9

Meth House Red Flags

What are some red flags a home may be contaminated with meth?

Meth Test High Levels
Four Times Over Legal Meth Limit

I recommend testing every home regardless of its appearance.  

I have decontaminated everything from the house with every red flag known to man to a beautiful four-million-dollar mansion. Most of the homes Meth Mob decontaminates are in affluent neighborhoods on the east side of Salt Lake County.

Weird locks on doors.  We almost always find a room that has or previously had a lock on the door.  By weird I mean just something that doesn't make sense.

Here are the top three most common homes we see test over the legal limit.

  1. 1
    Grandpa & Grandma's House
  2. 2
    Fix & Flip Homes
  3. 3
    A property with any rental history

List Number 10

Meth Labs In Utah

Does Utah have meth labs?

Not really.  

We smoke a lot of meth in Utah, but we're not cooking meth. We haven't had a confirmed meth lab in Utah since 2014.

List Number 11

Meth In New Construction & Flip Homes

Should home buyers test new construction or remodeled homes?

Absolutely.  As I mentioned, contractors are the number two demographic for meth use in Utah.

Typically new construction homes test at low levels because one subcontractor smoked once in the home.  You just don't know what happened in that home while it was being built.

The exact opposite is true about flipped homes.  I've found that a high percentage of flip houses test for meth.

Many inexperienced people are flipping homes that don't even know to test for meth or don't test for meth in a hot real estate market because the home will sell no matter what.

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List Number 12

Do Meth Houses Need To Be Torn Down?

At what level would the home be considered unsalvageable?

I've never worked on an unsalvageable home, not even the home we decontaminated at 10,000 times over the legal limit.

There's no need to tear out all the drywall to the studs or tear a home down for meth contamination.  That's old school.  

It's not easy to decontaminate a home 10,000 times over the safe limit, but we can. 

We need to remove anything permeable such as carpet, pad, curtains, and insulating flex ducting.  We can remove the rest of the meth by washing the entire house from floor to ceiling with our decontamination solution.  The solution has an oxidizer base that will extract the meth from the paint and neutralize it.

List Number 13

Safe Meth Levels Are Teeny Tiny

Safe Meth Levels In Home

The safe contamination levels sound small but may be difficult to visualize. 

So one microgram is the equivalent of one-millionth of a popcorn kernel.  
One way to visualize how low the legal level of meth contamination is in a Utah home is to crush a popcorn kernel into powder and spread it evenly over a football field.

The legal limit for meth is one microgram per 100 square centimeters.

List Number 14

Does Meth Go Away On Its Own?

Will meth residue fade with time? Will painting help?

No. It does not off gas.  The Health Department says the half-life of meth is over 100 years.

Paint is an encapsulator, so it will cover up meth temporarily.  They say paint will only encapsulate meth for about four and a half months.  So painting over meth will not make the home safe to live in.  

This is why meth testing the furnace and air returns during a home buyer's due diligence deadline is so important. For example, if a home is contaminated with meth, and the walls were recently painted, the test samples from the freshly painted walls and the ceiling could show no detection (ND).

List Number 15

Testing A Home For Meth

How do you test a home for Meth?

A pre-test is when you test three areas throughout the home to determine if meth has been introduced.  Home inspectors usually perform a pre-test during a buyer's due diligence period.  

Samples are taken from areas pulling air. So I'm always looking for the dirtiest, nastiest places. So I might go to a bathroom fan, range hood in the kitchen, air duct returns in the hallway, front room, or the furnace.

Clearance testing can only be performed by a decontamination specialist and requires three tests in every room.  One test on the floor, one on the wall, and one on the ceiling. We also test three areas in the HVAC system.  For example, two returns and the furnace.

Can the local Health Department perform clearance testing?

Anybody can do a pre-test, but even the Health Department can't do clearance testing. Certified Decontamination Specialists are the only ones allowed to do clearance testing.

How long does it take to collect samples for a meth test?

If I was doing a pre-test in the house takes about 15 min. If I'm clearance testing the house, it's a couple of hours. 

Are meth test results available on the same day?


Standard testing takes about four business days, including the day we turn it in.

If I deliver the test to ALS Labs by 9 am, they can have the results the next business day, which we call a rush for a little bit more money.

List Number 16

DIY Meth Test Kits

Are the DIY meth tests available to purchase from places like Amazon and Walgreens reliable?

Yes, some of them are some of them aren't. They're fine for what they were designed for.

All the DIY test provides is if meth is present or if meth is not present in the home.  The DIY meth test does not provide the levels of meth present in the home. 

If the DIY test comes back positive, the homeowner still needs to perform a lab test that meets the Utah standard to determine the actual levels of meth in the home. 

The State of Utah does not allow DIY test kits to determine if a home is contaminated because the results are just yes or no. 

The biggest issue I have with the DIY tests is that the people using these tests are unfamiliar with meth testing and are not taking samples from the right areas of a home.  There is a lot of user error with these tests. 

Is there a specific brand of DIY test that you trust the most? 

Apple Environmental, which is located in Salt Lake.

List Number 17

How Many Meth Test Per Home?

How many SQFT can one meth test kit test?

You can test as many areas as you have methanol.  I'm comfortable with three to four areas in a home per test unless the home has multiple furnaces.  

You need to have one test kit per furnace.

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List number 18

Understanding Meth Test

How to read your meth test results? 

UG means micrograms. I don't know why they don't call it MG.

100 cm squared means the test area is 100 square centimeters, about four inches by four inches.

Meth Test safe level

The first number on the left side of the test results is results (ug/sample).  This show the amount of meth detected in the home.  ND means non-detected.  Any number over 1.00 is considered unsafe and requires a decontamination specialist to clear the home.

The middle number is a straight math number. The lab will average meth levels by the number of areas tested.  

Meth Test High Levels

So if I test four areas and the results (ug/sample) are 20, then the middle number will be five micrograms per 100 square centimeters. That number is the legal number.

Now it doesn't mean that the house is five times over the legal limit. It is just an average. I could be 20 times the limit in one area and non-detect (ND) in another area.

The number to the right will usually show .10, the lowest level a lab test results display and ten times below the legal limit.  So if the levels are .09, the lab test will be ND (no detection).

Meth decontamination is required If the number to the right is above 1.00.

number 19

Meth Decontamination Process

What is Meth Mob's decontamination process?

Day One Meth Decontamination

We refer to the first day of the meth cleanup process as our dry day.

We hook a big, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum to the furnace. We vacuum out all the supply lines and plenums (box in the HVAC system that pulls in, distributes, and removes air), and the cold air return sucking out all the crayons, tinker toys, and dust bunnies. We vacuum out all cupboards and drawers. The blinds, carpet, and pad are removed from the home.  

Day Two Meth Decontamination

On days two, three, and four, we scrub every inch of the ceiling, wall, floors, furnace, and ductwork.  We're scrubbing everything in that house for three days. 

Meth Clean Up Day 5

On day five, we rinse everything with clean water to remove all cleaning solutions.

Meth Clearance Testing

Day six is our clearance testing with the local Utah Health Department. 

Then we wait four business days to get the meth test results from ALS Labs.  

The entire meth decontamination process takes about two weeks.

Does the Health Department physically come out to the house for clearance testing, or do they rely on the decontamination specialist?

That's an awesome question. It depends on the Health Department. 

Salt Lake, Cache, Weber, Morgan, and Bear River Counties will attend clearance testings with us or come out and do a clearance walk-through with us afterward.

Tooele, Davis, and Utah Counties do not attend the clearance testing with the Decontamination Specialist.


Meth Decontamination Cost

How much does meth decontamination cost?

If we need to remove the carpet and pad, most of our decontamination will be between $5,000 and $6,000.  That'll change based on the square footage, but for a 2,000-square-foot house, you're at about $5,000 - $6,000.

If decontamination is only needed in the HVAC system, which is probably 20% of our work, the cost will be $3,000 to $3,500.  This assumes the home only has one furnace.


Decontaminating the home's HVAC system is between $3,000 to $3,500.


Meth Mob's Price


Decontaminating the entire home starts at $4,800. Most homes cost $5k to $6k.


Meth Mob's Price

What was Meth Mob's most expensive decontamination?

The most expensive house we've ever done was $19,000. Most of that was dump fees. 

This house was about 4,500 sqft and floor-to-ceiling stuffed with junk.

We had fifteen dump loads, so the decontamination cost on that house was only about $7,500. Over $10,000 was just in dump fees.

I don't think I ever went over $8,000 on the house for decontamination only.


Can Homeowners Decontaminate Their Property?

So homeowners of record can legally decontaminate their own house. They cannot legally clearance test their own house.

The homeowner can file the work plan, do the final report, do all the scrubbing, and hire a certified decontamination specialist to do the clearance testing. We'd still have the Health Department verify everything with us.


Utah Standards For Meth Clean-Up

Are there Utah state-specific meth clean-up standards?

Yes, and it's really specific.  It's not magical mystery stuff that we're doing. We're scrubbing walls with a product that gets rid of meth.

You do have to use a HEPA vacuum, negative air pressure, and a minimum of three days of washings the home with a solution. 

What is negative air pressure?

You contain harmful particles by pulling air into a vacuum, so you're not spreading it throughout the house.


Does Meth Mob Guarantee The Home Is Safe?

Meth decontamination guarantee

Yes, absolutely.  

We guarantee all of our decontaminated homes test at or below the legal limit.

This post was about meth testing in Utah to help you understand the potential financial and health risk of purchasing a home contaminated with methamphetamine. It’s a good idea to test every house for meth every time you move into a new home.

Plagiarizing our blog content may seem like a lazy way out, but it's not. It's a very bad idea and our attorneys will be on your tail faster than a sloth on a Slip 'N Slide, and trust me, they won't be taking it easy on you.

Aaron Peters Discount Agent

Aaron Peters

Discount Agent Assistant

My Assistant Toeby

My name is Aaron Peters. I'm a full-time discount real estate agent in Utah and the creator of DiscountAgent.com.  Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to read this blog post.  I'm always open to suggestions from readers.

Contact me at 801.243.8900 if you own a company and would like to participate in an interview that is helpful to DiscountAgent.com readers.  

Toeby (a.k.a Toesy) was born with only three toes on his front left paw. Luckily for him, his only job requirement as my assistant is to nap and remind me that life isn't about sitting at my desk staring at a computer all day. Who's a good boy?

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