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.
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 cost, and the health effects of living in an 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 living in with that has a mold problem.
How much does mold testing cost in Utah?
Mold inspection prices vary depending on who collects the air and surface samples. ALS labs in Salt Lake City, Utah, will do the analysis 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.
Aaron Peters is the creator of DiscountAgent.com. Aaron has sold over $150,000,000 in Utah real estate and has over 110 five-star Google reviews.
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What Is A Mold Inspection?
A thorough visual inspection should identify any water stains and source of past or present water intrusion. Staining, cracking, peeling, or bubbling in a home's ceilings, walls, or floors are signs of water damage and prime area for a mold test.
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 their visual inspection to detect active water leaks behind the walls.
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 cleanup, including 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?
Mold exist 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 amount of 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.
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 on the higher range of what is considered safe but still 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.
Utah Mold Remediation Process
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.
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 is ineffective in eliminating mold on porous surfaces such as lumber or drywall. It is not EPA or OSHA approved for mold remediation.
Step Four - Antimicrobial Coating:
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.
What symptoms does mold in your house cause?
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.
Mycotoxins 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.
How Does Mold Get In My House?
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.
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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Toeby ~ Assistant
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.
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?
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.
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