Mold Testing In Salt Lake City

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    How to Conduct Mold Testing in Salt Lake City, UT

    Are you suspicious that mold growth is polluting your indoor air quality? Take immediate action! Molds are organisms that can grow indoor as well as outdoors. When growing outside, they benefit the ecosystem. Inside the house, they can be troublesome. Mold growth can cause several health problems.

    Usually, you can sense a musty smell, see cracking, warping, or peeling of the surface, growing stains, etc. However, if you cannot see any signs of mold, it is recommended that you conduct mold testing.

    What are the Types of Mold Testing?

    In general, there are four methods of conducting a mold test. Below mentioned are the common types of mold testing techniques available to all mold inspectors.

    1. Air Sampling

    Air samples are the most popular form of sampling to assess mold levels. In this type of mold testing, we take indoor and outdoor air samples and compare mold spore levels inside the premises and outside. In many cases, air sampling can positively identify the presence of mold that cannot be seen.

    In addition to confirming the existence of mold, air sampling also informs us about the number of mold spores present in the air. Once this information is understood, we can interpret the potential health impact of mold spores inhaled into the lungs. These mold spores are usually viable, indicating that there is a living source or reservoir indoors.

    2. Surface Testing Using Swabs, Tapes, and Bulk Samples

    Surface sampling refers to taking mold samples from whatever area they are present. We can do this test using the following materials:


    These are samples made by rubbing an object similar to a cotton swab against a surface. Laboratory tests are then conducted on the samples. Alternatively, you can rub the swab against a petri dish and a culture allowed to develop.


    Here, a piece of clear tape is applied to the moldy surface and then taken off. This testing method removes mold from the surface and collects it on the tape, which can then be tested.


    In this method, we remove a piece of the potentially affected area and send it to the laboratory for testing. Bulk samples can include a piece of drywall, furniture, etc.

    3. Dust Sampling

    Mold spores settled in dust give a deeper view of what has happened in your house in the past few days. Dust test helps in collecting settled dust using either a special dust cloth or a special vacuum canister. The dust cloth allows you to test in various areas like ceiling fans or air ducts. However, people mostly prefer vacuum canisters since it reduces the chances of human error. The dust samples collected are then sent to the laboratory where either of the two is conducted:

    • ERMI (Environmental Relative Moldiness Index): It is a DNA-based method that can identify 36 different types of mold. The test was initially developed by the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Mold testing with the ERMI is considered the gold standard, especially when determining the root cause of health issues.
    • HERTSMI-2 (Health Effects Roster of Type-Specific Formers of Mycotoxins and Inflammagens – 2nd Version): This mold test examines the dust sample for 5 molds types. These molds are typically called the “Big 5”.

    The Big 5 Mold Species of HERTSMI-2

    The five different types of mold species that are identified using HERTSMI-2 include:

    • Aspergillus Penicilloides • Aspergillus Versicolor • StachybotrysChartarum • Chaetomium Globosum • Wallemia Sebi •

    HERSTMI-2 is a less expensive test to conduct; however, the EMRI can also be converted to get the results of the HERTSMI-2. Moreover, you can also get a combined ERMI mold and mycotoxin test with the help of the EMMA test.

    4. Petri Dish Test

    Mold likes different foods, which is why agar plate cultivation in a Petri dish is the best method for identifying the genus and species of a mold. However, It can take up to two weeks to answer when molds/bacteria have different preferences for agar media.

    5. Mold Dogs

    As the name implies, a mold dog test can be conducted by having a trained dog that sniffs around to check for mold. These dogs are exceptionally accurate at finding mold sources. However, these dogs do have quite a few limitations, and the conditions must be perfect in order for them to find the source of a mold problem. Also, they are extremely expensive.

    When should you conduct a mold test?

    Before you conduct any sampling of mold growth, always identify the possible results first. Although it may seem obvious, many testing companies charge thousands of dollars for sampling without demonstrating a real benefit. They do provide clients with numerous pages of data, but they are of no use. Therefore, look for the following signs before opting for a mold test.

    Mold is Invisible, but You Have High Levels of Humidity

    The presence of condensation on your windows indicates a lack of airflow and high humidity in your home.  Mostly, mold growth is a direct result of high humidity in your home. You might not see the mold, but when this is the case, you can expect that mold is growing in your home, and thus, testing will be a viable option. It is especially alarming if condensation is seen on a modern, double-paned window.

    Mold is Visible, but the Affected Area is Unclear

    As an example, assume that you have a condo and see mold growing behind the bed.  According to the inspector, the mold growth is caused by condensation from an insufficiently insulated wall.  Although it is obvious how much mold is growing on the surface, the amount of mold spores that have settled is not. It is possible for thousands, even millions of mold spores to be released into the air during mold growth.

    In our experience, the number of released spores varies dramatically from one project to another.  Therefore, you cannot estimate how many spores have been released by looking at visible mold growth.  This also means it is impossible to tell what else has been affected.

    A mold test for airborne spores can prove extremely useful in these situations. In case of mold growth behind the bed, an air sample will show you if carpets, bedding, and other items have been harmed.

    Your Family Suffers From Health Issues Caused by Mold

    In areas like Salt Lake City, UT, mold exposure can trigger asthma and allergies. Mold testing will effectively determine if mold spores are causing your symptoms to worsen at home. Sinus infections are also associated with mold spores. Other common health conditions might include:

    Symptoms like these are not always related to mold growth, especially when they appear frequently. However, if you suffer from these conditions regularly, you should opt for mold testing in Salt Lake City, UT.

    You often Smell Musty Odors

    Mold growth is often associated with musty odors, but it is not always the case.  It is for this reason that air sampling is an excellent technique for determining whether elevated mold spore counts are present or not. Certain stages of mold growth emit an odor.

    Several complex factors influence the release of odors, so this is not a reliable indicator for growth. As an example, you might have a building that smells musty but has very little mold growth.

    Sometimes, you will encounter projects with no odors, yet their mold spore counts are very high. In such cases, mold spores can only be detected using air mold samples.

    Remediation is Complete, and you need proof that it is clean

    In both internal and third-party clearance testing, airborne mold testing is commonly used.  The air is tested after a mold remediation project is complete to ensure the number of mold spores has been reduced to normal levels.

    When You Should Not Opt for Mold Testing

    Although professional mold testing is essential, there are some points when you should not conduct a mold test. Below mentioned are the conditions for it. Mentioned below are potential places where Mold and fungus can grow and ultimately infect your living spaces.

    Outside of the Conditioned Air Space

    Crawlspaces and attics aren’t ideal places to conduct airborne mold testing. There is no controlled environment in these areas since they are directly connected to the outside air. When the test results are high, it could be just due to the external environment. Additionally, when it comes to unconditioned areas, air quality is not your primary concern, but the building structure. An air test in an attic or crawlspace is of little value since you don’t breathe the air in these areas. Mold growth on the damp soil further complicates this in a crawlspace. As a result, tape lift samples and visual observations are superior in attics and crawlspaces.

    Having an Open Jobsite

    It is not a good candidate for an air quality test when a project is open to the outside air, like an unconditioned space. A new construction project, is a typical example. Moreover, a renovation is another example. The gathered data inside a home would be of limited use if, for example, the side of a building was removed for remodeling. Temporary walls must be built before air can be tested accurately. Because building a temporary wall is so expensive, it is often better to rely solely on visual observations and skip the air test.

    Visible and Extensive Mold Growth

    Mold testing provides limited value when a mold problem is severe and obvious. For example, air sampling will not be helpful if the entire interior of a home needs demolition. A simple visual inspection will show us that all surface materials must be removed.

    What are the Common Causes of Mold Growth in Salt Lake City, UT?

    The most common type of mold present in homes is Alternaria. You probably know what it looks like, as it usually has a velvety texture and dark brown and green hues.

    As Alternaria mold tends to grow anywhere, dampness occurs; this can be anywhere in a home. This type of mold is hyper-allergenic and leads to several health problems.

    Some of the most common causes of mold growth include:

    • High humidity
    • Leaking pipes and roof
    • Poor ventilation
    • Build-up of condensation
    • Wet clothes
    • Damp basement
    • Foundation dampness

    Can You Conduct Mold Testing Yourself?

    Yes, anyone can conduct a visual inspection of mold growth in their house. However, it’s not recommended to use specialized tools for testing on your own because you might injure yourself with harmful chemicals.

    Nonetheless, you can conduct easy sampling with the following six mold testing steps:

    • 1. Examine visually: If you suspect mold growth in your house, perform a visual inspection. You might see some visible spots in different colors, mainly brown, green, or black.
    • 2. Buy an at-home test kit: Opt for an at-home test kit if you can't find mold spots with a visual inspection.
    • 3. Prepare the petri dish: Some test kits have a petri dish and a mold-growing medium. Prepare the petri dish according to the product instructions.
    • 4. Collect samples: With a petri dish, you can collect a sample in a few different ways. The first method involves leaving the dish on a flat surface for an hour and then covering it with a lid. You can check your HVAC system for mold by taping your dish to an air duct, blowing the air for ten minutes, and then cover your dish. The last method includes wiping the mold with a swab and then wiping the swab on the growing medium. It works best when the mold growth is visible.
    • 5. Check the petri dish: Check your petri dish for the signs of mold growth after 48 hours. If you cannot see the mold, wait another 24 hours. Keep checking it for three days. However, if you could not find mold, there is no mold on the surface. If you find it, take further steps for its removal.
    • 6. Send your sample to the laboratory: As per the product instructions, send your sample to the laboratory for identification.



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