Michael Leavitt & Co Inspections, Inc. has made a firm decision to not get involved in the mold testing hysteria that has currently taken the real estate market by storm. We feel that testing is unnecessary in most cases, IF a moisture intrusion professional evaluates the home for water entry. It is our opinion that the majority of the testing being performed is not providing any useful information for those paying the big bucks for the testing. Here are some of our very opinionated thoughts....
MOLD SAMPLERS - Most of those offering mold testing services are just mold samplers. This means that they are trained to take a sample, but they are not allowed to evaluate the home and make determinations from the laboratory testing results. Mold samplers typically have between 4 and 34 hours of sampling training and that is limited to sampling protocols and equipment use.
MOLD SAMPLING TRAINING - Having taken 3 different mold sampling courses, we found that the training was subpar and geared towards selling the sampling equipment and directing business towards the laboratories who would ultimately benefit financially from every mold sample sent into their firm for evaluation.
MOLD TESTING FEES - Mold fees are split evenly between the labs and the testing firms. Fees are anywhere from $75 to $200 per sample. I have spoken with many home inspectors who have bragged about how they make more money off the mold testing derived from their home inspections than they do off their home inspections. We have also witness several home inspectors who have dropped their home inspection businesses completely in favor of taking mold samples only.
NO LIABILITY & NO RESPONSIBILITY - The mold samplers have very little liability because they just take samples. The majority do not evaluate the resulting laboratory reports. The majority also offer do not offer further investigation into the source of the moisture or the scope of the needed repairs.
MOLD PROFESSIONALS - When comparing the “One Day Wonder” mold samplers with the true mold professionals that carry titles such as, Industrial Hygienist, Building Scientist, Indoor Air Quality Professional, and Microbiologist, the first thing you will find is the price quote. The samplers will start at $200 and the professionals will start at $1,000. The professionals will include an evaluation of the sample reports in an attempt to identify the source of the moisture.
MICHAEL’S OPINION - I am sorely tempted to say at this time that the majority of mold testers in northern Utah are nothing more than charlatans raping the real estate market, and will continue to do so as long as the media and the lawyers keep driving the hysteria, but of course I would never say anything like that.
TIP: If we were to hire a mold inspector, we would ask the prospective sampler if they will be evaluating the lab results and giving guidance on what course of action should be taken. Mold Samplers will not be able to offer that service due to liability, lack of insurance coverage for assessments, and the lack of training needed to assess the lab reports and water entry issues.
LAB REPORTS ARE NOT ENOUGH - If you have time youe should look up the lab reports shared above in the yellow box. You will notice that some list the specific amounts of each mold, but the ProLab report does not. You will also see a general summary that is boilerplate from the laboratory technician who has never seen the house and has no idea what is going on inside the property. And just for fun you should pretend that you just spent $250-$500 and see what information you glean from the reports. Most consumers have no idea what to do next after receiving the lab report.
TESTING IS USUALLY NOT NECESSARY - In most cases mold testing is flushing away good money because the results do not change the course of action. If you know that you have had moisture entry, your nose can smell the mold, or if you can see visible mold, then the course of action is the same. Determining the type of mold makes no difference....
- You need to determine the source of the moisture.
- You need to repair and stop the moisture entry/leak.
- You need to remove the affected materials.
- You then need to replace the affected materials.
MOISTURE INTRUSION PROFESSIONAL - Michael Leavitt is a true moisture intrusion professional that assesses the entire building envelope to determine how the moisture is migrating into the structure. If you know that there has been or currently is an ongoing water entry issue, then have Michael chase down the leak and give you guidance on how to best proceed.
NO SMELL, NO LEAK HISTORY, RESPIRATORY ISSUES - The only time that we recommend mold testing is when there is no smell, no history of water entry, no current evidences or conducive conditions for moisture entry, and yet the owner or buyer is concerned about their health due to respiratory illnesses. In this situation we recommend that at least 3 air samples be taken (more for larger homes). The first sample is taken on the outside of the home. The second is taken in the bedroom where the person will be sleeping. The third is in the basement where either water is most prone to enter or in the basement family room where the person is most likely to spend a lot of time.
Air sampling is not conclusive and is subject to many factors. There can be mold and air sampling will not necessarily find it. If the mold spores have not been agitated, then there may not be any spores for the air sampler to catch. The three results will allow for comparisons to be made between normal outside air, and the interior readings.
OOPS - WE ALSO RECOMMEND TESTING FOR FLOOD CLEAN-UP - Mold sampling is also quite useful when you have a major flood or water damage issue and you need before and after air test sampling to show that the work was successful. Clearance test results are very useful when compared to the before work baseline testing. If you need this type of testing, then call or email us and we will direct you onto the appropriate professional. Usually this type of testing is dictated by the insurance company and the homeowner is not in the selection loop.
MOLD IS EVERYWHERE - Hopefully you realize that mold is everywhere. It is inside and outside of all buildings. The question is whether or not there are unusually high molds inside the home when compared with the outside air. The same is true from the reading from one floor to another.
ALLERGIC - Some of our clients have known respiratory illness and they know exactly what they are allergic. Air sampling testing can be very beneficial to them as they can immediately draw conclusions from the laboratory results. This type of client makes up less than 1% of all my inspection clients. For them, I direct them to established mold samplers and if you feel that you need a true mold professional, then contact us and we will direct you to them. But the rest of you will probably determine that you have better areas to invest your money when it comes time to determine what evaluations you really need.
OTHER EVALUATIONS - We feel that our clients are best served by investing in our top notch building inspection, and then take their remaining funds and invest in our other services as needed:
- Stucco Inspections
- Moisture Intrusion Evaluations
- Termite Inspections
- EOET - Electrical Outlet Efficiency Testing
- Deck Inspections
- Radon Testing
- Lead-Based Paint Evaluations
- Thermal Image Scanning
VALUABLE LINKS - In an effort to direct our clients to the best information, we have compiled some of the best mold links on the internet. The information ranges from basic to way over the top scientific. We hope that this information helps you to make a more informed decision and we look forward to performing your needed inspections.