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Mold Testing and What You Need to Know

One of the key steps to handling any mold issue is testing to determine the level of mold remediation needed, if any. The testing phase is also where the world of Mold Remediation can go from caring and trusting to bold statements and scare tactics. This article is intended to educate our local Pittsburgher on the differences in testing methods and what to look for when hiring a mold remediation or testing company. Our goal is to help you make an informed, objective decision about what is best for your specific situation. 

Mold testing is critical and can make all the difference in saving you money and time on a potential issue. However, not all mold remediation companies are interested in saving you money, but instead use deceptive tactics to gain your trust and play off of your fear into landing a job… a job which you may not even need in the first place.

We want to show you how mold companies can deceive you through the testing process.

In order to do so, let’s dive deeper into ATP testing and  Air testing – the two most common types of mold testing – so you can understand the pros and cons, basic mold sales tactics and what you really need to know about your situation to make an informed decision.

ATP Testing vs. Air Testing


This test uses a device called a luminometer which tests for Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) found on a surface. Adenosine Triphosphate is the universal energy molecule found in all animal, plant, bacteria, yeast and mold cells.

How do Mold Companies use ATP testing to land unnecessary jobs?

Typically, a mold company sends out a ‘sales’ person to your home to do a quick visual inspection and will offer a “free” ATP test. This sales person will swab areas like: door handles, countertops, sinks and even the back of refrigerator handles. In moments, you have ATP results.

This sounds great, but all you will receive from this test is a bundle of information (and some of it may even be frightening). The flaw with ATP testing is that a lot of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) is not mold. ATP is found in all living matter.

A high ATP test result is not conclusive and deterministic of mold. ATP testing does NOT give a detailed list of mold types or amounts present. But the ATP count is often used to scare customers which leads to many ‘false’ results on a regular basis which leads right into their sales pitch. This is an old trick of the mold industry that we wish to do away with. What is even worse, is a routine cleaning can lower ATP levels. So after they’ve ‘cleaned’ your house they can show lower ATP levels but may have not even addressed any mold at all!

Air Testing

on the other hand, is a thorough test used by trusted Home Inspectors, Mold Remediation companies and Environmental Hygienist alike to determine if mold is present, problematic, and the type and amount.

Air Testing begins with the mold professional identifying any potential areas in question and then assigning an individual air cassette, with a unique serial number, to each area.

One Air Test will be pulled for each area for a set amount of time (5-15 minutes) as well as a test pulled from the outside to be used as the control to measure the indoor mold levels against.

Air cassettes are then hooked up to a machine that draws air through the air cassettes to capture any particulates that come into contact. When each test is complete, the serial number is recorded on a Chain of Custody sheet to ensure the integrity of the test and sent to an independent lab for analysis. Results are typically available within 2-3 days of testing.

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Once test results are in, a trusted member of Pure Air will call you to go over the results which will contain information like types of molds, amount of mold present and what the acceptable amount of mold is based off of the control sample.

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With this information we can surmise the possible location of mold based on the types present as well as the amounts. This helps us ensure we treat the source of the mold and not just visible traces of mold. This means you get the job done correctly and do not need repeat service for a single issue. It also helps both of us determine if mold remediation is needed at all.

Pittsburgh has and will continue to depend on Pure Air for mold remediation because we educate, care, and treat our customers as if they are family. While others may charge thousands of dollars for mold that is not even present, we only use Air Testing. We happily explain all test results to our customers in a professional and trained manner. This, backed with our industry leading warranty, ensures that you will be able to make an educated decision that is best for you and your family both financially and health-wise. Give us a call next time you suspect a mold issue and let us worry about the rest!

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