Mold Inspection & Remediation
Having worked with hundreds of clients over the years, we know there is a lot of confusion and misinformation surrounding the process of identifying and dealing with a mold issue in your home or office. One set of questions we hear often is:
- Who does mold inspections and how do I find them?
- Who does mold remediation and how to I find them?
- What questions should I ask to determine if they're qualified?
- How much should they charge for their services?
These are all excellent questions to ask BEFORE hiring anyone to come into your home. Dealing with a mold situation is a delicate balance between acting quickly and acting wisely. While you do need to get mold out fast, you need the right people involved in the process to ensure it is done properly and without causing additional harm to your home and your health! Read on to determine how to know if you've got the right professionals on your team.
A mold inspector is (should be!) a professionally trained specialist who evaluates both the presence of microbial contamination and the source of any underlying moisture intrusion. They are trained to properly perform air and surface samples and to interpret the results of the selected analysis method for these samples.
There are a lot of people who will collect mold samples, but without doing a proper mold inspection, the information they provide will be of little use. For example a lot of home inspectors (for real estate transactions) will collect mold samples as an added service. Since they are in a price-driven business, they will often keep costs low by collecting one sample inside the house and one sample outside of the house. This is insufficient to characterize the majority of homes, and can give a false sense of security in the indoor air quality.
Our approach is to perform gravity plate testing within your home (see video at www.immunolytics.com) to determine if there are mold levels that have the potential to negatively affect your health. If elevated mold levels are detected, we will consult with you to determine if a full mold inspection of the area(s) with the elevated mold levels is necessary, or if you can just apply some sort of maintenance strategy. This is the most cost effective method to properly diagnose your environment.
To find a good mold inspector, you can begin by going to www.findamoldexpert.com, or by googling "Certified Mold Inspector" in your area, then ask the following questions:
- Are you a certified mold inspector? If so, which certification do you hold? Good Answer: Yes, we are certified through XXXX. (The certifying body may vary.)
- How long have you been performing mold inspections? Good Answer: We have been performing mold inspections for >5 years for hundreds of homeowners.
- During the inspection will you use an infrared (IR) camera and protimeter to detect moisture? Good Answer: We will survey your entire property for uncontrolled moisture sources using an IR Camera, and confirming with a protimeter.
- How much will the inspection cost? Answer: Prices vary drastically. You may want to request multiple quotes to get a sense of the cost in your area, BUT choosing a qualified inspector should be your primary concern before any price consideration.
A mold remediator is (should be!) a professionally trained specialist who removes mold contamination in structures and materials in conformance with certain accepted standards and resolves any underlying moisture issue leading to the contamination
If a source of mold is found within a home, contaminated building materials should be ripped out, removed from the home, and replaced with non-contaminated materials in a controlled manner. Putting the house back together after remediation is complete is relatively trivial and can be performed by a general contractor. The same is not true for mold remediation. To use a general contractor to do mold remediation, who is not certified in mold remediation, will often lead to the problem being spread into adjacent rooms/areas within the home.
To find a good mold remediator, you can begin by going to www.findamoldexpert.com, or by googling "Certified Mold Remediator" in your area, then ask the following questions:
- Are you a certified mold remediator? If so, which certification do you hold? Good Answer: Yes, we are certified through XXXX. *The certifying company isn't hugely important.
- Will you be following the IICRC S520 guidelines for mold remediation?
- Will you be using a negative air containment to remove the contaminated materials? *If they say no, or ask what a negative air containment is, do not use this contractor.
- Will you please provide us with a quote for the remediation? *Reputable firms will do this for free, and the quotes can differ by more than 100%. So, always get at least three quotes.
- When can you start, and when will the job be completed? *Mold remediation is often a major inconvenience, and time can be a deciding factor.
When your certified mold remediation contractor begins the remediation, they should start by building a negative air containment around the materials to be removed. You should see plastic sheeting that extends from the floor to the ceiling, completely surrounding the work area. You should also see a machine that looks like a big metal box on wheels with a tube blowing from the machine to the outside of the home. This is the negative air machine (HEPA filter). When the building of the negative air containment is complete, you should see the plastic walls (also called poly) being slightly sucked in toward the mold contaminated materials. This will assure that the mold spores released during removal will not travel throughout your home.