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The Toxic Mold Series

Part 4: Spotting Mold Scams
July 12, 2022

Explore The Toxic Mold Series

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

The Toxic Mold Series

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Mold Remediation has Limited State by State Regulation and Certification

Unfortunately, in many instances, mold remediation certifications are optional.  This makes spotting potential mold scams more difficult.  Many local “mold remediators” identified online do not have the prerequisite expertise required to consistently and accurately identify and address all forms of mold contamination, ventilation physics (building science), and indoor air quality issues with a home that may be causing the occupant’s health issues.

 

Wide Variances in Mold Expertise

 

Finding the right professionals to help you is essential. It is helpful to have a series of questions that are useful in identifying mold inexperience or spotting mold scams.  For chronic mold sufferers, an IEP should have knowledge of all efforts required to remediate a home.  They must know and be willing to share what they “do not know”.  When it comes to the remediation workers, there are significant variances in mold knowledge due to different certifications, relevant experience, craftmanship, knowledge, and training can obviously make hiring the right professional very difficult.  Failure to perform the remediation properly with the right safeguards can result in further contamination throughout the home.

In today’s economy, you can expect most potential vendors to do or say what you want to hear to get their business. Unfortunately, there are severe consequences to hiring the wrong company.  Ineffective mold remediation proposals can be naive in mold biology or building science, or they can be technically dishonest attempts to defraud homeowners. In some cases, elaborate mold scams are considered both health-related and financial fraud.  They proposal may not follow essential aspects of a mold inspection.

 

Scammers Often Target Victims Natural Disasters

 

These contractors often target your fears, minimize the scope of work required, overstate their competencies, and offer false hope. It’s necessary for mold sufferers to be conscientious consumers to know what questions to ask to identify spot dis-ingenuine vendors or fraudsters before they cause more harm or waste your money.  Those who commit this type of fraud often prey on unknowing homeowners following a natural disaster. Mold scammers will often attempt to blend in with real agencies that will help you, such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, legit church groups, and FEMA. Always know who you are talking to, and make sure you’re talking to a real representative of the group or company.

 

Mold Remediation Consists of:

 

  • Identifying and testing for mold contamination
  • Developing a specified mold remediation plan
  • Fixing the cause of the moisture
  • Recognizing dust/debris issues with the home
  • Providing containment and safety measures to prevent further mold growth or contamination
  • Cleaning up the mold and dust/debris safely with non-toxic products
  • Rigorously cleaning up or replacing structural elements such as walls, beams, and other objects damaged by mold
  • Identifying furnishings that must be removed or that cannot be properly remediated.  Not doing so may result in further contamination of the home post-remediation.

It is important to note that the mold removal and remediation industry, like many, is a legitimate industry marred by dishonest people who are looking for easy money. Knowing and understanding how legitimate mold removal is done is the first step in spotting a mold  scam.

Qualified mold experts hold themselves to professional standards and always follow EPA or IICRC guidelines,(which anyone can learn about by googling).  You can learn more about the IICRC HERE.

Below is a list of practices that identify a lack of expertise to properly and safely address a mold issue or can be used in spotting mold scams.  You can use this list to evaluate or ask questions when obtaining mold estimates.

 

Signs and Warnings of Mold Scams:

 

  • Does not provide credentials
  • Only offers visual inspection.
  • Does not investigate crawl space and attic
  • Hesitant to describe containment and the use of positive and negative pressure while remediating.
  • Estimate doesn’t address moisture issue that caused the mold to grow
  • Discourages self-testing or getting a second opinion
  • Does not discuss HVAC inspection or cleaning
  • Does not require damaged roofs to be covered with tarps until repairs can be made
  • Does not recommend that you temporarily move out of the home for health reasons
  • Says they fixed your mold but has no debris to remove when there is clearly permanent structure damage or visible debris
  • According to home advisor the average mold removal costs from $400 to $6,000. Anything higher could be a scam, unless the damage is extensive.
  • The contractor makes you feel afraid
  • Have no references to provide testimonials
  • Has no plan for using a HEPA air purifier or HEPA Air Scrubber during mold removal and clean-up
  • Does not use or mention the need for HEPA Vacuuming
  • There is no guarantee
  • Contractor has little awareness of the effects of condensation and humidity on mold
  • Shows up after a natural disaster but has no official website describing capabilities

This concludes this Immunolytics Mold Series. I hope your found information from the past month useful keeping a mold free home.

Conduct Your Own Inspection or Mold Testing 

Simple mold testing will provide you specific data that you can use to validate any expert inspection findings.  It is preferable that you do so prior to the inspection to begin building a working knowledge of mold contamination.  You can purchase an Immunolytics mold kit HERE.

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Special Acknowledgement 

I would like to recognize and thank the following Indoor Environmental Professionals for taking the time to speak with me on these topics and others on numerous occasions.  Each of these professionals have extraordinary experience and expertise and are amongst the highest level of competence in the industry.  More important, they consistently deliver safe homes back to their owners.  Each of them have been able to share the outcomes of poor remediation or mold scams they have witnessed after being contracted to fix these homes.

 

Jeff Bookout

Certified Mold Inspector (CMI),  Certified Mold Remediation Contractor (CMRC)

Airwell
www.airwellnow.com   Tel: 580-574-1373
Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico
Provides industry standard inspection and laboratory analysis of many indoor containments including Mold, Asbestos, Radon, VOCs, EMF, Particulates, Lead, and many others.

John Crewdson

Home Inspector / OwnerHome Inspector / Owner

Artisan Home Inspection LLC
Atlanta, GA
www.artisanhomeinspection.com  Tel: 678-800-1291

Specializes in pre-purchase real estate inspection for mold sensitive or cautious home buyers.  Client Protection Plan uniquely provides full set of warranties covering home, roof, and building systems. This includes a “We’ll Buy Your Home Back Guarantee” for 90 days.

Martine Davis, BBEC

Certified Building Biologist

Indoor Environmental Testing Inc.
Madison, Wisconsin and Minneapolis, Minnesota
www.AirInspector.com   Tel: 608-241-9883
Author, Certified Building (BAU) Biologist who trained and taught at International Institute for Building Biology as the senior instructor for 17 years.

Danny Gough

Energy Solutions, Inc.

PO Box 745
Lewisville, NC 27023
housedoc@yadtel.net   Tel: 336 463 2005
Specialties: Building Performance Consulting, Psychometric analysis and advanced humidity control, Design of HVAC systems for Low Energy Buildings, Geothermal, Solar, Radiant, and Service hot water. Instructor: National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), University of Housing, Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Continuing Education, American Institute of Architects (AIA), Healthy Home Specialist (HHS) Certified Building Performance Analyst, Certified Home Energy  (Green) Rater; Green Rater, NC Licensed Mechanical Contractor

Joe Spurgeon Ph.D., (Industrial Hygienist, Expert on Mold)

Bayshore Environmental

http://expertonmold.com   Tel: 714-719-5020
Author, Expert Witness, Researcher, Innovator, Industry Thought Leader, Lecturer, and a Source of Wisdom for the Entire Indoor Air Quality Industry.