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David C Sulock


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Lead Safe Certification New Jersey's                           New Lead Paint Law

Dec 5, 2022 7:50:19 AM / by David C Sulock posted in Lead, Lead paint inspections, NJ Lead safe, lead visual inspection, lead risk assessment

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Lead-Based Paint Inspections in Rental Dwelling Units as per  P.L. 2021, c. 182 aka New Jersey's Lead Safe Law July 2022

 

What New Landlords need to Know

July 22, 2022, New Jersey’s newest lead-based paint law is now in effect and the law affects all pre 1978 rental properties. The law is being referred to as New Jersey’s Lead Safe Certification and requires rental property owners to complete a lead paint inspection. The inspection is either visual or visual and wipe sampling depending on the municipality.

What landlords need to know

The New Jersey lead law requires that the landlord of residential properties (apartments, houses, duplexes, etc.) hire a certified lead evaluation contractor to perform inspection on target properties single family, two-family and multiple rental dwellings for lead-based paint hazards every three years. The first inspection must be completed by July 22, 2026, or at tenant turnover if that occurs prior to July 22, 2026.

If your rental property has not had lead testing performed previously and you would have obtained a Lead Free certification, then you are to assume lead paint is present and have the lead paint inspection performed. In short if you don’t have paperwork stating the building has no lead paint you must perform the required inspections.

Curren Environmental offers lead based paint risk assessments and lead based paint inspections for NJ property owners.   888-301-1050

lead safe inspection

 

Visual Lead Safe Certification: The Curren certified lead inspector will perform a visual inspection of all interior areas of the rental unit, looking for deteriorated paint. New Jersey considers deteriorated paint to be chipping, peeling or flacking paint.   If no deteriorated paint is found the rental unit owner can receive a Lead Safe Certificate which is good for 2 years.

For example, one of the photos below would pass the lead safe inspection, the other would not.

 

lead paint inspection-1lead safe

Dust Wipe Testing for Lead Safe Certification:   The Curren certified lead inspector will perform a visual inspection of all interior areas of the rental unit AND obtain dust wipe samples for laboratory analysis.   If no lead is found by the analysis above government standards, the rental unit owner can receive a Lead Safe Certificate which is good for 2 years.

 

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Bank owned properties with Environmental Issues

Dec 1, 2022 11:02:00 AM / by David C Sulock

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Bank-owned properties with Environmental Issues.

Curren started dealing with Bank owned properties both residential and commercial starting in the 1990s.  Aside from the fact that buying a bank-owned property means you are buying a property that the owner will make no representations on, you are also likely buying a property with an environmental issue.  So due diligence is of paramount importance to protect your best interest.    For commercial sites a Phase I is mandatory and expect a Phase II.   For residential aside from a typical home inspection, you will need to pull the trigger on a tank sweep and mold inspection (be sure to get air sampling with the mold inspection).

Bank owned properties with Environmental Issues

Be double concerned if the bank-owned property was flipped.  

Flippers don’t do due diligence generally, so they are out looking for problems.  What issues have we seen with buying a flipped home $10,000 to $210,000 of Environmental remediation?  These costs relate to unhealthy levels of EDA leaching from the water pine, leaking oil tanks, hidden structural issues, and of course mold.

Oil tanks at bank owned properties

Pro Tip - We find mold issues in approximately 80% of former bank-owned sites.  The #1 reason is that the home was vacant and stuff happens when no one is home, like uncontrolled humidity and of course water leaks and rain entry into the structure that gets confidently covered over by the flipper.

Don’t Blame the Bank for Environmental Issues.

Unfortunately for both banks and borrowers, many mortgages fall into foreclosure with the bank taking title to the property.  Banks want to loan money not foreclose and clearly, people that obtain a mortgage do so with the intention of enjoying homeownership. Environmental contamination at bank owned properties

But economic hardships happen,  in the 2007 recession thousands of homes had mortgages that were more than the property was worth, triggering a wave of foreclosures.  Mostly

this wave has subsided, although we work with banks and government agencies and are told that there will always be a large pool of properties where people default on the mortgage.   Talk to any experienced house flipper and they will tell you that bank-owned properties have always existed and represent a good investment for them.

The photo below, a restaurant that the bank owned.  The place sold and still smells of mold.

mold and foreclosed properties

The rub with bank-owned properties is that the bank must take the asset back because the mortgagor is not paying the mortgage.  So if the house has a leaking roof,  the bank has to manage it.  Can you say mold?  Obvious issues with the home have to be addressed so the home does not decrease in value and is also in a condition where the house can be sold.    Undisclosed oil tanks are not an issue on the banks' priority list.  In practice, most banks are not equipped to process a foreclosed property.  Remember banks lend money, yes they have people to manage foreclosed properties but that is not their primary business so do not expect them to excel at it.    Banks are also looking to minimize their losses as they are now forced with taking a property back, so corners get cut. 

Did you know most banks once they take a property back utilities are shut off? If the house has a sub pump and it rains, well water fills the basement and mold grows. 

Pro Tip - Environmental issues can drive a property into foreclosure because the costs of remediation and the amount owed on the mortgage can exceed the property value.

The reality is with an uncertain economy, homes fall into foreclosure, making the bank responsible for the upkeep and future sale of the asset. Many of these properties have active and often times inactive tanks, and failing infrastructure, if you let the property fall into the bank's hands you don’t have the funds to maintain the property.  

Regarding tanks, the homeowner may have converted to natural gas, leaving the tank in place as it was just another expense.  Fast forward to today, the home is being sold "as is", the bank represents that a tank is onsite, but that’s it.  No warranties regarding contamination are expressed or implied.  

Buyer comes along and tests the tank because they are savvy enough to know tanks can leak and tank leaks are expensive to clean up.  They do a boring and find oil and either want to back out of the deal or want to know the cost for cleanup so they can negotiate the sales, and lower the cost of the purchase.  The problem is all they know is the tank leaked, clearly if the tank didn’t leak no cleanup is required no further worry.  What they don’t realize is that a tank leak is a whole other issue and you have to go into an investigative or diagnostic phase to determine the extent of the contamination.  Budget $3,000.00 to $5,000.00 on average to define (delineate) the contamination so remedial costs can be developed.  Delineation is akin to an architect drafting plans to build a home or an addition.  The architect's plans allow the owner to split costs on construction as the plans define things like the size of the house, the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and type of windows, in short, the details that make up the bigger picture.  A delineation says the contamination goes 16’ deep, groundwater is 14’ so you have a groundwater issue, contamination extends 2’ onto the neighbor's property, 6’ under the house, etc. get the picture?  

A tank test says hey there is an oil by the tank, a delineation says where the oil stopped flowing.  It gives you a 3D map you can follow to determine how much soil needs to be removed.

Now, what buyer is going to spend thousands of dollars to figure out remedial costs the bank may not even agree to since the sale is as is?  The answer is not many, people hope that the leak only costs 5k or $10,000.00, when in reality the cost could be $70,000 or $110,000.  You don’t know until you wrap your hands around the size.

Your best outcome is either to bite the bullet and do the delineation so you can actually have real costs to clean up or push the bank to delineate so you can negotiate a purchase price knowing the cleanup is only $42,000.00.   What bank is going to give a mortgage on a property that needs $42,000.00 worth of cleanup?

Now I just discussed neglect of the property during bank ownership.  How about intentional damage?   We see it, you can imagine losing a property is stressful.   Well, it can drive people to do destructive things. Think pulling out the cooper plumbing lines, cutting electrical wires, hammering holes in Sheetrock, and even dumping chemicals in the ground. Yea the last one is real we had a $800,000 property become bank owned, and the owner dumped oil, gas, and other compounds in the ground.  A neighbor told us he drained a boat into the ground and dumped oil out of lawn equipment on the ground.  You really can’t make this stuff up.

Environmental issues relating to real estate are complicated, you can trust issues want a firm with over 2 decades of experience.  Call Curren at 888-301-1050.

 

Environmental liability of bank owned properties

 

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GPR Tank Sweeps

Nov 29, 2022 11:43:00 AM / by David C Sulock posted in OIl Tank Sweeps, tank sweeps with GPR, gpr tank scan

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A GPR Tank Sweep uses non-invasive subsurface technology (Ground Penetrating Radar) to locate buried Underground Storage
GPR Tank Sweep
 Tanks (USTs) and subsurface and training to provide the safest and most accurate methods for locating underground storage tanks. It is essential to know the difference between the typical “tank sweep” and what we provide. The typical “tank sweep” is completed with a simple metal detector. If they find something they say, “maybe it’s a tank or maybe something else”. We perform multiple “Area of Concern” investigations each week for clients who had hired (and paid) other tank sweep companies but could not actually determine if there is a tank below the surface.
 
When we perform a tank sweep, we ensure our technicians have removed tanks by working on our field crew.  We are licensed in three states for tank removal and have removed tens of thousands of tanks, we know about tanks.  That fact by itself makes our work better than almost every other company that professes they can locate tanks but can't remove them.
 
Our Geophysical division has over a quarter million dollars in equipment investments to ensure we have access to all the tools in the toolbox.   
 
 Pro Tip:
 To be fair successful tank sweeps rely heavily on the experience of the technician as well as using more than one tool to locate a tank.  
  
Why is Curren so good at Tank Sweeps?
From years of experience, a GPR Tank Sweep by Curren provides the most comprehensive and successful approach.  When we find a tank, you also get a cost to remove it with our report.  We also strive to submit permits for removal within 24 hours of being hired, which is an industry-leading standard.
 
Pro Tip:
When the GPR scans over an oil tank, it provides a very distinct bell curve. Due to its unique dimensions, it is unmistakable from other underground anomalies. 
 

UNDERGROUND TANK LOCATION EXPERTS

GPR Tank Sweep

Photo Jan 18, 9 55 09 AM

A leaking oil tank can be the nightmare below the surface of the property y you are buying.   When oil tanks leak, they contaminate the soil and even the groundwater. Due to what we view as slightly unfair environmental regulations, if a property is purchased with a leaking tank, the new owner is responsible for all environmental cleanup costs.

Environmental cleanup costs can range from what we call a small amount of $10,000 to over $100,000 depending on how much fuel oil leaks into the surrounding soil. This cost is not covered by most homeowner insurance policies.

Don't let this be your house.   

Best gpr tank sweep

Call Curren Today

 

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Do oil tanks exist under buildings?

Nov 2, 2022 3:50:00 PM / by David C Sulock posted in oil tank removal nj, oil tank removal pa, underground oil tanks, tank abandoned in place, filled in place tank, pa tank removal, leaking tanks, tank leaks, oil tank leaks

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It is not unheard of that buildings are built on top of oil tanks.  Definitely not a good idea, but the structure was typically built either before environmental regulations or without regard for the regulations, or the oil tank. 

Oil Tanks Under Buildings

Every oil tank that is underground and even under a building has the possibility of leaking.  When a tank leaks you may have to clean up the leak, which requires removing soils (soil remediation).  How do you do soil remediation when you have a structure over the tank?    The photo below is a garage, where the walls were supported and the floor and contaminated soil was removed.  

Oil Leak in Garage

If you want to buy a house with a tank under the house or think of selling a house with a tank in this situation, think again.  The concern with oil tanks is they leak and if they leak you may have to clean them up and that can cost money.  I know a number of properties that owners tried to sell, but having a tank buried under the sunroom was a sticking point and prevented a sale.  The only way these houses went to the settlement table was by having the owner cut open and clean the tank and take samples to show the tank did not leak.  Yes, a project like this can cost thousands of dollars but these are costs that are the responsibility of the property owner even if they never used the tank and bought the house knowing a tank was under a structure. 

In practice, many tanks that are under a garage, house or porch we find are not leaking. Why?  Well because you have an umbrella over the tank being the structure.  The house keeps the tank dry which in turn inhibits rust.  Don't get me wrong some do leak, but the drier any metal is the more corrosion resistance will occur.

oil tank under porch

When decommissioning the tank a confirmation that the tank did not leak can be acquired by soil sampling.  This entails entering and cleaning the tank of all residual petroleum compounds (liquid and sludge).  The empty cleaned tank can then be removed and soil samples acquired from the tank excavation.    But in the case of a tank under a building where removal is not practical, you can cut holes through the shell of the cleaned tank and obtain soil samples.    

So you see there is no reason you can't take soil samples from tanks that have been filled in place.  People who own tanks do not want to take soil samples because they may get bad results.  The saying goes if you do not test you have a 100% chance of finding nothing.

managing oil tanks under houses

 

The photo series below is of a tank under the crawl space floor that was cleaned and tested.  The rub was that the tank leaked and remediation was necessary.  So contaminated soil had to be removed.

 

IMG_0600          IMG_1647

IMG_1660The tank was removed, and the soil contamination removed.  A picture is worth a thousand words.

Oil Tanks Under Buildings

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Licensed in Delaware  Pennsylvania & New Jersey

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Best Oil Tank Removal

Oct 26, 2022 3:53:00 PM / by David C Sulock posted in oil tank removal, oil tank removal new jersey, oil tank removal nj, tank removal, oil tank removal pa

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If you are involved with an oil tank removal project, it is probable your first tank removal and likely your last. The odds of you making the best decision are slim. Let’s agree that the best tank removal is one where the tank does not leak and you don’t have to remediate.

That said, you could expect a cost for tank removal on average to be about $1,800.00. This cost entails the time to get permits, equipment, and labor to excavate the tank, trained personnel to cut open and clean the tank, oil recovery, tank removal, soil sampling, backfill material, and labor, and ultimately a report from the company so you can document the tank removal. The tank report is completed weeks after removal and is performed in an office utilizing the notes and data collected from your site. Sounds like a lot for $1,800.00, well it is.

 Best oil tank removal

Let’s talk about what makes your tank removal the best tank removal.

Your cost is close to the average cost of $1,800.00. Why, well the firm that sells these services has to do the work at a market rate where they can make money. Otherwise, they are offering the work at a loss, with the plan that they will make the money on the backend, which is the remediation and even small remediation can cost over $8,000.00. You get what you pay for, remember that.

If you buy a house that had an oil tank, you want to know that the tank did not leak. The only way to know that is if you have testing completed. Being the owner of the tank you may think you do not want to have testing done, or else you may find a problem. After 25 years of dealing with tanks the bottom line question, everyone wants to know is if the tank leaked. Buyers and sellers because that answers can make or break a real estate transaction. Bottom line tank soil samples when the tank is removed

Why do many contracts for tank removal not include soil sampling? Short answer, it is cheaper. Soil samples cost $120.00 on average and with two soil samples being the average number acquired sampling can raise the cost by $240.00, plus the time to write a report that talks about the test results. Look, you are removing an old buried metal object, you are fooling yourself if you don’t think that rust and extensively have not occurred to the tank. Your low-cost tank removal company is counting on this and will be happy to give you a cost to remediate the tank once contamination is discovered.

Why do many contracts not include a report of the tank removal? Cost again is the culprit. If you write a report you need someone present during tank removal that will be taking notes, photos, and soil samples and will eventually sit behind a desk to type a report. That all takes time and there is a cost involved. The bottom line make sure the contract includes a report.

Tank removal site assessment soil samples when acquired for independent laboratory analysis provide quantitative, not qualitative data. New Jersey and Pennsylvania have one comparative standard for number two heating oil in the soil and that is by laboratory analysis. Visual, oil water agitation, or olfactory evaluations have no standards so you have no foundation to lay an opinion.

Residential tank removals do not specifically require that you obtain soil samples. This conflicts with the interest of a purchaser (mortgage or insurance underwriter) for a site when hard data is requested. Legally you do not need to test, if a buyer wants to test prior to purchase it is their due diligence and hence their cost. Obviously, it is less expensive to acquire samples from an open excavation at the tie of removal, as opposed to post-removal and backfilling.

What is the best tank removal? The best is one where testing and a report are provided as part of the tank removal. It is what is required for commercial sites, so why wouldn’t you do the same for a residence?Call Curren Today

 

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How long does an aboveground heating oil tank last?

Oct 20, 2022 11:41:00 AM / by David C Sulock

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Let's agree nothing lasts forever.  Most people would likely never change the batteries in their smoke detectors if the unit did not beep when the batteries were low.   Additionally, not everyone buys Top of Line products.  Meaning, that you get what you pay for, so cheaper tanks, have shorter warranties than more expensive tanks, and no this is not a generalization it is fact.

A standard tank has a short warranty (10 year)  Residential Oil Tanks | Granby oil tanks | Oil tanks | Granby Industries.   Tanks with 30 to 40-year warranties, well they can be 4 x the cost of cheaper tanks. The average age lifespan of an oil tank is 20 years

If your tank is going to be staged outside or you are on an island, your tank is subject to harsher conditions and you likely should use a tank with a more extended warranty and one that would be more resistant to the elements, but people buy what they can afford.  Painting it is also a good idea, manufactures don’t paint tanks because people want them to match the house and the tanks get scratched before they arrive on a site.

How to Prolong the Life of Your AST

Tanks typically arrive in a primer red color and so many of these tanks never get painted post-installation.  So paint your tank with weather-resistant paint.  Lighter colors are better than darker colors. That said,  a black tank is subject to larger temperature swings than a light-colored tank, meaning more likely to develop condensation and if it's on an island salt air. Remember the tank has a vent so you are subject to moisture in the air. Horizontal tanks have a larger bottom surface area than horizontal tanks so water on the bottom has more surface area to impact, meaning rust.

How long does an AST (Aboveground Storage Tank) Last

Keep the environment where the tank is located as dry as possible.  Clearly outside staged tanks are difficult to control moisture, but indoor tanks can be managed.  Note the tank in the following photo, the tank looks pretty good but the two legs of the tank you can see are clearly rust-stained.  A dehumidifier in the basement would be a form of moisture control.

How to Prolong the Life of Your AST

 

Maintain your oil tank. After you paint it, keep an eye on it, if you see rust forming, alight sand and a coat of paint will help prevent future rust on the exterior.

how to manage a heating oil tank

Keeping the tank near full will also limit the surface area inside the tank where moisture can cause corrosion.  Nothing gets younger, so even a new tank will become old and out of warranty, know the age of the tank and be prepared to replace the tank before it leaks.  Note the photo below of a cut-open AST, note the rust.   Moisture inside the tank as well as low sulfur fuel corrodes the tank. 

Why do tanks leak

 inside of AST with rust

Final note, if you have a heating oil AST that is no longer being used, get it removed.  The largest vessel on your property holds liquid (pools and hot tubs excluded).   These abandoned tanks take up space and will leak and the empty tank you thought you had, well when it leaks you will find that the tank actually had oil in it.

Call Curren Today

Tank Removal Costs - find out more about the costs of tank removals. 

how long do tank last

 

 

 

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Records Search with Risk Assessment (RSRA)

Sep 29, 2022 8:15:00 AM / by David C Sulock

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Prior to buying commercial real estate, savvy buyers do their due diligence.

No one wants to buy a property that is devalued with environmental remediation costs. Hence, why you look before you leap, and do environmental due diligence such as Phase I.  But real estate being real estate, many buyers spend months if not longer trying to find the property that fits their needs, Failed sales and limited inventory can drive buyers to cut corners when they do indeed find a property they want to buy.

Records Search with Risk Assessment

 How do you avoid environmental issues when buying a commercial property?   You do your environmental due diligence such as a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment.   But there are other forms of environmental due diligence you can do.

Many banks and the SBA will accept a Records Search with Risk Assessment (RSRA) in lieu of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESAs) for low-risk properties. An RSRA product is an expedited and inexpensive due diligence product that allows the lender to evaluate the environmental risk quickly.   The RSRA can determine if a full Phase I is required.  In short, not every property may warrant a Phase I.  Now that is not to say that doing a Phase I is not a good idea, it is actually one of the best ideas when buying property, but if you have a property that appears low risk or a short time frame, an RSRA can give you a quick snapshot of potential environmental conditions.    The map below shows a gas tank (GT) on a property,  this was found from the RSRA and drove the need for a Phase I or gives the buyer to step back from the purchase.

 

Records Search with Risk Assessment (RSRA)

Curren Environmental is a leading providers of RSRAs for financial institutions and end users (buyers). Curren offers several advantages over our leading competition including:

  • Inhouse personnel complete all work.
  • We do thousands of due diligence evaluations every year, experience pays.
  • During lockdown we remained open and busy, because real estate was moving

If the RSRA finds additional work is needed, we do that, Phase I,II & III.

Records Search with Risk Assessment (RSRA)

 

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Is Mold a Scam?

Sep 20, 2022 1:54:00 PM / by David C Sulock

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Mold is a four-letter word and will bring out emotions in people.  Some rational emotions, some not so rational.  Compound that with the fact that when people have health concerns they blame mold as the source (sometimes correctly) of the health issues.   Unfortunately, there are no federal regulations for mold and only 11 states have mold regulations so the ability to deal with a "mold professional" is severely limited even for people in states that have mold laws.   What that means is, yes, you could get scammed with mold, but you could also get taken advantage of by a licensed contractor doing work on your home as well, you have all heard stories of contractors doing shoddy work or running off with deposit money.

Is mold a problem

We find that the issue with mold is it is rarely discussed rationally by companies.   By rational, we find that companies play off people's fears and emotions rather than address mold in a scientific fashion.  Meaning assessing why mold is present, (there is always a reason), assessing how far the mold has spread and then developing a scope to remediate. The above photo shows mold by an HVAC air vent.  Occupants of the office were concerned that mold is getting sucked into the duct and spreading throughout the office.  It had to be explained that the duct is blowing air out not in.   And no the duct was not filled with mold (ducts are metal 90% of the time and mold doesn't eat metal).   The cause of the mold was an air leak in the wall that caused moisture to mix with air from the duct forming a nice environment for mold growth on the surface in the photo.   A simple fix on the outside wall solved the issue.   But our advice 100% contradicted the company that said every room in the office was at risk (there were over 34 rooms on the floor.    We tested 20 of the rooms via air sampling to disprove the theory of widespread mold growth.   This is what I mean by rational vs irrational.  Oh, and rational saves money.

mold air testing

We are mold experts and have been for over 20 years.  We consult on mold, test for mold, remediate mold and teach classes on mold.  That said we can offer some free advice on the mold that could help you from being scammed.

First, if you feel like you are being taken advantage of, you likely are.  This comes from many people who we have helped after they had the suspicion they were not being treated fairly.

Second, in sales, a common tactic is to push a sense of urgency (to close the deal).  You have all no doubt experienced that when buying a car.   Well with mold if you are being scared by a company regarding mold, that is a tactic to push a sale.

Third,   this is the hard one, fact-check what you are told.   Since so few states have licensing for mold,  when an individual or company says they are licensed, verify it.   I work in NJ, DE, and NJ and cannot hold a state license in any of those states because none exist.  Nor do I profess to have a license in those states.   25 years of experience (thousands of sites remediated)  is more or less the foundation of our skill set.  And yes I would acquire a license if one becomes available.

Opinions (paid), and contracts for work should all be in writing clearly explaining what is proposed to be performed, the cost, and the duration of work.     Most states have consumer fraud protection where work is required to be in writing, this is not always the case.   As a general rule get it in writing. Such as someone saying mold is widespread and a large area needs remediation.  Ok if that is the case, why?  How did you determine that the situation was so severe?

Pro Tip

Anyone offering a free inspection is looking for work or should I say a problem.  They are motivated to find a problem because that is where they will make money.   Trust me the problem they find will be hyped, may not be much of a problem, and could even be a problem the owner could fix themselves.   The problem is if you do not pay for advice, there will be bias regarding the free advice you obtain.

To be clear, most people you are going to speak to about mold are not experts.   Even a company that does a mold inspection or mold testing likely does not have expertise in understanding the complexity of mold spores, growth, etc.     Case in point we got the following question from Houston, Texas.

Do I need particle count + spore samples, or just spore samples in the known areas where mold is apparent? The contractor with particle count quoted me a price but yells at me when I mention testing. The other contractor with the spore samples approach does not have specialized particle count equipment. He takes the approach that we know where we see/smell the problem, and once the spores are tested, we will know more about how to fix it.

Do you know what the person is asking?  There are only 4 sentences, so what you can derive from them is that mold is visible (EPA says testing is not required when visible mold growth is present).   So each party is recommending some form of testing, but why?   The question is what caused the mold growth? (this is important so mold doesn't grow back).    The next question is what will it take to address the mold?   Lastly, both contractors are saying to do different testing, what is not explained is that there are no Federal standards so what would the testing be compared against?

If you see visible mold, you should address it and its cause of it.   A qualified mold inspector and/or remediator can figure this out.  Doesn't look like either person involved is qualified. (yelling is never an acceptable form of communication.) 

Are there companies that do shoddy mold work, for sure like any other service you can get bad service?   Do you want expert mold advice?   Call Curren.

Call for Mold Questions.

Mold Professional

 

 

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Buying a House with a Leaking Oil Tank

Sep 14, 2022 2:12:00 PM / by David C Sulock

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It has been a seller's market for a while now and some buyers have waived inspections.   Please note that even on "as is sales" and "no inspection offers", Buyers have been doing  Oil Tank Sweeps and even Oil Tank Testing as part of the Due Diligence you don't hear about.     The reason being the liability of a leaking tank is too great.

That said we have had people actually purchase homes with oil tanks, not realizing the liability associated with tanks.

What people don't understand is buried oil tanks rust and leak and this can occur for years while the tank is being used without the owner knowing.  People also didn't remove tanks when they stopped using them to both save money and avoid finding a problem.    So naïve people are buying homes with oil tanks finding they have leaked and are hoping that maybe $5,000.00 will solve the tank leak.  Truth be told, small tank leaks can cost $8000.00 to $15,000.00.

The photo below shows a tank leak that cost $34,000 to remediate.

buying a home with a leaking oil tank

The oil tank remediation below was $44,000.00

is buying a home with an oil tank safe

The remediation for this tank was only $12,000.00, not including landscape restoration.

oil tank remediation costs

The tank remediation below was about $130,000.00

oil tank leak costs

Do you get the point?   Oil runs through the soil and when you have to chase after and remove it to remediate it, it can cost tens of thousands of dollars.  It boggles the mind a bit for sure but it's factual and oil tank leaks are a "known issue".  The Known Issue of oil tanks is well documented.  In a real estate transaction, your attorney, realtor, and most important the seller are likely aware.     We know because we get calls from all three groups regarding tanks and managing them in a transaction.

Do your due diligence and get a tank scan, whether you want to waive inspections or not, during your real estate transaction.  Do not waive the tank scan inspection.

Questions?  Call Curren. 

Call Curren Today

 

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Black Mold

Sep 13, 2022 8:45:00 AM / by David C Sulock

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Black Mold, the most feared and vilified mold, isn't even a real mold.  Black mold is a name that was made up by the media and mold industry to invoke a response from you.  That's right, misinformation at its best. 

Black MoldDo not buy into the Black Mold Myth.  If black mold was real, do you not think there would be other molds named after colors?   Like white mold, grey mold, and even pink mold, because those colors of mold all exist too.   There are no molds named after colors,  molds, for the most part, have hard-to-pronounce names, so having them named after colors would certainly make them easier to pronounce.   There are many different molds that are black in color and to have a mold identified, a sample goes directly to a laboratory where they look at the mold sample under a high-powered microscope for spore/fungal identification.  What does that tell you? Well, no one who looks at mold with the naked eye cannot tell you the spore type, just isn't possible (maybe they can guess).

How about when people want to know if the mold they have is Bad Mold?    Well, a bowl of mixed nuts would be the bad nuts for anyone allergic to nuts.   The same thing goes for dairy, if you are allergic to dairy, the dairy aisle of the supermarket is bad.  My point being is the mold that affects you, is the bad mold.  But let's be clear, Mold is not a benefit when found inside a home or building.

Now, this article will certainly not be looked upon favorably by the mold remediation industry, as they want people afraid, misinformed, and motivated to get the mold problem fixed.   I once gave a talk at a convention and spoke about how black mold is a misused term.  Well after the talk I had a gentlemen come up to me and asked why I would tell people that Black Mold was not real.  He was of the idea that scared people spend money and the term Black Mold Scares people.   I speak about incorrect perceptions of the environment all the time and I don't like people being misled by the term Black Mold.

Black MoldTo put mold into laser focus, if you have mold, you don't have a mold problem, you have a water/moisture issue.  Mold is the by-product of the water issue.     So when you remediate mold (mold removal is called remediation) you better fix the water issue or it will come back.  And yes, we remediate mold and have had to remediate sites where mold was previously remediated but the water issue was not resolved.

Now, I do not wish to ignore the health issue associated with mold.  The EPA considers mold an indoor air contaminant, and rightfully so.  You can inhale a live or dead mold spore and have a reaction from it.  Mold off gases when mold is growing this produces mycotoxins and microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOC).   You may say you smell musty odors, but you are really smelling this off-gassing mold metabolism.  These compounds can also have an adverse effect on your health.     So to be clear mold will adversely affect indoor air quality and while you may be mold resistant, we have seen people move into new offices and homes with mold and after a period of time, they find mold is affecting them.

Black MoldLet me go even further into the mold.   I think we can agree that mold is not a selling feature for real estate.    If you have mold and there is an exposure pathway, meaning you are going to encounter it, (I give a pass to mold growing outside your home) the mold should be remediated.  I say should there is no law saying a home or office must remediate mold, but doing so is generally considered a positive thing.    The issue with addressing mold is the Standard of Service (SOS) you receive.   The rub with mold remediation is there are no federal laws regulating mold and at the time of this article only 11 states have mold regulations, so chances are if you have a mold problem you are in an unregulated state.  What does that mean?  It means that the company or individual you hire holds no state license and there is no SOS they must follow.  I say this because I live it. 

We get calls from all over the country regarding mold and entities they are dealing with and are less than satisfied. Complaints range from a company doing mold testing and not providing a written explanation of the test results. You see without federal regulation, there are no acceptable or unacceptable mold testing standards.   There are Industry standards, but oftentimes the company doing the work does not explain them or provide their interpretation in writing.  My belief is most people doing mold work don't know what they are doing and they get away with it because the client knows even less.

Remediation is a whole other ball game. 

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