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Expert Mold Advice

Aug 11, 2020 9:30:00 AM / by David C Sulock posted in mold, mold remediation, mold consultant, professional mold remediation, mold professional, mold expert

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Expert mold advice, that is what you would want if you had a mold question - right?  Everybody wants the best available advice, but is it possible to get expert mold advice?   Finding a true mold professional is like finding a needle in a haystack.    It’s hard and rarely accomplished.  You can blame lack of government regulations as a source of the scarcity of mold professionals.  You see New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware have zero mold regulations, so every "Chuck in a Truck" can say they know mold.

Call for Mold Questions.

On a fairly consistent basis (almost daily to be fair) we get calls from people all over the country  that have questions about mold, or need us to interpret mold testing that a professional they hired cannot explain.   Fact, if you hire a professional, they should be able to provide professional advice in writing and be able to understand test results.   If your expert has a Gmail account, works out of their home or says they are licensed, I would say these are three common threads we find from people who have complaints with a mold company. 

expert mold advice

 

No mold regulations, means no licensing, no required competency or required training and testing, so what is stopping someone from changing careers,  say from selling cell phones to doing mold consulting.   True story I met someone with just that background at an event down the shore, suffice to say what they knew about mold was very little.  Or should I say, what they knew about mold was mostly inaccurate. Did you know the salt air and the pressure treated wood that are prevalent in coastal areas inhibits mold growth?  Well, either did he and he told me not to tell people that its bad for business, he said fear of mold sells.   Sorry, I can't make this stuff up.   

As an environmental consultant that consults on mold, you need to inform clients and provide recommendations on risk and courses of action.   You do not sell fear.   Mold is harmful to human health, that is established, I have had people not be able to inhabit a home, or office where mold growth was present.  I also have people who live in an environment where mold is present and levels in the air are in concentrations where I know health issues were triggered in other people, although the current occupants had no apparent ill health effects from the mold.   This is actually not uncommon as we all have our sensitivities to gluten, lactose and mold, so what might be harmful to one person may not be to another.  That is not to say mold is a selling feature of a property, it certainly is not but mold has to be looked at objectively.   

How to pick a mold company?

  1. Look for a company that at least 10 years of experience, 20 is better.
  2. Google their address, make sure they work out of an office, not a home.
  3. Check the ago of their web site address:  https://www.iplocation.net/domain-age     The longer a domain has been in operation, means the longer the company has been operating.   
  4. Ensure everything provided to you is in writing, meaning scope of work, what they will do, how they will test and what the test results will mean.  Look we all know an A grade is better than a C, and an F is the worst, well translate that into mold test results. 

At Curren Environmental we have built a base of knowledge on mold consulting and mold remediation over a 20 year period.   We meet all criteria listed above.

 

Mold expert

 

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Bank Owned Homes & Mold

Jun 19, 2020 8:45:00 AM / by david sulock posted in mold, mold remediation, mold cleanup, mold contractor, Mold Testing, mold inspections, mold survey, mold assessments, mold consultant

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The recession of 2008 can still be felt today in the form of foreclosed properties that have been flipped.    These flipped homes look nothing like the home when it was bank owned.   Flipped homes certainly hold appeal for homeowners who want move in conditions homes.  The photo below shows a house that went through renovations.

flipped home-1

This is a photo of the same home same area pre renovation.   Note the mold on the wood furniture on the left hand side of the photo.

mold in home before flip (002)

Bank owned houses due to no occupancy, have wildly ranging temperatures and humidity fluctuations.  In short, the house gets hot and humid in warmer months, which allows mold to grow.  We have done homes where we come across mold on walls, trim, furniture, attics, basements and crawl spaces due to the house not being heated and cooled.  These homes also may be like this for years.  This certainly makes for homes that are in desperate need of rehabilitation, the question you have to ask is was the mold addressed?

Almost certainly mold in attics and crawl spaces are typically not addressed as these are not areas where the flipper will get bang for their buck or even look for repairs.

Basements typically get partially redone because it creates a living space that was not present before.  The problem is mold that has grown during the foreclosure process gets covered over by clean sheetrock, concealing the mold.  We have seen cracks in foundation walls covered by fresh sheetrock.

Basement mold

 

Basements in bank owned homes typically will have some levels of mold growth.  Again, when these homes are not occupied, there is a high possibility of mold growth.  

Why Mold Test a Flipped Home?

Many house flippers tend to look over the mold growth in basements, one because they are not aware it is mold growth and two, they are unaware of any water issues.  It is Curren's recommendation to always do  Mold Testing in basements of those homes that are being flipped, especially if they were once not occupied and a Foreclosure, sheriff sale, tax sale or bank sale property. There are times when basements are finished or re-finished and the mold growth is covered up, but not specifically remediated.  Meaning, mold will continue to grow and fester in these areas and will not just disappear.  

Attics are yet another area that are not in the realm of a house flipper.  When an house is not occupied for a period of time, humidity and moisture builds up, especially in an area that has no air flow.  Non-occupied homes do  not always have electricity and whole house attic fans, attic fans and humidistat attic fans will not turn on when necessary.  These situations lead to mold growth in attics.

mold can grow in an attic

Curren Environmental suggests Mold Inspections and testing in homes that have not been occupied for a period of time.  Mold growth will occur within 72 hours in the right environment.  Its not to say that home flippers are hiding the mold, they may just be missing that what they see is mold growth.  They are not mold experts.

Questions?

Call Curren Today

or email at info@currenenvironmental.com

 

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Will mold be an issue in my home sale?

Jun 4, 2020 10:30:00 AM / by david sulock posted in mold remediation, Mold Testing, mold inspections, mold survey, mold consultant, professional mold remediation

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Will finding mold growth hurt my chances of selling my home?   This is a common question we are asked when a home buyer finds mold during a real estate transaction.   Mold is a known health hazard, from inhalation of mold spores to the generation of MVOC and mycotoxins, which are generated by mold growing can adversely affects human health. And although you may be living with the mold without incident, you can guarantee that the new owner will not want mold in their new home

In states like New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware where the housing stock is older, building materials have had more time to degrade which allows mold to grow.  Heck a 50 year old home has had plenty of time to have plumbing issues.  If purchasing an older home, expect mold during a sale.

attic mold

Finding mold and having to remediate mold is not driven by laws like a leaking oil tank would dictate remediation. Rather remediating a mold problem is going to be on the top of the buyers "To Do List" prior to purchase. Buyers can overlook the worn carpet, older windows and out-dated bathroom, but buyers can not overlook mold that tends to have buyers draw a line in the sand.  For one, buyers have plans for new paint, replacing the windows and carpet but not having to cleanup a mold problem.

basement sheetrock mold

Clearly visible mold is not a desirable feature of a home, we have never seen someone promote the presence of mold to sell a home. Sure we see homes that are being sold as is, which is a clear indication the owner knows there are defects in the home somewhere. But to say you have large walk in closets, newer kitchen and mold in the basement, yep we don't ever come across that statement.

Fretting over the type of mold and hazards associated with mold are a mute point, you won't see someone allergic to nuts try and differentiate the dangers between a peanut, walnut or cashew. 

Level heads prevail when managing a mold issue, you have to address mold on a molecular level.   You have mold growth in a home because the environment was conducive for the mold to grow.   Arguing that only a little water seeps into the basement after a heavy rain will not get a buyer to stop crowing about wanting the mold fixed. 

A competent mold company that is looking out for everyone's best interest is harder to find than you would expect, this is directly related to the fact that there are no mold regulations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania or Delaware.  Without mold regulations, you have no licensing, without mold licensing you have no competence hurdle for someone to perform mold work.   Any "Chuck in a Truck" will proclaim to be your mold expert.

At Curren we have completed 1000's of mold inspections and remediation and while each one is similar (they have mold) there are nuances to the project.  See the photo below, mold was caused by a disconnected dryer vent which exhausted moist air in the ceiling.  

mold in ceiling

We have seen a few things when it comes to mold.  We have a team of experienced inspectors and our crews are trained from the top down to do your mold job right.  This starts with finding the cause, fixing the sources and removing the mold.

mold inspections mold remediation

Mold Questions? Click Here

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Do you Smell Mold?

Mar 28, 2020 3:22:01 PM / by david sulock posted in mold remediation, mold cleanup, Mold Testing, mold inspections, mold consultant, professional mold remediation

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You can smell mold?

Spending more time at home than usual? Many people are in the safety of their homes and our office is getting called regarding musty smells, that people think relates to mold in their home. These calls coincide with rain events and we find a simple equation. People have mold in their homes they didn’t know existed. Many people find mold during a real estate transaction, since that is when a home under goes scrutiny, meaning multiple inspections occur and the wear and tear items that we often ignore are brought to light. I mean do you ever go into your attic or basement and look for mold?


mold inspections

The musty smell you have is most likely mold and it is active mold growth because when mold is consuming organic matter it off gases, hence the smell. Growth can correlate to rain events (not necessarily flooding), temperature changes, and humidity levels. In short moisture above 55% humidity as most molds in the northeastern United states will grow above that range.  Add in the fact that the northeast has an older housing stock and you have a higher probability of mold. Why older homes have mold, simple put the older a home the greater the time frame for mold to grow somewhere in the home. This gives mold the toe hold it needs as mold won’t die when it is dry it just goes dormant. This mold will then grow sporadically (no spore joke intended) over time until the owner complains of a smell, has a health concern or buyer’s inspector finds mold

 

mold inspections

Our calls lately have been from people who are working from home or simple spending more time at home and they either smell musty odors or are having health concerns. These people never had a mold inspection performed so the idea of a mold inspection makes sense.  Our mold inspections typically find mold, which makes sense.  The key to finding mold is understanding why it is there and how the mold can be addressed (mold remediation) and future prevention.  A typical mold survey might find a half dozen reasons why it’s there (yes there is typically more than  one cause for mold growth. We provide the homeowner a DIY  list for everything they are doing wrong and a corrective action plan (mold remediation) outline and costs. All mold remediation has a 10 year warranty against future mold growth, best in the industry.

We also teach several classes on mold so you know you are getting expert advice.
Environmental Education speaking at the Triple Play

 

All our inspector use N-95 masks and have at least five years experience with both mold inspections and remediation.  We inspect and remediate mold so we get to see mold from both sides which gives Curren a full perspective.  Different building materials from pour concrete walls, to cider block walls to wood studs to plaster wall all affect how mold can and will grow.To schedule an inspection call 856-858-9509.mold inspections and remediation

mold testing

Call for Mold Questions.

 

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Why do I have mold?  Will mold come back after remediation?

Nov 25, 2019 10:51:00 AM / by David C Sulock posted in mold assessments, mold consultant, professional mold remediation

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"Why do I have mold?", is a common question we get from people who discover mold in their homes.   The short answer is that 95% of the time it is a moisture or a water problem.   Yes, mold can come back after remediation if you do not fix what caused the mold.  It can also come back if the mold was not properly remediated (wiping with bleach is not mold remediation).

Thousands of mold inspections and remediations have allowed a broad evaluation of mold growth patterns.  You can't be a good mold inspector if you are not accomplished in mold remediation.  Getting down and dirty remediating mold allows you to witness first hand how mold growth has occurred.  Remediating often times requires you to open up walls to get at the mold growth and you obtain a perspective as to how/why mold grows. 

Photo Oct 09, 9 43 30 AM-1   2018.10.26 12.06.31.535-2

Photo Nov 02, 12 47 54 PM

For instance, wood studs allow mold to grow more aggressively than metal studs when you have a wet area.   Floating concrete slabs can enhance mold growth on ceilings. When there are areas of termite damage you should expect to find mold growth as termites like a moist environment, like mold.   Did you know that your beloved mulch beds around your home can aid in humidity in a basement and crawlspace? Thus, creating an ideal environment for mold growth.  Also, the dehumidifier bucket that you got sick of emptying (filled with water every 2 days) now sits unplugged in the basement, ruining your line of defense in controlling moisture and keeping mold at bay. These factors as well as a host of other environmental and degrading building in fracture are the common culprits that cause mold to grow in a home.

(For example, lack of drainage and added mulch beds led to mold growth)

Curren Environmental does mold remediation to homes that have had mold remediation previously and the mold grew back, meaning remediation was not successful.  This happens due to top lack of following proper mold remediation protocols, using inferiors products to prevent mold growth from reoccurring and lastly removing the moisture source (many times there are more than one source) identification.  (Curren had one project where there for four sources of moisture that fueled the mold growth.)

Mold growth is typically found in homes when the property is being sold.  It may not be bothering the seller, but it may affect the buyer.  Everyone has different intolerance and tolerances to mold growth, one of the reasons there are no federal regulations governing mold growth. Mold growth can be a huge real estate deal breaker. If it wasn't it would be on the sale sheet, showing the moisture or water issue and where the area of mold growth. 

No, mold growth will not be on the sale sheet.  It is best to remediate the mold growth before the property is on the market, removing the issue in its entirety. 

Questions on mold remediation? Follow this link or call Curren Environmental today. 

Call Curren Today

 

 

 

 

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Mold Testing & Mold Inspections

Oct 3, 2019 10:19:27 AM / by david sulock posted in mold contractor, Mold Testing, mold inspections, mold survey, mold consultant

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Mold is truly a four letter word and also a very misunderstood term.  You've heard of "Black Mold" (not a real mold term) or "Toxic Mold" (no such thing)? In the mold testing and mold inspection industry "black toxic mold" should not be used.  Misinformation abounds, so here are some important facts about mold, mold remediation and mold testing

when do you test mold?

Growing mold off-gases, causing that musty odor you smell, and if you think your basements smells that way because it is a basement, you're wrong,  it's not supposed to smell musty.  Mold growth stains surfaces and is visible if you understand where and what to identify as mold.  If you see mold growing inside a building, something is wrong, it is not normal or typical, even at the shore/beach.  Curren knows because we have inspected thousands of properties and, no, they all do not have mold growing.

Pertaining to mold testing, when obvious mold is present the EPA agrees testing is not necessary.

If you have discolored building materials and are not 100% if its mold, surface sampling can be performed for verification of questionable staining indicative of mold.

mold testing

Mold Testing can verify if a stained or discolored surface is impacted with mold growth, such as  surface sampling and/or air testing (non viable spore trap sampling). These mold tests quantify both mold spore count in a room and also evaluates for hidden mold in a complaint room where no visible mold is present.

Call Curren Today

Pro Tip:  Buying a house that is being flipped and the basement is finished, get a mold inspection with mold testing.

Pro Tip:  Buying a home that was bank owned and rehabbed?  Get a mold inspection with mold testing.

mold air testing

Our ratio of finding hidden mold in both situations is around 90%, but 70% of the time we get called in AFTER someone has bought one of these types homes, in cases such as these, mold is found after you own the property.

Proper mold remediation is the removal of an unwanted condition, such as mold. This follows a multi-step process which typically entails containment of work area, followed by physical removal, cleaning and encapsulation of remaining organic surfaces and air scrubbing, all of which are appropriate and proposed for the subject site.

Curren Environmental has over 20 years’ experience in the environmental field and we provide Certified Education (CE) classes on environmental topics, including mold, so we know what we are talking about. There are only 11 states in the country that have mold regulations and licensing  programs and New Jersey is not one of them. Curren nor any other company in New Jersey holds a New Jersey license for mold remediation as the license does not exist. Generally speaking, mold remediation follows asbestos abatement guidelines to contain a workspace, establish air filtration and remove (remediate) mold. Curren has personnel that hold asbestos licensing and our personnel follow these procedures from independent training schools as well as in-house training program.

Expert advice from mold experts

888-301-1050

 

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