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Are free Mold inspections scams?

Sep 23, 2021 2:33:00 PM / by David C Sulock posted in mold remediation, mold cleanup, mold contractor, Mold Testing, mold inspections, mold survey, mold professional, Mold, Mold growth, mold remediation

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It is not uncommon for mold to be found at a residence. Mold will grow silently over years in areas of your home that you may not even go in. 

Free mold inspections
During the home inspection or a mold inspection, mold  will show up during a real estate transaction. The rub with mold is that someone may see staining and call it mold or during a  home inspection, the inspector may test a surface for mold and confirm mold and then you are left with the knowledge that mold is present. What you won't know is why it grew, how to prevent it in the future and to what extent the mold is present.

The mold dilemma is there are only 11 states that have mold regulations so the industry lacks real mold professionals. If you are in NJ, PA or DE there is no mold licensing so in theory you can't find a mold professional or you can't find a state licensed professional.

The lack of mold regulations create no barrier of entry for someone wanting  to do mold work.  If you don't need a license  that saves you a lot of time and brain power.

Companies try and drum up work by offering "Free Mold inspections".   Are mold inspections truly free?    The time to give professional advice is not free,  as there has to be a cost involved to evaluate a property and provide professional advice. Free mold inspections, should read, "You are going to pay me to remediate mold if you need it or not". In the photo below, an inspector said that was mold and recommended remediation. 

Mold or water damageProfessional mold inspections can average around $500, plus or minus depending on size of property and if surface or airborne sampling is performed.

mold inspectionsLet's be clear we have given thousands of 2nd opinions over the years and there is always three common threads we find with mold advice.

  1. Many owners of properties that are told they need mold remediation, do not actually need mold remediation.
  2. Mold often grows back when the mold was inadequately addressed. Read, consultant never stopped the actual cause of the mold. (Leak, moisture intrusion, humidity, etc)
  3. The mold testing person doesn't understand the results of the mold testing, the cause of the mold growth or the actual extent.  Case in point inspector sampled a crawl space and a basement that were connected. We were asked to provide a cost to remediate the crawlspace, when in fact the basement had the bigger mold issue and people used the basement to exercise, so the mold exposure was greatest in the basement, but that is not what the consultant recommended.    The problem with non-mold professionals is they like to take a samples because they will get a really long, slick looking report of lab data, which is all pretty boilerplate, but it looks nice.  Because the lab gives such a nice package the actual mold consultants feel they do not have to provide an opinion in writing, it happens all the time.    So they find mold but they can't say it doesn't have to be remediated, why it would need remediation, what would be the difference or really most important what is the cause, causes or even likely causes for the mold.  

Regarding the "report".  A mold inspection report isn't the lab data from the lab, it should be a written report detailing the inspection, what was found, what wasn't found, and most importantly is why was there mold in the first place.  The report should also go over, in detail, what the lab data means, along with photos.

The bottom line is many mold companies work in their best interest not that of the owner or client.  This is particularly true if you are being offered free advice.

 

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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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