Today’s subject matter is mold. When most people think of mold, they don’t think of the nice variety of cheese that we obtain from mold, their thoughts immediately go to the dark scary “black” mold that we hear so much about on the news. The last thing you want to hear is that mold remediation needs to happen in your home.
We performed a mold remediation in Tampa, FL a few months ago for a homeowner that was very concerned over the health of her family. She had a few questions and I thought it would be nice to share those questions here, because many people probably wonder the same things she did.
A little background on this particular job. She noticed that her family was suffering from allergies much more now than in previous years. She spoke with her family physician about the issue, but he informed her that the pollen counts were actually down from the year before. Puzzled, she spoke to her friends about the problem. One of her friends suggested that she might have the home tested for mold. This is where we come in. The homeowner did a Google search for mold testing in Tampa, FL and found our company.
One of the first questions any homeowner asks is “How much do you charge for mold testing?” What’s unique about our company is, in addition to just coming in and performing a mold test, we also perform a thermal scan of the home and look for any thermal anomalies. This gives our clients a huge added benefit for FREE. Thermal scans normally cost a few hundred dollars! Our thermal scans will show any areas that have an active leak. For instance, a stucco crack on the outside of your home will let just enough water into your home to wet the insulation and backing of your drywall, but not enough to puddle on the inside of the home. This would be a perfect place for mold to thrive. Our thermal scan would find this area, and it’s a service that we give away for free to all our clients whom we perform an air test for. We have a few different options available for mold testing. Please call our office and describe your situation and we will give you a price based on your individual needs.
Does my home have mold? Most of the time, we will get asked this before we even perform the mold test. Our answer is 100% of the time, Yes. Every home has mold in it. What we are concerned about is the amount of mold and the type of mold. We’ve seen very high numbers in some homes, but the residents did not have a clue there was a problem and had no ill effects from it. Why not? Because that type of mold did not bother their allergies. On the other hand, some homes come back with very small mold counts, but the residents encounter big problems. The problem is, you guessed it, they’re allergic to that type of mold. By pulling an air sample in your home, we are able to determine the types of mold and the amounts of each specific type. Different species of mold like to grow in different areas of the home, and some are much more dangerous than others. For instance, we might not be too concerned if we see an elevated level of Aspergillus (depending on the situation), but if we see any Stachybotrys at all, we’re going to question why and be concerned until we figure out why it’s there. Each home is different, our job is to play detective, search for clues, and solve the mystery of why you have a problem in your home.
Who is qualified to perform an air test? You do not need a license to go out and buy an air test. Anyone can buy one, they even sell generic mold tests at Home Depot now. I wouldn’t recommend them to any of my friends though. Just because you can buy one, doesn’t mean you should. Did you know that the State of Florida now requires for you to be licensed to perform mold assessment? What exactly is a Mold Assessor? Here is the definition, taken directly from the State of Florida’s website: “Mold assessment” means a process performed by a mold assessor that includes the physical sampling and detailed evaluation of data obtained from a building history and inspection to formulate an initial hypothesis about the origin, identity, location, and extent of amplification of mold growth of greater than 10 square feet.” Make sure the company you call to your home is licensed through the State. DRIRITE of Tampa has licensed Mold Assessors on staff performing our mold inspections. Some homeowners make the mistake of calling a home inspector to test for mold. Home inspectors are great, I have a few friends of mine that are home inspectors. But Indoor Air Quality is not their field of expertise. Many of them simply do not have the knowledge of how to read an air test, making judgment calls that they are unqualified to make. What else should you look for in an air testing company? If they are pulling air samples, they should have at least one Certified Indoor Environmentalist on staff. Call an expert if you need to test for mold. We are available to answer any and all questions you may have.
What happens if you find high counts of mold in my home? Well, if you or a family member are suffering from allergies, you should be happy! By identifying the types and amounts of mold present, you can now take steps to improve the air quality in your home. The majority of the time, we can track down the source of the problem. Armed with the information provided to us in the lab report, we are now equipped to tackle that problem and provide you with a solution. It may be as simple as an article of clothing in a seldom used bedroom closet that has turned moldy (we’ve seen it all), but it can be as complex as tracking temperatures, humidity’s, and types of foods being cooked (pasta boiling on the oven every night creates a lot of excess humidity that does not just evaporate if your HVAC is not running). We have all types of high tech tools at our disposal. For instance, we can use tracking devices in your home that take a “snapshot” of the temperature, humidity, and GPP of the air every 3 minutes. After analyzing this data, we can often figure out even the most perplexing problems. We have performed thousands of mold tests in Tampa and the surrounding areas within the past 5 years. We have the expertise, training, and certifications to handle whatever you might throw at us. Give us a call!