You Need To Ask Before You Hire A Mold Inspection

Mold Remediation – A Helpful Guide To Remediating Mold

Black Mold is toxic mold. It can cause health problems and is dangerous to have in your home. Black mold is a challenge that many people will run from, and for good reason.

Unfortunately, not everyone can run from black mold and this fact forces them to search for other solutions, and mold remediation is one of them. This article will provide you with insight into the mold removal process for black mold, and will hopefully help you to better understand how to deal with your mold infestation.

Mold And Black Mold Remediation

Apartment tenants have had to move out because they saw the black substance creeping up their walls. It is a toxic compound and prolonged mold exposure to black mold can be quite dangerous. It is not a problem that should be taken lightly, so mold remediation might be a valuable option to addressing this problem.

DOES MOLD REMEDIATION REALLY WORK?

To answer this question, it is best to understand the basics of the black mold remediation process. For instance, the sight of mold means that you don’t have to have pretesting done.

You only need to pre-test if you suspect mold but can’t see it. Why even mention pre-testing at this point then? It is to illustrate how urgent a black mold situation is.

Things You Need to Know About Mold

For many years now, mold has been a hot topic.  Barely a week goes by that you can’t find something in the media about water damage or mold.  Trying to find out more information can be a daunting task, with many half-truths, biased stories and outright lies propagating on the internet. 

Mold is everywhere and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing!

From pharmaceuticals to beer, wine and cheese, we use and benefit from molds every day.  There are literally over 100,000 different types of mold known today.  Some are harmless, some bring great benefit, but some also bring problems.  Even the “problem” molds can be no big deal in a normal environment.  Mold levels fluctuate constantly indoors and outdoors and are influenced by factors such as seasonal variation and weather effects

How does mold growth develop?

Molds reproduce by creating tiny spores that usually cannot be seen without a microscope. Mold spores continually float through the indoor and outdoor air and are not usually a problem unless the spores land on a damp spot and begin to grow. When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains uncorrected. While it is impossible to eliminate all molds and mold spores, controlling moisture can control indoor mold growth.

What is “black” or “toxic” mold?

I am sure you have all seen and heard the media reports about “black mold” or “toxic mold.”  The mold that the media outlets are referring to is Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys).  Stachybotrys is black in color, typically indicates a long-term problem and can cause severe health implications, particularly in the elderly, children or immune-compromised people.  It’s a particularly nasty mold, but not the only one to be concerned about

If you think you have a problem, what should you do?

Some of you may have seen the Mold Test Kits available at many home improvement stores and are asking yourself if that is a viable solution.  The simple answer: No.  The test kits allow the user to test the air in a building and require you to send your sample to a laboratory for analysis to tell you what the sample contained.  So where is the problem with that?  As we mentioned earlier, mold is found everywhere, even in a normal environment, so what does that lab report tell you?  Nothing useful if relied upon alone.

Mold Inspection Services

mold inspection and mold testing services leverage our extensive knowledge of mold and mildew (black mold, black toxic mold, Stachybotrys, and other molds) and the conditions conducive to mold growth as well as building construction, air flows, building materials, and heating ventilation and air-conditioning systems.

Moisture Detection

Where we find mold, find moisture. By locating the source of moisture and identifying hidden water intrusion sources can focus our mold investigation in the right areas. Where there is water damage from a flood, leak, or natural event can inspect and asses the water damage along with identifying the presence of mold and make recommendations on the best ways to return the home or office to a healthy state.

Infrared Technology

use FLIR infrared camera technology to enhance our inspection services. This advanced, non-invasive technology allows inspectors to zero in and identify potential sources of moisture to more accurately determine testing and sampling investigations. This, in turn, will allow us to make conclusions and recommendations for action during the inspection.

Certified Mold Inspectors

value certification, education, and experience. Performing quality mold inspections requires all three. Each of our inspectors, consultants, and project managers is a Certified Mold Inspector (ACAC and/or MICRO). To protect your liability, property, and health, it’s important to engage the services of a professional and certified mold inspector.

No Conflict of Interest

don’t perform mold remediation, repair, or construction. have no interest in the outcome of inspections other than to ensure you have the information needed to return your home or office to a healthy state

BUYING A HOUSE AFTER MOLD REMEDIATION

You think you’ve finally found “the one” – the house that might become the home that you’ve been dreaming of. How exciting! But there are so many things to think about during the home purchasing process, especially if you’re considering buying a house after mold remediation has been done by the previous homeowner. Hopefully the sellers disclosed the mold-related issues that they dealt with and you’re not discovering evidence of previous mold remediation that you weren’t aware of when you bought. If that’s the case, then you might be stuck with whatever mold-related issues are still lingering. But if you haven’t closed yet, here are some key things to consider. Every home purchase involves risk, of course, but by thinking about these important factors, you can follow through on your negotiation and closing – or walk away – with a greater degree of confidence in your decision.

If mold remediation has been disclosed, ask the sellers: “How long ago did it happen?”

Mold issues that are older could signal that the home is now in good shape if the mold remediation was done properly and the sellers have continued to maintain a clean and dry indoor environment to minimize the risk of mold returning to the structure. But by the same token, older issues might also mean that there’s been plenty of time for more mold to creep back in. On the flip side, if mold remediation was done recently, then this could mean that the home has been rid of the mold and it’s now good to go. Or, once again, it could mean that the issues are just starting to develop and more could be just over the horizon after you get the keys. So how can you know what’s the real deal?

Ask the sellers, “Who did your mold remediation?”

If they assure you that their cousin Frank, who is the family’s resident mold expert, thoroughly cleaned out all of the mold, then maybe you should exercise some more caution. Is Frank certified by the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors (NORMI)? Does he have the latest mold inspection and mold testing technology, and has he been trained in the best techniques for removing and remediating black mold and other types of harmful spores? So depending on both the timeline and the mold mitigation service provider, you can make a more informed decision about the possible condition of the home.

Review your home inspection report thoroughly.

Ideally, you were able to walk with your home inspector as she or he went through every nook and cranny of the home you’re thinking about buying. But if you weren’t present for the inspection itself, then review the written report which should include pictures of all deficiencies which the inspector found in the home. Even previous mold remediation services might be evident to the inspector based on the condition and appearance of certain surfaces. If the inspector found current mold damage but didn’t make specific recommendations in the report on how to go about remediating the mold, then contact him or her to ask for further details about the nature of the mold infestation and any thoughts on how serious the problem might be (and how extensive and costly a mitigation service might be). This information can give you leverage in the negotiation process with the sellers – or, if the issues are bad enough and your gut is telling you to bail, then you might have just saved yourself from discovering the issues later and wondering why you bought the place at all.

What if you need additional mold remediation?

If you’ve already bought the house and you’re stuck with a mold-related problem, try not to panic. If the issues weren’t disclosed or caught on your home inspection, you might have recourse to hold the sellers liable. Although this may be difficult to accomplish legally, an attorney can give you sound advice on what your options are for getting the sellers to do the right thing. Maybe the mold won’t require litigation, but regardless it will require mitigation. (We couldn’t resist the rhyme on that one.) In all seriousness, mold is nothing to mess around with, and if you’re going to have it removed, then you need to have it done the right way the first time.

Frequently Asked Mold Questions

Do I literally have to clean everything in my house (i.e. plastic storage containers, books, toiletries, candles, knickknacks, canned food etc) or just the major things like clothing and furniture?

Yes, everything.

Is it possible to clean electronic devices that may have mold spores inside of them, seeing as I have no way to clean the inside of these devices (i.e., DVD players, computers)? Is it good enough to simply clean the outside of them?

Clean the outside and vacuum the openings

Do pictures and documents have to be scanned/copied or can the originals be kept?

Photos can be washed. Porous frames are trash. Documents need to be copied.

What about books, journal? How do you clean them? Or do they have to be thrown out?

Books are difficult. If the books are on a shelf and not opened, HEPA vacuum each one. Opened books are trash.

Do I need to use a new cloth for every item that I clean (one clean cloth per moldy item) or can I use the same cloth for several items?

One cloth can be reused. You will be vacuuming, then wiping and vacuuming again anyway

The Importance Of Home Inspection When Buying A Home

How to Choose a Home Inspection Company

When a house is bought or sold, a home inspection is a necessary procedure that alerts both homeowners and buyers to the condition of the property in question. If you are selling a home, it is important to have an inspection conducted so that you will be aware of any potential issues with the home you are selling. If you are buying a home, you should have a separate inspection conducted to be sure there are no hidden issues, and to negotiate the contract with potential repairs or problems in mind.

Be prepared for the cost. The average fee for a home inspection is between $350-$500, but the information received from an inspector is priceless. It could be the turning point between a sale and a buyer going back to searching for the perfect home

Understand the actual inspection. Home inspectors enter a home and analyze all of the major components that make up a house purchase. Home inspection companies document the safety and overall condition of a home at the time of the inspection. Home inspections usually take about 3 hours for a minimal inspection, and 5 or 6 hours in order to arrive at a thorough, proper assessment. Depending on how old or large a house is, it may take longer or less time to complete

Be prepared for bad news. It is a home inspector’s job to find any existing or potential problems with a house. They can lose their license if they fail to report issues, so although it might feel like they’re purposely giving bad news, be thankful for the information

Find out what company the other party is using. If you are buying a house, ask the seller what company they used to inspect the home, to ensure that you choose a different one

Tips to Find the Best Home Inspector

Before you buy a home, it’s always a good idea to get a professional home inspection. In most cases, you can make your purchase contract contingent on a satisfactory inspection. That means if you don’t like the inspection results, you can cancel the contract, get your deposit back and walk away from the deal. Or you can negotiate with the seller to cut the price or make repairs to problem areas uncovered during the inspection.

Even if the results of the inspection mean you agree to accept the house as-is at the contract price, a good home inspection can give you valuable insights into the property you’re buying and help you plan for future maintenance and repairs.

“One thing the inspector won’t tell you is whether you should buy the house or not,” says Reuben Saltzman, co-owner and president of Structure Tech Home Inspections in Minneapolis. But a good inspection should give you enough information that you can make an educated decision on your own

Choose an inspector who wants you around during the entire inspection. “We recommend bringing the clients there during the inspection every single time from start to finish,” Saltzman says, rather than just showing up for the report at the end. “I don’t think the clients get as much out of the inspection if they do it that way.”

Ask for a sample report. “Any great home inspector should have their home inspection reports displayed on a website,” Saltzman says. See if the reports are clearly written and how they are formatted. Saltzman says a good report should identify the defect, explain why it matters and suggest what should be done to fix it. All good reports also include photos.

How to Choose a Home Inspector

Would you call a retail store and ask “How much do you charge for a TV?” Probably not. You’d have to do research and decide what you want to buy before asking for prices

Home buyers often ask me this because they’re trying to find the inspector that offers the best deal. When buyers are only concerned with the price of a home inspection, they have already made an assumption that all home inspectors offer the same thing, and they assume they’re comparing apples to apples. This just isn’t true.

When reviewing a sample report, there is much more to look for than just photos and illustrations. Watch out for useless report writing that is designed to cover the home inspector’s butt, not yours. A bad report would contain a lot of phrases like “This was observed, recommend further evaluation and correction by a licensed blah blah blah”.  With this type of writing, you could easily have an inspection report that recommends a dozen additional inspections.   If further inspections are needed, that’s fine, but these recommendations should never be made lightly, because additional inspections require more time and money.

When I first started inspecting, I was told by a home inspection instructor that this was the best way to write a report. As I’ve written more and more reports over the years, I’ve come to realize that home inspection schools teach this style only to protect the inspector. This doesn’t provide a service for the client.  A good home inspection report will clearly state the problem, explain the significance of the problem if it’s not obvious, and will give a recommended course of action.

When picking out a home inspector, spend some time researching inspectors, even if you receive three different names of inspectors from your real estate agent. Many agents give out three names because they don’t want to assume liability if their client isn’t happy with the inspection, not because they have three companies that do great work

Choosing the Right Home Inspector

Buying a home? It’s probably the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make. This is no time to shop for a cheap inspection. The cost of a home inspection is very small relative to the value of the home being inspected. The additional cost of hiring an InterNACHI-Certified Professional Inspector® is almost insignificant.

You have recently been crunching the numbers, negotiating offers, adding up closing costs, shopping for mortgages, and trying to get the best deals. Don’t stop now. Don’t let your real estate agent, a “patty-cake” inspector, or anyone else talk you into skimping here.  InterNACHI-certified inspectors  perform the best inspections by far

InterNACHI-certified inspectors earn their fees many times over. They do more, they deserve more, and — yes — they generally charge a little more. Do yourself a favor… and pay a little more for the quality inspection you deserve.

The licensing of home inspectors only sets a minimum standard. Much like being up to code, any less would be illegal.  Imaginary people, children, psychics (who claim to “sense” if a house is OK) and even pets can theoretically be home inspectors.  InterNACHI, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, front-ends its membership requirements.

InterNACHI inspectors:

have to pass InterNACHI’s Online Inspector Examination, and re-take and pass it every three years (it’s free and open to everyone, and free to re-take);

have to complete InterNACHI’s online Code of Ethics Course (free to take after joining, and self-paced);

have to take InterNACHI’s online Standards of Practice Course (free to take after joining, and self-paced);

must submit a signed Membership Affidavit;

substantially adhere to InterNACHI’s Standards of Practice;

abide by InterNACHI’s Code of Ethics;

have to submit four mock inspection reports to InterNACHI’s Report Review Committee (for free) before performing their first paid home inspection for a client if the candidate has never performed a fee-paid home inspection previously

How to select an inspector for a home you’re buying

A professional home inspection helps home buyers learn about the condition of a property before making a purchase. But not all home inspectors are created equal.

We asked Kathleen Kuhn, president and CEO of HouseMaster, a home inspection company, to share her insights into how consumers can pick a home inspector who will do the best job.

“Consumers often only ask for information about the fees; however price should not be the deciding factor,” Kuhn wrote in an email. “Saving a few dollars on a home inspection could cost you thousands down the road. Consumers should inspect the inspector when shopping for a home inspector.”

“These requirements are a good place to start, but there is no guarantee that the inspector is competent or is staying current,” wrote Kuhn. “Consumers should make sure that a home inspector has access to ongoing technical support and is tested every year — not just during initial licensing — to ensure they stay up-to-date on inspecting conditions in a home.”

Home inspectors provide a report to buyers after the inspection. The report quality and features within it are also crucial to a good inspection, wrote Kuhn. Buyers can request sample reports from inspectors before they hire them to see the level of detail they can expect