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I Think I Have a Mold Problem -- Where Do I Start? What Do I Do?

It's not everyday that people have to deal with a potential mold problem.  For most people, the thought of a mold problem in the home or workplace is scary and confusing.  There is so much information on the Internet, much of it is conflicting and lots of it is wrong.  Questions that come to people's mind's when they believe they may have a mold problem:

  1. Will the mold make me and my family sick?
  2. Do I actually have a mold problem, or is it just "mildew"?
  3. If I have a mold problem, will it be expensive to diagnose or remedy?
  4. Is all mold toxic?
  5. Is all mold dangerous?
  6. What type of company should I use to inspect and test my home?
  7. How do I know who I can trust?
  8. Who is qualified to inspect and test my home?
  9. If I am a renter, who should pay for the mold inspection and testing?

Most of the questions above can be answered by a qualified, mold inspection and testing professional.  One of the first and the most important steps is to find a qualified mold inspection and testing company.  Here is what I suggest if you believe you may have a mold problem.

  1. If you see visible mold-like growth or believe a room has a mold problem, avoid that room if you can.
  2. Find a qualified company to inspect and test your home or workplace.*
  3. Follow the recommendations of the company as stated in their inspection report and perform any mold remediation work that they recommend.

*How do you find a "qualified" company?

  1. Ask friends and colleagues for recommendations.
  2. Search the Internet.  Look for quality company websites that are informative and don't use scare tactics.
  3. A qualified company will a) have a good record with the Better Business Bureau, b) carry quality certifications from organizations like the American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC), c) carry General Liability Insurance and Professional Liability Insurance (also known as Errors and Omissions insurance).  The latter is the most important and differentiates the true professional companies from "fly by night" organizations., d) have good reviews and testimonials from past clients, and e) utilize an independent, accredited lab for their sample analysis.
  4. Ask to see a sample mold inspection report.  Does the company do good work?  Is the sample report complete, easy to read, and contain color photographs?
  5. Look for referrals from The Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA) or The Amercian Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC)
  6. Does the company answer their phone?  Do they respond to web and email inquiries in a timely manner?
  7. Is the person you speak to on the phone professional?  Are they patient and do they spend time to answer your questions?

Try not to feel overwhelmed.  Take it one step at a time.  The key is finding the right company to help you. Here are a few places to go to perform research for mold related issues:


About the author

Michael Bains

As president of Mold Inspection Sciences (MIS), Michael Bains is responsible for overseeing operations, marketing, and strategic partnerships in order to achieve the company’s mission: to provide affordable, professional mold inspection and testing services to our valued clients.

Michael founded MIS in 2002 with the vision of building a company that could fill the growing need for quality indoor mold services based on industry accepted standards. Michael is a former board member of the IAQA and is board certified by the ACAC.

He received a BS in Business Administration, with a focus in accounting, from the University of Colorado at Boulder and attended the MBA program at the University of Southern California (USC).

Michael enjoys the outdoors. He is an avid cyclist, rock climber, and hiker.

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