Why Do I Need to Get a Mold Inspection?

“Why do I need to get a mold inspection”?  Some of you might be asking this question if you have noticed some staining or something that appears to be a mold like substance in your home.  Maybe you smell something funny? Maybe you are not feeling well and wondering why? You might be thinking, “Oh everyone has mold. It is probably nothing to worry about”. It might not be anything to worry about, but without a mold inspection and testing, you will not know. By waiting or ignoring your concern, you could potentially make what might be a small easily fixable issue something much larger and much more expensive.  Have you ever heard a funny sound in your vehicle and thought, “Oh that is probably nothing” and waited a few more days to see if the sound went away? You finally decide to take your car to the mechanic, only to discover that if you had brought it in sooner, the part that broke might have been fixed with much less cost.  Have you ever had a cough or sore throat that lingered and waited to see the doctor because you did not want to spend the money for the doctor to just tell you what you already knew? “You have a cough. Get some rest.”   Sometimes in our lives we have to go ahead and get a diagnosis from a doctor, a mechanic, or a Mold Inspector just for peace of mind, but also to potentially save yourself or your possessions from further damage.  Your home is one of your most valuable possessions. It requires maintenance just like your car, and just like your body.  If you neglect issues such as a potential mold problem, you could be putting your home and yourself in a worse situation.  A mold inspection is just like going to the doctor or taking your car to a mechanic. Calling a professional to diagnose your home is worth the price for peace of mind and could potentially save you from spending more money down the road.

Tina-Yaeger

by Tina Yaeger

How to Prevent Mold in Your Home

mold in the homeHow do I stop mold before it starts?  This is a question that is on the mind of many people and the answer is fairly simple.  Find the moisture, dry it out, and fix the leak.  The faster these things are accomplished the better.  Some molds only need 48 hours to begin growing so timing is critical.

Mold essentially needs two things to grow: moisture and a food source.  The moisture comes in many forms and can include plumbing leaks, roof leaks, toilet overflows, and a million other ways that we won’t list here.  However, just know that anywhere there is moisture, there is a potential for mold growth.  That brings us to the second part of the equation, food.  Mold is not particular when it comes to what it considers food.  Mold will eat just about anything.  That is its job after all.  If we didn’t have mold to break down organic matter we would all be covered with 100’s of feet of leaves and other stuff.  But I digress.  Mold has its place but your house isn’t one of them.

So if you take either part of the equation away, you take away it’s ability to keep growing.  Many people believe that if you take away it’s moisture source that you actually kill the mold.  However, this is not the way it really works.  Removing the moisture actually puts mold into a dormant state and will stop the growth, but it does not kill the mold.  The mold is still present and will remain there until conditions become favorable for new growth.  Once a new water source is found, it will pick up right where it left off and continue growing.   After all, mold spores essentially have infinitive viability and will be around long after you and I have turned to dust.

Rick-Weir

by Rick Weir

25 Square Feet of Mold?

ist1_2542730_handling_hazardous_materialsOver the years there has been a big debate over the “25 square feet of mold” definition in the TMARR (Texas Mold Assessment and Remediation Rules).  The rule was designed to protect the consumer, but there have always been mold remediation companies who have skated around the rule,  by telling a homeowner or building owner that there was less than 25 square feet, they could do the job “cheaper” and save them some money or that they would “not have to get the state involved.” But what the remediation contractors were not telling their customers was that by getting around the rules, their work would not be overseen by or examined by a Texas Department of State Health Services Mold Regulations Inspector or a Licensed Mold Assessment Consultant. I am not saying that all of them who were doing this are bad Mold Remediation Contractors, because that would not be true. What I am saying is that, like always, there are some good and some bad, some who are trying to help and some who are trying to make more money from unsuspecting consumers.

I am very happy to tell you that the Texas Department of State Health Services recently issued a rule clarification on the TMARR Frequently Asked Questions page (See full text below).  In this Q&A, they clearly explain that a Texas Licensed Mold Remediation Contractor MUST follow the Texas Mold Rules even if there is only 5 square feet of visible mold. This is consumer protection! If you hire a licensed Mold Remediation Contractor, this is your guarantee that you, as a homeowner or building owner, will get your mold remediation project done correctly and completely. This forces the remediation contractor to follow the rules no matter what.

Now a Licensed Remediation Contractor must follow a Mold Remediation Protocol on every Mold Remediation  job, no matter how big or how small. Only a Texas Licensed Mold Assessment Consultant can write a Mold Remediation Protocol. If you have a mold problem or think you might have a mold problem, make sure you call a Licensed Mold Assessment Company first!!! Make sure you are protected!

trust mold remediation company“Minimum Area Exemption” in Section 295.303(b) of the TMARR

Question:  Section 295.303(b) of the Texas Mold Assessment and Remediation Rules (TMARR) states, “A person is not required to be licensed under this subchapter to perform mold remediation in an area in which the mold contamination for the project affects a total surface area of less than 25 contiguous square feet.”  Does this mean that a licensed Mold Remediation Contractor (MRC) is exempt from all the mold rules if hired for a project where the mold contamination affects a total surface area of less than 25 contiguous square feet?

Answer:  No.  This exemption only applies to persons who are not licensed to conduct mold remediation, and was meant to allow small projects to be handled more simply and economically.  A licensed MRC performing a small mold remediation project (less than 25 contiguous square feet) is not exempt from the TMARR.  Regardless of the size of the area affected by mold contamination, if a licensed MRC is hired by the consumer, the MRC must follow the TMARRThis includes developing a work plan which follows a protocol developed by a licensed Mold Assessment Consultant (MAC). 

Discussion: All licensees agree to work in compliance with the mold rules as a condition of obtaining a mold license (Section 295.304(b)(2)).  In addition, consumers, whom the law was intended to protect, expect a licensed company they hire to follow the rules.  If a consumer chooses to hire a licensed MRC to perform a small mold remediation project (less than 25 contiguous square feet of mold contamination), there is a reasonable expectation that the job will be performed in accordance with the rules regardless of the size of the project.  In fact, a Certificate of Mold Damage Remediation (CMDR) may only be signed and issued by a MRC “for projects performed under the rules” (See Sections 295.302(6) & 295.327(b)).  Non-licensees may not sign or issue a CMDR.

Licensed MRCs should inform customers that a licensed MAC must first prepare a protocol before the MRC can develop a work plan and begin the remediation.  This is true regardless of the size of the project.  The MRC, after ensuring that the consumer has been provided the Consumer Mold Information Sheet, may only perform a project in accordance with the TMARR, regardless of size.  The MRC must respect a consumer’s choice to hire non-licensed people to do these small projects under the applicable exemption from the licensing requirement, and may not represent that the licensed MRC can perform the work without following the requirements of the TMARR

History of this issue: In the past, the department informally allowed MRCs to be exempt from the TMARR on projects where less than 25 contiguous square feet of mold contamination was involved.  This allowance was made to enable MRCs to compete with non-licensees for those jobs that fall under the exemption from the licensing requirement. In light of more recent developments, including several complaints the department has received from homeowners, the department has reviewed the TMARR and has identified no provision that allows a licensee to bypass the rules in any situation

Are Mold Allergies Real?

Mold allergiesEvery day I hear from potential clients, real estate agents, property managers, and the like asking me if there is still a “mold problem” and/or do indoor mold allergies really affect people?  The next question usually goes down the road asking about ”toxic” mold, and whether only those molds with mycotoxins will cause allergy issues or health problems.  The short answer is yes indoor mold allergies can and will affect a person’s health.  The notion that only “toxic” mold causing these issues is not accurate.

Just like going outside on a day when the Meteorologist’s web site informs you that there is a high level of mold outside, elevated levels of indoor molds could be just as much a problem, or in some cases worse.  And if those elevated levels contain types of mold(s) that are NOT found outdoors in moderate numbers/levels, the risks could be greater.

Molds are very person specific.  Just like having a food allergy or being allergic to a bee sting, having a severe mold allergy could make life very uncomfortable if exposed to elevated levels of certain types of mold.  The best way to determine if your indoor air quality is “normal” would be to have a licensed Mold Consulting Agency collect ambient air samples, analyze the results, and keep you well informed on exactly what the results mean.

One thing to remember is that you want your testing company to not be in the remediation or restoration business.  You want to use a company that only wants to give you the honest results about your samples.  MISTX does not perform remediation, restoration, or construction.   I would rather be able to call a client and give her good news that the air samples collected from her home were normal.  People love hearing good news and when they hear that those air samples are “normal”, I’ve actually had some people cry on the phone they’re so happy.

The bottom line is YES mold allergies are real and if you’re concerned, contact an honest professional to address the situation.

Justin-Clemens

by Justin Clemens

Trusting Your Mold Remediation Contractor

trust mold remediation companyMold Inspection Sciences does NOT do any mold remediation activities.  The Texas Department of State Health Services defines a company doing the mold inspection and remediation on the same job as a conflict of interest (see the “Mold Conflict of Interest: Protect Yourself” blog for more information).  The Texas Department of State Health Services also has very strict regulations about who can do what when performing mold-related activities:  “all companies and individuals who perform mold-related activities have to obtain appropriate licensing…”.  Once you have had a mold inspection by a licensed mold assessment technician or consultant and you have found that mold remediation is needed, the search for a licensed mold remediation contractor would be the next step.

The Texas Department of State Health Services website has a list of all licensed companies and individuals who are licensed to partake in mold remediation (https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/mold/profession.shtm).  The best way to ensure you have the right contractor for you would be to research companies that advertise they do mold remediation, NOT inspections.  Once you’ve found a few companies that peak your interest, check the document that is updated by the state to make sure that company is licensed to do mold remediation in the state of Texas.  We recommend that you get at least 3 different bids to make sure you are getting the best service and remediation at the best price.  You can also contact us to get our opinion.  We’ve worked with dozens of companies and can provide guidance.

Be sure to also check those companies out of Yelp, Angie’s List, Google+, or any review based website to make sure that past customers where satisfied with the work that was done for them.  If you hire a remediation contractor and they’ve finished the work and state you are ready for clearance, they should be able to pass the first time.  If it takes a few more times and it shows to be lack of work on their part, it may be time to look into another company.  Repeat post inspections can get fairly expensive and it is always worth it to go with a reputable company that will do it right the first time.

Remember:  There is no such thing as a free toxic mold or black mold inspection.  Companies that advertise this service are most likely remediation companies trying to get a bigger project out of you by scaring you into thinking you have black toxic mold.  It is always best to have a company like Mold Inspection Sciences to do a thorough, professional, and non-biased inspection to find out the extent of the damage and the scope of work that the remediation company should work within.

Trey-Professional

by Trey Maxwell

Are Mold Remediation Companies Scamming Homeowners?

Yesterday, Jeff Rossen on Rossen Reports Today, aired an expose about mold remediation contractors scamming homeowners. 5 out of 8 Mold Remediation Contractors they called out told the undercover reporter that there was Black Mold in the home and that she needed Mold Remediation. They told her that she should not waste her money on testing that it was Black Mold for sure! Then, they provided her with bids for the work they told her she had to have because the mold was dangerous! One mold remediation contractor quoted $1200, but one quoted her $10,000.

Black mold testing

Laboratory analysis is required to determine mold type.

The moral of the story: get a professional mold inspection company to perform a thorough inspection and mold testing BEFORE you hire a remediation contractor. No one can tell you a mold-like substance is mold or mildew or Black

Mold without laboratory analysis. Do not trust a company that performs both mold inspections AND mold remediation. Get an independent, non-biased opinion from a licensed Mold Assessment Consultant (Texas and Florida) or Certified Mold Inspector first! Check out the Rossen Report video here: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/47292508#47292508

Why is Mold Growing in My Home?

Mold under tub

Plumbing leak and mold under Jacuzzi tub

Every day we have many people calling us asking why mold is growing in their homes, so I thought it would be helpful to write a little something about it and provide a link for more information for those who are looking.

Molds are everywhere, and there are mold spores in every breath we breathe. BUT, mold should not be growing indoors, in a home, or in an air conditioning system. When mold grows indoors, the airborne mold spore levels rise, and this is when people start feeling the effects of mold.

Mold spores may enter your house from the outside through open doorways, windows, and normal ventilation and breathing of a home. Mold spores in the air outside also attach themselves to people and animals, making clothing, shoes, bags, and pets convenient carriers for mold to the indoors. These things are normal.

However, when mold spores fall or settle on places where there is moisture, such as where water leakage may have occurred from roof leaks, plumbing leaks, exterior wall leaks, foundation issues, flooding, overflows, or HVAC condensation, these mold spores will begin to grow. Mold must have moisture and a food source to grow, but many molds can live off of high humidity and dust particles. Many building materials provide nutrients that encourage mold to grow faster. Wet cellulose materials, including paper and paper products like drywall or sheetrock, cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood, and wood products, are particularly conducive to mold growth. Other materials such as dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation materials, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery, commonly support mold growth.

According to the EPA,

Too much moisture in a home can lead to mold, mildew, and other biological growth. This in turn can lead to a variety of health effects ranging from more common allergic reactions, to asthma attacks, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

For more information, click on this link for a great publication from the EPA:

A BRIEF GUIDE TO MOLD, MOISTURE, AND YOUR HOME