What to Expect From a Mold Remediation Company

Mold remediation is the removal as well as cleanup of mold present in indoor environments. It is very important to tackle your mold problem head on before it starts to cause damage to your home and health.

Causes of Mold

Many building materials can sustain the growth of mold. It is mainly caused by the presence of moisture or water indoors and grows on organic materials. Organic materials consist of things that were once living. Most mold growth is found on wood floors or wooden studs. It can also be encouraged by a lack of drying of building materials like concrete. Leaky roofs, flooding, problems connected with plumbing, and building maintenance can result in the growth of mold indoors.

Hiring a certified remediation contractor is not required but when it comes time to sell your home, you are required by law to disclose any mold incidences in your home including floods. If the work was done by a licensed certified Remediator, they should require a mold clearance test for the area. This gives your buyer proof that the work was done by a competent mold remediation in Charleston, SC.

If you decide to hire one, it is generally safer and more effective than a “do-it-yourself” approach because they use special equipment. In either case, always follow safety precautions to reduce exposure to mold by using protective clothing, a respirator, and eye protection. I have seen lots of “Handyman Disasters of Mold Remediation” that go wrong and contaminate the entire house. Remember to always protect the rest of the house from contamination with the proper containment.

Addressing Mold Remediation and Mold Removal

First and most important to fixing the mold issue is finding and fixing the moisture issue. Likely this will be in the vicinity of where the mold has been spotted. If the source of the moisture is not fixed and only the mold is cleaned it will come back. The problem is only masked at that point. In fixing the issue it is important to resolve to gain control over the moisture levels. If the levels in one given room are over fifty-five percent the best option is a dehumidifier.

If a leak or flood has occurred the problem is more clear and defined. This will be a matter of removal of the excess water using a pump to clear the area of water. From there it is important to ensure that the area is completely dry. This is possible using fans to circulate the air and a humidifier. All wet items should be removed and properly taken care of. Problems that go unattended for over forty-eight hours can lead to the most complications. Immediate care and resolution are the best options in mold remediation.

The next step after removing and finding the source of the issues is to clean and remove the mold. Before this is even started it is advisable to prevent the spores from scattering. When the mold becomes airborne it will start to reproduce on whatever it lands on given the conditions are right. To prevent these areas of mold growth from spreading each area should be blocked off and cleaned separately. You can do this by sealing the room with plastic sheeting and place tape on the edges as a seal. Air purifiers are wise to run throughout the space.

Why Use a Mold Expert

Mold can just be wiped away and thrown out, so why go through the hassle of finding an expert and then paying for their so-called “expertise?”

Well, there’s more to removing mold than just wiping a polluted service. Sure mold can be wiped away, but it doesn’t stay away. By using the best resources that are accepted and used by hospitals, you can feel sure that the mold problem is being resolved.

Be sure to research the guarantees of mold remediation as well as the company offering the service.

Well Water Testing Reveals The Truth

Well Water Testing Guide

Why should I consider well water testing?

There are certain contaminants which may be present in your well which can be harmful to your health, damaging to your home, increase your energy costs, and/or create a nuisance. By knowing what is in your well water you may then address those issues, protecting your health and/or pocketbook. As a private well owner it is your burden to test and treat the water flowing from your well.

How do I determine my well water composition?

Your county water department will often test your water for free but those tests are typically limited to bacteriological contaminants. They will not tell you if you have other potentially life threatening elements or chemicals in your well. The most thorough way to determine your well water’s composition is to have a sample analyzed by a certified laboratory for a broad range of contaminants – a full laboratory water test. Do-it-yourself test kits are good non-life threatening applications like swimming pool maintenance, but should be considered with caution when contemplating their use on your drinking water supply.

How frequently should I test the water from my well?

After the initial test is performed on a newly dug well, the EPA recommends you test it annually for microorganisms and once every two to three years for harmful chemicals and elemental contaminants. Also, be sure to test your well water if there has been flooding, earthquakes or other land disturbances in your area, if there are known problems with well water in your area, or if you have replaced or repaired any part of your well water system.

How do microorganisms, chemicals and other contaminants get into my well water?

Germs and chemicals can get into your well water and contaminate it in different ways. Some germs and chemicals occur naturally. For example, heavy metals like arsenic, lead, and selenium are naturally found in rocks and soil and sometimes seep into ground water. Other contaminants come from human and animal waste resulting from polluted storm water runoff, agricultural runoff, flooded sewers, or individual septic systems that are not working properly. Ground water and aquifers can also become polluted from industrial activity.

Total Coliform

Coliform bacteria are microbes found in warm-blooded animals’ digestive systems, in soil, on plants, and in surface water. These microbes typically do not make you sick, but because microbes that do cause disease are hard to test for in water, “total coliforms” are tested for instead. If the total coliform count is high, then it is much more likely that harmful germs like viruses, bacteria, and parasites might also be found in the water

 

Is your drinking water safe? Here’s how you can find out

America’s drinking water infrastructure is aging and in serious need of modernization. Pipes are overdue for replacement, and water and wastewater treatment systems need upgrades to deal with new classes of pollutants. Changing a drinking water standard or adding a new substance to the list of contaminants regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency is time-consuming. Some water systems are having problems meeting current standards, much less upgrading to meet new requirements.

A 2017 Gallup poll found that 63 percent of Americans worry a great deal about drinking water pollution. And a recent report from the Natural Resources Defense Council, Threats on Tap, suggests that they have good reason. According to the report, community water systems – public systems that serve cities and towns year-round – registered more than 80,000 reported violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act in 2015.

As water resource educators with Penn State University’s Extension service, our role is to educate the public using research-based information. Most of our work is focused on private water systems – mainly wells and springs, which are used by over 15 million U.S. households. These private systems share many of the critical concerns about public systems addressed in NRDC’s national report

Clean water and proper sanitation have greatly improved life expectancy in the United States over the past 150 years. Now, however, we see an urgent need to upgrade water infrastructure, and to update regulations, enforcement and public education about drinking water safety. With many public and private water systems across the nation aging and under stress, it is important for everyone to understand the risks associated with drinking water contamination, and to know how to take simple steps such as having their water tested if they suspect there may be a problem

Land use and source water protection

Delivering clean drinking water starts with protecting sources, including groundwater and surface rivers and lakes. Many water quality problems that we see in Pennsylvania are based on local land uses. Nitrates from agriculture and development are a particular problem in water wells in the southeast and south-central parts of the state. Exposure to nitrates in drinking water can cause health effects, especially in infants, inhibiting their blood’s ability to carry oxygen.

 

Testing farm drinking water

Is my water safe to drink?

If you do not monitor your water quality by having it tested at an accredited laboratory, you cannot tell whether your drinking water is safe or not. Harmful bacteria, parasites, and viruses are invisible to the naked eye, so water that looks and tastes good may not necessarily be safe to drink. These microbes can exist in both ground and surface water supplies, and can cause immediate health effects if not properly treated for.

Tests for drinking water

There are many useful tests available to help determine the health, safety and performance of your water supply depending upon its type and location. Your local health department can assist you in selecting tests important for assessing your drinking water.

Basic tests

Coliform bacteria tests are used as an indicator test for the presence of microorganisms in the water that are potentially harmful to human health. Nitrate is a common contaminant found mainly in groundwater. High nitrate concentrations can be particularly dangerous for babies under six months, since it can interfere with ability of blood to carry oxygen. Ions such as sodium, chloride, sulphate, iron and manganese can impart objectionable taste or odour to water. Excessive amounts of sulfate can cause a laxative effect or gastrointestinal irritation, along with a noticeable taste. Excessive amounts of fluoride can cause dental problems. Total dissolved solids represent the amount of inorganic substances (for example: iron, salts) that are dissolved in the water. High total dissolved solids (TDS) can reduce the palatability of water or cause health problems if specific constituent elements are at high levels.

Microbiological Indicators

Laboratory results may provide information on levels of Total Coliforms, Escherichia coli (E-Coli), and Heterotrophic Plate Count (HPC) which are used as microbiological indicators of the microbiological quality of the water. This section will briefly outline the rationale for including these indicators and their significance.

Total Coliform (TC)

The presence of Total Coliform bacteria may indicate contamination in a water supply. The presence of Total Coliforms alone is not necessarily a health risk, but it does require a further investigation of the water system. The presence of any coliform bacteria indicates that the sampled water is potentially unsafe and unsatisfactory.

 

Well Testing

Overview

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rules that protect public drinking water systems do not apply to individual water systems, such as privately owned wells. As an individual water system owner, it is up to you to make sure that your water is safe to drink

What to test for

Several water quality indicators (WQIs) and contaminants that should be tested for in your water are listed below. A WQI test is a test that measures the presence and amount of certain germs in water. In most cases, the presence of WQIs is not the cause of sickness; however, they are easy to test for and their presence may indicate the presence of sewage and other disease-causing germs from human and/or animal feces. (Please see Water-related Diseases and Contaminants in Private Wells for a list of additional germs and chemicals in drinking water wells and the illnesses they cause.)

Total Coliforms

Coliform bacteria are microbes found in the digestive systems of warm-blooded animals, in soil, on plants, and in surface water. These microbes typically do not make you sick; however, because microbes that do cause disease are hard to test for in the water, “total coliforms” are tested instead. If the total coliform count is high, then it is very possible that harmful germs like viruses, bacteria, and parasites might also be found in the water

Fecal Coliforms / Escherichia coli (E. coli)

Fecal coliform bacteria are a specific kind of total coliform. The feces (or stool) and digestive systems of humans and warm-blooded animals contain millions of fecal coliforms. E. coli is part of the fecal coliform group and may be tested for by itself. Fecal coliforms and E. coli are usually harmless. However, a positive test may mean that feces and harmful germs have found their way into your water system. These harmful germs can cause diarrhea, dysentery, and hepatitis. It is important not to confuse the test for the common and usually harmless WQI E. coli with a test for the more dangerous germ E. coli O157:H7.

pH

The pH level tells you how acidic or basic your water is. The pH level of the water can change how your water looks and tastes. If the pH of your water is too low or too high, it could damage your pipes, cause heavy metals like lead to leak out of the pipes into the water, and eventually make you sick.

 

Well Water Testing

Is my well water safe to drink?

If your drinking water comes from a private well, it should be tested by a lab to see if it is safe for you and your family to drink. Unsafe drinking water can make you sick. Even if you are not sick right now, your well water may not be safe. Some contaminants found in well water can cause long-term health problems. All water suppliers in B.C. are required to test their water regularly. This includes including small private systems, such as restaurants or trailer parks, cooperatively owned systems, such as strata properties, and larger municipal systems owned by local govern ents. Water samples are sent to qualified labs for testing.

Why might my well water be unsafe?

Your well water may taste and look fine, however, there can be many harmful substances that you cannot taste, see or smell, such as bacteria and chemicals that could affect your health. These can enter well water both from the surface and ground, and can be from natural sources or human activities. For example, nearby farming and agricultural activities or septic systems, if built or maintained improperly, could lead to increased nitrates and fertilizers seeping into soil and contaminating your well water. Poor well maintenance may also cause contamination of your well water.

Bacteriological Testing

Bacteriological testing should be done 2 or 3 times a year. Two common types of bacteria found in water are: Total Coliforms and E.coli

Escherichia coli (E. coli)

  1. coli originates in the intestinal tracts of animals. The presence of E. coli in your well water may mean fecal matter has entered the well. Fecal organisms cause stomach and intestinal illnesses, including diarrhea and nausea, and may even lead to death. Babies, children, elderly or people with immune deficiencies or other illnesses may be affected more severely

Chemical Testing

Chemical testing should be done on a routine basis, typically at a minimum every 5 years. Chemicals commonly of concern in B.C. groundwater are: nitrates, fluoride and metals such as arsenic, lead, copper and manganese.

The Good Reason To Do Mold Inspection

How to Choose a Certified Mold Inspector and What You Should Pay

All told, mold inspection costs by a reputable company range from $150 to $250. There are other mold costs as well, known as mold sampling. Mold testing is necessary for several reasons: mold identification, mold concentration, and indoor air quality. The going rate for mold sampling is $100 per sample. The inspection company pays an accredited laboratory to analyze the mold samples helpful in determining the extent of a mold problem and establishing a scope of work for mold repair. The total number of samples varies for each job as the mold inspector makes sampling recommendations based on the factors associated with the building and its occupants.

How Much Should You Pay?

Once you know the difference between mold “test only” and mold test and repair, you have a better appreciation for the cost of mold testing. As stated in the mold test and repair paragraph, it costs $50-$100 just to show up. There is also the time factor associated with performing the mold inspection and providing a mold report.

Mold Test and Repair

For the purpose of being the first responder, several test and repair companies backload the cost of mold testing by offering low-cost or free mold inspections. Conventional wisdom holds that first responders will usually get the job. So, how do you think mold removal companies cover the mold inspection cost?  Naturally, they will find a mold “problem”.

Mold “Test Only”

In my opinion, mold inspection companies should only perform mold testing and not perform mold repair. It is considered a conflict of interest to do both because the test and repair company may exaggerate the problem in order to overcharge for a solution. Mold inspection costs for “test only” companies are paid at the time of the inspection.

Inspection Equipment

Every mold inspector should have the basics: a moisture meter, an air sampling pump, and a respirator. Several other tools should be at the inspector’s disposal including sampling media (swabs, air cassettes), flash light, gloves, knee pads, and a mirror. There are various types of each of these tools. Ideally, the mold inspector will have the latest technology available. There are other tools that are high tech such as a thermal imaging camera which is a tool designed to detect temperature variations typically associated with moisture.

 

Best Mold Inspectors Near You

Mold Testing Companies In Your Area

Mold inspections and testing are important when you suspect there may be toxic mold growing in your home. Mold can cause a variety of health issues, so it is crucial to understand if it is present and if it is of a harmful variety (not all mold is bad). A certified inspector will look for evidence of past or current growth inside walls and other areas. This includes areas where growth could be causing structural issues – like in crawlspaces. A mold test, however, will not include remediation. In fact, many inspection services will refer you elsewhere for mold removal.

Reasons you may need mold testing include:

  • If you have an allergic reaction when in a certain room. Reactions include a runny nose, sneezing, or itchy eyes.
  • To see if a known water or mold problem has been fixed.
  • To understand if there is a problem with a home you plan to buy.

If you are looking for mold inspectors near you, HomeAdvisor can help. Enter your zip code to be connected to mold testing companies in your area who are ready to inspect your property.

 

Tips for Hiring a Mold Remediation Contractor/Consultant

Tips on hiring

Many consultants and contractors providing mold inspections and remediation services are honest, reliable and skilled. Below are suggestions on how to find good consultants and contractors.  (This list is based on guidelines provided by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection.)

  • Get more than one estimate. Make sure all parties are bidding on exactly the same work. Make sure the contractor comes to the job site rather than giving a telephone estimate. Be leery of an extremely low estimate. Be cautious of a contractor or consultant that uses SCARE tactics to make you do more than you really need to have done.
  • Ask for the names of recent customers and call to see if they are satisfied. Would they hire the contractor again?
  • Get a written inspection report.  Did it include a summary of all the areas inspected, the cause of the mold growth, how to take care of the problem and any sampling results? Did the contractor show up on time, clean up afterward, perform follow-up service on warranties?
  • A building cannot be made mold free. Avoid a contractor who claims to remove all mold from your building.
  • Find out if complaints have been filed against the contractor or consultant by checking with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 800-422-7128, and the Better Business Bureau, 800-273-1002.
  • The firm that conducts the inspection or air sampling should not be financially related to a firm that conducts the mold remediation due to a potential conflict of interest. Consulting firms that have a financial tie to a contractor should disclose that relationship prior to any contractual agreement.  Ultimately, it is the property owner’s responsibility to ask about such a relationship.
  • Select a laboratory that is accredited by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) or by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

 

How To: Test for Mold

START HERE: HIDDEN SPOTS FOR MOLD

In order to grow, mold requires moisture, so mold is naturally found in areas that are damp and humid. Plumbing leaks, for example, often trigger mold growth and should be repaired as soon as one is noticed. Visible mold anywhere in the home should be removed promptly by following safe mold removal methods. But, what about that mold growth that you can’t see? In instances of a musty smell unaccompanied by visible signs of mold (black, white, or brownish coating), it’s likely that you’ve got mold growing in a hidden spot.

HOW TO USE A MOLD TEST KIT

Mold test kits are widely available from home improvement stores and from online retailers, but not all test kits are the same. Some are designed to only determine whether mold is present on surfaces. To test for mold spores in the air you’re breathing, you’ll need to purchase a viable mold test kit, which costs $20 to $45. The entire testing process will take a few days, and if the test you perform determines that mold spores are present in the air, you can send the testing materials to a lab that will perform another test to determine what type of mold is present. Lab analysis can run an additional $40 to $70.

 

How Much Does A Mold Inspection Cost?

Professional Mold Inspector Cost

Professional mold inspectors, also known as certified Industrial Hygienists (IH), will charge an average of $300 to $500 to test an average-sized property and home for toxins. They’re licensed to take a close look at your property and find both symptoms and sources of moisture damage.

Some businesses offer a free walk-through. These pros may require you to work with them on removal if they find any growth. Others charge a more comprehensive inspection that includes sample testing. Your range can go as high as $700 for a large property with many difficult-to-access spaces. That price does not include remediation.

Locating the Mold

Depending on its location, mold can be very easy or difficult to spot. If it’s difficult to access, the inspection can take longer and can cost up to $700. Common growth spots include.