Why Mold Remediation Companies Have to Battle a Bad Industry Reputation…

If you’re a business owner within the restoration industry, like myself, there isn’t a day that goes by when you find yourself having to prove that you aren’t one of those “corrupt restoration companies”. Does it bother me that I have to play the roll of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, nearly 5 days a week? Not at all! Would I prefer to walk into my office, slap a big red easy button and focus on other tasks at hand - for sure!

Alright, so enough with the silly references above. So, why do Mold Remediation Companies have such a bad industry reputation? Well, it’s phone calls similar to the one I received on Thursday, that pretty much summarize the events that lead to the stigma that all Mold Remediation Companies are only in the business for self gain. A lovely woman called our office, informing me that she came across our company name a few weeks back - at 1:30am to be specific. Why is this time frame important? Because she wasn’t getting sleep, staying up at night wondering if the company she had working in her home locked up after they left, employed workers with malicious tendencies, were doing what they said they were going to do, etc.

For the sake of time here, I’ll spare you the small talk throughout our conversation. Some of the big takeaways was her perception of the insurance claim process, following damages that she suffered to her home. For one reason or another, this woman decided to hire a PA (Public Adjuster). Don’t get ahead of me here, as there is absolutely nothing wrong with hiring a PA to assist with an insurance claim. In fact, I often recommend it, with the shift that I’ve personally seen with the tactics that some (not all) insurance carriers employ. With hiring the public adjuster, a Mold Remediation Contractor was recommended (nothing wrong with this process thus far).

Flash forward to the commencement of the Mold Remediation Service and the company used begins tearing apart just about everything in this woman’s home, according to her. Upon completion of the work, a licensed Mold Assessment Company came in to confirm that the Mold Remediation Service was successfully performed. They were there to make sure the home was returned back to a satisfactory or better state. This is where the process gets out of hand, as it took 5 instances of the Mold Remediation Company coming back to perform further work, in order to successfully complete the service. As a result of the additional expenses incurred for assessments by the Mold Remediation Contractor, they had the audacity to ask the homeowner to pay a portion of her invoice - despite engaging in an Assignment of Benefits, whereby the service company will wait to collect from an insurance carrier. Fun fact: All reputable Mold Remediation Contractors should incur the costs for re-testing (additional assessments) until the service is successfully completed. There are instances in which this is not the case, but these are rare.

As I wrapped up my phone conversation with this woman, she mentioned that she looked into the Mold Remediation Company after the fact to find that they did not have stellar reviews. She also mentioned that there were numerous instances in which the company left her property unlocked - occasionally leaving doors and windows opened to the outdoor elements. Absolutely no regard for the homeowner and her belongings! If you’re a homeowner reading this blog post, the point that I would like to get across is to trust, but verify. The Mold Remediation Industry, is a major referral business - as is much of the construction industry. While there are still companies, such as ourselves, that refer business with the best of client intentions in mind, not everyone shares the same interests. Do your homework. Check online resources for company information. Establish communication with referred contractors before you simply invite them into your home. I will include a couple of links to reputable websites, where you can verify contractor licensing and reputation, as well as file complaints below.

Verify a license: https://www.myfloridalicense.com/wl11.asp?mode=0&SID=

Verify reputation/ File a complaint: https://www.bbb.org/

Black Toxic Mold! Why All The Hype by Contractors, And Should You be Concerned?

IMG_9384.jpeg

Oh, the ole’ “black toxic mold is inhabiting your home and will slowly eat away at your family’s health”… As if! So, what exactly is “black toxic mold”? Well, I don’t recommend performing an extensive Google search about this - unless you’d like to have nightmares. In the simplest explanation, the terms black mold and toxic mold, sometimes used together, are utilized to describe specific species of mold. Stachybotrys is the most notorious species of mold that ties to the toxicity that is this overly-used scare tactic of words. One in fact that restoration professionals have created to drive consumers to hire a remediation Company out of sheer panic

Is all Black Mold Toxic?

Good gracious, no! Mold comes in all colors, shapes, patterns and sizes. More often than not, multiple species of mold will inhabit a space. Stachybotrys is a mold that scares many, as the health effects are something not to mess around with. Because this is a species of mold attributed with long term water damage, it’s color often has many shades of black. That said, Penicillium Aspergillus are species of mold that are much more common - as their growth is often the result of excess humidity within the air. Why does that matter? Well, these specifies of mold are also black in color in many instances. The black spotting that typically develops on walls is very often Penicillium Aspergillus.

What Mold Can Affect My Health?

Great question! Short answer is that you should be concerned with all species of mold equally. No, this doesn’t mean to drop everything and run out of your house at the first sight of mold. This does, however, mean that you should not put greater importance on one species of mold over another - unless of course you know that you have allergies toward something specific. Many individuals now-a-days are having allergy tests performed at their doctor’s office, when they begin to develop cold-like and flu-like symptoms more frequently.

What Should I do When I Discover Black Mold, Green Mold or any other Color Mold?

First, relax… There’s no reason to panic. If you or anyone else within the property are experiencing health issues, it would be advantageous to separate yourself from the environment - or minimize being in these areas at the very least. The next step would be to take advantage of the offering that most professional mold remediation companies promote - “free inspections” or “free estimates”. The benefit of having a remediation professional visit your home is through the acquisition of information from someone with industry knowledge. Mind you, if the professional you bring in is a pushy salesman, you want to find another company. Now, if you’re looking for something a little more concrete, and often without bias, you may want to entertain the thought of hiring a mold assessor. A mold assessor is an individual capable of performing testing (known as sampling) for mold - in addition to the same thorough visual and metered inspection that remediation contractors perform on a first visit. These individuals have the advantage of providing objective data, indicating definitively if mold is present.

Is Mold Testing Before Remediation Services Needed?

Short answer - no, but don’t jump to conclusions just yet. First, there is a major difference between merely collecting mold samples (testing) and performing a mold assessment. When it comes to mold testing, often times air and/ or surface samples are collected by and indoor environmental professional (IEP) and submitted to a laboratory. The results of these samples are then passed on to the property occupants.

When it comes to a mold assessment, much more of an investigation is performed. Using a combination of the olfactory system, flashlight, hygrometer, moisture meters, thermal imaging camera, air quality particle counters, a borescope and good ole’ experience - a hypothesis can be rendered on what is occurring within a property, and a conclusion made. During a mold assessment, collecting mold samples (testing) is often performed. Pairing these samples with other information collected, such as particulate counts, an IEP now possesses objective data to either support or counter their hypothesis. After all, a mold assessment is made up of objective and subjective data - further distinguishing itself from simple mold testing.

Mold Assessment vs. Mold Testing Wrap-up

So, what does this all mean? Well, if you’re simply looking for a laboratory sheet discussing quantities of mold, with intentions on comparing pre-remediation results to post-remediation results - save your time and money; it’s just not needed! However, if you’d like to stand the best chance at successfully remediating a property on the first try, a pre-remediation mold assessment is highly recommended. An IEP and a remediation contractor working together to develop an accurate scope of work is something magical to see in this industry.