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Can you inspect for mold behind a wall?

Superman has x-ray vision, mold inspectors do not. So unless your inspector gains superpowers, how can they inspect obscured areas like inside of wall cavities for mold growth? We have a number of different options on how we can check the inside of wall cavities during mold inspections, ranging from totally noninvasive measures up to destructive methods.

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The Importance of Having a Written Mold Remediation Plan

When you discover a large mold problem, your top priority is getting it remediated ASAP. In that haste, you may neglect to write out mold remediation plan.  This blog post is intended to shed some light on the importance of having a written mold remediation plan when fixing a mold issue. This article will show how a remediation plan is both beneficial to the owner and the remediation contractor.

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Asbestos Testing During Mold Remediation

After mold has been discovered, the primary concern of the property owner is to have remediation. One potential hazard that is often overlooked is the presence of asbestos in the materials that are being remediated. While the EPA has created the RRP Rule (Renovation, Repair, and Painting) to educate contractors about accidentally disturbing lead paint, there is no such rule in regards to asbestos.

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Can a Home be Mold Free?

As trained professionals in the mold industry, we often get clients who want to know if they can live in a mold free home.  The answer to that question is “It depends on your definition of mold-free.” A home can have no significant mold growth but it will always have a background amount of mold spores.

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What do mold inspections cost?

This might be the most common question we receive. Unfortunately, there are no “one size fits all” type answers to this question. Think to yourself “How much does it cost to go to the dentist”? Well if you are just going in for a routine cleaning your cost could be less than $100, but if you need major work done it could be $1000’s. Much like seeing the dentist, each mold situation is so unique pricing can vary. Our mold assessments can cost up to $1000 (and occasionally higher for special projects), but the average cost for a typical residential project is about $600.

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How Long Before I Get My Mold Report?

In the world of indoor air quality measurements, the turnaround time (TAT) for getting results can vary drastically. While it is possible to give immediate feedback for some indoor air quality parameters, others can take a few days or even a few weeks depending on the type of sampling. The timing is dependant on the type of sample that is taken and consequently the amount of time the laboratory needs to analyze the sample. In this blog post, I’ll cover the turnaround time for our most common mold work.

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Is Mold In An Attic A Big Deal?

The answer is that it all depends.  Let me try to explain.  Mold needs moisture in order to grow.  No moisture; no mold.  In attics, moisture can occur from a leak in the roof or from condensation due to elevated levels of humidity (typically from improper ducting from a bathroom exhaust fan).  Mold has the

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Can You Inspect My Attic for Mold?

We receive many calls from property owners who are concerned about mold in their attic.  Most attics tend to be unfinished with exposed sheathing, wood supports, and insulation.  Because of this unwelcoming environment, property owners rarely go into their attics which can leave undetected mold problems for long periods of time.  In October of 2017,

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Mold Certifications

The mold industry can seem like the wild west. In most states, including Illinois, there are no requirements for someone to call themselves a mold inspector. You may find someone who advertises themselves as being “certified” and features all kinds of official looking seals and stamps on their website, but how do you know if

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Foreclosures And Hidden Mold

A funny thing happened during a recent inspection that opened my eyes to the relationship between foreclosures and mold.  The client had purchased a home roughly four years ago.  She was concerned when a visiting relative complained of having symptoms of her mold allergy while in the property.  The client called a mold company to

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Questions From The Field

During one of my recent inspections, a client presented me a list of questions after the assessment. I often encounter these questions in the field, so I picked out some of the best questions and I am providing the answers below. Q1. Is everything in a room where mold spores are present assumed to have

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Mold Testing In Winter

Winter brings a unique situation for environmental consultants, and mold testing in winter presents a unique advantage. With the colder weather and snow cover on the ground that comes with winter in Chicago, there are usually very low outdoor mold levels. Occasionally we can even see outdoor air samples that have no spores present. If

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Fundamentals of Mold Remediation: My New Book

My new book, “Fundamentals of Mold Remediation“, was published this week.  Over the past few years, I have been collecting my thoughts from designing and evaluating countless mold remediation projects.  I have seen some mold projects done right, and many more projects done wrong. There are a number of guidelines and standards on mold remediation,

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Patio Doors That Make You Weep

Several of our clients have experienced water intrusion around sliding glass patio doors.  There is a mixed bag of flashing problems that can cause water intrusion.  Flashing materials, weep holes, and weep ropes are used to drain water that gets behind the masonry.   In this image, the black material beneath the vertical bricks is the

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Is October “Mold Season” in Chicago?

“This is the time of year for mold around Chicago.” This isn’t a quote from an allergist, but rather Dusty Baker, the manager of the Washington Nationals (and past Cubs manager).  He made this statement at a press conference after game 4 of the NLDS baseball playoffs, which was postponed due to rain. This was

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It Can Happen To Me

I have been living in my home for a number of years now and really don’t have any reason to go up in my attic.  I would need to get a ladder out and set it up in the middle of my hallway and access the attic through a small door in the ceiling.  But

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ERMI Testing Vs. Air Samples

Very often we receive calls from very concerned people that need help determining if they need an Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI) test or not.  The range of knowledge in the general public for this type of test varies.  In this post, I will highlight a few points to keep in mind when deciding on

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Microbiomes, Buildings, and Human Health

An informative report was published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report highlights how a building can influence changes in the microbiology inside the building which can impact human health.  In this blog post, I summarize some of the key points from the consensus study report.  It may be helpful to

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Bio-Contaminants in Water-Damaged Buildings

The following is a chapter I submitted for a workshop on water-damaged buildings, with a target audience of property managers.  It is a good primer on the contaminants found in water-damaged buildings. Microorganisms are all around us.  In fact, they are in and on our bodies as well!  The vast majority of these organisms are

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Mold Clearance Testing

One of the key parts of an effective mold remediation project is one that is often overlooked. “Post remediation verification” (PRV), or “clearance testing” is the process that evaluates the performance of a mold remediation project. This step should always be done by an unaffiliated, third-party testing company to assure an unbiased assessment. This assessment

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Featured Mold – Cladosporium

Cladosporium is the most common culturable mold genera found in the world(1,2), found anywhere from the Amazon to the Arctic. Cladosporium grows in colonies that are dark in color, ranging from black/brown to green. In the outdoors, Cladosporium commonly grows on decaying plants and soil. Natural levels in the outdoor air vary greatly by season,

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Is That A Cat Skeleton?

For the past three months, I have spent several days a week crawling on my hands and knees (and occasionally on my stomach), wearing a Tyvek suit, a respirator, gloves and lugging equipment underneath unlit residential buildings. What was the purpose (besides building character)?  To help clients of ours assess mold and water issues in

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PAACB Certification

Laboratories who analyze samples for mold typically have accreditation from the AIHA (American Industrial Hygiene Association) Laboratory Accreditation Program, LLC. This accreditation is for the lab as a whole covering everything from the facilities, equipment, standard operating procedures (SOP), and even record keeping. What may be surprising to some is that this accreditation does not

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