If you know you have mold present and you have identified where that mold is and how bad the contamination levels across the house are, you’re ready to start confronting to fix it. You may be asking why we are giving out a roadmap of how to do such a thing when we offer services to do it, but the truth is we have a larger mission than just improving one house a time. Maybe you aren’t looking to perform mold remediation from a health perspective and we aren’t the right company for you. We still want to ensure you are in good hands because the truth is, prolonged exposure has been linked to developing an increasing sensitivity to mold. The biggest problem we have in the mold remediation industry is this widespread belief that ANY professional and ANY practice will improve your air quality. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Just a quick journey onto Facebook to one of the mold communities will tell you that unfortunately hiring a bad remediation company can actually make things worse (which I will outline why and how below). At the very least, if for one reason or another, you can’t hire us we want to make sure those you do hire will be a good fit for you.
The first question you want to ask yourself is, why am I looking to embark on an environmental cleanup project? Is it because you are experiencing adverse health reactions that you would like to handle? If so, you need to hire a company that understands what causes these adverse health reactions. Below are some questions and guidelines we recommend asking about to make sure your contractor of choice is a good fit:
- How many individuals have you worked with whom were sick and how many of those individuals were you able to get back into their home without them feeling any adverse health reactions thereafter?
- What sort of guarantees do I have if I work with you so that in the event I still don’t feel well, I can be sure you will help identify and perform additional work?
- What happens if you fail an air or swab sample? Do you come back at no additional charge?
- What happens if you remove some of the wall and you have to go further? Will it cost me more money?
- What sort of guarantee do I have that this is the total project cost and that it will not increase for any reason to obtain the desired result?
- What do you do to ensure that the ERMI/HERTSMI/EPA36 and Mycotoxin levels will reduce and do you guarantee their reduction?
- What sort of engineering controls do you employ to ensure that you’re not going to cross contaminate making the ERMI/HERTSMI/EPA 36 or Mycotoxins go up?
- If bacteria is present, do you guarantee the removal of the bacteria as well as evident on the EndoToxin test?
- If I re-test 3-6 months later, will you guarantee the results still?
- What happens if you just can’t pass post testing and you just can’t afford to come back anymore even if you had guaranteed it?
- Do you guarantee that your bid is thorough enough and is the optimum scope of work and price that I need to do to ensure that my family will no longer experience adverse health effects from mold?
I will now break down what the answers should be so you have a basis of understanding if the company you are interviewing is a right fit for you based upon their answers.
- You want a company that’s experienced in helping individuals with mold sensitivity. If they’ve only done one or two mold sensitive projects, it may not be enough statistical data to ensure they really have helped enough people to fully understand what someone who is sick is experiencing and what they will need in terms of scope of work. The industry standards for mold remediation were not made with an individual who is sensitive, in mind. They were made for a general population that they still think to this day is not impacted by mold.
- This is key because most contracts are written that if you have mold in a wall and they remove that mold and the air test says so, that their job is done and they want to be paid. They don’t know if removing the mold in the wall will solve your health problems and so this is an important question to ask. What sort of risk do you have in spending the 30k they are asking for that it will actually solve your problem? For us, we employ science and we have a great deal of understanding on how it impacts your health because we work with various mold literate doctors across the country (that we have personally remediated for them as well). This knowledge is invaluable because we can stand behind the fact that we will fight the good fight until you can live in your home and not abandon you by saying “well the job is done”. You need to find another company that thinks this way too or it can turn into money wasted instead of money invested.
- If they fail an air or swab sample, they should come back at no additional charge and resolve it.
- This will be indicative if they are low balling the estimate to get their foot in the door and will end up charging you more money once they get started. The truth is no one can tell just how far the mold extends until the wall is opened up. That’s why for us our contract language says we will go 4 feet beyond to ensure the mold is eradicated and there is no additional charge if we find more mold than we thought. You want to be careful here thinking you’re getting a better deal only to spend more in the long run.
- This is similar to number 4, but the truth is what happens if they open the wall and realize now some of the floor needs to come out. Maybe it only takes a few hours to do but they stop the job until you agree to pay a few thousand more.
- This is key because what happens is many contractors will sell you on their 35 years experience in mold and will neglect to tell you that they have 0 experience in fine particulate remediation and biotoxin remediation. This contamination is actually the part that gets into your body through either the skin or the lungs and this is what is causing you to have adverse health reactions. It’s not like you’re eating the moldy drywall, you’re breathing in what the moldy drywall is creating. If they don’t know how to remove the contamination and they won’t guarantee that their efforts will greatly reduce the contamination present, then you may be spending money and still feeling the effects of the mold even though they’ve removed the moldy drywall itself.
- This is another big question and the lack of understanding about engineering controls and their purpose leads people to say “The whole house is contaminated so why do I need to put up containment”. This shows a lack of knowledge about how air flow works and is a recipe for disaster making the contamination problem much much worse when they’re done. We have all heard the term air scrubbers or negative air machines that create “negative pressure” inside the area that’s being remediated to prevent cross contamination. But negative pressure is only created if you have more pressure drawn negatively than the rest of the space. Well, if you don’t contain that room, then you’ll be trying to create negative pressure on an entire house instead of one room and one machine inside of a room won’t draw enough air negatively to produce negative pressure. This means that the mold that’s released into the air from that one room, will cross-contaminate the rest of the house. This means ERMI/HERTMSI/EPA36 and mycotoxins (if present) will get much worse and not better.
- The answer to this question should be yes because Endotoxins (produced when bacteria dies) and Exotoxins (produced when bacteria is alive) can also cause adverse health reactions and so removing these bio toxins and the bacteria that creates them are very important to the overall air quality you’re trying to improve. Why are we concerned with bacteria? The source of the water that impacted the space which led to mold growing in the first place can become contaminated with bacteria. Water seeping into the building from outside (especially below grade), water from a drain pipe, water that gets contaminated from bat and/or rodent droppings, are some of the main causes for bacteria being present. It’s important to check this box when making a decision on who to hire.
- When hiring a mold remediation contractor there are three pillars that you need to think about: 1. Can this person remediate the sources properly. 2. Can this person identify and address the problems that led to those sources in the first place. 3. Can this person eradicate the contamination that was created by those sources. If they can do all 3, they should have NO problem with testing 3-6 months later again to ensure the space has improved and not worsened. If they are not confident in this it tells you they are not confident in their abilities in the first place.
- This is an important one because I have seen mold contractors “in business over 35 years” but brand new to the word “Mycotoxin” say they will guarantee the removal of these things to then after 3-4 attempts (because they really don’t know how to remove these contaminants) tell you that “This is the best we can do, you won’t get better than this”. I will tell you at least 100 of our 500 projects to date have been remediation of homes that were already remediated by someone else who was inept at this level of remediation that is required for someone who is sick. Ask them what happens if they clean 3-4 times hypothetically and it doesn’t pass and ask what they would do in that regard. If they’re educated they should have a clear cut plan because guess what it is possible and it can happen so if they say that doesn’t happen or it has never happened to them, odds are they haven’t been involved in enough projects. When it does happen and there’s no plan or solution for it, the end result is always “This is the best it will get” and that’s not true because the best it can get is eradicating the toxigenic, pathogenic, and allergenic molds and their byproducts. Not partially.
- This is the smoking gun and I think the biggest problem we have in our industry today. All of these professionals have their own way of deciding what scope of work is necessary and then their price is calculated based upon that scope of work. It’s easy to say well All American Restoration is $20,000 and Joe Blow’s Remediation is $10,000. When you look at it that way, anyone in their right mind will spend $10,000 over $20,000 if they thought they would achieve the same outcome. Our industry uses terminology that people don’t comprehend unless you remediate mold for a living and so we don’t actually understand that it;’s not the same product at all, not even close. I want to start by saying first that if in this scenario I thought the $10,000 investment would work, I would be competing at that level and we would surely sign every project we bid on. The problem is when you break down the scope of work, you see that there’s $10,000 worth of work missing and that $10,000 difference is crucial in ensuring the three pillars of remediation are successful. 1. Does it fully eradicate the sources of mold. 2. Does it improve the space enough so that mold cannot come back. 3. Does it remove the contamination that causes adverse health reactions. I can guarantee to match any price apples for apples in the industry but what I won’t do is perform a scope of work that I don’t think will result in you achieving what you look to achieve. Ask the contractor’s price you’re attracted to, to define the proposal in laymen’s terms and let’s compare the scopes of work. Our proposals are usually higher because we are recommending more work being done on one of those three pillars than anyone in our industry. This isn’t because we want to charge more to get the same product but rather because we believe that our product is the best approach to long lasting results!
Are you curious how we answer these questions? Give us a call today!
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