FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION​S

 

Does the mold inspector have to be licensed?


The Department of Business and Professional Regulation is very strict on protecting Florida consumers and they not only ensure you can check any license for free, but also make sure it is up to date with continued education and insurance.

To view original law text click here: -------------------- To verify a current license, click here:




Can an inspector just be certified?


No, since 2011, Florida legislation has it made it illegal to simply be certified as a mold assessor (or property inspector), only a state licensed mold assessor is approved. It is, however, possible to obtain additional certifications besides the state license, but it is never acceptable to have only a certification.




Are you listed and accredited with the BBB (Better Business Bureau)?


Yes, we are! We are one of the very few mold and thermography inspection businesses truly accredited with the BBB. Some companies falsely have the BBB logo on their website, however, once you check with the BBB, you discover that is simply not true.

It is important for us to show all our residential and commercial clients we stand by behind our two company mottos:

Romans 12:17 Do Things In Such A Way That Everyone Can See You Are Honorable.

And

Creating Safer Living Through Quality Inspections




How long does an inspection last?


It varies depending on the size of the area, or areas, tested and inspected.

Typically, they range between 1-2 hours, however, rest assured we do not charge based on time and we take as long as necessary to identify any issues that may of concern to you and your family.




When will I get my results and report?


This can vary depending on what type of inspection and what type of lab samples were requested. We utilize several accredited laboratories, all of which provide fast turnaround time.

Typically, reports and lab reports are provided with 24-48 hours after inspection, however, for rush jobs or medically-sensitive projects, the labs can also offer same day for an additional service fee.




Are my report and information public or confidential?


We are often asked this, and rest assured everything is 100 % confidential.

The laboratory results and information are not public and are not reported to any agency, they are only provided to you.




Do you work with client’s attorneys, remediation companies, insurance adjusters and medical professionals?


Great question, and yes, we absolutely do. In fact, we are often recommended by them as a first step to help identify the problems and to produce a proven protocol plan. If you are already working with them, then with your permission, we will coordinate testing and plan with them as well. We want to ensure everything is done as smoothly as possible for you.




Are your reports valid for insurance claims?


Absolutely. Adjusters, both insurance adjusters and public adjusters greatly appreciate the comprehensive details in StoneCrest Team reports. As technology and science changes, we take great pride in continuously refining our reports to ensure they are industry leading.




Should anything be done in advance of inspection?


Please have fresh baked cookies ready, preferably chocolate chip. 😊

Seriously, nothing must be ready in advance.




How can I pay?


Easy, at the time of inspection, we accept all credit cards, cash or check.




Do I have to be home or who can provide access?


For an initial inspection, it is preferable you are home to help identify what areas are of concern. We recognize that it’s not always possible with work and family schedules, and an adult family or friend can also provide access.

For mold clearance verification tests, no one needs to be home, access can often be provided via lock box.




I am a renter and I suspect mold, and my landlord will not pay for testing. Will the city, county, state or the federal government help me?


There is no program where the government will pay for the inspection or testing, this part must be done by the renter. That said, once you have a report and if it shows elevated or toxic mold, then the landlord must ensure the mold is removed. If the landlord does not take steps to remove it, then you can contact your local city or Florida state for them to take legal action.

At StoneCrest Team we offer several types of inspections to accommodate issues such as this.




I am a landlord and my tenant states there is mold, now what?


If the tenant has a mold report that shows elevated or toxic mold spores, then a mold remediation company must be hired. Following the remediation, StoneCrest Team will conduct a clearance test to verify the work was done and that your property is now clear of mold.

If the tenant did not have a mold test, then you must schedule one quickly to determine what the actual condition of the properly is. This will assure the tenant that you are concerned about their health and want to address the situation. It further protects your property and investment from a potential ongoing mold issue and any potential legal action.




Are you available to answer questions after the inspection?


Yes! 😊 We take pride in actually helping you interpret the results of the laboratory mold analysis and provide a comprehensive mold report accepted by insurance companies, medical professionals, and legal teams. The terms Stachybotrys, Penicillium, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, and spores per cubic meter probably mean little to you. However, each tell us volumes about what is happening in the property and we will explain it patiently and in layman terms for everyone to understand.





General Questions

 

What is infrared thermography?


Thermography and Infrared Light

Normally, our vision is limited to a very small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Thermal energy has a much longer wavelength than visible light. So long, in fact, that the human eye can't even see it, just like we can't see radio waves.

With thermal imaging, the portion of the spectrum we perceive is dramatically expanded, helping us "see" and "measure" thermal energy emitted from an object. Unlike visible light, in the infrared world, everything with a temperature above absolute zero emits heat.

Even very cold objects, like ice cubes, emit infrared. And visible light doesn't affect the thermal world, so you can see equally well in highly lit and totally dark environments.

The Electromagnetic Spectrum

The higher the object's temperature, the greater the IR radiation emitted. Infrared allows us to see what our eyes cannot. Infrared thermography cameras produce images of invisible infrared or "heat" radiation and provide precise non-contact temperature measurement capabilities.

Infrared Energy Detection

An infrared camera is a non-contact device that detects infrared energy (heat) and converts it into an electronic signal, which is then processed to produce a thermal image or video, on which you can perform temperature calculations.

Using an infrared camera, can you see through walls?

An infrared camera cannot literally see through walls. Images are comprised of colors assigned to a particular temperature emitted from an object. When we look at a wall, for example, and if there is moisture within that wall, that moisture will show a “cooler” temperature signature within the imager.




Can an infrared camera detect mold?


No, you can’t detect mold with an infrared camera but it can help to locate mold by identifying wet locations or moisture conducive to mold growth.




Can an infrared camera detect electrical hazards?


Yes, electrical hazards are typically identified as being hot or high-temperature areas. Using an infrared camera, anomalies or hot spots can be seen when the naked eye cannot.




How can thermography be beneficial?


Inspections of all types can be done without using destructive testing. Predictive maintenance (PdM) assessments can be performed on roof systems, equipment, and machinery without having to interrupt production. Moisture intrusion can be identified within walls, ceilings, and floors. Electrical safety failure can be identified through heat emission detection. Energy efficiency can be evaluated by scans of the building envelope.





 

Mold & Health Questions

Black Mold & Toxic Mold

Does the mold inspector have to be licensed?


The Department of Business and Professional Regulation is very strict on protecting Florida consumers and they not only ensure you can check any license for free, but also make sure it is up to date with continued education and insurance.

To view original law text click here: -------------------- To verify a current license, click here:




Can an inspector just be certified?


No, since 2011, Florida legislation has it made it illegal to simply be certified as a mold assessor (or property inspector), only a state licensed mold assessor is approved. It is, however, possible to obtain additional certifications besides the state license, but it is never acceptable to have only a certification.




Are you listed and accredited with the BBB (Better Business Bureau)?


Yes, we are! We are one of the very few mold and thermography inspection businesses truly accredited with the BBB. Some companies falsely have the BBB logo on their website, however, once you check with the BBB, you discover that is simply not true.

It is important for us to show all our residential and commercial clients we stand by behind our two company mottos:

Romans 12:17 Do Things In Such A Way That Everyone Can See You Are Honorable.

And

Creating Safer Living Through Quality Inspections




How long does an inspection last?


It varies depending on the size of the area, or areas, tested and inspected.

Typically, they range between 1-2 hours, however, rest assured we do not charge based on time and we take as long as necessary to identify any issues that may of concern to you and your family.




When will I get my results and report?


This can vary depending on what type of inspection and what type of lab samples were requested. We utilize several accredited laboratories, all of which provide fast turnaround time.

Typically, reports and lab reports are provided with 24-48 hours after inspection, however, for rush jobs or medically-sensitive projects, the labs can also offer same day for an additional service fee.




Are my report and information public or confidential?


We are often asked this, and rest assured everything is 100 % confidential.

The laboratory results and information are not public and are not reported to any agency, they are only provided to you.




Do you work with client’s attorneys, remediation companies, insurance adjusters and medical professionals?


Great question, and yes, we absolutely do. In fact, we are often recommended by them as a first step to help identify the problems and to produce a proven protocol plan. If you are already working with them, then with your permission, we will coordinate testing and plan with them as well. We want to ensure everything is done as smoothly as possible for you.




Are your reports valid for insurance claims?


Absolutely. Adjusters, both insurance adjusters and public adjusters greatly appreciate the comprehensive details in StoneCrest Team reports. As technology and science changes, we take great pride in continuously refining our reports to ensure they are industry leading.




Should anything be done in advance of inspection?


Please have fresh baked cookies ready, preferably chocolate chip. 😊

Seriously, nothing must be ready in advance.




How can I pay?


Easy, at the time of inspection, we accept all credit cards, cash or check.




Do I have to be home or who can provide access?


For an initial inspection, it is preferable you are home to help identify what areas are of concern. We recognize that it’s not always possible with work and family schedules, and an adult family or friend can also provide access.

For mold clearance verification tests, no one needs to be home, access can often be provided via lock box.




I am a renter and I suspect mold, and my landlord will not pay for testing. Will the city, county, state or the federal government help me?


There is no program where the government will pay for the inspection or testing, this part must be done by the renter. That said, once you have a report and if it shows elevated or toxic mold, then the landlord must ensure the mold is removed. If the landlord does not take steps to remove it, then you can contact your local city or Florida state for them to take legal action.

At StoneCrest Team we offer several types of inspections to accommodate issues such as this.




I am a landlord and my tenant states there is mold, now what?


If the tenant has a mold report that shows elevated or toxic mold spores, then a mold remediation company must be hired. Following the remediation, StoneCrest Team will conduct a clearance test to verify the work was done and that your property is now clear of mold.

If the tenant did not have a mold test, then you must schedule one quickly to determine what the actual condition of the properly is. This will assure the tenant that you are concerned about their health and want to address the situation. It further protects your property and investment from a potential ongoing mold issue and any potential legal action.




Are you available to answer questions after the inspection?


Yes! 😊 We take pride in actually helping you interpret the results of the laboratory mold analysis and provide a comprehensive mold report accepted by insurance companies, medical professionals, and legal teams. The terms Stachybotrys, Penicillium, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, and spores per cubic meter probably mean little to you. However, each tell us volumes about what is happening in the property and we will explain it patiently and in layman terms for everyone to understand.





 

How fast can mold grow?


Amazingly, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that mold growth will begin 24-48 hours after an area has had enough moisture and will colonize in 1 to 12 days.

A number of factors further contribute to the spread of mold and affect how quickly it spreads. Humidity is the biggest contributor to the spread of mold, and a humidity level greater than 55 percent will cause mold to spread much more quickly. Central AC systems which pull mold spores into ducts and blow them out through vents will also help mold spread more quickly and to a greater area. Unfortunately, most times, mold is already a problem before it is discovered. Due to the fact that the spores are hard to destroy, mold will sometimes return even after the mold source or leak is gone.




Are there different types of mold? Like the good, the bad and the ugly?


Molds are organized into three groups according to human responses:

Allergenic Molds
Allergenic molds rarely produce life-threatening health effects and are most likely to affect those who are already allergic or asthmatic. The human system’s responses to allergenic molds tend to typically produce scratchy throats, eye and nose irritations, and rashes.

Pathogenic Molds
Pathogenic molds usually produce some type of infection. They can cause serious health effects in persons with suppressed immune systems.

Toxigenic Molds
Mycotoxins can cause serious health effects in all segments of the population. These agents have toxic effects ranging from short-term irritation to immunosuppression and possibly cancer.




Can mold travel to different areas?


Unfortunate, yes. Mold spores, no matter the type, are tiny and they can find their way across your home via air conditioners, heating systems, and ventilation units. You can even carry them on your body without ever knowing. Since the spores travel through the air, they can easily spread and even more easily be inhaled by the home’s occupants. While the source of the mold spores came either from a water leak or ac in another room we have discovered actual mold growing inside closets in different bedrooms. Spores can attach and grow on different mediums, leather shoes, jackets and belts are often areas where we discover severe mold growth.

Unfortunately, mold can be found almost anywhere. However, when mold is present in the indoor environment, there is usually moisture present. Mold especially likes to grow where temperatures are 68°F, dim lighting, and very little air circulation. Mold spores are known to travel throughout the air, attach itself to any damp surface, and then begin breaking down the material as it grows. Therefore, it is vitally important for homeowners to contact a mold remediation company when they have experienced a flood or fire in their home.




It is an old water leak, should I be worried about any old mold? Can mold die?


Yes and no. With water or humidity, molds grow. Without moisture, molds die but the spores do not. If water returns, the spores regenerate growing colonies of mold. Some water leaks in a home are seasonal (rain leaks, air conditioning leaks), and others are irregular (pipes, shower, etc.). Consequently, humidity in a home varies over time and between locations, so the types and concentration of mold and mold spores that can be found from one test to the next can vary. While the water leak may be old, any presence of spores and other conditions warrant a current mold inspection and test.




If I cannot smell mold that means there is no mold, right?


Again, not quite. Not all mold spores have a distinct odor, and equally, not everyone has the same sense of smell. We have encountered many situations where we inspected beautiful, clean homes, brand new and old, with no visible signs and no odors, however, the testing revealed hidden mold that was affecting the homeowners.




Can I just use bleach to kill or remove mold?


No, that can have the opposite effect.

While bleach may kill mold on some surfaces, it does not kill mold on porous surfaces such as wood, drywall, cloth, etc. Chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite 6 percent) cannot get into the porous surfaces where most mold hyphae (the root structures) grow and attach themselves. Bleach has an ion structure that prevents it from penetrating porous surfaces, thus the root structures inside the porous surfaces are not killed. While the bleach may remove the mold from the top of the surface, the roots are still inside the pores.

Furthermore, bleach could increase mold problems. The water in the bleach soaks into the porous surface and the chemical stays on top. This gives the roots more moisture to grow. Dense mold will grow onto the surface within a few days of bleach treatment and the wet surface becomes a magnet for mold spores that were not killed by surface treatment.




How does mold get into my home or business?


Molds produce microscopic cells called “spores” which spread easily through the air. Live spores act like seeds, forming new mold growths (colonies) when they find the right conditions. Mold spores may enter your home through open doorways and windows, and through many environmental control systems. Spores in the outside air also enter homes by attaching to clothing and pets. When mold spores drop on surfaces where moisture is present, they will grow.




Where does mold grow?


Mold commonly grows where leakage and/or seepage is an issue – particularly in roofs, pipes, walls, plant pots, or anywhere flooding has occurred. To make matters worse, many building materials actually provide “nutrients” which encourage mold to grow. Wet cellulose materials, including paper and paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood and wood products are particularly conducive to the growth of some molds. Other common materials such as dust, paint, wallpaper, insulation materials, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery commonly support mold growth.




How many mold species are there?


Molds are fungi and no one knows exactly how many species of fungi exist, but estimates range from 10,000 to perhaps 300,000 or more.

Their tiny particles are present everywhere – both indoors and outdoors. Mold is often found in buildings and homes where conditions are warm and humid or where there has been some sort of water intrusion.





 

Mold Questions

Mold Inspection Questions

What are Coliform Bacteria?


They are not disease-producing organisms themselves, but they are used as an indicator of disease-producing organisms. When coliform bacteria are present, there is an increased probability that the source water may have been contaminated by surface water or fecal material and may also contain disease-producing organisms. Chlorination is the best method for eliminating bacteria from the water, but if possible, the source of contamination should be located and treated so the problem does not recur.




What about sodium content?


For healthy people, the sodium content of water is relatively unimportant because the intake of sodium from other drinks and foods is so much greater. People following a low sodium diet because of hypertension, kidney, or cardiovascular disease should be concerned with an elevated level of sodium. The usual low sodium diet allows 20 mg/L in the drinking water. Elevated sodium levels are likely to be seen with the use of a water softener. Other possible causes are run-off from road salting or sewage contamination.




What about levels of Nitrate Nitrogen?


An elevated Nitrate Nitrogen level may indicate that agricultural fertilizer or waste disposal is polluting the water. The AL of 10 mg/L has been established to prevent a disease called methemoglobinemia “blue baby disease” in infants. Reverse osmosis and ion exchange resins can remove nitrates.




What’s up with the odor?


Odor in water can be caused by foreign matter such as organic compounds, inorganic salts or dissolved gases. These materials may come from domestic, agricultural or natural sources. The action level (AL) has been set according to aesthetic values but acceptable waters should be free of any objectionable odor.




And manganese?


Manganese at levels greater than .05 mg/L may produce brownish black stains in laundry and on fixtures and impart an objectionable odor and taste. It is usually found along with iron in soil with a high mineral content. Oxidation followed by a greensand filter is a common method of manganese removal.




Does water color make a difference?


Water color may be caused by dissolved organic material from decaying vegetation and/or certain inorganic material such as iron or manganese. While color is generally not a problem from a health standpoint, its presence is aesthetically unpleasing and suggests that the water may need appropriate treatment.




What about chloride concentrations?


The AL for chloride was established primarily as an aesthetic standard. The concentration at which the average person can detect a salty taste in water is 250 mg/L. A high chloride level can lead to the corrosiveness of water on pipes and heating equipment and is usually associated with a high sodium level. Sewage contamination, run-off from road salting or an improperly maintained water softener may cause elevated chloride.




And turbidity?


Turbidity is the presence of suspended material such as clay, silt, plankton, finely divided organic material and other inorganic materials. Turbidity over five units is detectable in a glass of water and are usually objectionable for aesthetic reasons. The most common method of lowering turbidity is with a filter system.




And sulfate?


Sulfate in drinking water has no beneficial effects. The desirable limit is 250 mg/L. At higher concentrations, sulfate may have a laxative effect and cause taste deterioration.




pH measure?


pH is a measure of the acid or alkaline content of water. Water with a low pH (acidic) is corrosive to plumbing and may cause leaching of toxic metals such as lead or copper. Soda ash can be added to the feed water to effectively raise the pH.




Iron levels?


Iron levels above 0.3 mg/L can discolor fixtures and laundry and may impart a metallic taste to the water. Iron is frequently present in water because of the large amounts present in the soil. Corrosive water will also pick up iron from pipes. Common methods for removing iron from the water are aeration or chlorination of the water followed by filtration.




Copper?


Copper in small amounts is not considered detrimental to health but will impart an undesirable taste to drinking water. The recommended limit is set at 1.3 mg/L. High levels are usually due to low pH and low hardness in the water.

Calcium and magnesium salts are the major cause of hardness in water supplies. Although not detrimental to health, hard water retards the cleaning action of soaps and detergents. When hard water is heated, it will deposit a hard scale on heating coils and cooking utensils with a consequent waste of fuel. A water softening system is the most common method of lowering the hardness in water. The following is a scale on which to compare your water hardness: (0-75) low/soft; (76-150) moderate; (151-250) hard; (over 250) very hard.

(The above water test info provided by AquaTek Labs)





 

Does the mold inspector have to be licensed?


The Department of Business and Professional Regulation is very strict on protecting Florida consumers and they not only ensure you can check any license for free, but also make sure it is up to date with continued education and insurance.

To view original law text click here: -------------------- To verify a current license, click here:




Can an inspector just be certified?


No, since 2011, Florida legislation has it made it illegal to simply be certified as a mold assessor (or property inspector), only a state licensed mold assessor is approved. It is, however, possible to obtain additional certifications besides the state license, but it is never acceptable to have only a certification.




Are you listed and accredited with the BBB (Better Business Bureau)?


Yes, we are! We are one of the very few mold and thermography inspection businesses truly accredited with the BBB. Some companies falsely have the BBB logo on their website, however, once you check with the BBB, you discover that is simply not true.

It is important for us to show all our residential and commercial clients we stand by behind our two company mottos:

Romans 12:17 Do Things In Such A Way That Everyone Can See You Are Honorable.

And

Creating Safer Living Through Quality Inspections




How long does an inspection last?


It varies depending on the size of the area, or areas, tested and inspected.

Typically, they range between 1-2 hours, however, rest assured we do not charge based on time and we take as long as necessary to identify any issues that may of concern to you and your family.




When will I get my results and report?


This can vary depending on what type of inspection and what type of lab samples were requested. We utilize several accredited laboratories, all of which provide fast turnaround time.

Typically, reports and lab reports are provided with 24-48 hours after inspection, however, for rush jobs or medically-sensitive projects, the labs can also offer same day for an additional service fee.




Are my report and information public or confidential?


We are often asked this, and rest assured everything is 100 % confidential.

The laboratory results and information are not public and are not reported to any agency, they are only provided to you.




Do you work with client’s attorneys, remediation companies, insurance adjusters and medical professionals?


Great question, and yes, we absolutely do. In fact, we are often recommended by them as a first step to help identify the problems and to produce a proven protocol plan. If you are already working with them, then with your permission, we will coordinate testing and plan with them as well. We want to ensure everything is done as smoothly as possible for you.




Are your reports valid for insurance claims?


Absolutely. Adjusters, both insurance adjusters and public adjusters greatly appreciate the comprehensive details in StoneCrest Team reports. As technology and science changes, we take great pride in continuously refining our reports to ensure they are industry leading.




Should anything be done in advance of inspection?


Please have fresh baked cookies ready, preferably chocolate chip. 😊

Seriously, nothing must be ready in advance.




How can I pay?


Easy, at the time of inspection, we accept all credit cards, cash or check.




Do I have to be home or who can provide access?


For an initial inspection, it is preferable you are home to help identify what areas are of concern. We recognize that it’s not always possible with work and family schedules, and an adult family or friend can also provide access.

For mold clearance verification tests, no one needs to be home, access can often be provided via lock box.




I am a renter and I suspect mold, and my landlord will not pay for testing. Will the city, county, state or the federal government help me?


There is no program where the government will pay for the inspection or testing, this part must be done by the renter. That said, once you have a report and if it shows elevated or toxic mold, then the landlord must ensure the mold is removed. If the landlord does not take steps to remove it, then you can contact your local city or Florida state for them to take legal action.

At StoneCrest Team we offer several types of inspections to accommodate issues such as this.




I am a landlord and my tenant states there is mold, now what?


If the tenant has a mold report that shows elevated or toxic mold spores, then a mold remediation company must be hired. Following the remediation, StoneCrest Team will conduct a clearance test to verify the work was done and that your property is now clear of mold.

If the tenant did not have a mold test, then you must schedule one quickly to determine what the actual condition of the properly is. This will assure the tenant that you are concerned about their health and want to address the situation. It further protects your property and investment from a potential ongoing mold issue and any potential legal action.




Are you available to answer questions after the inspection?


Yes! 😊 We take pride in actually helping you interpret the results of the laboratory mold analysis and provide a comprehensive mold report accepted by insurance companies, medical professionals, and legal teams. The terms Stachybotrys, Penicillium, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, and spores per cubic meter probably mean little to you. However, each tell us volumes about what is happening in the property and we will explain it patiently and in layman terms for everyone to understand.





ERMI Inspection Questions

 

How fast can mold grow?


Amazingly, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that mold growth will begin 24-48 hours after an area has had enough moisture and will colonize in 1 to 12 days.

A number of factors further contribute to the spread of mold and affect how quickly it spreads. Humidity is the biggest contributor to the spread of mold, and a humidity level greater than 55 percent will cause mold to spread much more quickly. Central AC systems which pull mold spores into ducts and blow them out through vents will also help mold spread more quickly and to a greater area. Unfortunately, most times, mold is already a problem before it is discovered. Due to the fact that the spores are hard to destroy, mold will sometimes return even after the mold source or leak is gone.




Are there different types of mold? Like the good, the bad and the ugly?


Molds are organized into three groups according to human responses:

Allergenic Molds
Allergenic molds rarely produce life-threatening health effects and are most likely to affect those who are already allergic or asthmatic. The human system’s responses to allergenic molds tend to typically produce scratchy throats, eye and nose irritations, and rashes.

Pathogenic Molds
Pathogenic molds usually produce some type of infection. They can cause serious health effects in persons with suppressed immune systems.

Toxigenic Molds
Mycotoxins can cause serious health effects in all segments of the population. These agents have toxic effects ranging from short-term irritation to immunosuppression and possibly cancer.




Can mold travel to different areas?


Unfortunate, yes. Mold spores, no matter the type, are tiny and they can find their way across your home via air conditioners, heating systems, and ventilation units. You can even carry them on your body without ever knowing. Since the spores travel through the air, they can easily spread and even more easily be inhaled by the home’s occupants. While the source of the mold spores came either from a water leak or ac in another room we have discovered actual mold growing inside closets in different bedrooms. Spores can attach and grow on different mediums, leather shoes, jackets and belts are often areas where we discover severe mold growth.

Unfortunately, mold can be found almost anywhere. However, when mold is present in the indoor environment, there is usually moisture present. Mold especially likes to grow where temperatures are 68°F, dim lighting, and very little air circulation. Mold spores are known to travel throughout the air, attach itself to any damp surface, and then begin breaking down the material as it grows. Therefore, it is vitally important for homeowners to contact a mold remediation company when they have experienced a flood or fire in their home.




It is an old water leak, should I be worried about any old mold? Can mold die?


Yes and no. With water or humidity, molds grow. Without moisture, molds die but the spores do not. If water returns, the spores regenerate growing colonies of mold. Some water leaks in a home are seasonal (rain leaks, air conditioning leaks), and others are irregular (pipes, shower, etc.). Consequently, humidity in a home varies over time and between locations, so the types and concentration of mold and mold spores that can be found from one test to the next can vary. While the water leak may be old, any presence of spores and other conditions warrant a current mold inspection and test.




If I cannot smell mold that means there is no mold, right?


Again, not quite. Not all mold spores have a distinct odor, and equally, not everyone has the same sense of smell. We have encountered many situations where we inspected beautiful, clean homes, brand new and old, with no visible signs and no odors, however, the testing revealed hidden mold that was affecting the homeowners.




Can I just use bleach to kill or remove mold?


No, that can have the opposite effect.

While bleach may kill mold on some surfaces, it does not kill mold on porous surfaces such as wood, drywall, cloth, etc. Chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite 6 percent) cannot get into the porous surfaces where most mold hyphae (the root structures) grow and attach themselves. Bleach has an ion structure that prevents it from penetrating porous surfaces, thus the root structures inside the porous surfaces are not killed. While the bleach may remove the mold from the top of the surface, the roots are still inside the pores.

Furthermore, bleach could increase mold problems. The water in the bleach soaks into the porous surface and the chemical stays on top. This gives the roots more moisture to grow. Dense mold will grow onto the surface within a few days of bleach treatment and the wet surface becomes a magnet for mold spores that were not killed by surface treatment.




How does mold get into my home or business?


Molds produce microscopic cells called “spores” which spread easily through the air. Live spores act like seeds, forming new mold growths (colonies) when they find the right conditions. Mold spores may enter your home through open doorways and windows, and through many environmental control systems. Spores in the outside air also enter homes by attaching to clothing and pets. When mold spores drop on surfaces where moisture is present, they will grow.




Where does mold grow?


Mold commonly grows where leakage and/or seepage is an issue – particularly in roofs, pipes, walls, plant pots, or anywhere flooding has occurred. To make matters worse, many building materials actually provide “nutrients” which encourage mold to grow. Wet cellulose materials, including paper and paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood and wood products are particularly conducive to the growth of some molds. Other common materials such as dust, paint, wallpaper, insulation materials, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery commonly support mold growth.




How many mold species are there?


Molds are fungi and no one knows exactly how many species of fungi exist, but estimates range from 10,000 to perhaps 300,000 or more.

Their tiny particles are present everywhere – both indoors and outdoors. Mold is often found in buildings and homes where conditions are warm and humid or where there has been some sort of water intrusion.





Allergen Inspection Questions

 

Water Test Questions

What are Coliform Bacteria?


They are not disease-producing organisms themselves, but they are used as an indicator of disease-producing organisms. When coliform bacteria are present, there is an increased probability that the source water may have been contaminated by surface water or fecal material and may also contain disease-producing organisms. Chlorination is the best method for eliminating bacteria from the water, but if possible, the source of contamination should be located and treated so the problem does not recur.




What about sodium content?


For healthy people, the sodium content of water is relatively unimportant because the intake of sodium from other drinks and foods is so much greater. People following a low sodium diet because of hypertension, kidney, or cardiovascular disease should be concerned with an elevated level of sodium. The usual low sodium diet allows 20 mg/L in the drinking water. Elevated sodium levels are likely to be seen with the use of a water softener. Other possible causes are run-off from road salting or sewage contamination.




What about levels of Nitrate Nitrogen?


An elevated Nitrate Nitrogen level may indicate that agricultural fertilizer or waste disposal is polluting the water. The AL of 10 mg/L has been established to prevent a disease called methemoglobinemia “blue baby disease” in infants. Reverse osmosis and ion exchange resins can remove nitrates.




What’s up with the odor?


Odor in water can be caused by foreign matter such as organic compounds, inorganic salts or dissolved gases. These materials may come from domestic, agricultural or natural sources. The action level (AL) has been set according to aesthetic values but acceptable waters should be free of any objectionable odor.




And manganese?


Manganese at levels greater than .05 mg/L may produce brownish black stains in laundry and on fixtures and impart an objectionable odor and taste. It is usually found along with iron in soil with a high mineral content. Oxidation followed by a greensand filter is a common method of manganese removal.




Does water color make a difference?


Water color may be caused by dissolved organic material from decaying vegetation and/or certain inorganic material such as iron or manganese. While color is generally not a problem from a health standpoint, its presence is aesthetically unpleasing and suggests that the water may need appropriate treatment.




What about chloride concentrations?


The AL for chloride was established primarily as an aesthetic standard. The concentration at which the average person can detect a salty taste in water is 250 mg/L. A high chloride level can lead to the corrosiveness of water on pipes and heating equipment and is usually associated with a high sodium level. Sewage contamination, run-off from road salting or an improperly maintained water softener may cause elevated chloride.




And turbidity?


Turbidity is the presence of suspended material such as clay, silt, plankton, finely divided organic material and other inorganic materials. Turbidity over five units is detectable in a glass of water and are usually objectionable for aesthetic reasons. The most common method of lowering turbidity is with a filter system.




And sulfate?


Sulfate in drinking water has no beneficial effects. The desirable limit is 250 mg/L. At higher concentrations, sulfate may have a laxative effect and cause taste deterioration.




pH measure?


pH is a measure of the acid or alkaline content of water. Water with a low pH (acidic) is corrosive to plumbing and may cause leaching of toxic metals such as lead or copper. Soda ash can be added to the feed water to effectively raise the pH.




Iron levels?


Iron levels above 0.3 mg/L can discolor fixtures and laundry and may impart a metallic taste to the water. Iron is frequently present in water because of the large amounts present in the soil. Corrosive water will also pick up iron from pipes. Common methods for removing iron from the water are aeration or chlorination of the water followed by filtration.




Copper?


Copper in small amounts is not considered detrimental to health but will impart an undesirable taste to drinking water. The recommended limit is set at 1.3 mg/L. High levels are usually due to low pH and low hardness in the water.

Calcium and magnesium salts are the major cause of hardness in water supplies. Although not detrimental to health, hard water retards the cleaning action of soaps and detergents. When hard water is heated, it will deposit a hard scale on heating coils and cooking utensils with a consequent waste of fuel. A water softening system is the most common method of lowering the hardness in water. The following is a scale on which to compare your water hardness: (0-75) low/soft; (76-150) moderate; (151-250) hard; (over 250) very hard.

(The above water test info provided by AquaTek Labs)





 

What is infrared thermography?


Thermography and Infrared Light

Normally, our vision is limited to a very small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Thermal energy has a much longer wavelength than visible light. So long, in fact, that the human eye can't even see it, just like we can't see radio waves.

With thermal imaging, the portion of the spectrum we perceive is dramatically expanded, helping us "see" and "measure" thermal energy emitted from an object. Unlike visible light, in the infrared world, everything with a temperature above absolute zero emits heat.

Even very cold objects, like ice cubes, emit infrared. And visible light doesn't affect the thermal world, so you can see equally well in highly lit and totally dark environments.

The Electromagnetic Spectrum

The higher the object's temperature, the greater the IR radiation emitted. Infrared allows us to see what our eyes cannot. Infrared thermography cameras produce images of invisible infrared or "heat" radiation and provide precise non-contact temperature measurement capabilities.

Infrared Energy Detection

An infrared camera is a non-contact device that detects infrared energy (heat) and converts it into an electronic signal, which is then processed to produce a thermal image or video, on which you can perform temperature calculations.

Using an infrared camera, can you see through walls?

An infrared camera cannot literally see through walls. Images are comprised of colors assigned to a particular temperature emitted from an object. When we look at a wall, for example, and if there is moisture within that wall, that moisture will show a “cooler” temperature signature within the imager.




Can an infrared camera detect mold?


No, you can’t detect mold with an infrared camera but it can help to locate mold by identifying wet locations or moisture conducive to mold growth.




Can an infrared camera detect electrical hazards?


Yes, electrical hazards are typically identified as being hot or high-temperature areas. Using an infrared camera, anomalies or hot spots can be seen when the naked eye cannot.




How can thermography be beneficial?


Inspections of all types can be done without using destructive testing. Predictive maintenance (PdM) assessments can be performed on roof systems, equipment, and machinery without having to interrupt production. Moisture intrusion can be identified within walls, ceilings, and floors. Electrical safety failure can be identified through heat emission detection. Energy efficiency can be evaluated by scans of the building envelope.





 

Infrared Thermography Questions

MOLD GLOSSARY

Molds species are simple, microscopic organisms that can grow virtually anywhere, both inside buildings and outdoors. Mold colonies can grow inside damp or wet building structures and are a common component of household and workplace dust.

 

Health effects from exposure to mold can vary greatly depending on the person and the amount and type of mold present, some toxic and some allergenic.

Regardless of the type of mold, it should be treated as potentially a health hazard and should be removed from homes and workplaces.

 

As there are thousands of species this cannot be a conclusive list, however, we are listing the most common spores found indoors in the Central Florida area.

 

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