FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION​S

 

My neighbor says mold is everywhere and that testing will prove nothing.


Sigh… If we had a nickel for every well-meaning neighbor/family member/friend/co-worker who sadly provided false and inaccurate information….

However, the first part is partly correct, there are mold spores evident in most areas.

The important part of the testing is not determining if there are mold spores present, but to discover:

  • what types of mold spores are present (toxic, allergenic, etc.)
  • how many spores are present (as certain levels trigger health issues, even nonallergenic spores)
  • how many different species are present (certain cross-species are not healthy for indoor environments)
  • compare naturally occurring mold spores from the outside with a proven control sample (doors and windows can allow some spores to briefly naturally occur inside)

Often, we have seen clients initially follow their well-meaning, but wrong, advice before they contacted us. Once we did the proper inspection and test, we always discovered mold and health issues that could have been resolved a long time ago.

It is your health and your family health, we are here to help and to serve you.




What is the difference between an adjuster my insurance company is sending over and a public adjuster?


The adjuster sent by the insurance company is hired by them and is obligated to them as their employer. A public adjuster works for you and me (the public) and typically a small percentage fee of any awarded claim. They understand your concerns, your policy, and any limitations and will strive to get the best result possible for you.




Can my mold remediation or restoration company do the mold inspection test?


No. There are 2 types of mold licenses in Florida.

There is a license for a mold assessor who does the testing and writes the protocol and final testing. There is another license as a mold remediation company and it is not legal for a company to both test and to do remediation.




Or, can my mold remediation or restoration company do the post-clearance test?


Florida law prohibits the same company who did the mold remediation or restoration to also conduct a post clearance test. This is wisely done to protect the consumer, all of us, from conflict of interest. Often, final payment from the client or insurance company is held until this done and it is critical for the client that the area is actually clean and sanitized (not just visually clean).

The final post-clearance test and report must show the area worked on is clear and this has to be done by a natural third party such as StoneCrest Team. Our only interest is in ensuring your health and safety.




Do you also clean up and remediate?


Never. We have no conflicts of interest, we won’t try to sell you anything, and we don’t perform remediation. It is always recommended to hire a mold testing company that has no financial interest in mold cleanup, remediation, and chemical products or the rebuild.

Any recommendations we make will always have your best interests in mind.




What about home inspectors, AC companies, or duct cleaning companies who offer tests?


Certain companies have been granted some exceptions, BUT without mold assessor training or any specialized education or training, allowing them to take a minimal sample of one small area. The total time at your property is token and days later they may email you the laboratory results with no interpretation and no recommendations for corrective measures.

Imagine your medical doctor simply providing you a copy of laboratory blood analysis with no guidance or interpretation? Or worse, an incomplete report as sampling was not done correctly or in areas where it was necessary.

StoneCrest Team is Central Florida area’s top mold testing and mold inspection company for a reason.




Is it really necessary to take samples and send them to a laboratory?


Yes. The important question is not if you have mold, but rather, what types of mold species and at what concentrations.

Without samples, it is impossible to tell. We have seen way too many companies recommend thousands and thousands of dollars of unnecessary remediation work when it was not necessary. Because you can’t see mold spores, many unscrupulous mold testers fabricate a problem to profit from the remediation work. Often companies offer “free” inspections but perform no testing. They simply look at the property and state they can “smell” the mold or claim those “stains” are mold. At the end, you do not know if you have mold or toxic mold, and they just hand you an over-inflated proposal for their company to do the work.




What is MSqPCR?


Mold-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction. This is a sampling methodology used to identify the species of molds that may be present within your home. It’s basically the DNA formatting of mold.




Why not use a home mold test kit?


It might be tempting to use DIY Mold Tests—Petri dishes set out over a period of time to determine mold presence, but to diagnose your household mold, these over-the-counter methods can be deceiving and inaccurate.

The results lack enough credibility that lawyers, doctors, insurance companies, and remediation companies do not accept the results.

Consumer Reports, in fact, rated four brands of DIY mold tests “Not Recommended,” citing: “In some samples, the vials with media leaked over entire kit. In one, an unopened kit was moldy. No expiration dates on the kit; old media could affect the accuracy and reliability of the results. Label claims that kit can identify toxic mold, but the report the lab sends can’t tell you this. One unused plate came back positive for mold growth, indicating contamination at some point; not very reassuring for post-remediation use.”

All homes will contain some level of spore activity when air samples are collected because mold is a common part of the environment. DIY kits, then, are essentially useless for diagnosing the complexity of your airborne mold contamination and should be handled by professionals.

The EPA agrees and states: “Sampling for mold should be conducted by professionals who have specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods, and interpreting results. Sample analysis should follow analytical methods recommended by…professional organizations.”


While DIY tests can be used for entertainment value, much like a Chia Pet, true mold concerns should be handled by companies that understand the diagnostic process necessary to qualify and quantify potentially hazardous mold growth.




Can Central AC systems and AC ducts become contaminated with mold?


Yes, HVAC systems and ducts often become contaminated with mold. Duct systems may be constructed from bare sheet metal, sheet metal with exterior fibrous glass insulation, internal sheet fibrous glass liner, or they may be made entirely of fibrous glass. Bare sheet metal and sheet metal with external fibrous glass insulation can often be cleaned, while ductwork made of sheet metal with an internal fibrous glass liner or made entirely of fibrous glass is more challenging. Rest assured, StoneCrest has the experience and equipment to accurately provide you with assessments of your AC system and ducts.





General Questions

 

What are health symptoms of mold?


Many people suffering from chronic respiratory infections are not aware that their problem is often related to mold exposure. And unfortunately, their physicians are also unaware, making appropriate treatment impossible.

All molds have the potential to cause ill health, depending on their type, whether or not they produce toxins, how long you are exposed, and your overall health and resistance to infection.

Besides minor or major respiratory problems, molds can also cause a multitude of other problems, including skin rashes, gastrointestinal problems, genitourinary problems, immunosuppression, and hemorrhage.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all molds have the potential to cause ill health. The type and severity of your symptoms depend, in part, on the types of mold present, the extent of your exposure, your age and general health, and your existing sensitivities or allergies.

At a 2003 environmental medicine symposium in Dallas, studies of more than 1,600 patients suffering health issues related to fungal exposure were presented. These patients experienced major medical problems, including:

  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Headache, anxiety, depression, memory loss, and visual disturbances
  • Immune system disturbances and fatigue
  • GI problems
  • Shortness of breath




OK, how about exposure to toxic black mold then?


Many of the symptoms related to mold resembles that of a common cold or allergy condition. Therefore, often times the appropriate diagnoses goes undetected. However, many common symptoms that are associated with toxic mold and mold exposure are:

Mental and Neurological Symptoms From Toxic Black Mold

The trichothecene mycotoxins produced by toxic black mold are neurotoxic. This means they can kill neurons in the brain and impair a person's mental ability. They also cause nervous disorders such as tremors and can cause personality changes such as mood swings and irritability.
Symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Brain fog
  • Shortened attention span
  • Difficulty concentrating and paying attention
  • Slowed reflexes
  • Disorientation
  • Dizziness
  • Memory loss and memory problems
  • Impaired learning ability
  • Hallucinations
  • Shock
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Aggression and other personality changes
  • Tingling
  • Trembling
  • Shaking
  • Seizure
  • Numbness

Respiratory Symptoms From Toxic Black Mold

People living in homes with toxic black mold are exposed mainly through breathing in toxic black mold spores and mycotoxins. Toxic black mold mycotoxins create irritation and a burning feeling in a person's air passages such as the nasal cavity, mouth and throat.
The mycotoxins can even become lodged in the mucus membranes, sinuses and the lungs which then causes a burning feeling, breathing problems and bleeding in the lungs.
Symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing - breathlessness or shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Pulmonary edema - swelling of the lungs
  • Pulmonary hemorrhage - bleeding in the lungs
  • Sore throat
  • Burning sensation of the mouth
  • Bleeding gums
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy nose
  • Stuffy, blocked nose
  • Nose bleeds

Circulatory Symptoms From Toxic Black Mold

Toxic black mold mycotoxins can be breathed in, ingested, or absorbed through a person's skin or eyes. Eventually the mycotoxins then find their way into the person's blood which can lead to heart damage, problems with blood clotting and internal or external hemorrhaging.
Symptoms:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Heart inflammation
  • Damage to heart
  • Low blood pressure
  • Bone marrow disruption
  • Bleeding tendency
  • Blood not clotting properly
  • Hemorrhage - internal bleeding
  • Vomiting up blood

Vision and Eye Symptoms From Toxic Black Mold

Toxic black mold mycotoxins that are in the air can enter a person's eyes. The mycotoxins are cytotoxic (toxic to cells) and when they come into contact with eye cells they can cause inflamed and injured eyes and create vision problems.
Symptoms:

Eye inflammation and soreness

Red or bloodshot eyes

Eye damage

Blurry vision and vision worsening

Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes)

Skin Symptoms From Toxic Black Mold

Through the skin is one of the three main ways that toxic black mold mycotoxins enter the human body. There have been cases in the past where people have handled hay contaminated with toxic black mold and developed severe rashes and skin problems on their body where they touched the hay, as well as on sweaty areas like the armpits.
Symptoms:

  • Sensitive skin
  • Dry skin
  • Crawling skin
  • Dermatitis - skin inflammation, rash, blisters, itchiness
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)

Immune System Symptoms From Toxic Black Mold

Toxic black mold puts out chemicals which can suppress the immune system. In fact many immunosuppressive drugs are actually created from toxic molds. A person who is immunocompromised from being around toxic black mold will more easily get infections and sicknesses.
Symptoms:

  • Immunosuppression - immune system not functioning properly
  • Infections reoccurring

Tiredness and Discomfort Symptoms From Toxic Black Mold

When a person is around toxic black mold the immune system may release a sedative called Chloral Hydrate. This is used as a defense to try to slow down the effects of toxic black mold. But this also makes a person tired and causes fatigue. Toxic black mold can also cause soreness of the muscles and joints.
Symptoms:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Aches and pains
  • Muscle pain
  • Chest pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Joint pain
  • Malaise - general discomfort
  • Headaches
  • Cold or flu type symptoms or recurring colds
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea




Are Mold Symptoms Permanent?


Once a person is no longer around mold most of their symptoms should gradually decrease. Sadly, in some severe cases, after a person has lived with toxic black mold in their immune system they may not be as strong as they used to be, and they may more sensitive to mold and mycotoxins in the future.




What if I suffer from Lyme Disease, CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome), MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) or any other serious medical condition that can be affected by mold?


Great question and it shows you want to take charge of your health in your home environment.

The reality is many of our clients suffer from this or similar issues and the first step to helping you is to conduct a thorough inspection with proven sampling methodologies.





 

Mold & Health Questions

Black Mold & Toxic Mold

My neighbor says mold is everywhere and that testing will prove nothing.


Sigh… If we had a nickel for every well-meaning neighbor/family member/friend/co-worker who sadly provided false and inaccurate information….

However, the first part is partly correct, there are mold spores evident in most areas.

The important part of the testing is not determining if there are mold spores present, but to discover:

  • what types of mold spores are present (toxic, allergenic, etc.)
  • how many spores are present (as certain levels trigger health issues, even nonallergenic spores)
  • how many different species are present (certain cross-species are not healthy for indoor environments)
  • compare naturally occurring mold spores from the outside with a proven control sample (doors and windows can allow some spores to briefly naturally occur inside)

Often, we have seen clients initially follow their well-meaning, but wrong, advice before they contacted us. Once we did the proper inspection and test, we always discovered mold and health issues that could have been resolved a long time ago.

It is your health and your family health, we are here to help and to serve you.




What is the difference between an adjuster my insurance company is sending over and a public adjuster?


The adjuster sent by the insurance company is hired by them and is obligated to them as their employer. A public adjuster works for you and me (the public) and typically a small percentage fee of any awarded claim. They understand your concerns, your policy, and any limitations and will strive to get the best result possible for you.




Can my mold remediation or restoration company do the mold inspection test?


No. There are 2 types of mold licenses in Florida.

There is a license for a mold assessor who does the testing and writes the protocol and final testing. There is another license as a mold remediation company and it is not legal for a company to both test and to do remediation.




Or, can my mold remediation or restoration company do the post-clearance test?


Florida law prohibits the same company who did the mold remediation or restoration to also conduct a post clearance test. This is wisely done to protect the consumer, all of us, from conflict of interest. Often, final payment from the client or insurance company is held until this done and it is critical for the client that the area is actually clean and sanitized (not just visually clean).

The final post-clearance test and report must show the area worked on is clear and this has to be done by a natural third party such as StoneCrest Team. Our only interest is in ensuring your health and safety.




Do you also clean up and remediate?


Never. We have no conflicts of interest, we won’t try to sell you anything, and we don’t perform remediation. It is always recommended to hire a mold testing company that has no financial interest in mold cleanup, remediation, and chemical products or the rebuild.

Any recommendations we make will always have your best interests in mind.




What about home inspectors, AC companies, or duct cleaning companies who offer tests?


Certain companies have been granted some exceptions, BUT without mold assessor training or any specialized education or training, allowing them to take a minimal sample of one small area. The total time at your property is token and days later they may email you the laboratory results with no interpretation and no recommendations for corrective measures.

Imagine your medical doctor simply providing you a copy of laboratory blood analysis with no guidance or interpretation? Or worse, an incomplete report as sampling was not done correctly or in areas where it was necessary.

StoneCrest Team is Central Florida area’s top mold testing and mold inspection company for a reason.




Is it really necessary to take samples and send them to a laboratory?


Yes. The important question is not if you have mold, but rather, what types of mold species and at what concentrations.

Without samples, it is impossible to tell. We have seen way too many companies recommend thousands and thousands of dollars of unnecessary remediation work when it was not necessary. Because you can’t see mold spores, many unscrupulous mold testers fabricate a problem to profit from the remediation work. Often companies offer “free” inspections but perform no testing. They simply look at the property and state they can “smell” the mold or claim those “stains” are mold. At the end, you do not know if you have mold or toxic mold, and they just hand you an over-inflated proposal for their company to do the work.




What is MSqPCR?


Mold-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction. This is a sampling methodology used to identify the species of molds that may be present within your home. It’s basically the DNA formatting of mold.




Why not use a home mold test kit?


It might be tempting to use DIY Mold Tests—Petri dishes set out over a period of time to determine mold presence, but to diagnose your household mold, these over-the-counter methods can be deceiving and inaccurate.

The results lack enough credibility that lawyers, doctors, insurance companies, and remediation companies do not accept the results.

Consumer Reports, in fact, rated four brands of DIY mold tests “Not Recommended,” citing: “In some samples, the vials with media leaked over entire kit. In one, an unopened kit was moldy. No expiration dates on the kit; old media could affect the accuracy and reliability of the results. Label claims that kit can identify toxic mold, but the report the lab sends can’t tell you this. One unused plate came back positive for mold growth, indicating contamination at some point; not very reassuring for post-remediation use.”

All homes will contain some level of spore activity when air samples are collected because mold is a common part of the environment. DIY kits, then, are essentially useless for diagnosing the complexity of your airborne mold contamination and should be handled by professionals.

The EPA agrees and states: “Sampling for mold should be conducted by professionals who have specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods, and interpreting results. Sample analysis should follow analytical methods recommended by…professional organizations.”


While DIY tests can be used for entertainment value, much like a Chia Pet, true mold concerns should be handled by companies that understand the diagnostic process necessary to qualify and quantify potentially hazardous mold growth.




Can Central AC systems and AC ducts become contaminated with mold?


Yes, HVAC systems and ducts often become contaminated with mold. Duct systems may be constructed from bare sheet metal, sheet metal with exterior fibrous glass insulation, internal sheet fibrous glass liner, or they may be made entirely of fibrous glass. Bare sheet metal and sheet metal with external fibrous glass insulation can often be cleaned, while ductwork made of sheet metal with an internal fibrous glass liner or made entirely of fibrous glass is more challenging. Rest assured, StoneCrest has the experience and equipment to accurately provide you with assessments of your AC system and ducts.





 

My neighbor says mold is everywhere and that testing will prove nothing.


Sigh… If we had a nickel for every well-meaning neighbor/family member/friend/co-worker who sadly provided false and inaccurate information….

However, the first part is partly correct, there are mold spores evident in most areas.

The important part of the testing is not determining if there are mold spores present, but to discover:

  • what types of mold spores are present (toxic, allergenic, etc.)
  • how many spores are present (as certain levels trigger health issues, even nonallergenic spores)
  • how many different species are present (certain cross-species are not healthy for indoor environments)
  • compare naturally occurring mold spores from the outside with a proven control sample (doors and windows can allow some spores to briefly naturally occur inside)

Often, we have seen clients initially follow their well-meaning, but wrong, advice before they contacted us. Once we did the proper inspection and test, we always discovered mold and health issues that could have been resolved a long time ago.

It is your health and your family health, we are here to help and to serve you.




What is the difference between an adjuster my insurance company is sending over and a public adjuster?


The adjuster sent by the insurance company is hired by them and is obligated to them as their employer. A public adjuster works for you and me (the public) and typically a small percentage fee of any awarded claim. They understand your concerns, your policy, and any limitations and will strive to get the best result possible for you.




Can my mold remediation or restoration company do the mold inspection test?


No. There are 2 types of mold licenses in Florida.

There is a license for a mold assessor who does the testing and writes the protocol and final testing. There is another license as a mold remediation company and it is not legal for a company to both test and to do remediation.




Or, can my mold remediation or restoration company do the post-clearance test?


Florida law prohibits the same company who did the mold remediation or restoration to also conduct a post clearance test. This is wisely done to protect the consumer, all of us, from conflict of interest. Often, final payment from the client or insurance company is held until this done and it is critical for the client that the area is actually clean and sanitized (not just visually clean).

The final post-clearance test and report must show the area worked on is clear and this has to be done by a natural third party such as StoneCrest Team. Our only interest is in ensuring your health and safety.




Do you also clean up and remediate?


Never. We have no conflicts of interest, we won’t try to sell you anything, and we don’t perform remediation. It is always recommended to hire a mold testing company that has no financial interest in mold cleanup, remediation, and chemical products or the rebuild.

Any recommendations we make will always have your best interests in mind.




What about home inspectors, AC companies, or duct cleaning companies who offer tests?


Certain companies have been granted some exceptions, BUT without mold assessor training or any specialized education or training, allowing them to take a minimal sample of one small area. The total time at your property is token and days later they may email you the laboratory results with no interpretation and no recommendations for corrective measures.

Imagine your medical doctor simply providing you a copy of laboratory blood analysis with no guidance or interpretation? Or worse, an incomplete report as sampling was not done correctly or in areas where it was necessary.

StoneCrest Team is Central Florida area’s top mold testing and mold inspection company for a reason.




Is it really necessary to take samples and send them to a laboratory?


Yes. The important question is not if you have mold, but rather, what types of mold species and at what concentrations.

Without samples, it is impossible to tell. We have seen way too many companies recommend thousands and thousands of dollars of unnecessary remediation work when it was not necessary. Because you can’t see mold spores, many unscrupulous mold testers fabricate a problem to profit from the remediation work. Often companies offer “free” inspections but perform no testing. They simply look at the property and state they can “smell” the mold or claim those “stains” are mold. At the end, you do not know if you have mold or toxic mold, and they just hand you an over-inflated proposal for their company to do the work.




What is MSqPCR?


Mold-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction. This is a sampling methodology used to identify the species of molds that may be present within your home. It’s basically the DNA formatting of mold.




Why not use a home mold test kit?


It might be tempting to use DIY Mold Tests—Petri dishes set out over a period of time to determine mold presence, but to diagnose your household mold, these over-the-counter methods can be deceiving and inaccurate.

The results lack enough credibility that lawyers, doctors, insurance companies, and remediation companies do not accept the results.

Consumer Reports, in fact, rated four brands of DIY mold tests “Not Recommended,” citing: “In some samples, the vials with media leaked over entire kit. In one, an unopened kit was moldy. No expiration dates on the kit; old media could affect the accuracy and reliability of the results. Label claims that kit can identify toxic mold, but the report the lab sends can’t tell you this. One unused plate came back positive for mold growth, indicating contamination at some point; not very reassuring for post-remediation use.”

All homes will contain some level of spore activity when air samples are collected because mold is a common part of the environment. DIY kits, then, are essentially useless for diagnosing the complexity of your airborne mold contamination and should be handled by professionals.

The EPA agrees and states: “Sampling for mold should be conducted by professionals who have specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods, and interpreting results. Sample analysis should follow analytical methods recommended by…professional organizations.”


While DIY tests can be used for entertainment value, much like a Chia Pet, true mold concerns should be handled by companies that understand the diagnostic process necessary to qualify and quantify potentially hazardous mold growth.




Can Central AC systems and AC ducts become contaminated with mold?


Yes, HVAC systems and ducts often become contaminated with mold. Duct systems may be constructed from bare sheet metal, sheet metal with exterior fibrous glass insulation, internal sheet fibrous glass liner, or they may be made entirely of fibrous glass. Bare sheet metal and sheet metal with external fibrous glass insulation can often be cleaned, while ductwork made of sheet metal with an internal fibrous glass liner or made entirely of fibrous glass is more challenging. Rest assured, StoneCrest has the experience and equipment to accurately provide you with assessments of your AC system and ducts.





 

Mold Questions

Mold Inspection Questions

My neighbor says mold is everywhere and that testing will prove nothing.


Sigh… If we had a nickel for every well-meaning neighbor/family member/friend/co-worker who sadly provided false and inaccurate information….

However, the first part is partly correct, there are mold spores evident in most areas.

The important part of the testing is not determining if there are mold spores present, but to discover:

  • what types of mold spores are present (toxic, allergenic, etc.)
  • how many spores are present (as certain levels trigger health issues, even nonallergenic spores)
  • how many different species are present (certain cross-species are not healthy for indoor environments)
  • compare naturally occurring mold spores from the outside with a proven control sample (doors and windows can allow some spores to briefly naturally occur inside)

Often, we have seen clients initially follow their well-meaning, but wrong, advice before they contacted us. Once we did the proper inspection and test, we always discovered mold and health issues that could have been resolved a long time ago.

It is your health and your family health, we are here to help and to serve you.




What is the difference between an adjuster my insurance company is sending over and a public adjuster?


The adjuster sent by the insurance company is hired by them and is obligated to them as their employer. A public adjuster works for you and me (the public) and typically a small percentage fee of any awarded claim. They understand your concerns, your policy, and any limitations and will strive to get the best result possible for you.




Can my mold remediation or restoration company do the mold inspection test?


No. There are 2 types of mold licenses in Florida.

There is a license for a mold assessor who does the testing and writes the protocol and final testing. There is another license as a mold remediation company and it is not legal for a company to both test and to do remediation.




Or, can my mold remediation or restoration company do the post-clearance test?


Florida law prohibits the same company who did the mold remediation or restoration to also conduct a post clearance test. This is wisely done to protect the consumer, all of us, from conflict of interest. Often, final payment from the client or insurance company is held until this done and it is critical for the client that the area is actually clean and sanitized (not just visually clean).

The final post-clearance test and report must show the area worked on is clear and this has to be done by a natural third party such as StoneCrest Team. Our only interest is in ensuring your health and safety.




Do you also clean up and remediate?


Never. We have no conflicts of interest, we won’t try to sell you anything, and we don’t perform remediation. It is always recommended to hire a mold testing company that has no financial interest in mold cleanup, remediation, and chemical products or the rebuild.

Any recommendations we make will always have your best interests in mind.




What about home inspectors, AC companies, or duct cleaning companies who offer tests?


Certain companies have been granted some exceptions, BUT without mold assessor training or any specialized education or training, allowing them to take a minimal sample of one small area. The total time at your property is token and days later they may email you the laboratory results with no interpretation and no recommendations for corrective measures.

Imagine your medical doctor simply providing you a copy of laboratory blood analysis with no guidance or interpretation? Or worse, an incomplete report as sampling was not done correctly or in areas where it was necessary.

StoneCrest Team is Central Florida area’s top mold testing and mold inspection company for a reason.




Is it really necessary to take samples and send them to a laboratory?


Yes. The important question is not if you have mold, but rather, what types of mold species and at what concentrations.

Without samples, it is impossible to tell. We have seen way too many companies recommend thousands and thousands of dollars of unnecessary remediation work when it was not necessary. Because you can’t see mold spores, many unscrupulous mold testers fabricate a problem to profit from the remediation work. Often companies offer “free” inspections but perform no testing. They simply look at the property and state they can “smell” the mold or claim those “stains” are mold. At the end, you do not know if you have mold or toxic mold, and they just hand you an over-inflated proposal for their company to do the work.




What is MSqPCR?


Mold-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction. This is a sampling methodology used to identify the species of molds that may be present within your home. It’s basically the DNA formatting of mold.




Why not use a home mold test kit?


It might be tempting to use DIY Mold Tests—Petri dishes set out over a period of time to determine mold presence, but to diagnose your household mold, these over-the-counter methods can be deceiving and inaccurate.

The results lack enough credibility that lawyers, doctors, insurance companies, and remediation companies do not accept the results.

Consumer Reports, in fact, rated four brands of DIY mold tests “Not Recommended,” citing: “In some samples, the vials with media leaked over entire kit. In one, an unopened kit was moldy. No expiration dates on the kit; old media could affect the accuracy and reliability of the results. Label claims that kit can identify toxic mold, but the report the lab sends can’t tell you this. One unused plate came back positive for mold growth, indicating contamination at some point; not very reassuring for post-remediation use.”

All homes will contain some level of spore activity when air samples are collected because mold is a common part of the environment. DIY kits, then, are essentially useless for diagnosing the complexity of your airborne mold contamination and should be handled by professionals.

The EPA agrees and states: “Sampling for mold should be conducted by professionals who have specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods, and interpreting results. Sample analysis should follow analytical methods recommended by…professional organizations.”


While DIY tests can be used for entertainment value, much like a Chia Pet, true mold concerns should be handled by companies that understand the diagnostic process necessary to qualify and quantify potentially hazardous mold growth.




Can Central AC systems and AC ducts become contaminated with mold?


Yes, HVAC systems and ducts often become contaminated with mold. Duct systems may be constructed from bare sheet metal, sheet metal with exterior fibrous glass insulation, internal sheet fibrous glass liner, or they may be made entirely of fibrous glass. Bare sheet metal and sheet metal with external fibrous glass insulation can often be cleaned, while ductwork made of sheet metal with an internal fibrous glass liner or made entirely of fibrous glass is more challenging. Rest assured, StoneCrest has the experience and equipment to accurately provide you with assessments of your AC system and ducts.





 

What do the ERMI results mean?


ERMI samples are reported with both an ERMI score and the individual quantifications of each mold species found in the ERMI panel. An ERMI score is simply a guideline for determining levels of mold exposure for home occupants. This score can be placed on the ERMI scale and used to compare the “moldiness” of a home to other homes across the country. The individual quantifications can also be useful in identifying the mold problem in a home. An ERMI analysis is a diagnostic tool and provides inspection details to aid in a home’s assessment by a qualified professional.




How do you identify the source of the mold problem when you take an ERMI sample?


An ERMI sample is a composite sample of dust, normally taken in the living area and master bedroom. This dust is a reservoir that will reflect any mold problems seen in a home. If the ERMI score indicates there might be water damage within the home, further inspection might be required, especially if this problem is concealed.




Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI)


ERMI is the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index –a combination of EPA research, powerful PCR technology, and a new method to screen homes for mold.

Based on recently published data from EPA researchers and the 2006 HUD American Healthy Home Survey, the test has been developed as a tool to evaluate the potential risk of indoor mold growth and associated health effects.




How Does ERMI Work?


The ERMI test involves the analysis of a single sample of dust from a home. The sample is analyzed using mold-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction (MSQPCR), a highly specific DNA-based method for quantifying mold species. A simple algorithm is used to calculate a ratio of water damage-related species to common indoor molds and the resulting score is called the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index or ERMI. The ERMI value is typically between -10 and 20.

In order to most effectively use this new tool, the ERMI must be compared to a national database. Indices were determined using this method for 1,096 homes across the U.S. as part of the 2006 HUD American Healthy Home Survey. Individual indices, ranked from lowest to highest were used to create a national Relative Moldiness Index (RMI) Scale.




How Was ERMI Developed?


In initial studies by the EPA, the concentrations of different mold species in "moldy homes" (homes with visible mold growth or a history of water damage) and "reference homes" (homes with no visible mold) were compared. Based on those results, mold species were selected and grouped into those with higher concentrations in moldy homes (group 1) and those with lower concentrations (group 2). To calculate the ERMI, all concentrations are log-transformed and the sum of group 2 is subtracted from the sum of group 1.




What are the advantages of ERMI Testing?


Besides the simplicity of taking only one sample, the ERMI offers several advantages over traditional mold screening methods. Carpet dust acts as a reservoir for mold spores and is more representative of mold levels over time versus short-term air samples. Using MSQPCR for this test allows for increased precision as it is based on a biochemical assay using calibrated instrumentation. Further research is being conducted and published that will link the ERMI assessing health risks for susceptible individuals. This information along with the national database will be invaluable in providing an objective and standardized method for screening homes for mold.




When should I use the ERMI test?


The ERMI test can be used for evaluating "moldiness" in indoor environments. Molds are found in every home but not all molds are always present. The ERMI helps to make an assessment if a home is more or less likely to have "unhealthy" mold conditions. Especially resident’s sensitive to molds should consider using the ERMI to evaluate their indoor environment. Also, home buyers can use this tool to predict if their new home is likely to have a history of water damage.




How do I use ERMI?


The ERMI allows you to compare the amount and types of mold found in your customer's home with a thousand other homes found on a national database. The customer sees how moldy their home is relative to other homes throughout the U.S.





ERMI Inspection 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.





Allergen Inspection Questions

 

Water Test Questions

What do the ERMI results mean?


ERMI samples are reported with both an ERMI score and the individual quantifications of each mold species found in the ERMI panel. An ERMI score is simply a guideline for determining levels of mold exposure for home occupants. This score can be placed on the ERMI scale and used to compare the “moldiness” of a home to other homes across the country. The individual quantifications can also be useful in identifying the mold problem in a home. An ERMI analysis is a diagnostic tool and provides inspection details to aid in a home’s assessment by a qualified professional.




How do you identify the source of the mold problem when you take an ERMI sample?


An ERMI sample is a composite sample of dust, normally taken in the living area and master bedroom. This dust is a reservoir that will reflect any mold problems seen in a home. If the ERMI score indicates there might be water damage within the home, further inspection might be required, especially if this problem is concealed.




Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI)


ERMI is the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index –a combination of EPA research, powerful PCR technology, and a new method to screen homes for mold.

Based on recently published data from EPA researchers and the 2006 HUD American Healthy Home Survey, the test has been developed as a tool to evaluate the potential risk of indoor mold growth and associated health effects.




How Does ERMI Work?


The ERMI test involves the analysis of a single sample of dust from a home. The sample is analyzed using mold-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction (MSQPCR), a highly specific DNA-based method for quantifying mold species. A simple algorithm is used to calculate a ratio of water damage-related species to common indoor molds and the resulting score is called the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index or ERMI. The ERMI value is typically between -10 and 20.

In order to most effectively use this new tool, the ERMI must be compared to a national database. Indices were determined using this method for 1,096 homes across the U.S. as part of the 2006 HUD American Healthy Home Survey. Individual indices, ranked from lowest to highest were used to create a national Relative Moldiness Index (RMI) Scale.




How Was ERMI Developed?


In initial studies by the EPA, the concentrations of different mold species in "moldy homes" (homes with visible mold growth or a history of water damage) and "reference homes" (homes with no visible mold) were compared. Based on those results, mold species were selected and grouped into those with higher concentrations in moldy homes (group 1) and those with lower concentrations (group 2). To calculate the ERMI, all concentrations are log-transformed and the sum of group 2 is subtracted from the sum of group 1.




What are the advantages of ERMI Testing?


Besides the simplicity of taking only one sample, the ERMI offers several advantages over traditional mold screening methods. Carpet dust acts as a reservoir for mold spores and is more representative of mold levels over time versus short-term air samples. Using MSQPCR for this test allows for increased precision as it is based on a biochemical assay using calibrated instrumentation. Further research is being conducted and published that will link the ERMI assessing health risks for susceptible individuals. This information along with the national database will be invaluable in providing an objective and standardized method for screening homes for mold.




When should I use the ERMI test?


The ERMI test can be used for evaluating "moldiness" in indoor environments. Molds are found in every home but not all molds are always present. The ERMI helps to make an assessment if a home is more or less likely to have "unhealthy" mold conditions. Especially resident’s sensitive to molds should consider using the ERMI to evaluate their indoor environment. Also, home buyers can use this tool to predict if their new home is likely to have a history of water damage.




How do I use ERMI?


The ERMI allows you to compare the amount and types of mold found in your customer's home with a thousand other homes found on a national database. The customer sees how moldy their home is relative to other homes throughout the U.S.





 

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.

 

© 2018 by WebOrator

THE STONECREST TEAM

Polk & Area:

863 913 TEAM (8326)

Fax: 407 720 8040

Orlando & Area:

407 500 TEAM (8326)

bbb.png