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 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

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.





 

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

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.





 

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.





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

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.





 

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.