Feel Confident in StoneCrest Team’s Thorough & Comprehensive Approach
Our company culture is about helping people. Helping them understand what happened, helping them understand how to take care of it and finally guiding them how to move forward.
It's our responsibility as experts in our fields to share our knowledge and help our clients.
The “Free” Mold Test Scam
Have you stumbled into an advertisement for a free mold test? Chances are that someone just wants to get in your home. Mold remediation and restoration companies know that the easiest way to sell you $5,000-$10,000+ worth of mold remediation is to begin by sending a salesperson in through your front door with a “free mold test.”The trouble is that these salespeople and their mold testing briefcases are designed to look fancy and ultimately sell you on purchasing or using your insurance on an expensive mold remediation project. Despite appearances, these free mold tests hardly perform any more analysis on your air quality than a wet finger in the wind. Don't get scammed.
The Free Mold Inspection
Signing up for one of these free mold inspections is easy (of course). You enter in your contact information online and shortly thereafter a sales rep will call you to set up a visit at your home. A nice person arrives at your front door, takes a few sniffs of the air, uses a flashlight showing shadows and with great effect proclaims the bad news to you: “Your air quality is not good. You’re at risk of dangerous exposure and black toxic mold levels are high. You really should be doing some treatment here.”
Sadly, this fear tactic works nationwide. And all too often, it pushes unwary homeowners and their insurance companies into spending way too much money on expensive mold treatment equipment without necessarily improving the air quality. Some of these people become our customers and find that they've overspent on treatment before really getting details on what to treat for. Even worse, often the homes are still open because the insurance did not cover the remodeling. Mold remediation and restoration companies need to sell their services, but they are obviously conflicted – and legally prohibited in Florida - when it comes to testing and reporting on your air quality.
Why is There No Free Mold Test?
Simply put, free mold tests don’t exist because proper laboratory testing entails very expensive laboratory equipment and operation by trained professional technicians. When an environmental testing laboratory receives your mold samples, vials are carefully received and documented by professionals who prepare the samples for analysis via EPA-approved and industry standard testing methodologies. These testing methods have been agreed upon by thousands of labs nationwide and include strict guidelines to ensure that mold test results are accurate.
Hours of professional time and hours of expensive machine operation don’t happen for free. Therefore, if someone is offering you a free mold test, be very suspicious, as it is highly likely these are the same people trying to sell you remediation.
Know & Protect Your Rights
Senate bill (SB2234) has been in effect since July 1, 2010. This mold law was put in place to protect consumers against fraudulent and unqualified mold companies. It is very important that before choosing a company you verify they have an active license with the state.
Florida mold law:
To prevent conflicts of interest, mold remediation and mold inspection must be performed by separate companies.
Home inspectors are not qualified to do mold assessment, testing or inspections.
Mold assessors are screened for prior criminal history and must pass an FBI background check.
Mold inspection companies must carry $1 million dollars in errors and omissions and general liability insurance.
Mold inspectors must have the required education, training and at least 4 years of documented experience
Mold inspectors must pass a state exam.
Continuing education classes are required to maintain an active license.
Always retain the services of an independent, third-party, licensed and certified mold assessor.
It is a conflict of interest, unethical, and most importantly, not allowed by Florida State Law for any remediation company, AC company or duct cleaning company to tell you that you have mold, then perform the remediation and finally tell you the job is done correctly.
By Florida law all projects can have 3 stages:
Initial mold inspection and protocol (mold assessor such as StoneCrest Team)
Clean up and remediation (by remediation company)
Clearance mold inspection to verify the remediation company properly cleared their work (mold assessor such as StoneCrest Team)
StoneCrest Team only employs state licensed mold assessors committed to providing the highest level of professional service in the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) industry. We work ONLY for you.
What you get with a StoneCrest Team mold inspection.
-Well, how do we do it?
You, our customer, are the most valuable resource we have for understanding your concern at home or at your business. We will spend time on the phone and in person to learn all we can about your concern, but will also assist locating any other potentially hidden problems your home, apartment, condo or building may have that you may not be aware of.
With your observations as a starting point, we now do our own thorough assessment of the property. Depending on the issues, we may start on the outside and investigate the landscaping, drainage, building envelope, and potential pollutants. We then move inside as we want to find any underlying moisture source and help identify any evidence of visible water damage or mold growth.
Examine with advanced and state of the art instrumentation:
We now have a good idea of where the problem originated and how it has migrated throughout your property. Next, we can utilize tools like a state of the art infrared thermography camera, or a high-end capacitance and resistance-based moisture meter, or the most advanced laser particle counter used to determine indoor air quality – or all 3 methods depending on what is necessary. These next-generation tools will assist us to confirm our hypothesis and develop a customized testing methodology.
Sharing and education:
The next step is when we share with you our assessment of the issue(s) and property. We take time to patiently explain the source of any moisture intrusion and how our digital readings prove how it has migrated throughout your property. Once you solidly understand our initial findings, we then share our recommended testing strategy, and together we decide how to proceed.
Importance of testing:
There are many ways to test for mold and allergens in the indoor environment, and we are licensed, highly trained, certified and experienced in all situations. But not all molds are equal. What separates us from other companies is our broadminded approach to testing. Where is the source of mold growth? What types of mold are growing? Are there toxic spores present? What other mold species are present? Do these species produce dangerous toxins that are invading your indoor environment? We utilize in-depth sampling methodologies that answer these questions, because sometimes simply knowing mold is present isn't enough, especially if negative health effects are part of the equation. Our testing strategies, our procedures, and our comprehensive reports provide the full picture of what molds are present, where they have proliferated, and how they may be affecting your health and your family’s health.
Comprehensive and detailed report findings:
We only use third-party accredited laboratories to analyze our samples and identify the specific molds, spores, or pathogens present in your home, building, office or church. Our licensed and certified experts then review the lab results, determine the various molds and pathogens you may have been exposed to.
We will then create a custom specific protocol plan on how to clean and/or remove any contaminants from your property.
Our reports are a vital resource when provided to your doctor to determine the potential health effects of your indoor environment. They are comprehensive and detailed, yet itemized for easy implementation for all insurance underwriters, insurance adjusters, and remediation companies.
Communication and making it easy:
We understand how confusing and daunting a report full of scientific jargon can be. That's why we don't just hand it to you and walk away. We want you to understand what's going on in your home or building. We take all the time that is necessary, either on the phone or in person, to explain every item in our extensive reports and what they mean for you and your family.
Help after the inspection:
We are there to guide you every step of the way through this troublesome time. We can guide and help any remediation contractor or insurance adjuster you are already working with or have chosen. If you wish, we can also make available and recommend our professional network of service providers for your consideration to remedy your contaminated environment, including companies specializing in remediation, plumbing, HVAC/air conditioning, and more.
The last step will be the final post-clearance test, regardless of who does the remediation (or regardless of who did the initial inspection) to ensure the home is healthy again.
Final, yet vital post-clearance inspection.
We also recommend post-remediation verification services, even in cases where we did not initially inspect your home or property.
This is to independently ensure that the cleaning and removal of contaminated and affected building materials were properly completed and that your home or office has been returned to a healthy, normal fungal free environment.
Mold Clearance Verification Inspection [MCVI]
It is important, and it is Florida law, to use an independent, third-party company for your mold clearance verification inspection and not have the remediation company perform it.
This is very critical as you want assurance it is clear and if not, then the remediation company must clean and remediate again and another inspection must be done – this is to safeguard that you and your family are living in a healthy environment.
The mold clearance verification must be conducted after the removal and cleanup of the mold has been conducted, but prior to the reconstruction of any building materials.
The previously affected areas are inspected to verify that all removal and cleaning procedures have been followed per the protocol.
Once the remediation is complete, we will perform a post-verification clearance inspection and test with digital documentation to ensure that:
All containment chambers are properly built and dust and debris free.
All mold growth is cleaned and/or removed.
All building materials are dry, there are no water leaks.
All ambient air mold samples and cross-contamination samples meet accepted guidelines for clearance and the dwelling is safe for re-occupancy.
Upon successfully passing, a final post-clearance report will be issued and this will be your documentation that your property has undergone a mold remediation and that it has been successfully remediated and cleaned.
This document is further required by insurance and mortgage companies as proof of healthy completion. It is also beneficial for your realtor and future buyer if you should ever sell your home as it gives potential buyers peace of mind.
Prepurchase Mold Inspection
Are you purchasing or selling a home, townhome or condo?
Are you being required to do a mold inspection by your lender?
Is someone in your family sensitive or their health affected by mold?
Did your home inspector discover mold or moisture issues during the initial inspection and is he recommending a further investigation?
Or, do you simply wish to be a wise and prudent buyer who is informed about the overall indoor air quality and conditions of the property regarding mold or moisture issues?
Then it’s time to schedule your pre-purchase mold inspection.
Mold in the home is a common concern for both sides during a property purchase.
Having a mold inspection done by a reputable, licensed and insured company is one of the smartest decisions and greatest investments you can make prior to purchasing a commercial or residential property.
Why should you have a property inspected before buying?
Mold Remediation Costs
One of the main reasons you should have your property inspected prior to purchasing is because any future mold remediation costs will be your costs as you now own the house…….and its health problems.
The longer mold is left untreated, the more damage it can cause to the foundation of the home, your furniture, personal items and even your family's health.
In many cases, real estate agents are simply not aware there are mold problems in the property as the information was not disclosed by the seller. Often, there were past water leak issues from either plumbing or a roof that seller did not notice, or they simply did a quick superficial repair. Sadly, we discovered unhealthy mold countless projects and subsequently, the seller or agent did not disclose this in the new listing or to future buyers.
Home inspectors are not licensed mold assessors
A home inspector does not have a mold assessor license or their training and high-end specialized equipment to locate any mold problem a property may have. While they will be able to tell you if the property's electrical is in good standing, they are not licensed mold assessors and will not be able to identify or detect hidden mold. They will, however, often be able to identify or find moisture issues or suspect areas and then request a mold assessor be contacted for further evaluation. While our inspectors have both a mold assessor license and property inspection license, we nonetheless work with many home inspectors to ensure comprehensive mold evaluation for our mutual clients.
Prevent delays in the move-in process
For property buyers looking to move their family or their business into their recently purchased property, the discovery of mold after a purchase could significantly delay move-in timeframes. Not only will mold removal slow down the move-in process, but health concerns for potential toxic mold can be extremely detrimental.
Bottom line. When our inspectors and assessors inspect your property, we perform a thorough assessment of the entire property to ensure accuracy and to locate any elevated moisture levels. We will provide you with a detailed and specialized report that breaks down the issue in terms that are specific and easy to understand. Molds can destroy a property, and you should have professionals evaluate the situation and provide you with helpful guidance and advice for your next move. For buyers, the pre-purchase mold inspection will help to ensure there are no costly surprises or health hazards once the purchase is completed and closed.
It's critical that you have a professional mold assessor inspect your property to provide you with the most accurate results.
One Year Builder Mold & Air Quality Warranty Inspection
Why get a one-year builder warranty inspection?
Buying a new home usually guarantees you will have fewer problems, however, it does not mean you have will have none. Unfortunately, the quality of subcontractors of the various trades varies greatly. Also, the particular design of a house can make it susceptible to certain types of problems.
New construction homes typically come with a “One Year Limited Warranty” and your builder may or may not notify you around the 11th month that it’s time for your warranty repair list. Do not miss the opportunity to have your new home professionally evaluated while it is still under the builder’s warranty. You will gain peace of mind in knowing your investment in a new home will last many years into the future, well past the limitations of your builder’s own short-lived warranty.
Some items listed under this warranty may or may not be visible to the inexperienced eye. You may think that within the first year you have discovered all the significant issues with your new home.
You likely have found the obvious defects such as nail pops in the sheetrock or floors that squeak, but how do you determine if there is hidden water intrusion or if the air quality is compromised? There may be hidden defects you need to be concerned about, such as water intrusion, leaks, air quality, and mold issues. These defects can cause substantial issues for your home or the health of the homeowners.
StoneCrest Team has done thousands of inspections on all types of residential and commercial properties and we have found clear proof that the most water intrusion and air quality problems with properties that are 5, 10, 20 or 30 years old originated when the house was new. Many of these issues can be resolved relatively easily if corrected promptly. If left unresolved and/or undetected, they may turn into expensive costly repairs for you, the homeowner. Our highly trained inspectors will assist you to uncover and address items that need to be corrected. We act as your second set of eyes and use state of the art infrared thermal image cameras to detect problems that you may not have noticed. We will conduct additional testing in areas we find that may be a concern. The cost of the inspection will more than pay for itself, the builder warranty inspection report can give you leverage with your builder should the repairs not be completed in a satisfactory manner. This will be your last opportunity to have your builder perform work in your home while the builder is still responsible. Your new home was a great investment for you and your family, but it needs attention to keep its value. The One Year Builder Mold & Air Quality Warranty Inspection is one way you can safeguard your investment. Let us help you protect your investment for many years to come.
ERMI (Environmental Relative Moldiness Index) Mold Inspection
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) developed an index for indoor mold analysis called ERMI (Environmental Relative Moldiness Index).
The standard is based on a test using state of the art DNA testing (MSQPCR) to identify molds linked to water intrusion and various respiratory diseases such as asthma, chronic sinusitis, and infant wheezing.
The results obtained from this test give each home a meaningful ERMI score, which can be compared to the 1,100 homes studied by the EPA.
Homes and businesses receiving a high ERMI score are more likely to have unwanted indoor mold growth than those that receive a low ERMI score.
What is ERMI?
The ERMI is an acronym for Environmental Relative Moldiness Index.
It was developed by scientists at the USEPA to provide a straightforward, objective, and standardized way to obtain results for indoor air quality investigations.
The EPA is developing an ERMI ranking system based on dust samples collected from homes across the U.S.
The ERMI will help predict the moldiness of homes. Homes with high ERMI values have a greater chance of having a mold problem then homes with a low ERMI.
Thirty-six different fungi make up the ERMI and are designated as Group I (those found in atypical, water-damaged homes) and Group II (those commonly found in all homes)
The ERMI value is determined using the MSQPCR method in the lab.
What is MSQPCR?
MSQPCR is an acronym for Mold Specific Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction.
It was developed by scientists at the USEPA to detect and quantify fungi associated with indoor air quality problems.
It’s a FAST, ACCURATE, and SENSITIVE DNA-based analytical method for identifying and quantifying molds at the species level. The method looks for the presence of DNA sequences that are unique to a particular mold species.
What is an ERMI Score?
The ERMI panel includes 26 mold species known to thrive in water-damaged homes and 10 species found in all homes, with or without water damage. Each species and group of species is enumerated from DNA extracted from dust samples, which are taken in both the living and sleeping quarters of the home.
Concentrations of each of the 36 molds are used to derive an “ERMI score” that rates the moldiness of each sample against those tested by the US-EPA.
These values range from approximately –10 (low moldiness) to 20 (high moldiness), with an average home having a score of 0.
Look Below for the ERMI Score Table