Month: October 2017

The Story of Cody The Mold Dog

Buddy is Not a Mold Dog

Pictured above: “Buddy the Sheltie” With Best Friend Noah, Buddy is a Handsome Dog, But Refused to go to Mold College

This story is serious and true.  There are mold dogs in many part of the country served by InspectorLab.  In fact, “Cody  the Mold Dog” was quite the competition for mold professionals in this author’s Pittsburgh PA market, at least it seemed at first consideration.  Other InspectorLab customers across the country have had similar experiences. Let me start with a little background. Then I will tell you my personal story of competing with “Cody, The Mold Dog”.

Background Story on Mold Dogs and Mold Dog College

Mold dogs are specifically trained to detect up to 18 types of mold. This should not surprise you. We have dogs to search for drugs, bombs, money, weapons, accelerants, and termites. Makes sense that dogs can be trained to detect mold too. According to the website, hunting type dogs are best suited for this use. That would include Labs, Border Collies, Jack Russell Terriers, Aussies, Beagles and combinations of these breeds.

“Buddy the Sheltie” Would Not Go to Doggy Mold College

Sadly, our dog, Buddy the Sheltie (Border Collie), never expressed the desire to be a mold dog and join me in the environmental profession. But then again, neither did any of our 6 children. It’s not for a lack of effort on my part. I did mention to Buddy the Sheltie that he was a breed that was well suited to being a mold dog, but that suggestion fell on deaf ears. The training for mold dogs is rigorous and a little mean, and Buddy is a lover, not a workaholic or gluten for punishment.

“Cody the Mold Dog” earned his Mold Dog Degree and Went into the Mold Business

Let’s get back to my personal story about “Cody, the Mold Dog”. I am sure you have had an occasion that during dealing with someone, you have gotten to a point where they sheepishly admit to having dealt with someone else other than you. That would be “kind a, sort a…umm” like explaining to your friend from grade school why you are trading in a Chevy to purchase a Subaru from them, after calling upon them to give you a good deal because you ?go way back together”. (AWKWARD)

Picture this: I am working with a client with some serious health issues.

As is the practice with good environmental professionals, I explain the test results, why the mold is present and what needs to happen to make sure the mold goes away and does not come back again. All important information for the long-term health of the client and their family. They had serious health problems, and I had his full attention.

Then came the sheepish admission by the client that is the root of this story

Client: “Ummm, ahhhh, I need to admit, I had “Cody, The Mold Dog” here before I called you.

Me: “OK, how did that work out?  I have not personally met Cody”

Client: “Well, I’m very glad I called you. Cody charged me more than you did, and he didn’t talk to me.”

Moral of the Story

Detecting mold is not enough! The how, why, what, and pathway to a resolution are all important. Remediators who view their job and telling a client: “Yep, ya got mold and for $xxx. xx I will make it go away” are the real competitors to “Cody the Mold Dog”, not competitors to InspectorLab  mold professionals. You need to have a healthy home and deserve the help and advice they can give you.

Another Morsel of Wisdom in This Story

By the way, in the long run, the “Cody the Mold Dog” type of mold remediators may even cost you more than the real professionals. That is especially true when the mold comes back and you need face the health risks of mold exposure and then pay to have the job done again.

The professionals InspectorLab recommends for mold testing are trained to investigate the type and source of mold and then its solution.  They are also good at explaining the issues, listening to client concerns and TALKING with our clients and addressing their concerns. We believe that you deserve more than Cody the Mold Dog or a salesman only interested in making a sale, not helping and educating you.

For more information, go to


Organ Transplant Patient Has Life and Death Mold Exposure

This story starts with a second story window, split open window sill and spaces between the brick openings. These had gone unnoticed before we arrived. That oversight put an Organ Transplant patient at risk from mold/

It appeared that the dining room window was the source of a leak. The actual leak was in a second story window above the dining room. The people who first looked at the dining room mold problem had wrongly assumed that the leak was caused by the dining room window. It is experience and proper training that teaches us to look at all of the possible sources of leakage above a leak.


Defective window sill creates mold in room below

Opening in WIndow Sill is the Source of Mold Causing Water

(Mold Inspector Rule #27: Water goes down-hill and always consider additional possible water sources/causes above a leak).

The homeowner said that water poured through the dining room wall in driving rains. He had he water stains, wet drywall and mold to prove the point. The paper face that is part of the drywall in the room was great food for mold, as was the wood framing inside of the wall

By the way, there was visible mold. It was that fuzzy green mold that is typical of bread that has spent about a week too long in the bread drawer. The call was about the mold and remediation.

There is a very important part of this story that I have not told you yet. One of the homeowners is an organ transplant recipient. What most people don’t know is that patients on immunosuppression therapy (anti organ rejection drugs) are very susceptible to potentially fatal mold health complications.

Organ Transplant patient needs to beware of mold exposure

Organ Transplant Patients are Subject to Serious Health Risks From Mold

Mold exposure is a big deal in hospitals, but many people are just not aware of the issue. If you think back, you probably remember that mold deaths from hospital mold exposure in organ transplant patients has made the national news. In fact, some of those deaths have recently resulted in multi-million dollar settlements from hospitals to families of patients who have died from hospital acquired mold exposures.

Here is What We Know So Far:

  • Mold is very bad for organ transplant patients
  • Water leaks cause mold
  • Even if you clean the mold, it can (will) return if the leak is not resolved
  • It would have been the typical procedure of some remediators to clean the mold. Then they would get to another job down the road to come clean the mold again. 

This is What Needs Done:

  • Test for the amount and type of mold (it is critical to know the risk to transplant patient and others in the home)
  • Locate the cause of the water intrusion
  • Clean the mold
  • Test to make sure the mold is clean. (Mold can be in hidden areas

When it is important……Especially, when it is “life or death” important… (but from our perspective the health of all of our clients is important) ………… need to call experts trained in the science of environmental exposures who know the right path forward. You need and deserve and to have professionals that understand the issues and can get you to a healthy environment.

Call the Professionals at for the name of a professional inspector to test your home to avoid the health risks of mold exposure,

Today’s Mold Lesson Started with the Yummy, Greasy Cheese Dip Stain on My Shirt

There is great irony in this tearful saga. Mold is needed to make the cheese that made the dip that stained the shirt, that needs anti-stain treatment………in the flooded house that Dan did not build. (unlike the story about The house that Jack built)

Mold can be Good in Cheese but Bad in Your Home

Mold can be Good

It started with a wonderful Sunday dinner out with the kids and grandson. It was a good meal, pleasant restaurant, great time. The appetizer was a very tasty, yet gooey cheese and spinach sauce with chunks of bread for dipping into that delightful cheese mixture. One of my “dips” turned into a “drop” between the plate and my                                               mouth. Oops!

On the way home from dinner, my wife and I discuss what she thought I should write about tonight. She usually has the inside story on what readers would be thinking about. I am thinking about today’s blog post. She has a couple of greatly appreciated suggestions.

We pull into our driveway and realize that we had missed a heavy rain storm. The newly planted flowers were laying on their sides in exhaustion from the drenching. Great! They will stand up again and I get out of watering them today.

Please let me explain in my own defense. This is a new “home to us” and I have not yet learned everything about the place. On this glorious evening, I learn that when there is a very hard storm, water comes under the basement door and spreads across the basement.

Flooded Basement and Mold Source

Flooded Basement and Mold Source

What Does a Mold Expert Do When It is His House That Floods?

Back to the stain on my shirt. I walk downstairs into the basement while taking my shirt off. (Multi-tasking). I realize that as I step onto the concrete floor, there was a “slosh” noise, not the leather shoe on concrete shuffle appropriate for a multitasking senior with his shirt halfway over his head.

Recognizing that multi-tasking was not getting me where I want to go, I complete the easiest task at hand and finish taking the shirt off and the spot stain treated. Check

I start a new “to do” list based upon my discovery of why the shoes made a slosh instead of a shuffle. The next step is to consult a mold or disaster recovery professional

Oh, that’s me. Check

I look around to see why there is water on the floor and if whatever that cause is, whether it has stopped. I know that if the source of water has not ended, stopping the water leak is the next step.

The water leaked under the basement door. The rain has stopped and therefore the cause of the water event is ended. That is good news. Check

Triple check that there is not an electrical potential hazard relating to the abundant pool of water in the area affected by water. Triple Check, Check Check

If there is a potential electrical hazard such as wet walls with outlets or an extension cord lying in the water I must exercise great caution. The choice is to safely turn off the electricity or think of the Jaws movie and stay out of the water.

I remove anything that is still absorbing water and is being damaged because of standing water. That would include the cardboard box of decorations that was moved downstairs two days ago because the kitchen cabinets are being delivered tomorrow. Check

Next step is to get out the “wet and dry shop vac” and begin to sucking up the standing water. Check

I sadly observe that the shop vac first had water moving toward the wand, and then running back onto the floor from the end of the wand. Note that water went up the hose at first and then……when about a cup of water was drawn up, that water was running back out of the wand. It was like watching someone going up the first section of a two-level escalator and then turning around and going back down the escalator rather than to the top section of the upper floor.

I remind myself, to not panic when realizing that the nice easy to carry shop vac that was purchased because it was small and light is not strong enough to suck a pool of water in a basement. Check

Go to “Plan B” and take the top off of the floor drain. Grab a broom and sweep water into the floor drain. Check

It is time to take photos of the current condition and be grateful that your wife does not upload a YouTube viral video of your panic and frantic efforts to this point. Check

Next step? Throw out the very few wet cardboard boxes. Be grateful that you are a mold aware person who knows that basement storage should be plastic bins and not cardboard. Cardboard is the “Breakfast of Champions” for mold. odor and wood destroying insects. Check

Without standing in any water, set up the dehumidifier placing the water drain hose into the floor drain. Check

Find a shirt that does not have an appetizer stain front and center. Put on the clean shirt realizing that you sadly are not a good sight to see when bare chested. Check

Be grateful that you have caught the water problem before it did any damage. Consult with your environmental person. In this particular case, this is accomplished by inward reflection: “self…..have you followed the proper procedures?” if not, go do what you should have done.

After the panic and work, go write this post that is due in the morning.

In summary, when faced with and unexpected and unwanted water event:

  • Identify the source of the leak
  • Stop the source of the leak
  • If beyond what you can handle, call a professional
  • Document conditions for insurance
  • Verify that electricity isn’t a hazard
  • Remove anything that can be damaged by the water contact and dry it
  • Remove, sweep or suction standing water
  • Dehumidify
  • If you can’t dehumidify, open windows
  • Realize that you have 24 to 48 to dry out before mold is a problem
  • When appropriate, seek professional drying services
  • Focus on the fact that mold and odors can damage health and the value of a home

Use the checklist above to make sure everything is done as it should be.  Check

Oh, one last thing on my list …..Install an exterior drain or concrete curb so that this doesn’t ever happen again!

One thing for your list…………. Contact InspectorLab  to locate a mold professional in your area to test your home and provide the solutions to keep your home mold free. Visit for contact information

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