Tag: InspectorLab

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 http://www.mold-dog.com/about_us_detail.htm, 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 www.InspectorLab.com

 

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 www.InspectorLab.com for contact information

The Next Steps If You Think You Have Asbestos: Start With An InspectorLab Testing Professional

Next Steps If You Have Asbestos

If you think you have asbestos, the health and safety of your home depend on KNOWING if you have asbestos. Then you need to contact an InspectorLab Testing Professional to have it tested 

       When asbestos is found in a building, there are usually three possible options – removal, encapsulation or leaving the asbestos untouched.


Removal or abatement
is usually necessary if the asbestos materials are damaged. Removal is a great option if you want to completely remove the potentially hazardous materials once and for all. Removal is also often necessary during construction, demolition and refurbishment projects.


Encapsulation
is usually less expensive than removal, and involves covering the material to isolate it rather than removing it. An example would be installing a wood subfloor over an asbestos tile floor or covering asbestos containing insulation such as vermiculite insulation with a safe insulation.


Leaving asbestos in place
may not seem like the best option, but in some cases asbestos does not pose a threat to humans, and can be left in place. An example of this would be a chimney installed in a sealed chase. As long as asbestos fibers can’t reach the air we breathe, they are not a hazard

Asbestos Related Diseases

Asbestosis is scarring if the lungs. This damages tissues and hampers their ability to intake oxygen to the blood. This disease can take from 15 to 30 years to show itself.


Lung Cancer
is a malignant tumor of the bronchi covering. The tumor grows through surrounding tissue and obstructs the air passages. This disease can surface 20 to 30 years after asbestos exposure.


Mesothelioma
is cancer of the mesothelium which is the lining of the abdominal wall. Early stages of the disease have few symptoms. By the time it is found, it is almost always fatal. This disease can have a latency period of 30 to 40 years.

As a final word, let me take a shot at the question a lot of people ask: Can I remove asbestos myself? I vote “no” unless you are equipped and practiced at the process of containment, negative air and air scrubbing. Asbestos can take decades to kill you, but it will. Watching what my dad went through, I assure you that slowly suffocating to death over a stretch of about a year is not worth saving money on an asbestos removal project.

 

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