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  • Why are mold assessments so expensive?
    We believe our prices are very competitive, especially when taking into account the time we spend on each client and the value delivered. Most mold assessment companies don’t fully understand the challenges inherent in working with mold-sensitive individuals. It’s not uncommon to spend thousands of dollars on mold assessment, sampling and remediation. We often have clients that come to us after spending money on an assessment with seemingly lower up-front costs that did not give them any useful information. Most of the time the hidden fees these companies charged made them just as or more expensive than us. It should also be noted that lab fees are significant and although we keep our markups low, sampling costs can add up quickly.
  • Why are samples not included as part of the assessment fee?
    As stated above, the majority of each sample fee goes toward the lab costs (including shipping) necessary to have them analyzed. Lab work, unfortunately, is very expensive. Therefore, we only conduct sampling when necessary. If you have an obvious mold issue, we don’t really need to sample it. We simply need to identify the best way to correct it and draw up a corresponding remediation plan. Sampling comes into play when we have a decision we are having trouble making and the data from a sample might help us with that decision. Some of these decisions will have a significant effect on the cost of a project. This is where sampling makes sense. We don’t know what, if any, samples will be necessary until we perform a thorough visual assessment.
  • What is your service area?
    Our service area covers Houston, San Antonio, Austin and surrounding areas. Contact us for more details.
  • What does ERMI, HERTSMI-2 or PCR mean?
    ERMI, HERTSMI-2 or PCR refers to a methodology called mold-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction (MSQPCR), a highly specific DNA-based method for quantifying mold species. Yes, this is the same PCR technology used for Covid testing. Environmental Relative Moldiness index (ERMI) was developed by the EPA as a research tool to investigate mold contamination in homes and quantifies 36 mold species for comparison with a database of reference homes. HERTSMI-2 uses MSQPCR to quantify 5 mold species and is designed to help patients understand if a given building is safe for occupancy. All ERMI samples also include HERTSMI-2 scoring.
  • Do you offer endotoxin, actinomycetes and/or mycotoxin sampling?
    We are happy to conduct these samples upon request, however, we do not offer them as part of our menu of services and we cannot interpret them for you. There are a couple of reasons for this. For one, they are not going to change the game plan for remediation. When we find mold and water damage, we assume that these other contaminants are also present to some degree. The remediation plan will address them as well. Secondly, these samples are quite expensive and knowledge about how to interpret them is extremely limited. There are also questions about the accuracy of the new technology used to analyze them. This is why we cannot offer interpretation and why we do not believe they are worth spending money on.
  • Do you also remove the mold?
    No. Mold removal or “remediation” should be conducted by a separate company. Doing both is a conflict of interest and is illegal in Texas.
  • I’ve gotten quotes from other mold assessors. How do I know I’m comparing apples to apples?
    First off, if you need a mold expert for health reasons, you should find someone that specializes in working with mold-sensitive individuals. Also, ask what is included in the base fee and how much samples cost. Do they include a follow up call to review the report and talk about next steps? Do they charge extra for remediation plans (protocol)?
  • Our house is built on pier and beam. Do you inspect the crawlspace?
    While time constraints and safety issues do not allow us to do a comprehensive crawlspace assessment, we will inspect as best we can at the access points and check for excess moisture, visible mold and other issues. For mold-sensitive individuals, crawlspaces almost always present an issue. Recommendations such as crawlspace encapsulation or ventilation are commonly given. Also, moisture issues that have potentially damaged the subfloor can most likely be identified from the interior. Remediation companies have the capability to conduct a more thorough crawlspace assessment and we will work directly with them to establish a suitable scope of work.
  • Do you inspect the attic?
    Yes. To ensure the safety of our technicians, our policy is to remain on decked areas. Our main objectives will be to scan for roof damage and other issues, as well as check HVAC units that are located in the attic.
  • Do you inspect the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system?
    Because one must be a licensed HVAC professional in order to open a system, we are limited in what we can assess. We assess the vents, return plenums where accessible, as well as the exterior of the air handler and supply plenums where accessible. We commonly find visible mold and/or moisture issues that will trigger us to recommend follow-up by a licensed HVAC professional.
  • Can you locate mold in showers/tubs?
    Mold caused by moisture intrusion through grout and/or tile is very tricky. In addition to visually assessing the condition of the grout and tile, we employ moisture meters to help identify excess moisture behind shower/tub walls. We also can check the walls directly opposite to see if there is any visible water damage. Wall cavity air sampling can be of some use in this area as well. Most of the time, the only way to be sure if mold is present is via some kind of invasive exploration, such as removing some tiles or removing drywall from one or more walls opposite the shower/tub. We will do our best to help you decide if it’s worth doing any further investigation.
  • What about my belongings? Do I have to throw everything away?
    There is no one size fits all approach to this topic. Ultimately, some items should be discarded and some can be cleaned. Determining this can be an emotional and tedious process. We can guide you through it.
  • I heard that every house has mold. Is that true?
    To a large extent, yes. Almost every home has experienced some kind of spill or small leak. Because mold growth can begin on wet surfaces in as little 12 hours, there is bound to be at least a little mold somewhere. The question is whether any moisture events have occurred that caused enough mold growth to affect your health.
  • I heard it’s impossible to get rid of mold. Is that true?
    We don’t think so. First of all, all mold growth is caused by an underlying moisture issue. This has to be corrected to stop the mold growth and prevent it from reoccurring. After that, existing mold can be addressed (usually by a mold remediator) by removing some materials and cleaning others. It’s not possible to get rid of every single mold spore or fragment, however, “normal fungal ecology” can be achieved in most cases. The issue is that sometimes it makes more financial sense to move than it does to undergo an extremely costly mold cleanup project. Every case is different.
  • We already had a mold inspection. Can you find mold where they couldn’t?
    No one has magic mold x-ray goggles. Sometimes finding mold is extremely difficult. That said, we are very good at it. We have a trained eye for key indicators such as minor water damage or discoloration. We also know the right spots to look. We also have the right equipment and use more progressive sampling techniques than most other mold assessors. It’s not uncommon that we find issues that were previously missed.
  • I already took samples. What’s the point of having you do mold sampling?
    The main difference is the visual assessment. We also have specialized equipment to help us find issues. Although you may have conducted sampling with ERMI/HERTSMI or test plates or other methods, our goal is to find the sources of the mold that showed up on those samples. We will always discuss sampling with you and will only conduct samples that you approve.
  • Do you assess apartments and other rentals?
    Yes. However, the challenge with rentals is that the owner and/or management must be convinced to correct the issues and correct them the right way, especially if you are mold sensitive. Oftentimes, they want to take a DIY approach to deal with the issues quickly and cheaply. This usually makes things worse. It’s not uncommon for clients to use our reports to break their lease or move to a different unit in the apartment complex.
  • Do you assess commercial buildings?
    Yes. We typically don’t take on large projects. Our niche is residential homes and offices or smaller commercial buildings. See the above explanation on rentals. These same points apply if the space is being leased and/or your boss isn’t on board with the idea of mold assessment and remediation. Contact us and we’ll see if our services are the right fit for your situation.
  • How soon can you inspect my house?
    Because we are typically working with hypersensitive individuals that require a high level of thoroughness and detail, our inspectors rarely perform more than one inspection a day. During busy seasons, wait times can sometimes be a week or two. If your home is making you sick, understand that this is typically due to exposure over weeks, months or even years. Getting the issues corrected is going to be a process. Our motto is “it’s better to do it right than to do it fast!” Our clients commonly tell us that our service and results were worth the wait.
  • Can you find mold in wall cavities?
    This is sometimes challenging. We do, however, have methods to find mold in wall cavities. Infrared cameras, moisture meters, wall cavity air sampling and a trained eye are just some of the ways we do this.
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