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Neal Lewis

Mold Guy Scares the Bejesus out of Buyer

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Was at a typical 75 year old house this morning. A mold testing guy who's the buyer's friend spent at least two hours testing everything in sight for mold. Typical indoor and outdoor air samples, swabs, etc. He says the dishwasher has to be thrown out because the door gasket is dirty with mildew, mold or whatever.

The best one was the old refrigerator in the basement that had mildew around the leaky door gaskets. He declared it a big time problem and an indication that the basement is infested with mold. He said mildew on the furnace humidifier means the original galvanized ducts are moldy and should be replaced. Not sure how they're replacing all of them in a three story house. He says the entire basement has to be gutted due to a few black stains on the foundation.

This guy called himself an environmental specialist. I asked him if he noticed the corrugated asbestos on the heat ducts. He said he only does mold and doesn't inspect or test for asbestos...

I think the buyers are never going to find a house that passes their friends mold test and will continue to live in their apartment in Brooklyn...

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CDC

EPA

National Institute of Health

Les had it right. Education is key. The CDC, EPA and NIH all have publications written in laymen terms that give consumers the 'what is it, what does it mean and what to do about it' regarding mold, so that we HI's don't have to elevate our liabilities by attempting to do so ourselves.

Print out a few copies, keep them handy and pass them out.

Marc

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As the responsible person in this so called company, I have to deal with the mold issue everyday and all the attendant BS. My next task this morn is addressing the following comment and problem -

Quote "The appraisal did go through a management review due to comments made by the appraiser. All of the items listed on the appraisal as "defective" xxxxxxxxxx will have to be held in escrow. The biggest item right now is the mold in the basement. You will have to have a licensed mold specialist (not a contractor) perform an inspection on the home to determine if any remediation is required."

Michigan has no licensed mold people of any stripe. No person involved in this transaction will show or report what the appraiser said. The purchase will not proceed. The home inspection done couple of months ago did not indicate any mold (visually). This will take 1-2 hrs of time and has been done by this office hundreds, yes hundreds, of times.

"If the student has not learned, then the teacher has not taught" who knew how silly this would become.

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since the last post - ".............there is at least four sq foot of mold in the basement and shower on the first level. It must be tested and a remediation estimate submitted for escrow."

wonder if the neighbors are going to be ok?

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since the last post - ".............there is at least four sq foot of mold in the basement and shower on the first level. It must be tested and a remediation estimate submitted for escrow."

Wonder if the Maid Team could remediate this potential superfund site.

This post and the one Les posted about the demo job make me think his world is on the other side of the looking glass...or is it a glimpse of the future.

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".......and a remediation estimate submitted for escrow." Not only is he a mold expert, he's providing legal guidance. This is a clue he's not particularly bright.

No, it's not the future. Everyone has the right to be stupid. These people are just exercising their rights.

It's slowly going away. The medical profession has never gotten behind this, and it's extremely unlikely they are ever going to.

Except for the dork professional societies that have found it's a revenue stream to teach wannabe's, it would go away quicker.

Pogo was right.

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If it were dangerous OSHA wold assign it a PEL. There are no exposure limits to any fungi under OSHA, NIOSH, or the EPA.

By contrast, I exceeded the PEL to AP flour on my trip through Walmart this morning. The baking aisle is a war zone this close to a holiday.

Inspectors may not be regulated in MI, but appraisers are. I bet this idiot has violated a few of his licensing laws.

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Click to Enlarge
tn_2014417161524_DSCN2005.jpg

21.27 KB

This is the toxic site! it is a close shot of the corner. frame on the right side is the wall medicine cabinet. I cautiously approached the subject growth, pinched my nose, held my breath, clamped my knees together, put my safety goggles on, cinched my belt, and turned just a little askew and took this shot!

Now the official solution from the lender is that some idiot go over to this vacant house (more than a year) and spray it with Kilz because that would save the world.

A...holes.

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I had the opposite encounter with an inspector who found mold.  My father in law was looking for an investment property and found a house.  He brought me along for the inspection because I was the one who would be renting from him.  The HI verbally told my FIL that there is evidence of black mold in the attic and garage but, "I wouldn't worry about it.  It's not that bad."  He never noted it in his report.  So FIL buys the house, I rent it, do a bunch of repairs and upgrades and two years later I am ready to buy this house from him.  I needed to get an FHA loan because of a poor decision I made in my early 20s.  Guess what happened when my FHA HI came in...  Well, after a full remediation of my garage and attic and also new insulation, I passed the inspection with 4k less in the bank (which was a steal).  I have a good friend who does fire and water damage restorations who was certified in mold.  He told me that it wasn't the worst that he has seen, but it was close to it.  The original HI didn't report the lack of a fire wall that separates the attic from the attached garage as well.  This is what caused the mold in the first place.  

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9 minutes ago, Mycakers said:

 The original HI didn't report the lack of a fire wall that separates the attic from the attached garage as well.  This is what caused the mold in the first place.  

How so?

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I was told that every time the garage door was opened during the cold season, a blast of cold air flew into the garage and then attic.  With my dated blown in insulation clogging the soffits and a degrading R value, there was no circulation and heat from the interior was building up in the attic.  The condensation from cold to hot had nowhere to go.  When I had the insulation removed and replaced, the old stuff was very damp.  

This is what I was told at the time.  I would be interested in hearing any other thoughts.

I suppose it was a combination of all of this

Edited by Mycakers

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4 hours ago, Mycakers said:

I was told that every time the garage door was opened during the cold season, a blast of cold air flew into the garage and then attic.  With my dated blown in insulation clogging the soffits and a degrading R value, there was no circulation and heat from the interior was building up in the attic.  The condensation from cold to hot had nowhere to go.  When I had the insulation removed and replaced, the old stuff was very damp.  

This is what I was told at the time.  I would be interested in hearing any other thoughts.

I suppose it was a combination of all of this

Sounds like the moisture that allowed the mold to grow was interior moisture that got into the attic.  It's warmer in the interior than the attic in the winter so if that interior air gets into the cold attic, condensation might result, giving old spores what it needs to grow.  I don't see what the lack of a firewall between garage and attic has to do with this mold growth.

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The attic is completely open to the garage.  There is not a ceiling in my garage.  There needs to be a separation between the two for carbon monoxide and fire code.  By the way, I am not arguing with anyone.  I’m new, I’m here to learn.  

So, because of the poor insulation I have interior heat coming into my attic and garage.  Am I wrong to think that the sudden rush of freezing air into my attic is not accelerating the process?

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2 hours ago, Mycakers said:

So, because of the poor insulation I have interior heat coming into my attic and garage.  Am I wrong to think that the sudden rush of freezing air into my attic is not accelerating the process?

It's probably not the culprit. The mold forms when the wood gets damp and stays damp for a long time. Occasional inrushes of cold outdoor air would probably help to ventilate the space and reduce moisture levels up there.

The worst attic mold problems I see occur in poorly ventilated attics where a moisture source - often poorly vented bathroom exhaust fans, direct warm moist air into the attic. Once in the attic, the water vapor in the air condenses on the coldest surfaces in the attic: usually the underside of the north-facing roof planes. The missing wall was almost certainly not the problem. 

 

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7 hours ago, Mycakers said:

The HI verbally told my FIL that there is evidence of black mold in the attic and garage but, "I wouldn't worry about it.  It's not that bad."  He never noted it in his report. 

So, that was a huge mistake on the inspector's part, but probably not for the reason that you're thinking. The inspector should have looked at the presence of mold as a *symptom* of a moisture problem and he should have addressed that problem in his report, with strong advice about how to reduce moisture levels in the attic. After moisture is totally under control, then it might be appropriate to address the mold - maybe. 

Remember that no matter how much you treat the mold, it'll just come back if you don't fix the problem that caused it in the first place. And if you truly fix the problem, the mold will stop growing anyway. Removing old, dead mold might be a good idea, but it shouldn't be the priority. 

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The house is all electric. Gas line is capped off.  No vents in the bath and no forced air. There are vents in the ceiling in all bedrooms but the previous owners cut blocks of insulation and put them in the vents.  The duct work was laying in the attic.  I don’t know where there could be interior air escaping.  Maybe the mold is why they closed it up?

I trust your input on this.  

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So that I understand: 

  • This house was once heated with a gas furnace and ducts that were in the attic and provided air to the rooms through registers in the ceiling. 
  • The gas was capped, the furnace removed, the ducts disconnected and the registers patched with blocks of insulation (what kind?).
  • The bathroom's have no exhaust fans. 

If this is all true, no wonder they have mold in the attic. 

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6 hours ago, Jim Katen said:

So that I understand: 

  • This house was once heated with a gas furnace and ducts that were in the attic and provided air to the rooms through registers in the ceiling. 
  • The gas was capped, the furnace removed, the ducts disconnected and the registers patched with blocks of insulation (what kind?).
  • The bathroom's have no exhaust fans. 

If this is all true, no wonder they have mold in the attic. 

 

Yes. You understand correctly.  They are foam blocks with a foil backing.  I can’t remember what the backing says.  The mold was concentrated on the north and east side.  The apex is where the garage is. That was another reason why I thought it could be due to the open attic.  

Edited by Mycakers

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