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Avoiding Scams from Mold Damage Companies

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Homeowners in the greater Los Angeles area aren’t the only residents concerned with mold. It’s a problem faced by area realtors, contractors, property managers, landlords and tenants. In large residential or commercial buildings, the costs for mold testing and remediation can climb into many thousands of dollars. If the mold infestation is serious, tenants may be forced to vacate their homes and/or business locations until the mold is removed.

The mold testing and removal industry grew in direct proportion to the public’s awareness of the problem. Unfortunately, this industry growth has become profitable enough to attract businesses that are not properly trained or certified in testing for and eliminating mold problems. The importance of becoming educated on how to successfully hire a reputable mold testing company and avoid getting scammed cannot be stressed enough. Here are several more tips on protecting people and properties from mold scans.

Questionable Inspections

Anyone who owns or manages a property must perform due diligence when investigating complaints about possible mold growth. A mold inspector from a “test only” company will collect moisture readings and samples in order to confirm or rule out a mold problem. A certified mold inspector who isn’t affiliated with a mold remediation business has no reason to find a mold problem where none exists. On the other hand, a full-service test and removal company does, and will usually “discover” mold.

There are different types of mold testing — most common include air and surface sampling for mold spores in the air and on walls, furniture, shelving and counter tops. Bulk surface sampling includes testing fabrics, carpet, and other porous materials. If mold is visible, further testing may be necessary to confirm the type of mold present. Wall cavity sampling is more invasive and aimed determining if there is a hidden mold problem inside of walls.

Common Scam Tactics

Be aware of “black mold” discoveries. This well-known term is not as common as people believe. Many types of molds are black in color, and a simple visual inspection will not provide a definitive answer. Qualified laboratory testing is necessary to determine the type of mold present with any degree of accuracy.

Effective mold remediation never involves merely covering it up. Disreputable remediation companies employ gimmicks such as using fumigants, ozone generators, encapsulation, and other expensive methods that may be more toxic than the mold itself, including using chlorine bleach. Mold must be completely removed and the moisture leak that enabled it to grow must be eliminated.

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