National Dog Day – Thank you to the Mold Dogs!

National Dog Day – Thank you to the Mold Dogs!

Air sampling and related mould inspection techniques are expensive and laboratory analysis of the samples can take up to three weeks (depending on the particular test) before the results are known.

Traditional air sampling cannot pinpoint the source of mould; it merely confirms the presence of mould in the overall space where the sample was taken. The dog, on the other hand, is trained to alert to the exact location of the mold. In situations involving isolated contamination sites the Mold Dog is most often accurate within 1-2 metres of the actual source of contamination.

This means that costly air sampling can be limited to the contaminated areas and at the same time samples can be taken at the suspected contaminated site thus ensuring a higher degree of accuracy in the air samples themselves. If destructive (bulk) sampling is preferred, then the Mold Dog provides assurance that destructive testing will not be a ‘hit-or-miss’ proposition.

Another important benefit of pinpointing mould sources is that the cost of remediation (repairs) can be reduced dramatically by repairing only those areas which are actually contaminated.

(As a rough rule of thumb, a dog can inspect an average 2 storey house (2000 sq. ft.) in approximately 2 hours.)

Dogs have been used for years by military and law enforcement agencies to detect bombs and drugs, among other things. In Europe, dogs have been used to detect mold for over 20 years.

Mold frequently grows in hidden places, inside wall cavities, underneath floors and in inaccessible areas and is often not visible until the problem is more advanced. When moisture builds up from leaky pipes, roofs, basements or high humidity, conditions are ideal for mould growth. Moulds are easily disturbed and their spores can become airborne causing a possible threat to the building or the health of the occupants. Exposure to some types of molds can cause serious health effects such as respiratory infection, asthma attacks, skin rashes, eye infections, ear infections, nosebleeds and headaches. In rare cases toxic mould can cause cancer and even death.

Certified Mold Dogs detect and pinpoint exact areas of mold, which leads to lower remediation costs for homeowners and insurers.

A mold dog can get to places faster than people, and can detect mold in places that people can’t reach. Human inspectors might be in a building for four hours performing Indoor Air Quality tests and sampling and even using thermal imaging cameras before finding the mold where as a mold dog can sniff it out and represents the newest tool for consumers in North America to detect and more importantly, pinpoint mold in structures, thus lowering remediation costs.

We’ve been asked many times if its safe to expose dogs to such environments, but its been proven by vets that dogs don’t react quite as badly as humans do when being exposed to mold and spores. The reality of it is, it’s about as safe as using the dogs for bomb sniffing. Dogs are trained to be cautious and aware of the surroundings. They can identify the areas and notify the humans faster then getting test results, resulting in a faster response time. The only thing they can’t do is supply you the quote for the work.

Got Mold? at the Home and Garden Show in Calgary, Alberta

Got Mold? at the Home and Garden Show in Calgary, Alberta
Currently our founder and President, James C. Watson, is heading to Alberta to support our Calgary franchisee at the Home and Garden Show
According to Jill Kivett, Show Manager and Spokersperson:
The Calgary Home + Garden Show is the most trusted resource for every home improvement project, inside and out. With big names like HGTV’s Bryan Baeumler and Tommy Smythe, plus more than 650 exhibitors and a slew of exciting new features, there’s real advice, real inspiration and real experts at every turn.
James Zolkavich, Managing Partner, of Got Mold? Calgary, is excited about the opportunity to have a booth at the show. In his words:
It is estimated that more than 100,000 people will attend the show. We believe this show will create significant exposure for Got Mold? and most importantly enable us to offer real advice to residents who are concerned about air quality, mold, and asbestos. We are here to help!
The show starts on Thursday, February 27th and ends on Sunday, March 2nd. For further details on the show, click here.

Major Announcement: Got Mold Launches New Website Design

Major Announcement: Got Mold Launches New Website Design
On behalf of the Got Mold? team, I am pleased to announce that we just launched our new site design.
Our sincere hope is the new design will enhance our user’s experience. In addition, our site is now optimized to be viewed on mobile devices.
The new site went live during the early morning hours of January 25th. We are still in the process of tweaking the site, and thank you in advance for your patience while these changes are being made.
Many thanks to our loyal followers for supporting us and sharing the content we are so dedicated to updating the site with. Awareness is our goal!

Improper Clean Up Leads to Mold’s Unwanted Return

Improper Clean Up Leads to Mold’s Unwanted Return
High River residents will never forget the grim sight of flood-stained refuse lining the streets, but although it’s in the landfill, basements are gutted and the attention is now on rebuilding, yet another remediation company is stressing the importance of the job being done right.(Kevin Rushworth, High River Times)
Recently, the High River Times ran a story-Improper Clean Up Leads to Mold’s Unwanted Return-to explain why mold is still a problem, even after an initial clean up.
Rushworth interviewed our founder and President, James C. Watson, and the Managing Partner of Got Mold? Disaster Recovery Services (AB) Inc., James Zolkavich.
According to Watson:
You need to make sure that everything is dry, clean and free of sewage contamination before putting anything back together. If you start putting insulation, vapour barrier and drywall up (before it’s dry), then in a few months or years, there’s going to be major concerns down there.
The key is to ensure that the home is clean and dry. If a rebuild is done and there are still underlying moisture or contamination issues, then mold could come back and haunt you, resulting in further costs to remediate the mold issues.
During the flood restoration process, many companies moved into High River and began offering services and may not have ensured that the job was done correctly and professionally. This is the reason, according to Watson that:
Right now we’re receiving calls from individuals who have issues where they don’t feel their basement has been cleaned up properly.
A specific case was pointed out by Zolkavich who met with a woman who had her home remediated, but is not sure if a proper job was done. According to Zolkavich:
She still has some mold in her basement; there’s still some mud in there from sewer back up, so she has to spend another several thousand dollars to finish up her basement just so it’s done 100 per cent correct.
Both Watson and Zolkavich believe all residents should:
Have a Third Party Verify the work. In short, invest in Third Party Verification. This will save you time and money in the long run.
One of the key steps in Third Party Verification is air quality sampling. In Watson’s words:
There’s mold spores everywhere, indoors and outdoors, but the biggest thing that people should be aware of is having air quality sampling done. The only way to determine a normal fungal ecology is to compare the outdoor air to the indoor air.
Another problem Watson and Zolkavich are encountering is sewage contamination, which is a concern particularly if the homeowner’s insurance already paid a restoration contractor to clean the area.
We’re going in and we’re testing some places where they had reliable, trust worthy or suspected trust worthy insurance restoration contractors come in and do clean ups. We take swab samples for sewage contamination to find out if there’s e.coli and fecal matter on the walls and floors from an improper clean up and those test results are coming back positive for contamination.
Both Watson and Zolkavich understand residents wanting to get back into their homes, but that if it’s not been cleaned properly, there will be more hurt down the road. The key is to get the job done right in the first place to avoid further problems in the future.
Mike Holmes, Canada’s most respected contractor, believes that patience is the key to ensuring the job is done right correctly as well:
Holmes labeled three stages in which problems could and have occurred. The first was the initial flood and the second was the clean up. Finally, there’s the fall out afterwards, he noted. “The fall out is going to be big because a lot of families want to get back to normality and they’re going to push contractors to get this job done so they can get back into their home,” he said. A lot of steps are being missed, Holmes explained, stating that if your house has had mold, an air test is crucial. If mold stretches past ten square feet, residents require a professional mold abatement company. “My biggest concern and we’re going to see this and you’re going to hear about it, are the people who close up too quickly in the wrong conditions,” he said. All moisture levels must be at a maximum of 15 per cent, Holmes said. If dry walling occurs too quickly, mold could grow behind the walls again. “The concrete is going to hold the most moisture and then transfer it through to the wood,” he said. “For every single family who closes up their basement above 15 per cent moisture content, all of it will be coming down again.” After the green light is given for air testing, the moisture levels must be checked, Holmes said. He said it’s crucial to gain proper documentation that remediation companies are performing the correct steps. “As long as you’re part of that and you’re there, odds are you’re going to have a green light and know that your home is safe to start to put back together,” he noted. “You don’t have to stand there and watch the air test guy,” he said. “You want to see the paper work; you want to talk to the people who give you the right information.” Holmes said the large-scale devastation creates two problems; one, people are impatient and secondly, there’s not enough businesses who can come and clean it up. “It’s not just mold, it’s a future of problems and it all stems to one thing, patience,” Holmes said, noting that problems can be alleviated in the building phase. Holmes said everything will be safe if people follow the correct remediation protocol and have documentation that it’s been done correctly. “More than anything, it’s having the patience to do it,” he said.(Holmes stresses importance of patience in High River rebuild)

Why Should I Have a Mold Inspection?

Why Should I Have a Mold Inspection?
Great question!
Mold is nature’s recycler. The main purpose of mold: breakdown and eat dead organic matter! Without mold, dead organic material would not decay and just continue to pile up. We need mold as it plays an intricate part in maintaining our Eco-system. When you go outside, you are constantly exposed to mold spores, but the concentration of the mold is manageable and for most people does not pose a risk.
Problems and risks occur with mold, when the spores get trapped in an indoor environment, thereby increasing the concentration of spores. As stated earlier, mold is nature’s recycler, eating dead organic material. A home is composed of dead, organic material: wood, drywall, fabric, and paper. For this reason, a home is a perfect food source for mold.
The only way to prevent mold from eating your home is to control moisture, humidity and temperature because mold thrives in moist climates with a temperature range of 5 degrees to 38 degrees. Water is the key ingredient needed for mold to thrive:
Mold requires water to grow and thrive because it is a fungus. Mold has cells, but unlike a plant, it does not have chlorophyll and can not make it’s own food. Instead, mold needs food, organic dead matter. It reproduces by releasing it’s spores, this is mold’s survival mechanism. The key to mold growth is water. Without water and moisture, mold can not grow because it’s cells will not function properly.(Water…Necessary For ALL Life, Including Mold!)
Mold poses TWO key problems for home owners.
First, and foremost, mold poses a health risk. Of the three types of molds, toxigenic molds are the most harmful because they produce mycotoxins that pose serious health risks. Mold is scary because of the many health risks it poses and is linked to Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, cancer, chronic sinusitis, asthma, MS, and many other health issues.
Second, mold will reduce the value of your property. As mold thrives, it will continue to feed on your home, resulting in decay and rot, negatively impacting the structural integrity.
If your home was recently flooded or endured a significant water leak you should definitely consider having your home inspected for mold. You should also invest in a professional mold inspection if you see actual mold growing on your walls, suspect your health is being compromised, or notice an earthy, musty, mildew and even urine like smell.
When you choose a company to inspect your home, we strongly recommend that you work with an IICRC certified firm whose personnel have invested in training and truly understand what causes mold growth. Be sure to research and make sure you are working with a reputable company.