What to expect from your inspection.
When you select Fusion Environmental you are hiring a company with over 20 years in the environmental services industry. Our Mold Assessment Consultants (MACs) will guide you through the process from start to finish and will be there to answer any questions you may have. We want happy clients so we are transparent about the necessary steps to complete a mold-related project. Below is an outline showing the steps of dealing with mold growth once a water event has occurred.
Water leaks can be devastating and getting a professional company to perform the dry-out is extremely important. The faster you can remove the water and mitigate damage, the less likely mold growth will occur. However, there are many instances where this is not possible. Perhaps you were out of town or had a slow leak that went undetected for weeks. Or you might experience another extreme weather event like the one Central Texas experienced in February 2021. This is when a licensed MAC needs to be your first call.
When Fusion Environmental receives a call, our in-house team members will listen to your concerns and help guide you to the service you need. We offer a range of services from a sample only visit to limited and full inspections.
Our eyes are the best tools we have, and the visual inspection is the most valuable part of the inspection. Our MACs have years of experience in the field and even though we can’t read small text anymore we can spot water damage from a mile away. We look for signs that water has impacted an area such as warping, cracking, bubbling, peeling or bowing.
There are times when our eyes can’t see the damage and that is why we use professional tools to provide a more complete inspection. We measure temperature and humidity throughout the residence using a hygrometer.
We use FLIR E-8 thermal cameras to check for temperature differences. This tool is very valuable at finding recent leaks. This is because a long-term leak will acclimate to the surrounding materials, and it becomes more difficult to detect with the thermal camera.
This brings us to the most essential tool in every MACs tool bag, the moisture meter. We use moisture meters around doors, windows, and any plumbing throughout the house. Moisture meters allow us to determine the amount of impacted materials and help to determine the scope of the problem.
Once we have completed the inspection, the MAC will go over all the issues we observed. We document all issues no matter how small; however, we do not believe that all water damage results in mold growth. We will provide you with a list of recommended samples based on our observations during the inspection process. We want to get you the answers you need to get on with your life as inexpensively and quickly as possible. Our MAC will ask questions about your goals for the inspection and will advise you on the samples that will provide you with the most useful information for making decisions about your house. We can collect several different types of samples however surface and air samples are the most common.
Surface samples will give you a positive ID if the substance is mold or not and will give you the specific type of mold present. Air samples are collected and analyzed by the laboratory and will give you the specific makeup of mold types in the air and the quantities of each spore type detected. Depending on your specific situation, you may only need air samples, surface samples, or a combination of both air and surface samples. We can collect other types of samples including dust samples and ERMI samples however, these are less common than air and surface samples.
Following the inspection, we will provide you with a detailed report and summary of our observations and findings. The report will provide photographs of problem areas, humidity levels, square footage of impacted materials, and the suspected source. The summary will outline sample data and provide our recommendations on next steps, if necessary.
The protocol is a separate service that may be needed for your home. Once the inspection is completed, the MAC will determine if a protocol is needed or required however, there are times when we will need to wait for the laboratory data before recommending a protocol.
Under the Mold Assessors and Remediators Rules, any project with greater than 25 square feet of visible mold growth must be performed by a licensed Mold Remediation Contractor (MRC). Areas with less than 25 square feet of visible mold growth can be handled by non-licensed contractors however, we typically recommend getting a licensed MRC to perform the work as there are very few contractors that are competent when dealing with mold remediation. Our MAC will help you navigate all of this while onsite, following the inspection.
A protocol is a document that is prepared by the MAC which the MRC uses to perform the work to achieve final clearance. It will contain information gathered during our inspection including observations, laboratory data, photographs and a detailed diagram showing what materials need to be removed. It will also outline the use of PPE, containments, methodology and clearance criteria.
Once the protocol is prepared, we have a few Mold Remediation Contractors that we have worked with in the past who perform quality work. By no means do you have to use someone we recommend but they are available for you upon request. A comprehensive list of MRCs can be found at the TDLR website.
Once you decide on your MRC, the remediation process can begin. The MRC performs the work as outlined in our protocol and then contacts us to schedule the next phase of the project.
After remediation is completed, the MAC will perform another inspection to ensure that no mold growth remains, no wet materials remain, and no wood rot is present. This inspection will include air and surface samples to ensure the environment is safe prior to removing the containment. Samples will be sent to a laboratory and if they pass our clearance criteria, we will issue an “all clear” email. After this point, the MRC can remove the containments and any equipment onsite.
After clearance is achieved, a CMDR and clearance report will be issued. The CMDR will only be issued if the underlying cause of the mold has been repaired. This document must be shared with a buyer if within a 5-year window preceding the home sale. It is a valuable document because it shows that licensed personnel were used throughout the process and some banks will require it prior to financing. In addition, a property owner is not liable for damages related to mold remediation on a property if a CMDR has been issued.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was used in everything from cigarette filters to theater curtains. Most industries stopped using the material in the late 1970’s; however, it can still be found in countless homes and businesses. Most homes built from the 1980’s onward do not contain asbestos materials but some construction products that come into the USA from other countries still contain asbestos.
The only way to determine if a material contains asbestos is to take a sample and send it to the laboratory for analysis. This is done by taking a small amount of the material in question. We typically take a chunk of the material about the size of a quarter. The laboratory analyzes the material with phase light microscopy (PLM) and will determine the percentage of asbestos contained within the material.
While asbestos can be found in the following, this is not a comprehensive list:
There are times when we perform a mold inspection and find no issues, but the client still feels like there is something in the house causing them to be sick. We offer VOC sampling, but usually do it as a last resort due to the cost associated with this type of sampling. VOCs can become a problem when materials off-gas and those gasses become airborne and are then breathed in by occupants.
The list of materials that can emit VOCs is extensive and can include furniture, cleaning supplies, air fresheners, laundry and body care products, dry cleaning, and pesticides, among others. They can also be found in carpeting, paint, adhesives and glues, and other building materials.
Lead is a serious risk for humans and can lead to serious medical conditions. It was commonly used in paints before 1978 when it was banned. A major victory for public health came in the mid 1980’s when most gasoline used in the US became unleaded however, it was not fully banned until 1996.
Older homes are generally the ones with lead-based paint. Much like asbestos, there is no sure way to know if the paint on your walls or trim contains leaded paint. In addition, an old house can have multiple layers of paint and any one of those could contain lead. Taking a sample for lead involves sending a small piece of the material to a laboratory for analysis. There can be many layers of paint on trim in older homes so if a sample is collected it must be all the way down to bare wood. Generally, door frames or old window frames are good places to collect a sample.