New Website – Moldinsight.com

Dear valued clients and visitors,

I am happy to report that I have recently launched a new website called moldinsight.com

The business has been set up to help home owners, property managers, stratas, and small commercial businesses deal with mold and or moisture issues within the buildings they occupy.

Essentially, we will be continuing to provide the best service possible when it comes to mold inspections, mold testing and consulting.

Please take a look a look at the services page to and the blog lean more!

 

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Thank You For Stopping By

 

Dear valued clients… Thank you for trusting in us as your go to home and mold inspection company over the last 9 years.

As of April 1st 2018, Sean Moss Home and Mold Inspections is no longer be providing Home inspection Services.

Instead, we will continue our tradition of excellence and client focused approach.

Please check out our new website moldinsight.com to learn more about mold inspections, mold testing, consulting and mold awareness seminars.

As always, we continue to invest in the latest educational resources and innovative technology to remain as an industry leader when it comes to understanding, investigating and removing mold.

 

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Should New Laws Make Home Inspections Mandatory In BC?

With the huge number of bidding wars, spawned by the ever increasing demand for getting into the market, home buyers are feeling the pressure.

Many are jaded by the idea of getting that dream home. For others, its about buying a piece of investment property before the next guy.

This fierce competition leads to tight closing times, and in more cases than not, the home owner elects to forego a home inspection for fear of losing out. It is like pure capitalism vs. survival of the fittest (financially speaking).

When considering the thousands of homes being sold this way, statistically many of these homes will have a number of budget blasting repairs only to be discovered after the buyers take possession.

This article has been written in response to a recent video/news story about a Surrey home owner who is now is frustrated and discouraged after discovering a number of major issues in his brand new home…

In the story, Global News explains the nightmare this new home owner has been going through after he purchased a brand new townhouse, without an inspection.

He figured that a new home was a low risk investment, as it is covered by a new home warranty program.

Check out this story from > Global News <

This competitive environment makes it easy for people to turn a blind eye to the potential problems that buyers, like Frank (mentioned in the article) will have to face when they buy a brand new lemon without a home inspection.

Buyer beware is not relevant when home buyers are not given the opportunity to have an inspection…

When the market is slow, we all know that almost everyone is getting a home inspection done before they buy a home.

And many people will tell you that buying a home without an inspection just doesn’t make sense – yet these same people turn around and end up buying their homes without an inspection as well.

This seems odd, but when I questioned this, I was told a variation of… “Until you experience a situation where you feel this immense, pressure (due to the competitive market, bidding wars, etc) then the logical decision takes a back seat to fear of missing out.”

In some cases, home buyers have opted to get “partial” or “walk through” inspections during an open house. This is just marginally better than not getting an inspection at all.

No matter how good or efficient the home inspector is, the inspection is still limited, usually by time. These inspections are typically booked last minute, and in many cases performed without a written contract.  No contract means no liability, no protection for the buyer or responsibility for the inspector – which is not legal in BC.

Furthermore, home inspections are complicated and difficult to do well even when all conditions are favorable. So the chance of missing something during a “partial inspection” increases, resulting in a false sense of protection for the buyer.

Shouldn’t a brand new home be problem free?

It sounds plausible that when you buy a brand new home, you’d be getting a hassle free home, with maybe a few minor cosmetic flaws that can be easily repaired.  This is not at all the reality. A house has several systems and components that require skilled workers to get it all right, which rarely happens.

I have discovered a number of problems with brand new homes… such as missing roof vents, loose pipes, missing flashings, faulty circuits, broken faucets, missing structural members, partially installed doors and missing attic insulation, mold issues… to name a few.

When houses are built under realistic deadlines, fewer problems can be expected.

Issues are more likely to happen during a housing boom (like we have now) when so many homes are being built at one time. The deadlines and pressure to construct the homes in rapid succession can lead to hiring unskilled workers, mismanagement, short cuts and poor workmanship.

Regardless of ones perception on the viability of a brand new home, mistakes are going to happen. The buyer’s expectation should be in line with reality.

Do new laws need to be enforced to protect home buyers?

We’ve seen throughout history that change is typically reactive, rather than proactive.  Laws change when there is enough pressure from the masses to force the government to make these changes.

As a home inspector, I can tell you that Consumer Protection BC has taken a firm stance to ensure that home inspectors in BC are not only licensed and insured, but must adhere to strict protocols to guarantee we are legally permitted to practice in BC. As a result, this province has the best protected public in the country when it comes to the home inspectors.

At the same time, if protecting the consumer tops the agenda, it only seems to make sense that Consumer Protection BC and the government should sit down and figure out a plan to change the laws, thereby leveling the playing field for all parties.

If not, home buyers will continue to buy homes without inspections… and they will keep rolling the dice on what is arguably the largest single investment they will ever make.

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What BC Renters Need To Know About Mold In The Home

Are you a tenant, and worried about mold?

Dealing with mold can be challenging for a renter/tenant because you do not actually own the building you are living in. At the same time, any the mold issues will need to be dealt with in short order.

If you suspect mold from what you see, smell musty odours, or you are dealing mold related conditions (itchy eyes, nasal, throat irritations, runny nose, respiratory problems, sinus congestion, cough & sneezing, etc.) mold might be the culprit.

However, many of these symptoms may also linked to colds, the flu, dust mites, allergies to pollen etc.

Even when you visit a medical professional, they may not be able to give you the answers you are looking for. As a result, it can be very difficult to pinpoint the actual cause of these symptoms.

The reason for this is because there are several types of mold species, and they all affect each person differently.

To help you narrow down if your conditions “might” be mold related, you can leave your home, and take note of how you are feeling. If the symptoms subside shortly after you have been away from your home, then your symptoms return once you go home again… then there is slightly more evidence to support your mold suspicions.

Although documenting how you feel when leaving, then returning to an area of “suspected mold” may help answer some questions, it is by no means conclusive. The only way to know for sure is to have a certified mold inspector or mold remediation contractor identify and test for mold.

As a mold inspector, I receive a lot of calls from renters trying to find answers, then what to do about it.

Often, they want to know what a mold inspector can do for them and how much it is going to cost – because they are concerned about health implications, and anxious to resolve any mold related issues as soon as possible.

At this point, the conversation always comes down to three main questions…

  • Who is going to pay for the inspection, testing etc? (Tenant or landlord)
  • What is the landlord responsible for to ensure the problem will be dealt with?
  • What is the responsibility of the renter?

In the past and depending on the circumstances, I would either direct them to a mold remediation contractor (if they see areas of what they believe to be mold) or suggest that I come in for an inspection and possible testing (if they cannot see or find the mold, but smell or suspect it).

However, through experience, I have realized that my role begins after the tenant and landlord figure out what they want to do.

So, what do you do when you suspect mold?

The first thing you will need to do is inform your landlord as soon as possible. Explain why you think it is a mold issue, and that you need the situation resolved as soon as possible.

Now the complicated part of the problem is making sure that the landlord takes action in a reliable way. The landlord may try to establish if the mold problem(s) is/are caused the tenants or something he/she is responsible for.

Typically, tenants cause mold related issues when they fail to properly clean the home of dust and debris, especially in closets, bathroom and along windowsills and frames. They may not use the bathroom or kitchen fans, or choose to dry their clothing inside the home rather than using the dryer… or not report leaks or floods to the landlord in short order.

If a mold problem is due to building related issues such as a flood, leaky pipe, moisture ingress, or not providing proper ventilation, then this is something the landlord will need to be responsible for.

If the landlord is agreeable, the next step is to hire a mold specialist to investigate and or remove the mold.

However, the conversation can turn awkward if a landlord suggests a quick fix, like paint over the mold, rather than taking the time to properly investigate the issue further.

If you and your landlord cannot agree on a resolution, or you want to arm yourself with information about your rights as a tenant, then you can call the Residential Tenancy Branch at 1-800-665-8779 to discuss the matter.

For more specific information on this topic check out this link below…

Tenantbc.ca

To learn more about mold in general take a look at these links as well…

10 Places To Find Mold In A Home

How To Clean Mold From Your Home

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10 Facts About Stachybotrys Mold That You Need to Know

Have you ever seen black mold in your home?

Were you concerned that it was the “Toxic Black Mold” that we have been hearing about in the news?

These are common questions that people are asking, and desperately looking to find the answers to.

It has been well documented that mold spores are common indoors and outside. Mold requires moisture, an organic food source, timing, and the right temperature to thrive.

Any type of mold infestation can be devastating when it invades our homes, so why is this particular Black Mold so hazardous… yet intriguing?

 

Here Are 10 Facts About Stachybotrys Mold That You Need to Know

 

1. The “Toxic Black Mold” People Are Most Concerned About Is Called Stachybotrys Chartarum or Stachybotrys Atra.

For the purposes of this article I have interchanged the names Stachybotrys, Black Mold and Stachy to mean the same thing.

Yes, exposure to this specific type has been linked to several health issues, such as headaches, vomiting, nausea, fatigue, rashes, lymphoid disorders, damaged organs, flue-like symptoms or worse.

In fact, this particular mold gained wide scale recognition as one of the most harmful fungi, especially in the United States. Back in 1993-1994, there was a serious outbreak of pulmonary hemorrhage affecting infants in Cleveland Ohio.

Research revealed that Stachybotrys Chartarum growing inside the home of the sick infants.

Since that time there have been a number of other cases involving “Toxic Black Mold” across the nation, resulting in lawsuits and problems for building owners on how to address this issue.

However, there is much debate regarding the specifics on this topic with regard to medical claims… yet the common consensus is that people get sick when they ingest or breathe the harmful mycotoxins from this fungus.

It should also be stressed that several other non-related mold types, including Aspergillus can be dangerous as well. Some of these other molds are black, as well as green, blue, pink, brown, white and yellow.

Anytime you see a moisture issue and resulting mold in your home or building, the situation must be addressed in short order. Call in a professional for best results.

 

2. According To The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black Mold, And All Other Mold Is Not Toxic…

The term “Toxic Mold” is apparently incorrect. Instead, it is the mycotoxins released from this fungus that are considered toxic. I have included a link at the bottom of this article for more clarification on this.

 

3. Black Mold May Or May Not Produce Toxins.

According to another article written in Mold-Help.org blog, there are a variety of conditions that will determine whether a mold will produce toxins. Although this mold has the ability to produce health compromising toxins, they do not always release the poisons.

It depends on a number of factors, such as the surface it is grows on, the temperature, the food source and humidity.

 

4. Stachybotrys Is A Wet, Sticky Mold.

Stachy spores are clumped together in a sticky coating so they do not usually travel well in air currents like many other mold types. However, if they dry out or become disturbed, they can be disbursed.

Dry mold is not really dead; it lies dormant and can still be dangerous. In the dry state it can take on the appearance of soot.

Due to its sticky make up, Stachy is best collected and tested by taking physical swab or tape surface samples. They can then be sent to a microbial lab for analysis.

Inspectors may suspect that a home has Stachybotrys, (based on visible observation) yet still choose to conduct air samples to determine if any other kinds of mold are present.

Knowing that these spores do not travel well in the air, you should be especially concerned if the only one tiny Stachybotrys clump is revealed in a lab report. This is a clear indication that thousands more are likely to be present.

 

5. Excessive Prolonged Moisture Leads To Stachybotrys growth.

This fungus needs to be exposed to moisture for long periods of time (1-2 weeks) before it begins to colonize.

Other mold types commonly found in a home, such as Aspergillus, Penecillium and Cladosporium, can grow within 24-48 hours.

Indoors, it grows best on organic cellular materials like insulation paper backing, drywall, ceiling tiles, cardboard, wallpaper or any other paper based materials.

A quick case study: During one of my inspections, a large concentration of Stachybotrys Chartarum was found behind a mattress leaning along a bedroom wall. According to the strata president, this was caused by high humidity over a three-month stretch.

Normally one would expect to see this fungus growing because of a long-standing flood or leak rather than high humidity.

To save money, the homeowners were air-drying all of their laundry in one bedroom, while keeping the windows and door closed. It was like a humid rain forest.

The takeaway from this… high humidity over time can cause this fungus to grow. Keep the windows open (about an inch or two) for cross ventilation and always use the dryer rather than hanging moist clothing in a closed room.

Stachybotrys mold found during a mold inspection

6. Poisonous Toxins Released By Stachy, And Other Molds Are Called Mycotoxins.

These poisons (mycotoxins) are what make people ill when they are ingested or inhaled. Another reason this mold has been called Toxic Black Mold is due to the fact that it produces more mycotoxins than most other types of indoor mold.

 

7. Toxic Black Mold Is Not Always Visible.

This mold is not easily seen for a number of reasons. It needs to be sitting in moisture for at least 8 days to begin growing. Visible leaks are usually dealt with right away, so it wouldn’t have the time to colonize.

A small leak that develops over time can start the process when the leak is not visible. Problems begin without us knowing, as many leaks are concealed behind walls, and under carpets, floorboards above the ceiling in and areas that have been saturated for long periods of time.

At this point is it too late… People begin to experience health effects, or eventually see the signs once it has established a presence. By this time, the subsequent damage can be vast and expensive.

 

8. This Black Mold Has A Very Distinctive Odour.

Some would describe it as a potent, damp, stale, musty or rotting earthy wood smell. If this strong type of odour is present, yet different from other rooms in the home, then the area should be investigated for mold infestation. Consider this a priority.

 

9. Over Time, Stachy Will Usually Dominate Other Molds.

Through testing and analysis we know that this mold grows best when exposed to moisture for at least a week, or more. When its food source is low in nitrogen and high in cellulose, (organic materials) Stachy is happy… us and other molds, not so much.

Although different mold colonies will likely grow beforehand, once the Stachy takes form, it will dominate the environment completely.

 

10. Dry Mold Will Grow Again When Exposed To Moisture.

It’s true… Stachybotrys and several other mold types can sit dormant for thousands of years until it gets wet, allowing new growth to take form.

For this reason, I strongly recommend calling in a professional remediation contractor to discard all contaminated items, and or building materials.

For more details on this take a look at my article called Tips for hiring a mold remediation company.

 

Summary:

Stachybotrys Chartarum/Atra fungi produce potent mycotoxins that are capable if making people and animals very sick, which have been documented and exposed by the media since the 1990s.

The elderly, infants and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk to illness caused by exposure to mycotoxins. However, anyone exposed to fungal poisons can develop health complications.

Although Stachybotrys has been branded as “Black Toxic Mold”, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains that this term is not accurate… but rather, the poisons released by the mold are toxic when inhaled or ingested.

Their ability to produce these toxins does not always happen as it depends on a number of environmental conditions.

Stachybotrys is different from other fungi for the following reasons.

  • It takes much longer to grow
  • Is less commonly found that other fungi types such as Aspergillus, Penecillium and Cladosporium
  • It is held together by a wet, sticky gelatinous structure
  • It produces higher mycotoxins than other molds
  • It is often difficult to detect until it establishes a firm colony

In appearance, it can closely resemble many other black/dark green mold types. So the only definitive way to identify it is through a microbial lab analysis.

Dry mold should be removed completely or it will regenerate when exposed to moisture.

When moisture or mold issues have been discovered, is imperative take quick action by calling a reputable, experienced inspector and or remediation contractor.

 

Resources:

The article from Mold-Help.com provides a thorough breakdown concerning health issues associated with Stachybotrys Chartarum.

http://www.mold-help.org/content/view/429/

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains the toxic poisons released by mold, as well as a number of other related topics.

https://www.cdc.gov/mold/stachy.htm#Q1

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