When you’re in the throes of water damage, the first thing on your mind is how to dry your space out as quickly as possible.
You might not realize that underneath the murky water, there could be an even more serious and significant issue at play: mold.
Mold spores grow rapidly and powerfully in damp, moist environments. Unsurprisingly, that’s exactly the kind of space created with your home or office building floods. That’s why it’s important to ensure that the team members you hire to perform water damage restoration services are also reputable mold removal experts.
As you do your research, it helps to know what traits to look for in a reliable and professional team. Today, we’re sharing 10 traits and features that set the top-tier mold removal companies apart from the rest.
Why Should You Worry About Mold?
Mold is more than just the unsightly black growth you see along your baseboards after a room floods. It’s also more serious than the musty odor you smell as soon as you walk into the space. Though these two issues can be unpleasant, they do not pose a direct threat.
In fact, mold itself does not pose a direct threat, as long as you encounter it in miniscule quantities. Mold spores exist in both indoor and outdoor environments and are commonly found in dust. Yet, when they congregate together in substantial quantities, they can transition from harmless to harmful.
Let’s take a look at a few reasons why this is one issue to address immediately.
In addition to ruining the aesthetics of a space, mold can also wreak havoc on the physical structure of your property. This is because mold feeds on organic materials, many of which are found right inside of your building, including:
Wood (and wooden studs)
Certain types of glue
When mold spores come into contact with these types of surfaces, they begin to eat away at them almost immediately. In time, this can cause them to rot and eventually fall apart. Depending on the severity and duration of the issue, it could cause your ceiling to collapse or your floorboards to buckle or cave. It can even cause your walls to fall in.
Most of the time, you’ll catch and remediate the presence of mold before it grows into such a serious concern. Still, it’s important to act quickly.
For the most part, mold tends to grow on the surfaces of your home, rather than deep into them. This means that catching it soon after it begins can usually save your structure. However, allowing it to fester can bring you one step closer to an issue that could compromise the integrity of your building.
The same adverse conditions that encourage the development and spread of mold are also responsible for catalyzing the growth of wood-decay fungi, which can grow deep into the substrates of your foundation.
Swift action can ensure that your mold problem does not linger and that your building remains intact.
When people are exposed to damp and moldy environments, some will exhibit more severe physical symptoms than others. Often, you will not know whether or not you’re allergic or sensitive to molds until you’ve experienced a negative reaction after a direct exposure.
If you’re highly sensitive to molds, you may experience a range of negative health effects, including:
Red, itchy eyes
Stuffy or runny nose
Coughing and wheezing
If you’re allergic to molds or suffer from asthma, you could suffer from a reaction that’s more intense, such as a fever or shortness of breath. In addition, symptoms are usually more severe in anyone with an immune suppression, underlying lung disease, or chronic respiratory disease.
In addition, certain kinds of molds can produce what’s known as mycotoxins. These are naturally occurring toxins that can pose a serious health risk to both humans and animals if exposure occurs at significant levels, such as everyday exposure at the workplace.
Any type of mold that contains mycotoxins is known as “toxic mold”. One common example is Stachybotrys chartarum, which is also known as “black mold”. Exposure to toxic molds can cause neurological distress and can even lead to death in some cases.
These are just a few of the many reasons why it pays to partner with a mold removal team that knows how to solve the problem and restore your property the first time.
10 Traits to Look For in Professional Mold Removal Experts
Any time your home or business experiences any form of water damage, there is potential for mold to develop.
Yet, there doesn’t necessarily need to be a massive flood for this issue to occur. Rather, mold spores can begin to grow on almost any surface where any degree of moisture or high humidity is present.
As air currents carry these spores, they land on new surfaces. If that surface is moist enough to be suitable for life, they’ll continue to reproduce indefinitely.
That’s why it’s important to identify and respond to it as soon as you can. Yet, that’s often easier said than done. Mold can exhibit a variety of characteristics and can even take on different colors and textures.
For instance, some molds can be white and black, while others are yellow, green or even blue. It can be fuzzy, bumpy or smooth. In any case, it will most often resemble a type of stain or discoloration on a surface.
How do you know who to call when you realize that this unwanted visitor has infiltrated your commercial or residential space? Here are 10 traits that set a professional mold remediation and removal team apart from the rest.
1. Thorough Assessment Approach
Be wary of any team that immediately comes into your space and announces that you’re absolutely dealing with a mold issue and wants to get started on remediation and removal without any preparation, first.
While it’s true that there are some easily identifiable signs of mold, a professional team will always take the time to understand where the mold likely originated, as well as how far it has spread.
This is one of the many reasons why our team performs a comprehensive mold assessment before beginning work. This gives us the opportunity to identify the location of the mold, as well as the extent of the mold hazard in your structure.
This is an important first step and should not be skipped or abbreviated. Ask each company how they approach these kinds of jobs and learn the sequence of their techniques.
2. Excellent Reviews and Testimonials
When you’re faced with a mold problem, it might feel like the most isolating issue in the world. Yet, it’s more common than you might realize.
In fact, according to one survey, almost half of the households in the U.S. have some form of mold issue! At the same time, nearly 30% of the U.S. population has health concerns that make them highly susceptible to the dangers of prolonged mold exposure.
To this end, don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends, family member and work colleagues to seek their recommendations and reviews on any similar services they’ve procured in the past. If you’re coming up short in your inner circle, you can also take your research online!
Start by widening your net and asking for advice from your online followers, using a tool such as Facebook Recommendations. Then, you can also conduct an internet search for a generic, location-based term, such as “mold removal experts near me” or “mold remediation in (your city)”.
In the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), you should be able to see the Google My Business (GMB) online business listing for each of the top local companies displayed. This is a short profile that reveals the company’s contact information, hours of operation, images, and other key details. It also contains reviews and feedback from former clients.
Use this intel to create a short list of the top few companies you want to learn more about. Then, head to their website and social media channels to learn more about what people are saying about them. Many companies will have a designated testimonial page, where you can read all of their reviews in one place.
3. Related Work History
Yes, every team has to start somewhere.
However, that doesn’t mean you need to trust your valuable property to an inexperienced crew. Before choosing a mold removal company for your home or office, be sure to request information on their work history and past projects.
Experience matters and in this realm, the more the better. Companies that have been in the business for years have seen a variety of client issues and situations, which can render them more capable of responding to your specific needs.
We’ve made this step easy by consolidating information on all of our past projects on our website. In addition to the project name, we’ve also identified the location of our work, as well as a brief description of all of the services provided.
If a prospective company won’t provide you with similar details or isn’t forthcoming about its past performance history, consider this a red flag and continue your search elsewhere. A reputable mold removal company will be forthcoming and transparent about its past projects and understands how this information can help inform your search.
4. Trained Technicians
It’s important to make sure that the technicians visiting your property are up-to-date on the latest policies and procedures governing the safe and sanitary mold removal process.
As you conduct interviews with potential partners, inquire on the training programs that they have in place for their incoming and current staff members. What access to continuing education do they provide to ensure that they’re following the industry’s best practices?
At HCI, not only are our on-site technicians trained in swift and efficient mold removal, but each member of our team is an expert at customer service and is ready to assist you at every turn. You’ll notice the difference as soon as you call our office, where you’ll connect with a live customer service department representative trained in gathering the pertinent information necessary to initiate response procedures.
In Section 4 of our Statement of Qualifications (SAQ) posted online, you can find scanned copies of a few representative certificates that represent the various training programs that HCI personnel have attended and completed. A few of the most prominent ones include:
Certified Mold Remediation (IAQ)
Indoor Air Quality Association Membership
Railroad Emergency Response HazMat Awareness Training (BNSF)
HAZWOPER Refresher Training
Registered Environmental Assessor Training (State of California)
5. Insured Company
Especially when you’re dealing with a mold problem, there is the potential for property damage to occur. This makes the project inherently risky by nature, which is why any mold removal team you hire should have a robust insurance policy in place to offer the utmost protection.
While every precaution is taken to protect your property at every turn, peace of mind is still invaluable. Knowing this, our team is proud to maintain one of the largest insurance policies held by a privately-owned company in this industry niche. We know you need proof of this protection, so we’ve included a copy of our Certificate of Liability Insurance on our website.
This policy reduces your overall liability and helps you feel confident about leveraging the services of our team.
6. Transportation Licensing
Once the mold is removed from your property, it has to go somewhere.
Yet, it is considered a form of hazardous waste and can’t exactly be thrown in the wastebasket. You should be able to trust that the mold removal team you choose is licensed to safely and securely transport the waste from your property to an industry-compliant location.
HCI holds such a license from the state’s Department of Toxic Substances Control. We also hold a Hazardous Materials Transportation License from The State of California, Department of California Highway Patrol. Copies of our other forms of transportation licensing can be found on our website.
7. Quick Service Turnaround Times
As discussed, you can’t exactly afford to wait when mold is lurking at your door or crawling up your walls.
This is one issue where time is absolutely of the essence and if you fail to act quickly, it could snowball into an even bigger, more expensive issue to treat.
As you contact different companies on your list, ask them how quickly they can provide you with a quote. When can they come out and visit your property? If they push back and say it will be a while, remove them from the list and keep going.
In most cases, we can respond to a request for a quote within 24 hours. Once you approve the quote and return all of the requisite documents with your signature, we strive to complete the work within two to three days. Thanks to our well-trained team and expert customer service representatives, we’re able to perform most projects on an around-the-clock, 24/7 basis.
8. Industry Certifications and Credentials
Our HCI team members routinely pursue opportunities to learn as much as they can about their trade. We mentioned that our mold removal experts hold certificates from IAQ, but why is that important?
In short, IAQ is a leading entity in the disaster restoration and building science realm. The Certified Mold Remediation training course is a three-day-long course that includes detailed instructions on the current guidelines covering this industry.
During the training, attendees learn best practices surrounding mold remediation in residential, public and commercial properties.
This is only one of the many industry qualifications and certifications that our technicians hold. Inquire on each team’s credentials to make sure they’re complying with the latest protocols surrounding safe mold removal, transportation and disposal.
9. Licensed Business
Sure, your best friend’s coworker might moonlight as a DIY mold removal technician. Yet, unless they are skilled in the craft and expertly trained, they could wind up creating even more damage in your home.
Ask each company to share a copy of their business license before you take the next step. You can find these documents in our virtual SAQ, including our business license granted by the State of Nevada, State Contractors Board.
Partnering with a licensed company minimizes your risk and provides a clear path of recourse should any issues occur during your project. Otherwise, you could wind up with an ineffective, half-finished effort and no industry guidelines or compliance measures to direct your way forward.
Plus, industry professionals will have access to the higher-rate chemicals and tools necessary to remove your mold for good. From air scrubbers to commercial-grade dehumidifiers, these are resources that the average weekend handyman simply won’t have easy access to.
Ultimately, mold remediation is a serious task that requires a serious effort, and if the company you’re researching isn’t licensed, those spores won’t be the only issue you’re still dealing with down the road.
10. Thorough Interview Responses
Finally, don’t be afraid to call the companies on your list and ask to learn more about the approach they take to mold removal and remediation.
Ask them any questions you’ve been wondering, such as if they offer a warranty to back up their services and protect your assets? If so, what is the duration of that warranty and specifically what does it cover?
Other key questions to jot down and ask in person or over the phone include:
What kind of safety gear do your technicians wear?
What techniques will you use to safely and permanently remove the mold?
How will you set up the work area so that mold spores are isolated to your work zone and do not spread throughout my property?
Will I need to leave my home during the mold removal process?
How will you discard my moldy materials (e.g. drywall and baseboards)?
How will you clean my surfaces after the moldy material has been eliminated?
Will you also clean my HVAC air ducts?
You can also discuss the exact steps they’ll take once they arrive on-site, such as mold testing. If your mold is already visible, testing is usually a laborious and costly step that you can skip. If a contractor insists on conducting one even in the presence of very obvious mold growth, that could be a sign that the team is unscrupulous and only interested in taking on your project for financial gain.
Take note of how you feel when you ask these questions. If there is hesitancy or an unwillingness to divulge critical information, make a note of this avoidance and consider partnering with a team that’s more forthcoming, honest and reliable.
Mold Removal Experts You Can Trust
When you’re dealing with a serious mold issue, the last thing you need is a lengthy search to find the right mold removal experts. You need professional service from a team of qualified, industry-recognized technicians, as soon as possible.
We’re here to make that step as easy as possible for you. We offer a variety of solutions for myriad needs, including hazardous waste transportation and disposal, general contracting, demolition and more. We’re also experts in the realms of asbestos, lead and mold removal, and we’re qualified to tackle even the most challenging job.