Every so often I run across a situation that makes me think of it as one great opportunity to educate a lot of people about the unintended consequences of actions. So, it was recently that I was called upon to perform air tests for mold on a property that was being sold. The contract was agreed upon, and closing was in a day or two.

There had been a water leak in the closet of a condo involving the hot water heater. The closet also housed the HVAC air handler for the apartment-style condo. Prior to the sale of the unit, the property owner approved a contractor to remove the hot water heater and the sheetrock, but most people are simply not aware of the proper procedures for removing mold and this procedure was done without any type of containment. After the sheetrock was replaced, the condo was listed for sale. Full disclosure was made to the prospective buyer of the mold and how it was removed. To the credit of the buyer, she requested the mold testing since she was buying the condo “sight unseen.”

Testing for Black Mold

The testing involved one outside air-o-cell for comparison/control purposes and two air samples taken inside. The first sample was taken in the hallway by the hot water heater closet, and the second in the living room. The common building material molds like Penicillium/Aspergillus and Cladosporium were not terribly out of line with the outside sample. But what was striking was that Stachybotrys (black mold) was present in the indoor sample. The living room had a higher number than the hallway.

What is important to understand about Stachybotrys is that it is not easily aerosolized. If it is in the air, it is usually because it has dried out completely and/or has been disturbed. Post-remediation standards have zero tolerance for this fungus. Since it was in the air, it is safe to assume that it was on the sheetrock in the closet.

Significant Cost Because of Poor Prior Remediation

So, what could have been a very simple and straightforward operation turned into an ordeal for the owner, the buyer, and the former tenants. Since the condo still housed some furniture and personal belongings of the former tenants, the remediation plan involved a full wipe down of all items left out. The items then had to be boxed and moved to a storage location until they could be picked up. The sheetrock that was replaced by the contractor had to be removed to check for mold left behind (mold was found). That area was sanitized, and then the vacant condo had to be fully wiped down, fogged, and retested.

The cost of this project was significantly above what it would have been if a certified mold remediator had been called in the first place. Not to mention the stress and inconvenience of the situation. All this to say, if you ever suspect mold in your home, don’t waste your time with an inexperienced crew for demolition. Call an expert mold remediation company like BIOSWEEP of Alabama, and we’ll get it right the first time!