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					                                                                                                                                                                       March 11, 2004




Mold Detective Sleuthing For Savings
          BY LARISA HARRILL                     It gets inside your house each time you open     is to divert a down spout.”                       air tests cost between $320 to $410.
   It can be a dirty job, but somebody has      the door. For that reason, Donaldson said            In some cases, false positive readings for    Additional testing, including lead and
to do it. Edward Donaldson decided to get       the lift test is not an accurate indicator of    mold can lead to expensive procedures for         radon, can be done on request.
into the mold detection business after he got   whether mold is a real problem.                  its removal, when it might not have even              Donaldson said he has seen his
tired of hearing horror stories about               “If an inspector only does a lift test, it   been present in the first place. NCICP,           company’s second opinions save big money
homeowners spending thousands of dollars        will inevitably appear as though you have        Donaldson said, conducts all of its tests with    for homeowners in the long run, largely
for mold removal, when all that was really      a problem, even if you really don’t, because     that in mind, keeping an eye peeled for           because NCICP’s use of more than just the
needed in most cases was more accurate          mold shows up everywhere,” he said.              things that can lead to false positives: recent   standard lift test for mold detection makes
testing, combined with some smart                   That’s why NCICP relies on air tests,        carpet cleaning, humidifiers, water               the second opinion more reliable.
prevention.                                     Donaldson said. Air tests not only determine     intrusion problems like roof leaks, and pets           “A home inspector will find mold and
   All the hype about health and                the type of mold present, they also provide      can all lead to misleading results.               make a note of it, then I determine as a
environmental problems caused by mold is        a quantitative measure. And when it comes            “It’s like you’re putting together pieces     second opinion if it really has to be
killing real estate deals and hurting           to detecting mold, quantitative measures         of a puzzle,” Donaldson said, “and every bit      corrected,” he said. He estimates that 75
homeowners, said Donaldson, who two             matter, and can often mean the difference        of information is a valuable piece.” During       percent of the time, he finds that no action
years ago founded NCICP, a company that         between a homeowner spending thousands           his 10 years in the home inspection field,        is necessary to remove mold. For the other
                                                                                                 Donaldson has done a lot of puzzle solving;       25 percent, corrective action can often be
                                                                                                 he’s performed hundreds of air tests and has      as simple as wiping down a counter top.
                                                                                                 seen about 7,000 homes                                Although NCICP takes all steps
                                                                                                     During a NCICP inspection, clients are        necessary to avoid drastic measures, in rare
                                                                                                 oriented with mold prevention techniques          instances remediation is unavoidable. In
                                                                                                 specific to their home. Donaldson tells           those extreme cases where all simpler
                                                                                                 homeowners to make sure that down spouts          measures have been ruled out, NCICP does
                                                                                                 and gutters function properly at all times,       provide remediation services.
                                                                                                 and to change air filters on a regular basis          “Remediation is never cheap,”
                                                                                                 – generally every 30 to 45 days for standard      Donaldson said, “because of the insurance
                                                                                                 filters. Keep any plants at least 18 inches       cost and labor intensiveness, lying on your
                                                                                                 away from a house, because plants can             back and working with chemicals.”
                                                                                                 restrict the airflow beneath it. And make             NCICP relies on bleach free products
                                                                                                 sure homes stay well painted on the outside;      when performing remediation, because
                                                                                                 if there’s an area of wood rot outside, that      bleach and water make chlorine gas and
                                                                                                 source of moisture can invade the wall            drive people out of their homes for extended
                                                                                                 cavity and cause mold. In addition, any           periods of time.
                                                                                                 moisture leaks, like a roof leak, should be           “In most cases, people can stay home the
                                                                                                 corrected within 48 hours of detection or it      whole time we’re doing remediation,”
NCICP helps homeowners prevent mold problems like this one.                                      can lead to major problems with mold.             Donaldson said.
                                                                                                     A standard inspection by NCICP costs              For more information, an over-the-phone
specializes in second opinion air inspections   of dollars on mold removal procedures that       $565 and includes three air tests as well as      consultation, or to schedule any of NCICP’s
for mold, along with, when necessary, plans     might not be necessary, or taking some           a site inspection. Site inspections without       services call 704-366-2889.
for removal and future prevention. Since he     relatively simple steps to correct the
got into the mold business, Donaldson said      problem.
he has been called upon by countless               To ensure accurate testing results,
homeowners and realtors, for whom the
salability of their homes has been damaged
                                                NCICP uses air tests based on three samples
                                                – two taken indoors, one outdoors – rather
                                                                                                               Real Estate Rumors
by findings of mold by home inspectors.         than staking an entire assessment on one lift      The Charlotte Business Strengthening            friends and family, print their artwork,
    A certified home inspector himself,         test or one interior air sample, said              America presents its second playground          and receive an official “Junior Home
Donaldson said that most of the time and        Donaldson, who thinks that mold problems           build hosted by Dell Curry, Tim Newman,         Builder” certificate online. For more
money people spend on drastic mold              have been blown out of proportion in recent        Michael Tarwater and Ken Thompson on            information, call 704-363-0872 or visit
removal measures like remediation, could        years. One of his goals, through NCICP, is         Monday, March 29 from 8:30 a.m. to 4            www.nahb.org/coloringbook.
be spared simply by learning about              to separate the fact from fiction for his          p.m. at Idlewild Elementary School. For
optimum testing procedures.                     clients to help them make informed                 more information, call 704-332-9583.            GRAMM Representatives, a full-service
    “The most common type of test for mold      decisions about their homes.                                                                       real estate development and marketing
is the lift test, in which you take something      “We approach things from an owner’s             Children can participate online in Homes        company specializing in new home
similar to a piece of tape and put it against   perspective,” Donaldson said. “We don’t            of Our Own as part of the National              communities in Georgia, North and South
a surface,” Donaldson said. “It’s like taking   immediately go for the worst case scenario.        Association of Homebuilders (NAHB)              Carolina, announces the opening of two
fingerprints. However, while the lift test      Sometimes solving the problem is as simple         educational outreach program that teaches       fully decorated models at Eagle Ridge, a
will determine what types of molds are          as wiping down mold and removing                   children more about home construction           residential new home neighborhood
present, it won’t give a quantitative           moisture sources, so you don’t have to             and our environment. The online coloring        priced from the $140’s. For more
number.”                                        resort to such extreme measures. You can           book contains innovative features that          information, call 704-875-6996 or 1-800-
    Some mold exists everywhere,                easily spend up to $30,000 to have a crawl         allow children to e-mail their drawings to      280-3658.
Donaldson said. It’s in the air you breathe.    space sealed, when all that might be needed

				
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