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