So, Where’s My Parachute?

May 9, 2022 Bob Krell

By Carl Grimes —

This is a true story. The names are not used to protect both the guilty and the innocent. I remember the details well because the events occurred over a 36-hour period just a day before I started writing this article. 

A couple I had been occasionally working with remotely texted me to say they discovered a small dishwasher leak. I’ll skip the details and go straight to what they were being told by the contractor:

·        There’s no mold. 

·        They didn’t need containment.

·        But just to be safe they would use negative air, spray the damp areas with bleach, and fog the entire house, just to be sure they would be safe from the mold. 

You don’t need technical training or a certification to realize these are contradictory statements. If there is no mold, there is no need for treatment. If there is no containment, there can be no negative air flow. 

I discussed what I’d expect from a contractor if they followed ANSI-IICRC S520 Standard for Professional Mold Remediation. The minimum fundamentals are to identify the source of the moisture so it can be stopped, and physically remove the visible colonies of mold growth in a manner that doesn’t spread debris. No chemical treatment is allowed. 

I was informed that the contractor they talked with was one of the national franchises and they had informed them that they followed S520. Who was my client to believe? A contractor hired by the landlord’s insurance company or me who was 1,000 miles away. So, I pulled rank and said I was on the committee that wrote the original S520 and helped to edit the final version. I then sent them quotes pulled directly from S520, a diagram of a HEPA device configured as an air scrubber and as a negative air machine. I emailed photos showing them in correct use, and another showing how the plastic barrier would be taut and sucked-in toward the work area if properly configured.

Read the full article in the April 2022 USA Edition of Healthy Indoors Magazine:

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