(If you are a Mold Remediation Contractor/Consultant, visit Information for Professionals)
Why and Who to Hire
Testing for mold is generally not necessary. If you can see and smell mold in your home, you have a mold problem. Mold is usually a symptom of a bigger problem related to inadequate ventilation and a buildup of moisture. Homes with high moisture (aka high relative humidity) or stagnant water are more susceptible to mold growth.
If you have a problem with high humidity or stagnant water, you may need to hire a consultant or home performance specialist. Home Performance Consultants conduct indoor air quality (IAQ) investigations, and can determine when structural issues exist that may be causing mold problems (such as ice dams, moisture, and heating and cooling complaints). They can help you understand why mold is growing in your home and what actions you will need to take to prevent mold growth.
Tips on Hiring
Many consultants and contractors providing mold inspections and remediation services are honest, reliable and skilled. Here are suggestions on how to find good consultant/contractors: (This list is based on guidelines provided by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection)
- Get more than one estimate. Make sure all parties are bidding on exactly the same work. Make sure the contractor comes to the job site rather than giving a telephone estimate. Be leery of an extremely low estimate. Be cautious of a contractor or consultant that uses SCARE tactics to make you do more then you really need to have done.
- Ask for the names of recent customers and call to see if they are satisfied. Would they hire the contractor again?
- Get a written inspection report, including a summary of all the areas inspected, the cause of the mold growth, how to take care of the problem and any sampling results? Did the contractor show up on time, clean up afterward, perform follow-up service on warranties?
- A building cannot be made mold free. Avoid a contractor who claims to remove all mold from your building.
- Find out if complaints have been filed against the contractor or consultant by checking with the the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 800-422-7128 and the Better Business Bureau, 800-273-1002.
- The firm that conducts the inspection or air sampling should not be financially related to a firm that conducts the mold remediation due to a potential conflict of interest. Consulting firms that have a financial tie to a contractor should disclose that relationship prior to any contractual agreement. Ultimately, it is the property owner's responsibility to ask about such a relationship.
- Select a laboratory that is accredited by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) or is a U.S. EPA accredited Laboratory.
If a name appears on the Department of Health Service's (DHS) Indoor Air Consultants or Mold Remediation Contractors' lists, it does NOT constitute an endorsement of the company or their capabilities. It also does not imply preference over other companies not listed. These lists have been compiled from those contractors and consultants who have provided DHS with information on what training they have undergone. The lists are provided as a resource to those interested in obtaining these specialized services, but not sure where to begin.
Neither the Federal government nor DHS certifies consultants or contractors for conducting mold investigations or removing mold from buildings. If a consultant or contractor advertises as "State Certified" or State Endorsed," please refer their name to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Fraud Division, 1-800-422-7128, for deceptive trade practices.
For general information and tips on hiring contractors, visit the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) (exit DHS).
For more information, contact your local health department, or call the Wisconsin Division of Public Health, Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Health, at (608) 266-1120.