A true story of botched mold removal in Broward County

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When a condo complex manager hired a general contractor, and not a specialist at mold removal in Broward County, the results lead to serious medical problems.

When a water-cooling unit ruptured and dumped water into a condominium complex, the consequences included both building damage, and a wide range of health issues.

Here is how this situation became Broward County news.

Debbie, who had been living with a medical condition called chronic fatigue syndrome for several years had no idea what was happening to her health.  She had been managing her chronic fatigue syndrome with medication effectively for years.  However, at one point everything changed.  Suddenly her weight dropped and she started to develop other noticeable health issues.  One day she noticed her hair falling out followed by her teeth cracking.

Struggling to manage these symptoms she turned to a variety of different doctors and other medical professionals.  This went on for several years leaving Debbie in a state of panic, depression and constant anxiety.  With every trip to the doctor, new blood tests were taken each one revealing everything normal.  However, with every new blood test and every change of medication her health continued to decline.  The reason why this health mystery was so difficult to solve had to do with the fact that all her symptoms pointed to other illnesses.

Once a test for a new potential illness was negative, it left the doctors perplexed.   On a personal note, I once picked up a nasty rash.  The rash stared on my arm and traveled up my arm, across my check and all over my back.  When I went to see the skin doctor it was determined that I had picked up some sort of allergy.  I asked to doctor, did I touch something?  His answer, we will never know.  The doctor said, I could test and test and test and never find the source of your allergic reaction.  All I could do is treat your reaction and wait for the allergic reaction to run its course.  It was a miserable 3 weeks for me.  Itchy, ugly and just horrible, then within another week the rash was gone.  I never knew how I got this reaction, and I hope I never get this sort of allergic reaction again.

 

After many blood tests, mold was found to be the cause of illness.
Finding the source of allergy type symptoms is like finding a needle in a haystack. Most people never suspect mold poisoning as the reason for health issues.

Having lived through this experience, I can imagine the mental pain and stress caused by living with an illness and not knowing if you will ever learn the source of your illness.

Debbie’s life had turned into a living nightmare; her life consisted of blood test after blood test, each showing negative results.  Then one test revealed a hit, the test found a certain type of toxin caused by a fungus in her blood, the toxins were caused my mold called Aspergillus.  For someone who has a compromised immune system, such as chronic fatigue syndrome the consequences could be devastating.   Clearing the body from toxins caused by mold requires regular IV treatments. Treating Debbie required the use of an IV drip for up to 8 hours at a time.

When the doctors determined the cause of Debbie’s illness was a toxin caused by Aspergillus mold spores,  the medical investigators demanded access to Debbie’s condo.  After completing a mold test, a state-licensed Broward County mold remediator told the condo association that the walls in Debbie’s condo had to be opened to access that cavity behind the drywall.

Once the mold remediator got inside the wall cavity, what was found was not good.  Mold was growing inside the walls of Debbie’s unit.  The next step was to find out where the moisture came from in the first place.  Looking at the past records from the condominium complex, it was determined that the water damage was the result of a water cooling tower that broke and released water into the condominium complex.  As a way of remedying this problem the condo management company hired a general contractor to perform the water damage restoration.  While this particular general contractor has a contractor license they did not have a mold remediation license.

As a way of saving money and time, the contractor quickly checked some of the condo units around the water spill area for moisture.  In some cases they opened the walls and attempted to dry the moistened areas.   While they did check Debbie’s unit, they never opened her walls.  They did set up some dehumidifiers and air moving equipment in her condo; this sort of dried the carpet. Then they used a chemical which made the unit smell fresh and removed most of the musty smell.

As a licensed mold removal expert in Broward County, we know for a fact that water sitting behind a wall could never be removed by simply placing dehumidifiers and air movers around the room.  The actions of the general contractor simple hid the musty smell and dried the condos carpet.

The only way to remove moisture from behind a wall is to create airflow behind the wall in the area that is moist. If the moisture is not dried out completely you can be assured, mold will grow.  When we are hired to inspect a home, condo, townhouse or any other housing or business structure we use specialized equipment designed to test for mold.

Mold test equipment
By using specialized mold test equipment we can detect mold hidden behind a wall.

As a result of this botched restoration job the resident suffered years of sickness and countless trips to doctors.  Even now Debbie is feeling the effects of her past mold poisoning in the way of migraines, and long-lasting cognitive impairment. To put it in her words, she said “I’ll be dealing with this for the rest of my life.”

Before you hire a Broward County Mold removal company it’s important to look for these requirements.

First, any mold removal company must be licensed for mold removal by the state of Florida.  In addition remember,  it’s the individual that holds the licenses, not the company.  Make sure the person who is removing the mold or water damage is the actual licenses holder.

Second, make sure the contractor removing the mold is fully insured, specifically for mold remediation work.  You don’t want to hire a general contractor who says, we also do mold removal.

Third, understand that a mold inspector and mold remediators not the same thing A mold inspector inspects and take samples, then reviews the  results.  An inspector will write recommendations only.  A remediator is the licensed contractor who carries out the actual mold removal work.  For example, we are fully licensed to do both, mold inspection and mold removal.

When should you call a professional Broward County mold removal company?

If you see something that looks like mold or mildew in your home, it’s important to determine if you have a mold problem that requires a mold specialist or if you are looking at mildew that you can remove yourself.

Mildew and Mold removal in Broward County
The methods for Mildew and Mold removal in Broward County are different because mildew is easier to find and remove. Mildew is usually found on showers, kitchen counters, and could also be found in other damp areas. However, mold, is usually a result of serious water damage. A damaged roof that lets rain water soak a homes attic will get mold growing quickly. It’s not like you can purchase some bleach and clean your attic’s insulation. Water that finds it’s way inside a wall of you living room may require removal of the drywall.

 Spots appear in you bathroom or kitchen.

Have you seen those black or discolored spots that sometimes appear in the corners of your shower?  Sometimes there the black or discolored tile includes an unpleasant smell. After you spray some bleach and wipe it down, it always disappears.  When you keep the shower door open and the fan going, the discoloring seems to stay away.  After you breathe a sigh of relief you realize that this was most likely mildew.  Thankfully mildew is removed fairly easily.   Determining whether or not the black stuff is mold or mildew is very important.  While mildew could be toxic it’s usually possible for a homeowner to clean and remove with some bleach.  However, mold is a different story.  Mold is often hidden behind walls, cabinets, and in other hidden places.  In addition mold grows very quickly and is resistant to your typical cleaners.  The bottom line is, if you have a mold problem, you are going to need some help.

Broward County Mold Removal and Testing.
When removing mold from a home, condo or any property, we make sure to stop the flow if air from leaving the contaminated room.

If your roof leaked during a recent heavy rain

 After one of those South Florida rainstorms, you just happen to look up at the ceiling, and see discoloration on your walls or ceiling   once you see a discolored spot you need to take action.  Discolored walls are a sign you may have a mold problem.  Mold issues consist of mold spores.  While mold spores are everywhere, both indoors and outdoors, they are much more welcome outdoors.  There, they serve a role breaking down and digesting leaves and other organic material. Indoors, they only grow if moisture is around.  Mold loves to grow in moist areas. It thrives around the leaky part of the roof, windows that don’t close perfectly, pipes, and anything that has flooded. It could easily be up in your attic as well if your roof leaked. Once there is moisture or water damage in your home mold will start to grow.  Did you know it only takes 24 to 48 hours for mold to start growing?  Read this for more about how mold grows. Time to contact a mold remediation specialist to prevent further damage and fix the existing damage.

Water spots on the ceiling.

Your home had flooding on the ground floor.

It wasn’t even a major rainfall, and you’ve always meant to fix the grading in your backyard. Now, there is something black on that one wall where the water seeped in. Yes, you know you will have to fix the grading. But you have more important things to worry about. Are you aware the black spots could be mold? This is when you should call a mold remediation specialist. Remember, mold remediation companies have special equipment and methods to deal with flooding. They use industrial blower fans, dehumidifiers to dry the air, and even air scrubbers that filter air as the drying takes place. Just as important, they are able to close off or contain the area of the mold, so it does not migrate into other areas of your house. At Get Dry Inc., our cleanup team will clean up the area after the project is done.

Like the above story, you have Unexplained Headaches, Sneezing, or a Runny Nose

 These allergy type responses may be due to a mold source in your home. If you have anyone in the house with asthma, this is not the time to sit and ponder. Have you noticed leaks in your house around the windows, or some slow leaks from your plumbing fixtures? Are you seeing some foreign substances near the intake area of your HVAC system? You need to call an expert to make sure your family stays healthy.

The spots on you walls and ceiling are getting larger.

 It started as just a few black spots on one wall of your house, and now, it seems as though overnight, the spots have multiplied dramatically. At this point, you are entering emergency territory.  You may have heard about toxic mold (the worst) or non-toxic mold (not the best) It’s important to know for sure Did you really want to take an EPA course on Mold (Yes, there actually is one!) to find out which kind yours may be? In reality, you will need professional help to remove it; let someone else diagnose it. Whether it is toxic or non-toxic, it needs to go!

Often, you are able to smell compounds that are produced by mold and released into the air. This can be a musty odor, although some people actually describe it as something akin to the smell of dirty socks. Unfortunately, sometimes, you can’t see exactly where the mold is. It may be hidden. For example, it could be hidden behind your shower tile due to a pipe that has been slowly leaking over a long period of time.  In many of our cases we find the mold is a result of broken pipes, leaking appliances, and damaged roofs.

You can’t afford to call anyone so you are thinking of doing what you can and ignoring the rest

While this approach sometimes works with other smaller life issues, it will not work in this case. As the mold problem multiplies, and you just sit there, your insurance company may decide that because you did nothing to mitigate or control the issue and prevent future damage, it can refuse or deny your claim.  Get Dry, Inc will do the work and work directly with your insurance company to get them to pay to fix the damage. In fact, if the insurance company refuses to pay, GetDry, Inc will not bill you one penny!

Once mold is appearing in your home, it is not the time for a DIY project. What should you do so mold doesn’t become a problem?  If you are seeing some mold in the shower or in the bathroom reappearing, increase the ventilation and clean that area more frequently. Also, remember if you have a grading problem, and your basement continuously floods, fix the grading issue to prevent mold.

However, if there is mold, contact GetDry, Inc. for a free consultation. We are licensed experts at mold removal in Broward County Remember, the sooner you do it, the smaller your problem will be!

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