Winsett: Mold contractor should follow EPA guidelines

Winsett: Mold contractor should follow EPA guidelines

August 26th, 2011 by By Jim Winsett in Business Diary

Q: My family recently relocated to the area; we find that mold and mildew is most difficult to control in our home. Does BBB have advice for homeowners on mold?

A: You are correct in that mold is a common problem in this area. Home-owners are continually looking for remedies dealing with the problem. Mold can be an ever growing, pesky problem that, if not taken care of quickly, can last forever.

The Better Business Bureau, along with the Environmental Protection Agency advises homeowners to be proactive when it comes to dealing with mold and mildew.

When looking to eradicate mold, homeowners may choose to either tackle the problem on their own or consult a contractor. Either way, BBB advises that, it is important for homeowners to do their research.

According to the EPA's mold guide, the many types of mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. Mold can grow on any

kind of wood, paper, carpet and food.

Businesses that provide services for the removal of mold and mildew get many calls. In 2010, BBB received nearly 30,000 inquiries nationwide on mold and mildew eradicators. As mold can ultimately destroy anything that it lands on, it is important to act quickly.

While homeowners should always avoid handling and touching mold without wearing gloves, there are also many other things to keep in mind. BBB and the EPA advise homeowners to consider the following:

  1. Know your risks and side effects. There are many health risks associated with mold and mold growth. Many may experience an allergic reaction and other respiratory complaints when mold is present in the home.

  2. Be proactive. The EPA attests that there is no practical way to eliminate all molds and mold spores indoors. The way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture. If you notice a leak in your shower faucet or sink, repair it immediately to avoid the ideal habitat for mold.

Clean and dry any wet or damp surfaces within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. Vent all bathrooms, kitchens and other moisture-generating sources to reduce indoor humidity and prevent mold growth.

  1. Choose wisely when picking a contractor. This is the type of business where it is most important to check at before making a selection.

Ask for referrals from friends and family members and check with at least three contractors before deciding on one. Make sure the contractor has experience cleaning mold.

Check references and ask the contractor to follow the recommendations in EPA's mold remediation in schools and commercial buildings or other guidelines from professional or government organizations.

Get answers to your questions each Friday from Jim Winsett, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Inc., which serves Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia. Submit questions to his attention by writing to Business Editor Dave Flessner, Chattanooga Times Free Press, P.O. Box 1447, Chattanooga, TN 37401-1447, or by emailing him at