On January 2, 2011 after taking a shower I noticed a rash on my feet and ankles. I also had sinusitis symptoms for the weeks preceding the noticeable rash. I went to the Dr. on January 3rd to address the sinus symptoms (also had a slight fever and sore throat). The Dr. didn’t want to put me on steroids to address the rash as he felt it would be detrimental to my body’s ability to fight the cold and fever. I began researching possible causes for the rash and recalled seeing what looked like mold on the dartboard in the finished basement. The more I looked into the symptoms of mold exposure, the more it looked like the possible cause. Between the two of us we had many of the classic symptoms, persistent sinusitis, rash, fatigue, burning eyes, headaches, shortness of breath, IBS, occasional sore throat, tremors, ear aches, difficulty concentrating and sputum. Based on my symptoms (more specific to the spreading rash) and the visible mold, we vacated the home on January 5th.
I immediately contacted Mold Aid in Gainesville, VA to schedule an air quality test and they were on site the very next evening. John Taylor and Glen did a complete inspection of the home, collecting air samples on each floor and samples of visible mold. John found visible mold on chair fabric as well as books in the bookcase. John and Glen also tested moisture levels in the home and found elevated levels at the front basement wall. Further inspection revealed a water stain on the carpet, rusty carpet tack strips and visible mold around the electrical outlet. John didn’t open up the front wall for a visible inspection as his nine years of mold remediation experience told him that would be where the highest concentration of mold would be.
Mold Aid was also able to view inside the ductwork and provide pictures of visible mold growth. As part of the home inspection, John discovered a pin hole leak in a washer hose, a water supply line leak above the hot water heater, a kitchen window leak and a condensation issue in the HVAC room.
Mold Aid provided the air quality test results Monday, January 10 and we were all very surprised. The mold spore count levels on all three floors of the home far exceeded acceptable levels. We had a very serious mold problem. John provided a comprehensive mold remediation plan, fully explaining the process with pictures of the known issues to include the mold killer (Benefect) they would be using. We were very happy to hear Benefect was not harmful to humans or pets and asked how soon they could start. At this point we were living in a cheap (in every way) extended stay and wanted our lives and home back.
Mold Aid was able to get us on the schedule for January 18 and 19. The entire house was fogged and negative air pressure was established with high volume, commercial air scrubbers venting to the outside. Mold Aid removed the drywall and insulation on the entire front basement wall and determined the sump pump was not able to keep up with moisture around the foundation allowing water to condensate around most of the basement perimeter. As part of the mold remediation plan and after fogging, all of our carpet and padding was removed from the home (the spore count was too high to remove from the carpet and pad), all items containing porous materials (clothing, shoes, fabric covered chairs, etc.) were bagged and placed in the garage. The items placed in the garage had dead mold spores on them and based on the mold sensitivity we had developed required HEPA vacuuming prior to bringing them back into the home.
We were able to move back into our home on January 20, only 15 days after we vacated. We were so happy to be home and quasi back to normal. Now the building back has started, with no more carpet (all hardwood), all of the area rugs and curtains cleaned, clothes cleaned and the items placed in the garage have been HEPA vacuumed and are now back in the house.
In regards to our overall health, within a few days of vacating the house, many of our symptoms were diminished, no rash, no fatigue, no shortness of breath, less sinus issues, less headaches and we seem to be doing better every day. We realize the health issues from living in a home with a moisture problem that turns into a major mold problem takes time to subside and hopefully eventually go away, but we see regular improvements as time progresses.
I can’t say enough about the quick and professional response we had after contacting Mold Aid. The Mold Aid team was very understanding and explained the nature of the issue and the process taken to resolve the problem each step of the way. John Taylor was very responsive when we had questions, even late into the evening.
In summary, this entire process from getting a rash which caused us to really look into the cause, identifying the mold issue, vacating our home for two weeks and then all the effort and expense to get things (life) back to normal really was an awakening of sorts. We could have gone years without knowing our home was making us sick. I feel very strongly that all homeowners or renters should have an air quality test done. Especially if they are suffering from any of the symptoms we outlined above. I would guess many homeowners are unaware that they have poor indoor air quality. The EPA states that 80% of homes have worse indoor air quality than what is found out doors. Many people go years not knowing their home could be making them sick. There are many companies that offer mold inspection services. We chose Mold Aid because of their certifications and experience. They are a true indoor air quality company and we were very happy with their knowledge and services. Incase anyone is looking here is the mold aid web site www.moldaid.com.
Mike from Ashburn
Anyone know a good doctor in the VA, MD or DC area that treats people with mold exposure?