It was 9 years ago, during the Christmas vacation, when our dishwasher just stopped working. It was bad enough that it was the holiday season, but with 4 small children, not having a dishwasher was doubling hard.
I didn’t mind so much that a plumber could not come out to the house right away since all the children were sick. Two had upper respiratory infections and the other two had bronchitis. No red flags were raised since when one child gets sick, it is very likely that the other will follow.
When the appliance guy pulled out our dishwasher and announced that we had burned out the motor because the water line had been improperly hooked up and most of the water was leaking into the wall, I began to worry. Exactly one year prior, we had a problem with the dishwasher and the repair guy was able to fix it. But apparently did not reconnect the water line properly.
By this time, my husband Rob had come home and started inspecting the other side of the wall cabinet where the dishwasher was housed. He and the repair man cut out a section, that Rob realized was unusually moist as soon as the saw entered the wall. What followed was the beginning of a nightmarish event, that I would not wish upon my worst enemy.
The cavity of the wall had a three foot mold growth on both sides that started out a blackish purple color and gradually faded into a white fibrous looking fan. It looked very much like a plantyou would see living under the sea. I swear the repair guy turned ash gray, and looked at my husband and told him to pack up the family and get out, “this is mold!”
Rob finally disclosed that he was a in the HVAC business and would test the mold to see how dangerous the levels truly were. Let’s just sat we were out of the house in 48 hours with only the clothes on our backs and did not return for four months.
Once we found out that we had stachybotrys and aspergillus, two very hazardous mold spore counts, it made perfect sense why the children were sick with upper respiratory infections and bronchitis. Health related mold issues tend to affect the young and the elderly because of their immune systems, and/or anyone with allergies and asthma. We actually had to take our then 9 year old daughter for an MRI, because they suspected that she might even have mold growing in her lungs. Thank goodness, she was fine.
The entire kitchen had to be ripped out, including part of our living room. Protocol at that time was tohave a 10 foot area that tests negative for spores around the mold infested area. The entire contents of the house had to be removed and wiped down with cleansing solutions, including all furniture. All our clothing had to be put into an ozone chamber to be disinfected because we even found low levels of mold in a few of the upstairs closets. (This was definitively a radical move but with my young children being reactive to the mold, I wasn’t taking any chances.)
The worst part was that we had to set up residency in a three bedroom fully furnished apartment for the duration of the restoration. Imagine two adults and 4 children with a 90 lb Labrador Retriever that barely fit into the kitchen area of this tiny, (but close tohome) apartment.
I used to joke and say that my house looked like the invasion of E.T. when the men in white moon suits arrived to take E.T. away. The plastic walls they constructed throughout my first floor resembled the set in which the movie was filmed.
It would have been a total nightmare if Rob had not been able to watch over the house, demolition, remediation and rebuild. I have heard horror stories of people that have been out of their homes for years and fighting with insurance companies for just as long, and spending thousands upon thousands of their own money.
It was a game changing experience for all of us. But for Rob who now personally lived through the experience, he understood the emotions that his customers went through when they find out their home or office had mold. I believe it totally changed his perception of things andhow he dealt with them. He would often give my number to women customers who were dealing with mold in their homes, just so I could talk them through and give advice or support.
Rob became a CIE – Certified Indoor Environmentalist and quickly turned his attention from air conditioning to mold assessment & consulting. He got involved with lobbying in Tallahasseefor stricter and more consistent “mold assessment laws”.
For me, it opened up my eyes to the environment we take for granted. We assume and expect the air in our homes to be safe! But very often, it is not. Obviously mold is one of the biggest culprits and often the most dangerous. But there are so many other products that can aid in the pollution ofindoor air, from cleaning products to the candles that we burn.
Since our “mold experience” has opened our eyes to so many indoor environmental factors, we decided to share them with everyone who is looking for information. That’s when we decided to add this tagline to his business…
“Because We Care About the Air You Breathe”