Customer Service, What would you do? Part One.

Home Inspector with JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC HOI 394

I got a call the other day from a past client in Middlefield, CT who had found some mold in her home. I had inspected the house for her just over a year ago. She was very nervous, as I could hear in her voice, about the mold she had found.

I asked where she had found the mold.

She said on the wall of a few lower kitchen cabinets, in her bedroom closet on some of her shoes, (that really bothered her) and in a broom closet on the wall.

I asked her how much mold she found.

She said not much really. She and her fiancée had cleaned it up.

She wanted to know what she could do about the mold or more importantly to stop what was causing it to grow. She said that she didn't have a lot of money to spend and was wondering if I could make any suggestions on a solution.

My question is; What would you have done?

I will tell "the rest of the story" later. I am interested in hearing how you AR members would have helped this young woman.

James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

Posted by

James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
Former SNEC-ASHI President
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

 ASHI Certified Inspector

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Matthew Rosov
Amerisave Mortgage Corporation - Laurel, MD
Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist

2 answers for you - Grade me on the second one.

1) Call up my local home inspector or contact you to find out what you would recommend

2) Suggest a solution of bleach mixed with water and spray it on the affected areas.  I have a feeling this is not totally correct because mold comes from a surplus of water on a surface(?) and there is more to this issue than just mold in these places.

I look forward to hearing what the correct answer is.

Sep 27, 2007 07:42 AM #1
Scott Patterson, ACI
Trace Inspections, LLC - Spring Hill, TN
Home Inspector, Middle TN

The first thing would be to offer to come out at no charge to see if I can figure it out, I do this for my clients when I can and within reason.   This will also give me the opportunity to see if I screwed-up and missed something during the original inspection. 

The next steps would depend on what I find. 

I do not test for mold or believe that testing for mold is the answer.  You have to locate the source of the moisture before anything else is done.

Based on what she told James, I would be looking for excessive humidity in the home.  Have they closed the home up and either turned off the HVAC or set it so high that it does not come on enough to dehumidify the home.  It could also be a problem with the A/C.  It could be short cycling or supper cooling and not removing enough humidity.

Sep 27, 2007 01:11 PM #2
Kenneth Miller
Jordan Hill Home Services, LLC - Berkley, MI

I do not test for mold, as I'm not certified and have never taken an approved course.  That said, this would be my response.

I would tell the m I'll come out.  Go out and start checking for the moisture that is causing the mold.  If I can find the moisture point, and it's due to my mistake, I would offer at least a partial refund.  If it isn't due to my error, I would offer to help them find a certified mold samplere/abatement contractor, and, if the client is acceptable to the idea, keep in contact with the client and contractor to determine the cause and solution for the problem.  Caring and looking out for clients is what I built my business on, and it may off later through repeat work or refferals.

Sep 28, 2007 12:34 AM #3
William DeVries
Magnum Property Inspection - Picton, ON

without knowing the layout of the three areas it would be difficult to say but, saying the master bedroom and kitchen were adjecent to each other and the broom closet in between there may be a bad pipe or drain that is linking them together. This being said if it is a basement then an investagation would need be done under the flooring for that section and remedy the problem.  If it is slab on grade then there would be water visable in carpet or the squish under wood flooring.

if none of these are present then the attic needs investagation for a leak, and this would also mean the rooms or area are connected, the odds of two or more drips affecting a wide area would be very rare.

For clean up I would get the moisture meter and my borescope and do some looking within the walls to see whats up and what is going on, I did drywall for years so the repair would be minimal, this would atleast give her a direction to go with. Now if i had thermal I would be shooting the areas and looking for drop or insertion points of high moisture. and thermal images would verify the moisture areas.


Sep 28, 2007 06:06 AM #4
Erby Crofutt
B4 U Close Home Inspections&Radon Testing ( - Lexington, KY
The Central Kentucky Home Inspector, Lexington KY

I'd go out and look and then refer them to the

EPA Website on Mold

 and the EPA's

A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home


Sep 28, 2007 11:21 AM #6
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James Quarello

Connecticut Home Inspector
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