Live in A Home That Pays You Back
Thu, May 04, 2023 12:37PM • 44:32
mold, people, home, moisture, jason, 1000s, building, kit, inspection, works, mold remediation, sample, musty smell, company, house, test, story, put, symptoms, years
Anna DeSimone, Jason Earle
Anna DeSimone 00:03
Welcome to live in a home that pays you back the podcast for people who want to get the absolute most out of owning a home. Your host is Anna DeSimone, who explains how your home can be healthy, sustainable, and provide long term security for you and your family. And as guests include technology leaders and innovators in the housing industry, who share the kind of knowledge you need to meet the market with confidence, make informed decisions about home construction, renovation, energy scores, water conservation, wind, solar, geothermal power and lots more. It’s time for you to live in a home that pays you back.
Now here’s your host, Anna DeSimone. Hello everyone, this is Anna DeSimone. Today’s podcast we are speaking with Jason Earle, founder and CEO of Got Mold?, and he is the creator of an at home testing kit for people to find out if there was any mold in their house. Now Jason left a successful career on Wall Street about 20 years ago after realizing that his moldy childhood home was the underlying cause of his asthma. Now he’s an adoring father of two kids in diapers.
And he is a man on a mission and has personally performed countless sick building investigations. He’s solved medical mysteries and has helped 1000s of families recover their health and peace of mind. Jason has been featured or appeared on Good Morning America, the Dr. Oz Show, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and more. I’m thrilled that he has the time to be with us today. Jason, welcome.
Jason Earle 01:54
Thank you for having me, Anna.
Anna DeSimone 01:55
Yeah. Okay. I was so impressed with your whole personal story. But how you get started your background, your travel. So I’m sure our listeners would just be so enchanted by the story that you have to tell. And also we want to hear a little bit about your dog, or the dog Oreo. It’s a nice story. So tell us
Jason Earle 02:19
Oh, boy, Oreo. Yes, everyone loves to hear about Oreo. She’s the high point, no doubt about it. So my story as most of them do begins at the beginning. And so if you rewind all the way back to my early childhood, I grew up on a small nonworking farm in a little town outside of Princeton, New Jersey. And we were essentially in a… an animal adoption facility, we adopted every animal that my mom could get her hands on. And around the age of three or four years old, my parents noticed that I was having difficulty breathing, and I lost a lot of weight.
So they took me to the pediatrician who said, you know, you really need to take him to Children’s Hospital. This looks serious. And so that’s what they did. And so about an hour away from my home, is a world renowned respiratory clinic. They shuttled me down there. After explaining family history and the symptoms that I was presenting with. They initially diagnosed me with cystic fibrosis, which of course, it’s devastating diagnosis no matter what, but my father was particularly hit by it because he had lost four of his cousins to CF before the age of 14.
Anna DeSimone 03:21
Jason Earle 03:22
So this was their worst nightmare. You know, I was an only child. So they cried for six weeks while they waited for a second opinion, which, fortunately, and also evidenced by the fact that I sit here at 46 years old, actually, contradicted that initial diagnosis. They determined that I did not have CF actually had asthma compounded by pneumonia. And I was allergic to every single thing that they tested me for. It was actually one of my formative memories that they put me in a papoose, like a straitjacket for toddlers.
Anna DeSimone 03:49
Jason Earle 03:51
And then they draw a grid on your back and or put a grid on your back and then test with these antigens. And my dad said, I looked like a ladybug and my back just swelled up with dots all over it. And so I lived on inhalers most of my childhood and I mean, the things I was allergic to are so common, I mean, it was grass, wheat, corn, eggs, dogs, cats, even cottons, my clothes itched my entire childhood. And I intuitively knew that there was something in the house because I really I spent almost all my time outside. And just as a little boy, it was just… it was a natural thing. Of course, most kids like to be outside anyway.
But for me, it was very dominant force, the dominant pole. So anyway, I lived like that until I was about 12. At which point my folks split up and sold that damped little farmhouse, and all my symptoms went away. And it wasn’t instant, but it was as close to instant as you could imagine, and my family had chalked it up to just growing out of… my grandfather had grown out of his asthma. They called it a spontaneous adolescent remission. But you know, I mean, this is typical with the medical community, things heal, and it’s just I have no idea why it happened. I have no idea why it goes away. This is exactly one of those circumstances.
Anna DeSimone 04:54
That’s an interesting start. Do you remember as a child seeing green or your black fungus on the outside of the foundation around the house, except for having it smelled damp, no one really noticed the potential that there was something happening inside the house?
Jason Earle 05:15
You know, I’m 46 this is this is the awareness around mold, has… is a very recent phenomenon. The idea that it could impact health is was was really only known amongst certain allergists, many of them I know, of course, know that allergies, mold allergies have been known forever. But its impact its ability to alter an immune system to really truly create… What mold does, and I’ll get back to the to the rest of the story. But mold will do is it will bring out latent symptom profiles, it will bring out autoimmune diseases, they will bring out things that may be beneath the surface. And then oftentimes, depending upon how chronic or long term that exposure was, oftentimes, absent that exposure, or if the environment is is restored to a normal condition, those symptoms can often settle back down.
And so in mold, mold is a great mimicker but it’s also the great aggravator. So it brings out things that were latent and so at, you know, my folks split up by that, which was good for everybody involved. And so, you know, I moved into a house that did not have the dampness. But yes, I mean, to answer your question, we there was always water in the basement to some degree when it rained, there was a there are puddles and leaks and the musty smell. And by the way, we’ll talk about the musty smell. Because that is often dismissed as an aesthetic nuisance. Just this musty… yeah, just smells like a basement. I believe the evidence on this is very, very strong. That musty smell is a health hazard. It the smell itself, the chemicals that comprise that musty odor are in fact neurotoxic.
This has been shown in animal studies, they it causes mitochondrial damage, and fruit flies, locomotor disorders, they stopped producing dopamine that I’m talking about fruit flies, they stop producing dopamine, they fly down and set it to the light and they stop reproducing, they essentially become depressed. And then also the researchers who have characterized some of the symptoms as Parkinsonian. So they actually develop neurological disorders. And so this is not surprising to me, knowing what I’ve seen in 20 years doing inspections. The musty smell is it has a significant impact on people’s immune system. And so that musty smell was pervasive in our home.
Anna DeSimone 07:32
What was funny, you mentioned that has become to the attention of like the Environmental Protection Agency more recently, because, you know, my whole background was fair lending and fair housing. And, you know, back in the 70s, a lot of the research that I did for the, you know, in my career was about the homeowner scams, the aluminum siding salesman coming up saying, you know, you know, we were going to do a job with you, the contractors, were going to put more aluminum siding that you really didn’t need on your house.
So what we found out, especially on the south is that were there were 1000s and 1000s of cases where children and families were getting really, really sick on these brand new homes. And so when HUD and investigation started, what they found out was that all of these new homes were being constructed with an oversized air conditioning system. So house could have been like 2000 square feet. And the HVAC system was powerful enough to cool 4000 square feet. And when they lifted up all of the you know, during the 70s and 80s, indoor carpeting wall to wall carpeting was very common, you know, especially in the south, where you don’t have a lot of basements.
And so what they found out was, there was mold, completely covering the floors underneath these carpets, but the children were getting sick. And you’ve got two kids now. So you know that you know, even if you’re testing your water, if you’re testing your soil because you’re a gardener, whether you’re testing mold, you got to remember that these toxins affect your little ones more than they affect us as adults. And so I’m a big fan of Got Mold?. I’m a big fan of testing and I think the whole at home testing is absolutely wonderful. So Jason, can you tell us a little bit more about your invention? I think it’s phenomenal! Yeah, your at home testing kit.
Jason Earle 09:44
Well so I’ll get I’ll get us there by way of the this little journey. So when I was… when I… when we moved out and and I suddenly got better. Shortly thereafter, my mother passed away actually interesting as I mentioned, the fruit flies cause the fruit flies experience essentially depression. My mother committed suicide when I was 14. And, and I look… …back now and it’s clear that that to me that the conditions in the home were a variable. And so, of course, I didn’t know this until recently until there’s research that’s coming out and starts connecting. I mean, the Brown University did a big study and found a direct correlation between mold and dampness indoors and depression in 2018. And so then there’s the fruit fly study.
And so there’s, you know, there’s this mold, mold typically is recognized as as an upper respiratory irritant, and an allergen and potentially a toxin, or, at least I should say, could potentially cause toxic symptoms. But what they’re what they’re now honing in on is that mold actually produces psychiatric symptoms as well. Mold rage is known amongst those in the mold, community, depression, things like that. And then a year after that I had Lyme disease. And then I was essentially forced to drop out of high school. And then I took a job working at the gas station and I got recruited from the gas station from a guy who worked on Wall Street and I became a young stockbroker. And it’s a story for another podcast but I ended up becoming a stockbroker at age 17, with a Guinness World Record for the youngest… and did that for nine years, and had a great career. And then one day I woke up and I wasn’t having fun anymore.
I decided to go walkabout and I sold everything that I own, right after the dot-com bubble burst. And while I was in Hawaii, I was reading a story about a guy who had suffered from mysterious illnesses. But he was working at a hotel that had developed a huge mold problem was actually a headline catching mold problem. At the end of the day, it was a $55 million mold remediation project on Oahu, Waikiki Beach, and it’s known as the Kalia Tower Project. And I happened to be there in Hawaii when this was happening. And I read the articles and I was in so I had a deja vu moment or a lightbulb moment where I was like, Wow, I wonder if that was what caused my problems, because the story that this guy shared in these articles was that he had at 40 years old, developed adult onset asthma and all these allergies and sensitivities that he’d never had before. And so it was exact opposite of me, right? Where I had developed had all these allergies and sensitivities, but they had gone away, absent this.
Anna DeSimone 10:08
Horrible! Because you moved out!
Jason Earle 10:14
Right? So I connected the dots and said, Jeez, I wonder, you know, this has got to be a problem that’s affecting a lot of people. And in that moment, I became fascinated with the idea that buildings can impact our health in positive and negative ways, right? A building can either heal or it can make you ill, that was a new concept for me. And that’s an idea that still gets me excited, because it’s an idea that’s still new to so many people.
Anna DeSimone 12:31
Yeah, yeah. Well, healthy buildings is a big thing right now. And it not, you know, in my book, I talk, you know, my chapters on, you know, healthy homes, I do mention the Harvard studies about, you know, causing depression. And, Jason, I just have to stop and tell you, you are so brave to share that story with us today.
I know, from all my listeners, I mean, you know, we all have our own issues in life. And I just think that there are 1000s of people walking around at all age groups that don’t have any concept of how the air that they’re breathing in their home, and the pollutants and the toxins that are coming in, you know, through their HVAC system, or if there coming from the outside, can be impairing their cloud, their mental clarity, their happiness, and their overall health, and it can even affect your pets. Oh, I will let you get back to Oreo.
Jason Earle 13:32
Yeah, no pets and kids have a disproportionate amount of impact because they’re so close to the ground. And they also breathe, we breathe 13 to 15 times a minute, which comes out to about 20,000 times a day, kids and pets breathe much faster, they have faster respiratory, so they have a disproportionate amount of exposure, you have to think about every breath as a dose. If you took a 20,000 doses of anything, that would be cumulative. And so whether your… air is neither is never neutral air is either life affirming, nutritive, detoxifying and healthy or it is it is toxifying and energy sapping and potentially the cause of illness. And so there is no neutral with air, you either have good air or bad air. And so it’s extremely important in you’re right, the kids and the kids and pets are disproportionately affected in a very significant way.
They’re all down on the ground. And they’re stirring that stuff up while they’re walking around. Not only that, they also eat into something called incidental ingestion where the particles that and it’s not just mold. It’s also the particles from building materials, the paints and the finishes on the floors and all these things that we build our buildings out of which are chemical. Basically we live in chemical boxes, the tiny little particles that shed from the entire inside surfaces of buildings and furniture and finishes, become dust become very finely respirable dust but also when kids and pets are crawling around, they eat it and so there’s studies that show that on average, you can expect that children and pets will have as much as 100 milligrams a day of incidental ingestion of these particles. So it’s not just mold. it’s broader than that.
Anna DeSimone 15:04
Oh, yeah. Well, it’s funny because I was researching lead paint poisoning and children, where there were 10s of 1000s of cases. That’s when I happen to come across the study about the mold that that was underneath the carpets from the oversight systems. Because, well, you know, I did this research during the time, you know, before the internet was invented, and I had to order a lot of studies and a lot of books and actually read them. And the whole topic that I was reading about was children under five. And then did the United States develop the laws about lead paint.
Jason Earle 15:41
Anna DeSimone 15:41
And there was really, it was really sad what was happening. And then, of course, you’re gonna you read, you read, formaldehyde, foam insulation, and asbestos, and all of the types of toxic chemicals that were used in building materials that were causing the volatile organic chemicals called the VOCs. It’s only been like you said, Jason, it’s been a recent thing. It’s only been the past 20 30 and 40 years, where the building codes in America have been strengthened, you know, little, you know, bit by bit to control and eliminate these problems.
Jason Earle 16:22
Yeah, so we’ve got a long way to go, though, I will tell you that so we really…
Anna DeSimone 16:25
I agree, I agree.
Jason Earle 16:25
…do great things. So circling back to to Hawaii, and I and I, and I had this epiphany. And I decided that I’m going to come back to New York, New Jersey, and I’m going to take a job, I’m going to, I’m going to I’m going to find a company to work with. And I am taking a job with a mold remediation company as a salesman. And I went from Wall Street to mold remediation, and then they were a little bit a little bit suspicious.
And but I was fascinated by this idea. I wanted to know how it worked. And so before there were any standards. So what I did was I basically earned while I learned, and I quickly saw that there were a bunch of thugs, I mean, mold remediation contractors back then were basically using chemicals instead of cleaning, and they were just ripping stuff out off and leaving homes worse than how they found them.
Anna DeSimone 17:05
Jason Earle 17:05
And so yeah, it was it was terrible. And I felt really, I felt that the opportunity presented itself, I didn’t actually really, I just saw that there was a huge need to protect the consumer to actually serve as a buffer between the mold remediation contractors who are they’re actually doing harm, but overcharging people grossly. And so I realized that all environmental hazards that have regulation have been regulated, eventually, there was a Chinese wall between there was a separation between the remediation contractors and the inspectors, it spent that way with asbestos and lead paint and everything else, I figured that would be the case with mold. I didn’t want to have to have all those guys out there, I didn’t want to deal with the labor issues, I didn’t want to deal with liability. So I decided to start an inspection company, but I did it at for free for people at night. And I was just helping, making make sure that they weren’t getting taken advantage of. And it was during that period that I that I heard about a guy who trained a mold sniffing dog down in Florida. And I thought that was just crazy enough to be brilliant.
And so I flew down to Florida to see if this was real. And within 15 minutes of seeing the dog in action, I thought this is not just real, this is incredible, incredibly accurate and so much fun. They’re trained just the same way as bomb dogs or drug dogs. But the reward is food and love. And they the game is they think we hit the mold. So when we train them, we do hide the mold. And then we reward them when they find it where we hit it. But then in buildings, they think we hit the mold in the building. And so they think they think they think we know where the mold is. And so we just give them treats wherever they alert but they think that because they’ve been trained so much that they think that there’s some sort of you know, that they’re actually finding something that we already that we hid there essentially, you know, so it’s a fun game.
It’s a go-find-the-mold game. And boy, I’ll tell you couldn’t make mold inspections more entertaining, and people love it, right? It was just it actually humanized my company. But I got it I got Oreo. Oreo is little lanky, you know, black lab, she’d been on doggy death row two times. And the guy who trained her Bill Whitstein said that he always looks for dogs who need a job to stay out of trouble. And she was one of those dogs, you know, she had a lot of energy. And he paired her with me, which you might notice I have a lot of energy too. And so you know, he did a personality match. And so we he sent me back up, I did not expect to buy a $15,000 dog, but I did. I came home with a dog. So here I am the youngest licensed broker in history with a mold-sniffing dog. My family thought I had lost my mind. But as soon as they saw the dog in action, but my father was started working for the company. And you know, suddenly everyone started seeing and it wasn’t long before we hit the ground, all six legs. And channel six Action News heard about us and they sent over a team to I thought they were coming to interview me.
Turns out they were coming to debunk me. They thought I was a snake oil salesman. So they hid mold in the house and it took us like three minutes to find it. And so instead of debunking us, they actually endorsed us and I hadn’t even set up a company yet. I wasn’t ready for this, you know and so suddenly I got all these calls from people from all over the place, I mean, I was, you know, it was immediately channel six Action News is local. But then I started getting calls from all over the place and doctors referring patients to me that were having mysterious illnesses that couldn’t, couldn’t be traced to couldn’t be handled with, you know, traditional medicine. And so it was it was just this onslaught.
And so I was basically I learned the business through, you know, like it was trial by fire, you know, I just suddenly next thing, you know, I’ve got a Mold Inspection Company. And so, but it was very rare. And then one particular story was a little girl who had been hospitalized a dozen times, and her mom thought it was mold. We fit in and all the doctor poo-pooed it, we went and found mold, and she got better, right away. And so that turned into a Good Morning America episode. And then the Extreme Makeover Home Edition.
And of course, my phone just rang and rang and rang and rang. And that company, that mold inspection company became 1-800-GOT-MOLD?. And so we did that for 20 years. And through that process of serving, you know, however many 1000s and 1000s of families we did, I was always troubled by the fact that the people who needed us the most couldn’t afford us. So the average mold inspection through any reputable Mold Inspection Company is going to be $1,000 or more.
Anna DeSimone 17:06
Yeah, you’re right.
Jason Earle 18:17
And so it’s cost prohibitive for most people, especially renters, and especially people who are, you know, on the lower end of the socio economic spectrum. And so this is actually the, you know, this is we could do another podcast on how mold actually exacerbates and reinforces the poverty cycle. Because it kids can’t learn in moldy schools, they can’t learn in moldy homes, they can’t, people have emotional dysregulation in their homes, they can’t get jobs if their kids if they can’t keep a job if their kids constantly having asthma attacks and going to the ER. And so this is this is perpetuates the poverty cycle.
That’s very, very sad. So, so I decided that and I also realized my parents could not my own parents could not have afforded to hire the mold inspection company that I created to help families overcome this issue. And so I began a mission that I started 15 years ago, actually to create a do it yourself test kit that would actually use the same devices that we use professionally, but reduced in cost and complexity, so that it would be very consumer friendly. And so fortunately, I mean, it’s like I said, it’s taken a very long time, but I was able to partner with the number one lab in the country, EMLAB P&K, who recently got bought lab bought by the biggest lab in the world, the biggest environmental microbiology lab in the world.
So we partner with them. And so what we do is we created a test kit that uses the same air sampling cassettes, which are known as aerosols, to which are used to capture all sorts of airborne particulates, pollen, and mold and everything else. And then we create an air sampling pump, which duplicates the $1,000 pump. So usually, if you have somebody come and do an inspection, they come in with lots of tools. And of the one of the tools that they have is an air sampling pump, which collects these air samples. That’s $1,000 calibrated device. But we figured out how to make one for a lot less.
Anna DeSimone 22:49
Jason Earle 22:49
And so it’s very consumer friendly, and people buy our kit, they get this, they get to keep it and then allows them to retest again for free or not for free for…
Anna DeSimone 22:57
Yeah, I saw that.
Jason Earle 22:58
… $50 less. So it’s good for the planet, it’s good for the people, and you know what my parents could afford it, my parents could have afforded this, this is something that they probably not only could have afforded, they would have bought, because if the awareness around mold was was even present back then so. So it was my way of kind of bringing this full circle, you know, and so there, that’s our mission, our mission is to empower people with the tools and knowledge they need to make better decisions about the air they breathe.
Anna DeSimone 23:23
So Jason when someone orders the mold testing kit from you, and I think they could order it, whether they’re renting an apartment or whether they own a home, which is fantastic because it’s a small portable device. And I noticed on your website, which is phenomenal. I have to say the video was so great. I loved watching the video, and I loved reading all of the stories and the FAQ and the blog. And so everything becomes crystal clear about what to do. And I also notice that the kit, you put one one device outside and the other device inside. So can you explain. So when someone is doing the test, why do they need to collect samples from both exterior and interior?
Jason Earle 24:11
So let’s go back to mold 101.
Anna DeSimone 24:13
Jason Earle 24:13
So mold in its natural, its mold job is to turn dead plant material back into dirt. That’s mold job. Okay, mold job is mold is the great decomposer okay, it’s essentially the great recycler. And so and so that in fact, Kingdom fungi is 30% of the Earth’s biomass 30%. And further to this point that we are literally living on a mold planet, and we’re just we’re just guests here. Kingdom fungi produces 50 Mega tons of spores every year.
50 Mega tons is the equivalent of 500,000 blue whales. Okay, so spores are about to land on this planet, every breath you take, if you just take a breath right now, you will be breathing in hundreds, if not 1000s of spores in one breath and without any ill effects. So in other words, mold spores are not a problem by themselves. You want them in your buildings and in your environment, what you don’t want, is them growing in your building or your environment. Does that make sense?
Anna DeSimone 25:20
Jason Earle 25:21
So there’s studies on this are very clear that high biological diversity, in other words, lots of microbes, lots of different kinds of microbes in a building, the higher the microbial diversity, the lower the cases of asthma, allergies, and autoimmune disease. The opposite is also true. The lower biodiversity is usually caused by people using too many antibiotics and too many antimicrobials. And again, you know, spraying, especially post-COVID everybody wants to sanitize everything.
But a healthy environment is clean and dry, but it’s not sterile. And so when you reduce the microbial diversity, because you’re overzealous with your cleaning too many Clorox wipes and all these sprays and hand sanitizers, what you see is a markedly higher incidence of asthma allergies.
Anna DeSimone 25:21
Yeah I reah that, you’re right.
Jason Earle 26:05
Yeah, it’s a powerful lever. And so. So the, the idea about the outside air sample is that mold is a normal part of your environment, and your mold spores indoors, your mold counts should look just like your outdoor air. A healthy building in any environment should look a lot like the outdoor air, if you’ve got different types of microbes in indoors and different quantities, especially if you’ve got high concentrations of specific ones, that’s a, that’s a sign that you’ve got stuff growing in your building. If you’ve got microbes growing in your building, they only grow because of one reason, moisture. And so you’ve got a moisture problem, right. And so that’s the real… …either or high humidity.
And, you know, going back to that air conditioning situation, the reason that happens is because the AC unit was so oversized, it would cycle on and off quickly, but it would never, so we could cool the building. But it would never reduce remove the latent moisture from the air, it would not serve a secondary function, which is air conditioning system is a dehumidifier. Air conditioners are dehumidifiers that are giant dehumidifiers. And so if it cycles on and off, but it’s not actually bringing condensation, if it’s not generating condensation, what you’re doing is creating cold surfaces in the building, especially slabs, and sub floors and things like that, where you’ll get dewpoint.
So you got a very humid environment and creating cold surfaces. And voila, it’s like a glass of cold water on a hot summer day. And so you get enough moisture, what they call water activity and in District industrial pylons, right? Water activity on a surface, you only need moisture for 24 to 48 hours for mold to grow. So this is another very that when I tell people this their minds are blown. mold growth can occur in 24 to 48 hours of dampness. So it’s extremely important that people are vigilant about moisture problems. a mold problem is not a mold problem. This is the most important thing I can tell people a mold problem is a moisture problem.
Anna DeSimone 26:47
Jason Earle 28:12
The problem is the moisture, mold is the symptom.
Anna DeSimone 28:14
Because of the water.
Jason Earle 28:16
Yeah, or just humidity, you can really just have it because if you just all you need is surface moisture. And sometimes it happens when you can’t even see it. So oftentimes we’ll see mold growth behind furniture in basements. That’s cool and damp, right? So it’s not that it never got wet. No water ever came in, right? You don’t see any signs of liquid water or what we call direct dampening. Instead or direct webbing. Instead what we see is that this is because essentially, you’ve got extremely high humidity and a low temperature and you essentially have clouds, you know what I mean?
It’s like the weather you have had the condensation forming on the surfaces and they’re often the blind surfaces on the bottoms of drawers, backs of cabinets, these kinds of things where there’s never been liquid water, but it’s because of the uncontrolled humidity. So dehumidified, managing humidity is the key to a healthy home. You want to keep it between 40 and 60%. The target is 45% much below that you get up with cracks in your sinus in your in your mucous membranes, and you can get sick from that it’s not from…
Anna DeSimone 28:29
That’s right. Too dry.
Jason Earle 29:25
And to dry. And then on the other side above 60% You end up with the proliferation of other allergens like dust mites and things. Of course, you also end up with the likelihood of condensation and then moisture issues that lead to mold. So moisture is the key here. This is a conversation about mold, but I always direct people back to moisture. It’s all about moisture.
Anna DeSimone 29:45
Well Jason, what about if someone has a contractor come and they pull the dirt away from your foundation and they do what’s called like a liquid membrane or they attach more flashing or maybe do some air sealing there, if there are some DIY projects or home improvement projects that people could do if they own a house, where they could prevent that moisture from seeping in through the ground, because with climate change, you know, people that don’t even live near the water may also be living in areas with the highest, where the water table is rising.
And so, you got any advice for people who have caught, you know, they put their hand against the cement wall in the basement and it’s cold. And even though they’re not seeing water, their sense that musty smell, maybe the window sills are starting to look a little achy and feel a little damp. What would your advice be for people?
Jason Earle 30:47
Well, so there’s, there’s a few things there. First of all, and we’ll jump ahead a little bit but I, we created an ebook, you can find it at our website. But also, we produce a welcome page for your listeners. It’s just gotmold.com/payback. And on that page, we have our ebook, which is essentially a do-it-yourself mold inspection guide. It’s filled with inspection checklists, and FAQs, and things, it’s a really good resource for anyone who’s got these kinds of questions. And literally you go, if you follow that ebook, and many people do, and go through your house and follow the steps, you will learn more about your house than you’ve ever known you things you walk past every day will then potentially present themselves as action items. So you want to do things like make sure your gutters are discharging at least six to eight feet away from the building.
If not, if not further, you don’t want to have sprinklers sprinkling directly against the foundation, you know, little things like that are really big things. And then of course, you want to really get humidity gauges and put them throughout the building. I like to have the central unit and my kitchen. And then the remote sensors throughout. So especially in out of sight, out of mind places like crawl spaces, attics, outside, even so, you know if you have to put a jacket to get the newspaper, but I have like a weather center in my house.
So I know when there’s a spike in humidity, that there might be a problem down there that might dehumidifier isn’t working, that there might be a leak of some sort. I also use leak sensors. So these are little wireless sensors that you can place in areas where water tends to penetrate foundations. And they will send off an audible alert and then oftentimes, and then an alert to your phone. This is a very useful tool and it’s so inexpensive compared to the…
Anna DeSimone 32:32
I’ve had those. Yeah, they are they are very useful, and bringing a camera now has those that’s an option. So Jason, why don’t we go back to step one? If you want to have a Mold Test on your house, the first thing you’re going to do is call Jason at www.gotmold.com. So why don’t you just take a couple of minutes to tell everyone what to do once they order your product? And then we can wrap up with the discount code that you’re going to give everyone when they mentioned payback, which is named after my book and podcast. But I’ll tell you the payback that you cannot put measure a number on is your family’s health.
Jason Earle 33:19
Anna DeSimone 33:19
And so yeah, absolutely. So Jason, tell everyone what they have to do if they want to order a Mold Test for the house they rent or live in.
Jason Earle 33:30
So the way the test kit works is you go to gotmold.com and you choose one of the three configurations. So you can either get a one-room kit, a two-room kit, or a three-room set.
Anna DeSimone 33:39
I saw that, yeah.
Jason Earle 33:41
And we’re, will soon expand that to 2 4 5 and 6 rooms. But for now it’s a one two and three room kit. And when you order the kit, we suggest that you prepare if you intend to test right away, we suggest that you prepare your house by closing the doors and windows so that you’re actually testing the indoor air. And do you want to do that for two three days, if you can, you know, it’s the best efforts kind of thing. It’s not like you need to keep the building hermetically sealed. And you want to turn off HEPA filtered air cleaners, you want to you the HVAC system is fine, you can let that run all day long. But you want to turn off anything that would artificially reduce airborne particulate in your building. And then when you get the kit, it’s fairly straightforward.
You open it up, you read the user guide you you can use the ebook to do an inspection or you can simply identify areas that you want to test we recommend testing in a complaint area. In other words, where you think that there might be a problem because of either a smell a symptom, or or some sort of visual indicator, you know, some, we always say that if you see something, smell something or feel something, do something. So you look for visual indicators. If you smell something or if you feel something that’s where you want to test first. And then if you if you’ve got number of those areas, you would test all those areas and if you don’t have a number of those areas, then you would also test an adjacent non complaint area that’s good to get contrast in the building so that you can see the room that you’re concerned with.
And then room that you’re not so concerned with. And then the outside sample and that way you get a data, you know, one data point is not actionable. And put the comparison between the way our software works. And this is the way all professional mold testing using spore traps works is that there’s a comparison between the outdoor sample and the indoor air sample and what we’re looking for different types and quantities. And when we see that there’s a higher quantity, as I mentioned before a higher concentration, or a higher quantity of in different kinds of molds indoors than outdoors, then that’s the red flag. So the way it works is, you take the cassettes out of the box, there’s a prepaid return mailer, you actually open up the kit, there’s two box inside, one box has the air sampling pump, which I showed you before.
The other box has a bunch of has the cassettes. This is an outdoor cassette. As you can see, the cassette goes very neatly on the pump, it’s got a built in five minute timer, you press the button, it runs for five minutes automatically turns off, when you’re done, you put the cassette back in the box in the same slot from which it came. And when you’re finished collecting all the samples. That same box is the return mailer, it’s a prepaid return mail, or you just you just close the seal, you drop it in the mail. And when the lab gets it, the turnaround time is three business days.
And so when you get the report, it comes by email or by SMS, depending upon what preference what preference you selected. And the report is a very simple, but also very thorough three page report where you get a color coded interpretation, green, yellow, orange, red, telling you what to what severity of what was found, telling you the severity of what was found.
And then also, the lab data, which is nicely formatted to show you which moles are water damage indicators, and which ones are common dominant spores. In other words, they’re they’re normal in the environment. And then the third page gives you action steps and things that you can do, including a link to the book, which is for anyone who’s early in their mold journey, it’s a good step, it’s free. And then also links to the trade associations which train and certify mold inspectors and mold remediators. There’s also a self assessment tool called Hayward score that we have a link to so we give people actionable next steps. Yeah. You probably know Bill.
Anna DeSimone 37:08
Bill Hayward. Yeah.
Jason Earle 37:09
Yeah, he’s a great guy.
Anna DeSimone 37:10
Well, I have to, I have to say, because this is an audio recording, you have to watch the video on the website, gotmold.com. Because the video was just magic, so easy. The packaging, getting the box opening up what to putting everything back into box to mail back sampling. It was just so so well done. And there, I think there were sample reports on your website to be it. So there’s no surprises. And I thought that your turnaround was pretty fast also, because, you know, there are water samples and soil test samples. I will say they were much more expensive. And they take 10 days. So I think the price is reasonable. And anyway, so once somebody sends it back, then what would be the remediation steps? I mean, does your company still provide the removal services?
Jason Earle 38:09
No, we believe that’s a conflict of interest.
Anna DeSimone 38:13
Jason Earle 38:14
And there are companies in this space that do testing and also doing remediation or even sell the leads to remediation contractors is a practice we do not endorse, we are a no conflict of interest company. And so our job is to give people data actionable data. Now the key is here. And this is an important important thing to point out is the no Mold Test Kit is a replacement for a professional inspection. A professional inspection is often a good idea after an alert condition is detected with our kit.
The reason being, you still need to know that the the context of the actual conditions in the building in order to write a scope of work in order to actually develop a remediation plan. And so a mold inspector will what we sell, what we tell people is that our test kit is designed for people who are unwilling or unable to spend $1,000 or more as the first step. So in other words, there’s a huge gap in the market. There’s $10 test kits at Home Depot and Lowe’s, they’re garbage, they don’t work. They’re junk science. And then there’s $1500 mold inspections all the way on the other side of the spectrum. And in between, there’s just so much confusing.
There’s just so much junk science and it’s confusing to the consumer. So we decided to do is crack the spread and provide a really high quality, low cost solution that gives people a stepping stone in their mold awareness journey. And so oftentimes when people get alert conditions back, the best step is to actually have a professional come in and identify with the moisture sources. The bottom line is again a mold problem is a moisture problem. And so unless you have the ability and the experience to actually diagnose a moisture problem in your building, it’s a good idea to get a professional to come in. And it’s also really good idea to not skip ahead to remediation without an inspector. The same way you wouldn’t use a cholesterol test, or like a DIY cholesterol test.
And then you get the results back and then scheduled heart surgery, right? It’s no different really, because because this is extremely disruptive. And you need to have a team approach with these kinds of things. We all heard stories about people who go into get surgery on one getting like a leg amputated and they cut off the wrong one. Right? So this happens often, often enough that doctors have them people sign their leg before they go into surgery, you know.
So what we want to do is we want to have a little more guidance along the way, you know, and so a proper mold inspector who does not have a conflict of interest, will guide you through that process and protect you the same way we endeavored to do with our customers in the very beginning with 1-800-GOT-MOLD?. And so we equate it to a pregnancy test kit in the sense that you wouldn’t start buying baby furniture just because it says positive, you got to the doctor. But a lot of people use this as a very proactive measure to determine whether or not their home is a problem. A lot of people bring it to their vacation homes. Task is everyone knows that musty smell when you walk into a vacation home, right? People travel with our test kit. It’s kind of funny, actually.
Anna DeSimone 41:23
Yeah, that is funny. Yeah.
Jason Earle 41:25
You know, but we have people buying them and using them quarterly or seasonally and really getting proactive, because for the price of one mold inspection, you can test four times, you know, using our kit. And I should also mention that once you buy a kit, as I mentioned before you you get to keep the pump and then you can buy replacement or refills to retest and each one of those is $50 less. Yeah, so it just makes sense to keep the pump and a lot of people actually lend it to friends, they lend it to their neighbors, you know, these things get around.
Anna DeSimone 41:55
Yeah, you know, I thought that was very generous. If you’d have mentioned that on your website, that you could share the pump with your friends or neighbors. You have such high integrity. I mean, I’d love your whole business model and no conflict of interest. I mean, I’m just so thrilled we got a chance to have you on our show today. So just remind everyone where to go and what to do to get a discount if they do.
Jason Earle 42:21
Absolutely. First of all, thank you for the kind words Anna.
Anna DeSimone 42:24
Oh, you’re welcome.
Jason Earle 42:25
It’s a real pleasure to be here. And I as a professional who’s you know, been around the block your kind words land very well here. So in order to get in touch with me, the best way is just to go to gotmold.com. If you want to message me go to gotmold.com. And the bottom of the homepage, there’s a section on their contact us form. I see all of those. So if you’ve got mold questions, you can always ask questions there.
And if I can’t get to it, of course, you know, we’ve got a legendary customer service team. It’s incredible. You can also ask questions, if you’d like on social media, we’re on Instagram @gotmold. And we’re also on Facebook at Got Mold? and LinkedIn @Gotmold. But for the purpose of this podcast, the best place to go is to go to gmail.com/payback. And that’s where you’ll find the ebook as well as the discount code, which again, is payback 10, which gives you 10% on any and all test kits and that’s in perpetuity. There’s no expiration date on that.
Anna DeSimone 43:20
That’s great. That’s wonderful. Okay, so again, the place to go to is www.gotmold. And we have been speaking with Jason Earle, the founder of the company and creator with a wonderful outlook on life. It’s been great. You know, no pun intended. But Jason, you’re a breath of fresh air. Thanks. Okay, take care.
Jason Earle 43:48
Thank you for joining us today on the live in a home that pays you back podcast. We hope you tune in again where we’ll share more insider secrets so you get the absolute most out of your home. Check out Anna DeSimone’s award winning book, live in a home that pays you back. available at Amazon and major booksellers in print, audio and ebook. For more information visit AnnaDeSimone.net. If you liked what you heard, remember to follow Live In A Home That Pays You Back and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.