It is recommended that inspection and remediation not be done by the same person/firm. Insist that the firm/person have a contractor's license. Look for remediators who are certified. Check with the licensing board and Better Business Bureau for complaints. Ask for references for similar jobs. Call references and ask if the job was done properly, on time and within budget. Inquire if a mold test was done after the remediation work. If you see mold, find the source of moisture, correct it and clean up the mold. If you see signs of water leaks, investigate for mold.
If you smell mold, consider having a qualified mold inspection firm test for mold, locate the mold, determine the extent of the mold, determine the source of moisture and come up with a remediation plan.
How do you prevent mold?
Locate and fix water leaks immediately. Dry water from water leaks within 48 hours. Make sure clothes dryers are properly vented to the outside. Use exhaust fans when cooking, showering or using dishwasher. Insulate exterior walls to prevent condensation inside. Keep indoor humidity below 50 percent. Remember: Just cleaning up mold is not enough. You must find the water source and eliminate it.
How do you clean up mold?
Wear rubber gloves and eye protection. For larger infestations (more than several square feet) wear a N-95 respirator. Wash hard surfaces with water and detergent. Discard absorbent materials like carpet and ceiling tiles. Cleaning up the mold is not enough. You must eliminate the water source.
For more information on mold, here are some online resources:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/airpollution/mold/stachy.htm
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/moldbasics.html
New Jersey Mold Inspector Jason Earl: www.stopmold.com