Specializing in Water Damage and Mold Remediation
Little could then-adolescent Jeremy Akers realize that his chronic sneezing, watering eyes, and other allergy type symptoms would result in his launching the very successful Mold Drs. USA, but that’s exactly what happened. Along with his wife, Ashley, this energetic, resourceful, and enthusiastic team of young entrepreneurs has transformed the water damage and mold remediation business into the science that it needs to be in order to deliver the successful results homeowners and businesses expect and deserve. With a strong emphasis on education and training, Mold Drs. USA is the only mold remediation company in the area that has earned the much sought after ACAC certification, representing the highest standard of education in the mold remediation industry today.
Living in East Tennessee brings about more mold growth than living in another state such as Colorado. With the high humidity in our area, mold is a common issue homeowners and businesses deal with. With today’s construction techniques resulting in tighter homes that breathe less and the elimination of many chemicals used to treat mold and mildew, you may find this interview with Jeremy and Ashley very enlightening.
EK: Jeremy, after many years as a child being treated for the allergy type symptoms already noted above, describe for our readers what your parents discovered.
Jeremy: Well, I’m sure they never anticipated finding the damage they found. Since it wasn’t visible to the naked eye, they were shocked. My dad started removing baseboards and drywall and found mold growing on everything. It had more than likely been there for many years and had been the culprit in all my allergies. Funny enough – my dad made things worse since he removed the baseboards and drywall himself. The mold spores were able to basically jump around to other areas of the home since he was not a certified and trained mold remediation specialist. We pretty much had a mold version of a desert sand storm!
EK: Tell us how this discovery led to your interest in mold remediation and the launch of Mold Drs. USA.
Jeremy: I actually started out working for a company in Florida handling disaster insurance claims, which enabled me to see truly the worst of the worst – homes that had their roofs ripped off, homes that had been destroyed by a tidal surge, homes covered in mold from floor to ceiling. After spending some time in the field and gaining experience in a state that has strict guidelines to follow, I decided to move back home and start Mold Drs. USA here in Knoxville.
EK: Ashley, how are mold remediation and water damage alike, and how do they differ?
Ashley: Mold remediation and water damage are alike because they begin with some type of water event. For example, it could be something simple, such as an ice maker line dripping, to a toilet leaking on the floor, to a water heater bursting, to someone accidentally leaving on their kitchen faucet. Or, if you have kids, they discovered that water is as much fun on the walls and floor as it is in the bathtub. Water damage can be minor to severe. We’ve seen small issues such as these, as well as water lines freezing and flooding homes like many of us experienced this past January.
Water damage can be dried a majority of the time with little demolition and damage. However, with mold remediation, the process of drying is very different and calculated. What a lot of people don’t realize is a minor mold issue can get worse very quickly if it’s not handled the right way. Without getting too technical, air flow makes a situation worse. It’s like fanning a fire. Thus, mold remediation and water damage have similarities and differences.
EK: Can parents discern the difference between common allergy symptoms and those that result from mold?
Jeremy: Honestly, there really isn’t a specific symptom. Just like any allergy, everyone’s symptoms vary from person to person. Ashley and I are very different. We joke that she can sniff mold as soon as she walks in somewhere. She’ll have itchy eyes, can’t breathe well, her nose is stuffy, and she feels tired, whereas I may only have itchy skin or no symptoms at all when I’m in a home that has mold. Actually, the only time I’ve ever had bronchitis is after being in a home that had quite a bit of mold in the ac closet. I was only in the home for 45 minutes.
EK: How big of a health risk does mold represent?
Ashley: That really depends on the person. Seriously, everyone jokes that I should live in a bubble since I’m allergic to so many things. Everyone is different, and the health risks they experience are different. Just think of someone that’s allergic to bee stings. Someone can get stung one time and go into anaphylactic shock, whereas another person can get stung and only have to deal with a raised bump on the skin. I personally got allergy shots on and off for 15 years. Mold was one of my top allergies. My allergist would joke with me that if I wanted to feel better and ultimately breathe better, I needed to move out of East Tennessee.
EK: What should parents look for, and how can you help them?
Jeremy: Maintaining a home is a lot of work for anyone. Just like properly maintaining a vehicle, you have to take the vehicle in to get routine maintenance. Your home is even more work. Parents should look for water leaks. You have to be proactive. Most people don’t walk around the house looking at the gutters or stepping foot in their dreaded crawlspace or basement.
If you want to be proactive: 1) make sure the water is draining away from the home, 2) make sure all the shutoff valves inside the house are working properly, 3) look in the crawlspace/basement, and see if there’s anything growing on the floor joists or subfloor (if you see a white powdery substance anywhere on the walls or floor, then the conditions could be right for mold growth), 4) make sure any pumps on your heating and air conditioning units are properly functioning and draining the condensation, 5) look for discoloration around the base of toilets, 6) look for buckling in the floors, 7) foul odors in the home, 8) look for discoloration on the ceilings, 9) look for discoloration around the windows or entry doors, and 10) look for spotting around baseboards and on the walls and ac registers at the floor.
EK: Tell our readers a little bit about the water, fire, and wind damage restoration side of your company.
Ashley: Our other company, Ethos Restoration, handles the water, fire, and wind damage restoration work. If someone has a kitchen grease fire or a whole house fire, we can handle it. If someone has a toilet flood their entire downstairs or ceilings cave in from pipes bursting, we handle that as well. If you have a tree fall down on your house and the roof collapses, Ethos Restoration can take care of that. What’s great is we can handle the damage and prevent it from doing further damage and protecting your home.
EK: Your website emphasizes your commitment to training, education, and certifications. Why are these important, and what should someone look for in hiring a remediation and restoration company?
Jeremy: The state of Tennessee is very lax on who can provide services such as mold remediation for your home. It doesn’t matter if you’re a home inspector or an accountant – say you wake up one day and are tired of your profession and want to start a mold remediation business. All you have to do is put a sticker on your truck and make a business card. That’s pretty interesting and scary, right?
Some states actually require mold remediation companies to have the ACAC certification we hold in order to do business within their state. The ACAC certification requires a resume proving experience in the field and education before awarding a certificate, but not prior to a rigorous exam to make sure you follow the guidelines. It’s for those who take this profession seriously and understand that they can actually make a homeowner’s problems go away and ensure it’s a safe place for their children.
When I started this company, I wanted to be the best at what we do. I wasn’t going to settle for an online open book certificate that many in this area use. I wanted to have peace of mind knowing that Mold Drs. USA was providing the best services. Just as many parents, I, too, have children and want to know they have the best quality of life.
EK: How can our readers learn more about Mold Drs. USA?
Ashley: They can visit our website, www.molddrsusa.com, or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/molddrsusa. For a free consultation, they can call 865-945-3000. Our answering service is available 24/7, and if someone has an emergency, we have a 90 minute response time. They can also visit www.acac.org and search for companies that hold the certification. For example, if you search the zip code 37922, you will see Ethos Restoration listed for the Knoxville area.
EK: Anything else you would like to add?
Jeremy: Thank you to Knoxville and the surrounding areas for trusting Mold Drs. USA for nine years. As a locally owned and operated business, we truly appreciate every referral that satisfied customers send our way. We know how important it is to support other locally owned businesses and cannot say thank you enough to our community. If you’re considering hiring another mold remediation or restoration company, it would be worth your time to let us come out and give you a free consultation. With our training, certification, and warranty, we can assure our customers that we’re the best in the business.
Mold Drs. USA