The Home Detective - established 1996

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that can  only be positively identified via laboratory  analysis.  There are several types of asbestos fibers.  Asbestos was added to many household products  as a fire retardant coating, an insulation and to provide  additional strength qualities. It is associated with acoustic "popcorn" ceilings, thermal pipe insulation, HVAC flexible duct connectors, "transite" panels in chimneys, vinyl floor tiles, ceiling tiles and vermiculite insulation.  Asbestos material, if disturbed,  may release fibers which can be inhaled into the lungs.  Asbestos material that has been disturbed, damaged, scraped is more likely to create a health hazard.  Breathing asbestos fibers can lead to an increased risk of lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Lead is a highly toxic metal used for many years in products in and around homes. Lead’s adverse health effects include behavioral problems and learning disabilities.    Young children are at greater risk.  Typical sources of lead exposure include peeling paint and lead dust created through friction from doors and windows.  Federal regulations limiting lead paint sales began in 1978.  There was a residual of lead paint in storage so we  feel homes built prior to 1980 pose a higher risk than post 1980 construction. Another common sources of lead exposure comes from plumbing water pipes, lead solder and plumbing fixtures.  Lead exposure can also occur from the tracking  of contaminated soil into the home.

Mold (fungi) is present indoors and outdoors. There are more than 100,000 species of mold, at least 1,000 of which are common in America. Species of Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus are some of the most commonly found in homes.   Mold requires moisture to grow and is often found in bathrooms, basements, closets, crawl spaces, attics and anywhere high-humidity is found. Health effects from exposure to mold can differ greatly based on the type of mold and the individual.  Individuals with weakened immune systems can be adversely affected by exposure to molds. Mold can also cause physical damage to the affected surface and structure of a home when left untreated. We document our findings with photos and lab reports.
A mold specialist is always recommended for the mitigation of mold.

Radon is a radioactive gaseous element produced in the breakdown naturally occurring radium.  Radon is an invisible, tasteless, odorless gas that can  only be detected via  testing.   Radon is the #1 cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.  The National Academy of Sciences estimates radon causes some 15,000 to 22,000 lung cancer deaths annually.   Our region has an elevated level of radon so radon testing is strongly suggested.  Most single-family homes and townhouses in Montgomery County are required to be tested prior to settlement.  We have tested 5,000 homes over the years using advanced technology, continuous radon monitors.  We do not provide mitigation services to maintain an impartial position in the testing for for radon. 

Termites, wood-boring beetles and carpenter ants can cause significant damage to a home and structure.  We document  visual signs of activity, damage, and signs of treatment and previous repairs and document the findings with photos.  We are not licensed by the Maryland Department of Agriculture to perform a certified WDI inspection, a service readily available by a pest specialists in the area if needed.