Is Mold Turning Contractors into Snake Oil Salesmen?

Nobody likes a party pooper to mention something that might be a little ridiculous when that something is apparently drawing customers, as well as profits. However, after looking at the front page picture of the “Mold in New Home Sends Owners Packing” article [Aug. 20 issue], I’m not sure whether I should be irritated or amused.

Some time ago, I visited a site that was loaded with airborne contaminants, mold, bacteria, spores, who knows what all. The air was very warm and humid. There was a good deal of airborne particulate. The microbial growth was so severe that there was actually moss growing on the trees. Yes, this site was a nature trail in a state park. All of those contaminants in the air would appear to dwarf those quarter-sized spots of mold on the rafters pictured on the front page, yet the gentleman pictured apparently felt it necessary to wear a full “moon suit” to protect himself from danger. I wonder how he would dress if he went for a walk in the woods?

There are people with unusual sensitivities to various components in the air, and microbial growth can damage some structural materials, but it seems to me that there is an element of the old traveling medicine shows when it comes to this subject. The formula is simple: make the disease appear as dramatic and devastating as possible, then convince the crowd that they have the disease, then finally convince them that you have the perfect cure for the disease.

In years past, I recall gigantic pictures of dust mites on the sides of trucks, horrifying creatures that looked like they would eat our brains in the middle of the night. Now it seems those monsters have been replaced with huge pictures of mold spores, magnified about a million times, I suppose. Let’s hope nobody shows us what skin flakes look like under a microscope!

I grew up in south Florida when we didn’t have air conditioning, at home or at school, and we all seemed to be just fine. Now, it appears, if we don’t all have air conditioning with high-efficiency air filters, ultraviolet lights, engineered ventilation rates, and precise humidity control, we will all suffer from a long list of physical maladies.

There’s a lot of talk about our industry gaining more respect, and perhaps one way to get that respect is to get real and leave the sideshow antics to the circus people.

Bruce Dix, President
Dix Air Conditioning & Heating Inc.
Bradenton, Fla.

Dealing With Equipment From Other Sources

I am writing in response to John R. Hall’s editorial of Aug. 27, 2007, on selling direct [Selling Direct: To Fight or Not To Fight?]. On the rare occasion when we install other people’s equipment, (utility programs, warranty replacements, home insurance companies) we mark up the job as if we sold it, then deduct the cost of the product. We also make it clear that any shipping damage or warranty issues are not included and will be addressed on a time and materials basis. This helps discourage the price shoppers and doesn’t hurt our bottom line.

Tony Joyce
Joyce Cooling & Heating, Nashua, N.H.

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Publication date:09/24/2007