By Diane Ako
HONOLULU (KHNL) -- It's a tiny spore that can cause big health problems in your home or workplace: mold. It grows well in humid climates like Hawaii, and it can be hard to find the source of it. But one Oahu man has an accurate, quick way to find sources of mold.
This is a typical day at work for Buster, who can search a 4,000 square foot home in 30 minutes. Buster is one of 120 dogs around the world trained to smell mold. He responds to two commands: seek and show.
Owner Bill Birmingham says, "There are over 10,000 different types of mold and there are only 22 that are known to potentially cause problems for humans. He's trained to detect those 22."
Birmingham says the nose really knows! "Over the last 5 years, everything he's alerted, we've sent to University of Oregon for clarification. To date he's 100% accurate," says Birmingham.
The traditional way of finding mold is to open the wall and look for it. "It's so expensive for people to have someone come in and physically have the home tested because the samples have to go to a laboratory. So with a canine it allows us to do all that testing without the laboratory, so to speak," says Birmingham.
Mold can be a health hazard. "Asthma, nosebleeds, fatigue. So many different symptoms. They have unexplained fatigue, headaches, things of that nature," says Birmingham, describing the problems his clients have if they've been living with mold.
From flooded homes to pipes leaking, it doesn't take much to attract mold growth. "It usually comes from water damaged homes. A toilet overflows, a washing machine hose burst, roof leak, something of that nature. The homeowners don't take care of that properly. they'll just mop it up, when all the material in the wall and under the floor is still wet."
Birmingham's company, Mold Hawaii, charges $175 an hour for Buster's services. Birmingham defense the price, "When you compare that to a $2,000 to $3,000 inspection for anyone else who doesn't use a canine that's a substantial savings."
Birmingham says Realtors at home inspections dread seeing Buster because the dog's findings can be a deal breaker!
Mold Hawaii 531-6653