In 2005, my wife and I purchased what was to be our dream home in Collingswood, New Jersey. I had always loved Collingswood since moving to New Jersey from Philadelphia, but we had found ourselves in Merchantville and Pennsauken before finally finding a 100 year old Victorian in Collingswood. One thing we were not in love with was the large enclosed front porch. It was definitely not attractive, and we planned to convert it to an open porch one day. That day came a lot sooner than we had envisioned. In early 2006, the enclosed porch was basically being used as a storage space. It would, on occasion, be prone to leaks whenever there was a really hard rain. One day, I noticed a black, fuzzy material growing on the side of a cardboard box in the storage space. It formed a circular pattern, and looked like mold. I had done a dozen or so residential mold remediations in my 10+ years of having a home improvement company, but I had not seen such dense growth on cardboard before. I checked the other boxes in the room, and found black mold on almost all of them–particularly on the bottoms. I knew that black mold could be dangerous, so I immediately grabbed one of the masks I use for mold removal in PA. After moving the boxes out to my garage, I began ripping up the carpet to check for mold, and didn’t stop until I had gutted the entire room! I found mold under the carpet, behind the paneling, on the sheetrock, behind the sheetrock, on the framing and on the insulation. It was, in short, a nightmare. I called my insurance company and told them about it, and they told me that I was NOT covered because the leak had occurred over time. We were devastated. My neighbor had just had his enclosed porch converted to an open wrap-around porch, and it cost him $50,000! We didn’t have that much money, or anything close to it. I had a mold inspection company come out to give me a price to remove it. They told me the entire porch needed to be ripped down because the mold damage was so severe. I had another house mold testing company come out, and they said the same thing. I could not believe the damage black mold could do to my house. Even worse, my wife was pregnant, so I was really concerned about her health. We finally decided to borrow the money and bite the bullet. In the end, it only cost us around $25,000 because I did all the work. By the end of the process, I realized that mold can both devastating to property and health, and fascinating. I devoted all of my time to learning about mold, and earning my professional certifications. Since then, I have dedicated myself to providing household mold testing and mold remediation in Philadelphia, as well as educating people on basement mold health.