Keeping your home safe from the ground up EPS takes care of mold remediation, water damage, and crawl space issues By Pam Windsor After nearly a dozen years in the business, Mickey Schrader has a depth of knowledge and experience that’s clear whether he’s answering questions about water damage, mold remediation (in the home or crawl space), or a host of other issues his company tackles on a regular basis. He owns the Tennessee branch of Environmental Protective Solutions. “I really enjoy educating folks on how to keep their homes safe and the way it should be set up to keep it operating correctly,” he says. A Columbia, Tennessee native, Schrader spent two decades in the insurance industry, first as a claims adjuster, then promoted to higher-level positions. But when his last promotion required him to travel frequently, he was gone nearly three weeks out of every month; he decided to leave the corporate world and do something that allowed him to stay home, closer to his family. “About that time, one of my best friends had just opened an EPS office in Tampa. He said, ‘You ought to start an EPS up there, and we’ll grow it and see where we can take it.’ So, I opened the office here and over the years have built it from ground zero into what we have today.” He opened the office in 2010. The timing couldn’t have been more fortuitous. “It wasn’t planned,” he explains, “but we opened right around the 2010 floods in Nashville. So, right off the bat, we had a lot of work for a long time because of the flooding and the mold issues it caused.” With damage so extensive, the clean-up went on for months. It was quick on-the-job training when the work he and his team were doing was critically important. Since then, business has remained steady. Even in regular times, due in part to Tennessee’s unique weather patterns, mold is prevalent in homes and crawl spaces. “Our weather here plays a big part,” Schrader says. “We have a lot of heat and humidity during the summertime, and with a traditional vented crawl space, a lot of that hot, wet, humid air will infiltrate it summer after summer until the wood structures under there, are growing heavy amounts of mold or fungus. And that will cause that wood to deteriorate.” He says it can lead to structural issues inside the house. EPS will come in and clean the crawl space, but Schrader says it’s essential to determine and correct the moisture issues to make sure the problem doesn’t return. That can involve encapsulating a crawl space. “This is where we seal the crawl space, and instead of putting just a traditional vapor barrier on the ground like most homes have, or code requires, we put in a much heavier, thicker barrier. And instead of laying it on the ground, we carry it up the walls and attach it permanently. It kind of looks like a pool liner under your house.” In addition to the work with crawl spaces, EPS also handles mold remediation inside the home. He says problems are often due to the air conditioning not running properly. “In some cases, the HVAC system may not be operating correctly or not at all, and it’s allowing too much humidity to build up in the house.” He recommends as summer draws closer, homeowners get that checked. “I think the biggest thing for most homeowners is making sure their HVAC unit is running correctly before the heat and humidity start building up.” Along those lines, he also recommends an annual crawl space check. EPS offers a wide range of professional services across a large part of the state. “We are a licensed, general contractor, and we also carry a Mold Remediation License with the state of Tennessee,” Schrader says. “I always tell people don’t be afraid to ask contractors for credentials.” He enjoys the work he does and helping people understand the process. “I truly love it because we’re helping people with a problem. A lot of people spend too much time on Google and get themselves worked up about mold. They scare themselves so bad they think mold in a house is an incurable disease. And that’s not true.” To learn more about EPS, visit themoldsolution.com or (931) 698-3527.