Breaking the Mold
Eco Tech applies honesty and persistence to providing effective, convenient and affordable solutions to clients dealing with mold issues
by Theodora Malison

Mold: It’s one of those words that can make the heart sink, especially when it’s uttered to someone eager to buy or sell a home, wondering if its presence will scuttle the deal. Often invisible to the naked eye and concealed behind surfaces, its discreetness is matched only by its capacity to damage health and home in nefarious ways.

In most cases, mold is manageable, but its removal often bears a hefty price tag—both in terms of cost and time spent away from the home. Tom McGuire Jr., president and co-owner of Eco Tech mold remediation services, believes in a simpler, more convenient way of dealing with mold. With an emphasis on accountability, reliability and professionalism, Eco Tech aims to ease the nerves of frightened customers by offering realistic solutions rooted in fact, thereby yielding happy customers with mold-free living spaces. 

Eco Tech’s origins date back to 2005, when McGuire purchased a home and discovered nearly two years later that the entire front of the house was infested with mold. Fixing the problem, he learned to his dismay, required more than he wanted to bear.

“When I found out the entire front of the house had to be ripped off, I received these astronomical quotes on what it would cost me to have this done,” McGuire says. “Since I was a builder with a degree in microbiology, I figured, I’ll do the process myself, and that’s how the idea for mold remediation took off.”

In 2011, McGuire partnered up with longtime friend Bill Gillon, and Eco Tech was formally organized.  Although Gillon has no formal knowledge about mold, he had a finance degree with good business sense and a strong work ethic, giving McGuire the confidence to think they would make a good team.

“He’s a hard worker,” McGuire says of Gillon. “When we started advertising and designing this business, I told him we would only use sustainable practices and nontoxic chemicals, which is where the name ‘Eco Tech’ came from—Ecological Technicians. There wasn’t any company currently in Philadelphia at that time advertising their company as ecologically friendly.”

According to McGuire, mold is the most widely misunderstood situation that not only affects a person’s home but can also have negative repercussions to one’s health. Understanding the difference between toxic mold and nontoxic mold requires a certain knowledge base and skill set, according to McGuire.

“The entire black mold phenomenon is a farce,” McGuire adds. “The scare started back in 1993 when an orphanage in Cleveland had 12 children die from pulmonary hemorrhage, and another 17 became sick. Investigators went into the orphanage and found black mold throughout the entire basement area, among other parts. Because of this, the news took this and ran with it. Here’s why it’s a myth: It doesn’t travel into the air because it’s a jelly-like fungus that travels across surfaces. It’s toxigenic but not toxic. One could stick their finger into a pile of black mold and be unaffected.

“White mold, however, is exceptionally troublesome to health,” he continues. “The main culprit is aspergillus/penicillium, which can cause a whole host of problems. Ninety percent of chronic sinus problems such as sinusitis and allergies are caused by white mold because it is breathed in and reproduces by traveling through air. It destroys homes and grows rapidly. Children under the age of 6 are at high risk for developing asthma, and adults over 65 could end up hospitalized, especially if they have an existing condition like COPD,” short for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. 

Many homeowners are unaware regarding the levels of mold in their immediate surroundings. It’s not until changes in health—itchy skin, watering eyes, etc.—become noticed more frequently that they begin to sense that there’s a problem.

“Mold is a fungus; it’s microscopic,” McGuire states. “The vast majority of times when you have elevated levels of mold in a home, you can’t see it—especially if it’s in a basement where the lighting isn’t always great. It will circulate throughout the whole house because of heating and air conditioning systems. This causes some people to feel like they have seasonal allergies all year round, and others to not feel well.”

This is where Eco Tech comes in. Many tools specific to their company, including moisture analysis, visual observation and air testing, enable McGuire and his team to detect and measure mold levels within a home or business.

“Air testing tells all about the levels of spores in the air indoors versus the air outdoors,” he says. “The outside levels, you cannot control; there are trillions of mold spores outside every day, so we aim to control the ones inside of your house. If the mold spore count in your home is the same or lower as the outside, you’re typically going to be fine. If they are significantly higher, that’s when you run into a problem, and ultimately that’s how we determine if someone needs remediation.”

In some cases, McGuire has seen instances of other mold remediation companies driving customers out of their homes or businesses unnecessarily. This, he believes, amounts to a “scare tactic” more than anything else.

“A lot of times we’ll go to a house to meet someone only to find out they moved out because another mold remediation company scared them into doing so,” McGuire adds. “Meanwhile, I’ll walk into the house to find out the mold situation is very mild. Other companies fall back on these scare tactics and will move a family out of their house out of greed. We don’t do that; we won’t use fear to sell a product. We’re extremely successful because of our main tactic: honesty.”

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in 2012, Eco Tech’s remediation services reached an all-time high. From the southernmost tip of Cape May, N.J., to just outside of New York, McGuire and his Eco Tech team aided in the relief efforts of those affected by the devastating impacts caused by the historic hurricane, which caused billions of dollars in water damage along coastal New Jersey and surrounding areas.

“It was a nightmare,” McGuire notes. “It was the first time I had ever been hugged by a client and had a client cry on my shoulder, thanking me for helping them. We worked 20 hours a day seven days a week for three months straight—all up and down the East Coast. There was often the case where we would go out to someone’s home and they wouldn’t have the insurance to cover the costs of the damage. … In the end, we felt so good knowing we helped as many people as we did.”

This commitment is one of the many reasons Eco Tech has received so many outstanding client reviews. McGuire says he owes the company’s success to honesty and persistence.

“There’s this saying that you can’t make everyone happy,” McGuire says. “We don’t believe that, and when we started this company we said we were going to try and prove that saying wrong. After 50 stellar reviews, we were determined to never receive a bad one. A few years and 150 more A+ reviews later and Eco Tech still has no bad reviews.  We pride ourselves in doing an absolute great job. Our internal motto is that you truly can make everyone happy. We live by that.”
For more information on Eco Tech, call 610-710-1414 or visit

Photograph by Alison Dunlap