Category: Home Inspection

Decisions To Make In Mold Remediation

The Truth About Black Mold—And How You Can Stay Safe

surfaces as blackish-green spots or blemishes. It lives on moist, cellulose-rich surfaces like fiberboard, drywall, and gypsum board. Black mold is most attracted to moisture, which is why it lives in previously-flooded homes, leaky pipe areas, or anywhere with water damage.

Here’s how you can treat and prevent black mold in your home:

Size up the problem spot—when to choose DIY vs. the pros

Air out your home

Wear protective gear

Create a bleach cleaning solution

Watch for future water damage

Keep your home clean and dry

Is Black Mold Dangerous?

The short answer is—not really. But that doesn’t mean you should keep black mold as a pet. Everyone has different levels of tolerance to allergens like mold spores, but that’s all black mold is—an allergen. Those with asthma, respiratory allergies, or immune suppression will feel the effects of black mold’s mycotoxins more than most folks.

What Are the Symptoms of Black Mold Exposure?

If you find black mold on your property, there’s no need to panic. But black mold presents more health risks to sensitive groups like those with respiratory conditions or immune conditions.

How Does Black Mold Get Inside a House?

Mold spores find their way inside by hitchhiking on clothes, pet fur, and air currents into your home. But spores can’t get comfortable without plenty of water. This is why you’ll usually find black mold around water-damaged areas impacted by plumbing issues like floods or leaky pipes.

 

The Importance of Professional Mold Removal for Businesses

Mold is neither plant nor animal, but rather a fungus that grows in dark, damp corners and presents significant health hazards to the surrounding environment—which is why it’s critical that a professional mold removal company remediate a mold situation.

When mold spores find moisture and begin to grow unnoticed, they can present health problems when higher concentrations of spores are inhaled. Here we’ll go over what you should know about keeping mold out of your business.

What Conditions Are Best For Mold Growth?

Inside mold growth occurs where there is moisture. It can occur in ceilings, floors, insulation, wood, drywall, clothes, carpet and more. Some causes of excessive moisture are condensation, humidity, cooking, washing, or water from a flood, leak or spill.

Is All Mold Bad?

Given the right conditions, mold will create spores to reproduce – similar to how plants produce seeds. Molds release these small spores into the air where they spread to create new colonies. The spores are small enough that people can inhale them. Settling deep within the lungs, the development of respiratory problems or asthma is a possibility. Mold also produces allergens that can cause an allergic reaction when touched or inhaled. While some molds present serious health hazards, not all molds are bad. And not everyone that comes into contact with mold will be affected; some people are more sensitive to mold than others. Because there are so many variables, it’s best to keep mold out of your business.

The best way to prevent mold is to control moisture.

Fix water leaks. Any known water leaks should be fixed quickly. Have a contractor inspect for unknown leaks.

Limit condensation. Keep room temperatures warm and/or well insulated.

Reduce humidity. Open windows, install exhaust fans or use a dehumidifier.

Clean wet/damp areas. Any wet or damp area, materials or affected equipment should be cleaned within 48 hours to prevent mold growth.

 

Mold Remediation

You Just Found Mold In Your Home, What Do You Do Now?

Mold remediation is never fun, but working with the right mold remediation company who will clearly explain the mold remediation process to you, provide quality work that solves your mold problem, guarantees their work, and develops a schedule to accommodate your needs will provide you with the best experience possible.

What Is the Difference Between Mold Remediation And Mold Removal?

The basic difference between mold remediation and mold removal is that mold remediation gets rid of the mold and corrects the source of the mold problem, while mold removal simply removes the mold. If you correct the underlying issue that is causing the mold, the mold will not return. Mold remediation methods include removal of contaminated materials, dry-ice blasting of mold growth, and cleaning with special mold-inhibiting liquids

Mold remediation will cost more up-front than simple mold removal, but it will have a lasting effect. Mold removal is likely to cost more in the long-run because you will need to continually pay to have the newly formed mold removed. We think you will agree that mold remediation is the best approach for solving your mold problems.

Why Is Mold Remediation Necessary?

A major mold outbreak can ruin your home and your health. Most people know mold spores are a major allergen and if left unchecked they can cause severe allergic reactions. However, not as widely known, mold actively grows by feeding on wood, sheetrock, roofs and other surfaces. Therefore, over time the mold will actually eat away at the integrity of your home and can lead to structural failures. Mold remediation performed at the first sight of mold can save you a lot of money in the long-run and keep you and your family healthy.

What Does Mold Remediation Cost?

The cost of mold remediation largely depends on the size and complexity of the job. However, other things that factor into the cost include the qualifications and guarantees of the mold remediation company.

 

Solved! What to Do About Mold on the Walls

Safely remove unsightly and potentially hazardous mold from the bathroom and other moisture-prone zones—and keep it at bay—with these easy methods

Q: Ugh! I’ve recently discovered ugly patches of mold on the walls in my bathroom. Is it dangerous? How do I get rid of it?

A: It’s an all-too-common problem in any area of the home where moisture levels tend to be high: splotches of mold growing on the walls or ceiling. While mold can sprout anywhere along a wall, it’s most often found either up high near the ceiling, down low near the floor, or creeping along edges of trim or baseboards. This frustrating and potentially hazardous problem is most common in bathrooms with frequently used showers or tubs, but can also affect damp basements, kitchens, or laundry rooms. If conditions are damp, ventilation is poor, and temperatures are high, airborne, invisible mold spores—found virtually everywhere—happily settle in and grow.

The most feared type of mold is Stachybotrys chartarum, typically referred to as black mold, which can cause chronic respiratory irritation, headaches, and persistent fatigue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black mold requires constant moisture for growth—not just intermittent moisture from the shower—so it’s likelier that your problem is caused by another less toxic variety of mold. That said, a severe mold situation can lead to or exacerbate respiratory or immune system issues.

Remove mold stains from walls.

Mix a solution of one part bleach to three parts water in a spray bottle, and thoroughly saturate the moldy areas of the wall. Open a window and/or keep a fan running as you work; bleach fumes are unpleasant and can be irritating to the lungs. Let the bleach soak into the mold on the walls for several minutes, then use a scrub brush to remove the stains. If the stains are extensive or deep, you may need to repeat the process to remove all discoloration.

Kill mold on walls.

While bleach works well to kill surface fungus and remove the ugly marks on the walls caused by mold, it doesn’t penetrate deeply into the drywall and so it leaves the mold’s “roots” undisturbed. That means the problem is likely to reoccur, sometimes within days. To kill mold beneath the surface, simply spray undiluted white vinegar onto the affected area and let it dry. Don’t worry about the odor; the smell will dissipate once the vinegar is completely dry.

 

COMMON TYPES OF MOLD IN HOMES

Mold can be a toxic and dangerous living substance that grows in very specific conditions. Mold typically thrives in damp and dark environments where temperatures range from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Mold can occur in your home, car, office or any other structure you and your family spend time in.

It is vital to be able to recognize mold, know its potential health effects and deal with it immediately, whether you’re going to live there for many years or you’re looking to sell your house in the near future. In many cases, mold growth is so widespread that the average homeowner cannot properly control and eliminate it themselves. Professional mold removal companies have the experience and tools required to assess the damage, and control and stop mold growth before it causes any further damage to human health.

EFFECTS OF MOLD ON HUMAN HEALTH

It is critical to identify and eliminate mold as soon as it begins to develop. Mold can be highly toxic and can have a long-lasting effect on human health depending on the species and the extent of exposure. Children, seniors, pregnant women and people with pre-existing health conditions are particularly vulnerable to the effects of mold. Mold is such a severe health issue that organizations like the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have all researched and published findings on the links between this toxic substance and different illnesses and health conditions.

Mold Sensitivity: Some people are particularly sensitive to mold, while others can develop a sensitivity over time due to prolonged exposure. Other people may have more sensitive mold allergies and can be severely affected by it

Mold sensitivity includes symptoms like:

Chest and nasal congestion

Coughing, sneezing and wheezing

Sore throat

Watering, dry or sore eyes

Skin irritation

Headaches

Tips To Choose Mold Remediation

Levels of Mold Remediation

What Are the Levels of Mold Damage?

Most people are well aware that mold growth in the home is a dangerous condition that can easily result in extensive structural damage and various health hazards. It is also well known that the only way to prevent such troubles is to take quick and efficient measures at the first signs of a mold problem in the house.

What the majority of people don’t know, however, is how to determine the extent of the damage and decide whether professional help is necessary or not. In some cases – when the contaminated area is small and the affected materials are easy to clean – the homeowner may be able to take care of the problem on their own. In others, professional mold removal and remediation is the only viable option.

 

Containment of Mold Contaminated Areas

Before any mold is removed from a building, it is important to assess the mold contamination area. How severe the infestation is, along with the area affected, will determine whether limited or full containment must be used during the removal process. The standard way to determine what level of containment is needed is by size; the larger the area affected, the higher the chance of exposure. Also the exposure to other areas of the home or commercial building. However, even if the area is small, if the mold infestation is severe, it could warrant full containment measures.

  • Limited. In most cases, areas smaller than 100 square feet require only limited containment before removal of the mold can begin. All vents and outside airways must also be sealed.
  • Full. In larger areas or cases of heavy mold growth, full containment is needed. This includes using a double layer of polyethylene sheeting. There should be an airlock space between the mold removal area and the clean area of the building where workers enter or leave the space. Negative pressure using exhaust fans should be used, creating a sealed area that retards mold spores from escaping.

 

 5 Levels of Mold Remediation

  • Level I (10 square feet or less)

Smaller infestations categorized in level I is mostly found on ceilings or baseboards. Level I mold contamination may be cleaned without hiring a mold remediator, but there are several important safety precautions that you need to know :

  1. Do not attempt cleaning mold if you suffer from asthma, allergies, or immune disorders
  2. Wear gloves, eye protection, and an N95 disposable respirator
  3. Vacate from your work area any infants less than 12 months old, individuals recovering from recent surgery, anyone with a suppressed immune system, or people with chronic lung diseases such as asthma, sever allergies, emphysema, etc.
  4. Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from your home in a sealed plastic bag to prevent an infestation in another part of your home.
  5. Clean your work area when you’re done with a damp cloth or mop.
  6. Make sure all areas are left dry and visibly free of mold contamination.
  • Level II (10-30 square feet)

To remove mold from an area category the size of level II (probably one wall panel), the same precautions used in level I should be taken as well as the following :

  1. Moldy materials should be covered with plastic sheets and sealed with tape before any handling or removal of materials. This will contain dust and debris. It may be wise to double wrap in plastic before escorting the moldy material from your home.
  2. WHen the mold removal is finished, vacuum the work area with a HEPA vacujum. Clean the area with a damp cloth or mop.
  • Level III (30-100 square feet)

Mold contamination this size (patches of mold on several wall panels), should still be handled with the same precautions as level I and II as well as the following added measures :

  1. Seal ventilation ducts/grills in the work area and areas directly adjacent with plastic sheeting.
  2. Vacate everyone from your work area until work is completed. Further vacate adjacent work areas of any infants less than 12 months old, individuals recovering from recent surgery, anyone with a suppressed immune system, or people with chronic lung diseases such as astma, sever allergies, emphysema, etc.
  • Level IV (greater than 100 square feet)

An infestation depending on how much greater than 100 square feet may require the assistance of a mold remediator. If not, the same requirements should be followed as were needed in levels I, II, and III along with the following :

  1. Every worker must be trained in the handling of hazardous materials and equipped with full face respirators with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cartridges, with disposable protective clothing covering both head and shoes.
  2. Make sure workers completely isolate hteir work area from the rest of your home with sheeting sealed with duct tape, including ventilation ducts/grills, fixtures, and any other openings.
  3. Make sure workers set up and use a “decontamination room,” or a chamber taped off with plastic sheeting. The outside of sealed bags containing contaminated material should be wiped down with a damp cloth or HEPA vacuumed in the decontamination chamber prior to their removal.
  4. Air monitoring should be conducted prior to moving back into your home to determine if it is fit to reoccupy.
  • Level V (Air Conditioners and HVAC Systems)

If there is a small area of mold growth beneath your air conditioning system it would be safe to apply precautions from levels I and II to remediate the mold contamination. However, all remediation procedures for air conditioning units and HVAC systems should be left to professionals. Procedures for level V remediation for areas larger than 10 square feet are the same for all previous levels with the following precautionary measures added :

  1. Shut down the HVAC system prior to remediation.
  2. Growth-supporting materials that are contaminated, such as the patper on the insulation of interior lined ducts and filters, should be removed and sealed in plastic bags.
  3. A variety of biocides – broad spectrum antimicrobial agents designed to prevent the growth of microorganisms – are recommended by HVAC manufacturers for use with HVAC components, such as cooling coils and condensation pans. HVAC manufacturers should be consulted for the prodcuts they recommend for use in their systems.

 

5 Steps to Proper Mold Removal

Mold has had its 15 minutes of fame over the last few years. Though the hype has died down, mold—and mold remediation—in homes is still an important issue. Customer complaints require home builders to have a fast action plan, both to clean up the mold problem and to show customers that a quality home builder (you) is looking out for their health and safety and the durability of their home.

There are two important things to remember about mold:

  1. Prevent it by doing things right the first time
  2. When you do face mold, take care of it immediately.

The following steps, which can be adapted to fit within your company’s policy, serve as a basic process for quickly remediating mold problems.

Step 1: Learn about moisture

Step 2: Document the mold problem and create a remediation plan

Step 3: Calculate the extent of the mold contamination

Step 4: Remediate mold contamination

Step 5: Determine if cleanup has been successful

 

Introduction

Concern about indoor exposure to mold has been increasing as the public becomes aware that exposure to mold can cause a variety of health effects and symptoms, including allergic reactions. This document presents guidelines for the remediation/cleanup of mold and moisture problems in schools and commercial buildings; these guidelines include measures designed to protect the health of building occupants and remediators. It has been designed primarily for:

  • Building managers
  • Custodians
  • Others who are responsible for commercial building and school maintenance

It should serve as a reference for potential mold and moisture remediators. Using this document, individuals with little or no experience with mold remediation should be able to make a reasonable judgment as to whether the situation can be handled in-house. It will help those in charge of maintenance to evaluate an in-house remediation plan or a remediation plan submitted by an outside contractor1. Contractors and other professionals who respond to mold and moisture situations in commercial buildings and schools may also want to refer to these guidelines.