Mold is a fungus that grows best in warm, damp or humid conditions. Some common indoor molds are: Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria and Aspergillus. For some people molds can cause respiratory problems, allergy symptoms, skin irritations and even fevers resulting from infections. Because awareness about the effects of mold has increased the need for mold remediation has also increased.
Mold assessment and mold remediation are terms that the professionals at Flood and Fire Restoration use in occupational health: mold assessment is identifying the location and extent of the mold hazard in a structure, and mold remediation is the process of removal and/or cleanup of mold from an indoor environment. The affected environment must remain contained until the mold remediation process is completed.
If you suspect you have a mold problem the CDC recommends using a professional if at all possible, especially for mold remediation in excess of 10 feet. Flood and Fire Restoration is certified in mold remediation. Often a visual inspection is all that is needed to determine if mold is present. Mold may also be identified by musty, damp odors. Specific testing to determine what mold is present is not necessary.
There are several pieces of equipment used to document and identify mold. Moisture meters measure the moisture in an area, humidity gauges measures humidity. A borescope is a small camera attached to a lead line to see inside walls. An infrared camera can help identify higher concentrations of moisture or sources of moisture. And a digital camera documents any evidence. All these tools are used by the professionals at Flood and Fire Restoration for mold remediation.
Once the growth is identified as mold the process of fungus elimination, or mold remediation, can begin. All steps to ensure an effective clean-up will take place. As a general rule killing the mold with a biocide is not enough as the proteins in dead mold can survive and continue to cause symptoms in humans. So safely removing all materials contaminated is essential.
After removing the mold and infected materials, the next step is stopping the moisture source. A small fungus problem may be addressed with sunlight, ventilation, household cleansers, dehumidifiers and building materials. Proper mold remediation requires a biocide and removal of all affected materials including drywall and fabric restoration. Larger problems may include ductwork and drywall removal and replacement.
There are four identified levels of mold remediation with varying cleaning processes and worker safety requirements. Each level is increasingly more intense. Level I is less than ten feet square and any homeowner should be able to handle the mold remediation with gloves. Level II requires respiratory protection and HEPA vacuum. This is for areas up to 30 feet. Level III and Level IV are for any mold remediation jobs over 30 feet. Professional, certified mold remediation by a company like Flood and Fire Restoration is needed.
If you suspect a mold issue, better to trust a professional like Flood and Fire Restoration for complete clean-up, than to have a reoccurring problem that puts your family at risk for health issues.