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Mold and Mold Remediation?

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.

Do-It-Yourself Mold Removal: How Effective Is It?

Mold Image

Most people who try to remove mold themselves use chlorine bleach, vinegar, or similar disinfectants to get rid of household mold. However, these chemicals are not always adequate mold-remover tools and appear to work only on the surface. Bleach is made up primarily of water, so it can actually help mold thrive. Additionally, these household products typically will not penetrate into wood to fungal rot and do not address the issue of spores that may have aerosolized (become airborne) in your home. When used incorrectly, they can produce toxic fumes that can make you sick and, in some cases, can be deadly because mixing some chemicals produces a lethal toxin.

Ever notice that, when you use a popular mold-removal disinfectant in your bathroom, you have to keep cleaning the same mold spot off the bathtub tile every week? That’s because all bleach does is remove the discoloration mold produces. It does not remove the microscopic plant that will return and grow in the same place. Professional mold-remediation services like us use industry-specific antimicrobials formulated to destroy the mold at its many growth phases and not just “bleach” the discoloration of the mold.

Did you know that you can’t always see mold? When you can, there is usually more of it hiding behind wallpaper and paneling, on the backsides of carpet and carpet padding, in the HVAC system, on top of ceiling panels, and in drywall. A common misconception is that you can smell mold. Sometimes you can, but not always. Another common misconception is that once you find and repair the water problem that created the humid, moist habitat in which mold thrives and then clean up the mold, the problem is solved. Not necessarily. In fact, most likely, you have uncovered only the tip of the iceberg. Mold releases spores that travel through the air in your home and find all kinds of new, nicely hidden places to grow.

So, let’s say you’ve had a water problem and notice visible mold and decide to tackle the job yourself. You get out your wet vac and rent some equipment from Home Depot to dry out the area. Most wet vacs are not built to handle heavy extraction, and you will burn out the motor. Secondly, in addition to other types of secondary damages you may cause, you risk contaminating the wet vac, which will require detailed cleaning to prevent contaminating other areas later.

If you decide to dig around for hidden mold on your own, guess what? When you rip down that wall paper or remove those ceiling tiles, you inadvertently release a plethora of mold spores. And, chances are, you were not wearing the right protective gear when you released those spores and slathered bleach all over the infected area, and now you can add medical bills, lost wages, and a growing mold problem to the mounting cost of that bargain-basement do-it-yourself remedy.

As soon as you suspect mold, do what the EPA recommends: call a professional mold-remediating service like us. Our professionals are trained to follow the protocols required and use the appropriate antimicrobials and equipment to remove mold without cross-contaminating the rest of your home’s environment, to remove existing mold spores, to find and remove hidden mold, and to safely clean or remove damaged building material. There simply is no substitute for professionals trained in mold remediation, who use specialized, expensive equipment, effective and safe chemicals, and innovative techniques to extract water and permanently remove mold and mold spores. Flood & Fire Restoration Inc. has the training, equipment, and expertise to restore your home to a clean and safe environment.