Mold remediation and mold assessment are tools used to by the mold remediation industry as a process or protocol that includes identifying mold and the hazard they causes that will lead to mold infestation. Mold remediation is the term typically used in describing the identifying and removal of the mold spores and mold in a particular area or zone of your home or business.
Molds are everywhere and they are a unique part of our environment. Mold is Mother Nature’s way of cleaning up our environment. Mold is found in our homes, work and office spaces. When mold spores come in contact with water and a nutrient load they can become toxic the human body. Certain molds will produce mycotoxins that will create a toxic environment causing serious health risks to humans and animals.
Mycotoxins are produced by certain molds that are commonly referred to as “toxic mold”. Prolonged exposure to toxic molds can result in severe cold and flu like symptoms ranging from sinus problems, bleeding lungs, neurological problems and in the most extreme cases of toxic mold exposure, fatality may result.
Molds will grow on just about anything where dampness, moisture and humidity are present. The spores float through the air seeking out a nutrient rich place to land. Spores will produce mold when they come in contact with proper nutrients such as cellulose in the form of paper, drywall and wood just to name a few. Basement flooding, leaky roofs and indoor plumbing problems can all contribute to the growth of mold in our homes and work place. Dangerous molds will begin to grow after a flood within 24 hours. Underlying carpet padding, subflooring and lower levels are the most susceptible to mold growth.
Visually identifying mold and the cause is one of the more difficult jobs for a mold remediation specialist. Example: If mold is causing problems in certain times of the year only, then it is likely that your home is either extremely well built and tightly constructed or too vented. Newer built homes are constructed better than ever, to the point they are almost air tight trapping heat and humidity causing condensation to build creating a dangerous breeding ground for mold spores. These homes are more susceptible in the hot summer months and the effects of high humidity levels in the home. Moisture and dampness will be trapped, creating a mold spore haven where mold will flourish. Venting bathroom exhaust fans into the attic can also cause a humidity buildup creating moisture that molds require to grow and thrive. In the winter months hot air from lower level living spaces can escape into the ceiling and create condensation further feeding the growth of mold. In newer constructed homes it is extremely important that you maintain a well ventilated home.
Visually assessing a possible mold infestation is the first step in mold remediation. Mold inspectors will investigate the area of concern first with a visual inspection. The inspector will then perform mold testing by taking random samples and submitting the to an AIHA approved laboratory to establish the types of spores and mold growth. This type of inspection will give the inspector a general idea and the amount of remediation the may be required and establish a preferred mold removal protocol.
Mold remediation consists of first drying out the affected area and controlling the source of the water or moisture that contributed to the mold growth. Some of the more common drying application a mold remediation will employ is industrial fans and ventilation vent fans exposing the area to maximum air circulation. Dehumidifiers and special air conditioners may be employed in order to maximize moisture removal.
The next step is to remove spores, mold and clean contaminated material from the area removing contaminated material (carpets, rugs, sheetrock, building materials) in a way that won’t contaminate the areas that are unaffected by molds. Killing mold is not enough; molds and spores that create mold must be removed and disposed of. These materials should be placed in an impervious bag and discarded in the proper manor, typically in a land fill.
Killing mold requires a proper approved mold cleaning solution approved by the EPA. Mold growth can be controlled with a few simple life style changes. Consider investing in a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers are a great way of removing excess humidity and controlling the dampness in your home. Air conditioners will also help with regulating the air quality in your home. Consider hiring an air quality specialist to evaluate your home and make some suggestions.
By: Bradley Skierkowski