Mold Remediation

Mold Remediation

There is plenty of valid concern these days in regards to indoor mold exposure. Public awareness of the issue of indoor air quality has grown over the past few years. The bottom line is the mold growth must be controlled by controlling moisture within buildings. As mold grows, it destroys the things it grows on, causing damage to furnishing and structural components. Beyond that, there are many health concerns associated with mold exposure.

Health Risks of Mold Exposure

Mold spores can trigger allergic reactions even in people with no prior history of allergy problems. Mold spores grow within damp areas, and can travel through our breathing passages, causing a wide array of health problems including sinus and bronchial infections, and asthma attacks. Some of these can come on without prior notice. In other cases, there are initial signs such as sneezing, coughing, and headaches. If you suffer from breathing or allergy like symptoms only when you are in or near specific rooms or buildings, it is possible that mold is an issue there. In some cases, it is just dust, pollen, or other contaminants.

Indoor Air Quality Testing

One of the most effective ways to verify the presence of mold in any building is to test the indoor air quality. This will include a machine that sucks in samples of air for testing. There will also most likely be samples of wood, paint, wall paper and upholstery taken in many cases. Some testing will be able to be done on site. In any event samples should also be sent to an independent, third party laboratory for further testing and confirmation. This will identify the amount of contaminants in the air as well as what those contaminants are made of. The indoor air quality testing should happen both before and after mold remediation steps have been taken.

Preventing Mold

Mold remediation is how mold is removed from a building. One of the most important steps of mold remediation, however, is to prevent further mold growth within the building. There are a number of steps that the mold removal specialists will handle or recommend. Some of these you can even take care of yourself.

  • Repair leaking pipes as quickly as possible
  • Keep an eye out for damp spots and unexplained moisture in the building
  • Reduce humidity within the building and make sure ventilation is properly working and sealed
  • Perform regular HVAC inspections

Clean Up After water Damage

The Environmental Protection Agency provides the following guidelines for water damage clean up and mold prevention.

  • Books & Papers should be discarded. Important or valuable documents can be photocopied or scanned and then discarded. Freeze drying is also a viable option.
  • Carpet & Carpet Backing should have water removed by a water extraction vacuum, ambient humidity reduced through the use of a dehumidifier, and drying should be hastened with fans and/or heaters.
  • Ceiling Tiles should be discarded and replaced.
  • Insulation (Fiberglass and Cellulose) should be discarded and replaced.
  • Concrete or Cinder Blocks can have water removed with a water extraction vacuum and can be dried more quickly with dehumidifiers, fans, and/or heaters.
  • Ceramic Tile, Linoleum, and Vinyl Tile should be scrubbed and dried. Verify sub-floor or under flooring is dry.
  • Plastics and Metals should be scrubbed thoroughly and then dried.
  • Upholstered Furniture should have water removed with a water extraction vacuum, drying can be sped up with fans, heaters and/or dehumidifiers. If it is not able to be dried within 48 hours, you may consider replacing it. If it would be difficult to replace, it would be best to speak with a restoration and water damage specialist.
  • Drywall & Gypsum Board may be able to be dried. If seams are separated, swelling occurs or otherwise damaged, should be replaced.
  • Windows Drapes should be cleaned as per manufacturer recommendations.
  • Wood Surfaces should be dried quickly using dehumidifiers, fans, and heaters. Be careful when applying heat, as it could cause further damage to the board. Treated and finished wood may be scrubbed with a mild detergent as per finish manufacturer’s recommendations. Wood paneling on the walls should be remove to dry, replaced if necessary.

Removing Mold

If mold growth has taken place, special care must be taken in removing the mold. Three levels of protective gear are recommended based on the extent of the damage and the materials being worked with. This includes as little as glove, goggles, and an N-95 respirator. Medium protective gear includes the N-95 respirator, gloves, or half face respirator with HEPA filter, disposable overalls, and goggles. Full protective gear includes disposable full body clothing, head gear, foot coverings, full face respirator with HEPA filter, and gloves. That is to protect any individuals working in the contaminated area.

To help keep contamination to a minimum, lighter cases may use polyethylene sheeting around the affected areas with a slit entry. This should include a negative pressure area with HEPA filtering system. All air flow and vents should be sealed off from the area. More serious cases of mold contamination should be enclosed with two layers of fire-retardant, polyethylene sheeting with an airlock chamber, negative pressure with HRPA filtering, exhaust to lead out of building, and any supply and return vents should be blocked as well.

Some materials can be saved through the use of a high efficiency HEPA vacuum after being thoroughly dried. The content of the HEPA vacuum will be  disposed of in sealed plastic bags. In other cases, surfaces will be cleaned with water and a mild detergent. Wood will need to be cleaned with a specialized anti-fungal wood cleaner. Water extraction vacuums will be made use of in area areas where moisture is still present. In more severe cases, property will be disposed of in sealed plastic bags to prevent further contamination to the surrounding area.

Mold remediation specialists always want to take special care to identify the extent of mold growth and the species, if possible. The confirmation from an independent lab will provide reassurances here so that everyone knows that appropriate methods are being taken to insure the health and well-being of both occupants and removal specialists.

For assistance with air quality testing, mold removal, and mold testing in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, and Connecticut, please call :

MicroZyme Technologies at 561- 638-3581!