Mold Remediation

Black Mold Removal

By | Black Mold, Mold And Your Health, Mold Remediation, Mold Removal, News

Thanks to increased levels of public awareness, most homeowners now know all about the dangers of black mold. What they are often far less aware of is that unless the proper precautions are taken, undertaking black mold removal on your own can be almost as hazardous as doing nothing at all.

Black mold reproduces and spreads by releasing invisible spores into the atmosphere. Once in the air, these spores can travel throughout your house, from one room to the next, and settle on carpets, walls or other surfaces. If the conditions are favorable, the spores will start to grow and more mold will appear. One small patch left untouched or poorly dealt with can spread and ultimately infest an entire home, often in places you are unable to see.

Spores are released naturally as part of the mold’s life cycle but they can also be stirred up and sent airborne during the process of black mold removal. This is one key reason that the Environmental Protection Agency recommends that patches of mold covering more than 10 square feet should be dealt with by professional mold removal companies rather than the homeowners themselves.

Mold is a living organism and needs food to grow as well as moisture. That food source can be anything organic including wood, paper, fabric and drywall. In the process of growing, the mold can cause major structural damage to your property. It is not uncommon for people who have failed to tackle their mold problem quickly and effectively to find that they end up paying tens of thousands of dollars to repair their homes.

If the patch is small enough for you to tackle on your own, you will save a good deal of money as long as you go about it the right way. The key to effective black mold removal is to ensure you have the proper protective equipment and employ a careful step-by-step approach so that you minimize the chance of any mold being transferred to other parts of your home.

A good respirator mask, preferably with a replaceable filter which is fine enough to stop mold spores, is a good starting point. You should also wear non-porous gloves and goggles without air vents to prevent spores and debris from affecting your skin or your eyes.

When professional mold remediators are called in to deal with black mold removal, one of their first tasks is to seal off the room where the mold is present and use an air scrubber to remove all spores from the area but you don’t need professional equipment to take similar action. Doorways and windows can been sealed off with plastic sheeting while the cleaning is taking place. Pre-soaking the area of mold with a fine water spray will help reduce the number of spores than become airborne. Remember to open any available windows in the room while you are working to keep the air moving.

Once the area has been thoroughly cleaned and allowed to dry, disinfect it with a commercial product or a 1:1 vinegar and water solution to discourage the mold from returning. You should then go over the room with a vacuum cleaner fitted with a HEPA filter. This will ensure most of the remaining spores are removed from the room. Always tightly bag all rags, sponges and filters and dispose of them in an outdoor trashcan.

To ensure your black mold removal plan has been fully effective, try to keep the humidity of the affected room below 55 per cent as it is extremely difficult for mold to grow under such conditions.


Cost of Mold Remediation

By | Mold Remediation, News

In these trying financial times, there is a strong urge to do everything you can to save money. But cutting too many corners when it comes to mold removal could end up costing you far more in the long run but in some cases, the cost of mold remediation can be quite manageable.

The most economical way of tackling the problem is, of course, to do the job yourself. So long as the mold covers a modestly sized area (no more than about 3’ x 3”), it is easily accessible and you are able to locate the source of the moisture that allowed the mold to grow in the first place, you should have no problem.

After paying for protective gear including a breathing mask, gloves and goggles, the only other expense is the cost of the cleaning materials that you will use – if you don’t count the cost of your time that you will spend scrubbing and disinfecting the moldy surfaces.

However, if the amount of mold you can see is more extensive or much of it is located somewhere inaccessible to you, it’s time to bite the bullet and call in the professionals.

The Cost of Mold Remediation

The first stage in accessing the cost of mold remediation for your home is to arrange for your home to be inspected in order to identify the full extent of the problem. While some mold removal companies will offer to do this for free, it is usually contingent upon hiring them to do the subsequent work and many people feel – quite rightly – uncomfortable with this. If only a small amount of mold is present, the company will lose out financially so the less scrupulous firms will tell you there is a major problem, regardless of whether or not this is actually true.

In order to address these concerns, many companies have sprung up in recent years that specialize in mold inspection and nothing else. Because they are being paid a set fee to examine a home, they are free to report their findings honestly regardless of whether or not there’s a fat paycheck coming when the remediation bill gets paid.

A detailed inspection will include the use of specialist equipment which can detect mold spores in the air and detect areas of infestation in cavities or crawl spaces. The cost varies from one city to the next but will usually be in the region of $300. This should include the cost of a follow-up visit after remediation to ensure the problem has been properly dealt with.

The mold remediation cost itself is subject to a number of factors. Moldy crawl spaces can cost anything from a few hundred dollars to several thousand to rectify. If the mold is present in several areas of the house, the cost can easily exceed $5,000. If the mold has been around for some time and caused structural damage to the building, then you could easily be looking at between $10,000 and $30,000 or more.

Although some contractors may offer to do the work more cheaply, this too can be a false economy. Certified remediators have been properly trained in how to ensure the problem does not spread beyond where it already exists. They will also guarantee the work they do. Although they may have good intentions, untrained contractors may be far less competent.

From the outset, it is important to realize that the actual mold removal is only part of the overall cost of mold remediation. For example, in cases where mold in a crawl space is being caused by pools of standing water, additional costs will be incurred to pay to pump out the area, clean it and seal it against future flooding. If the mold has been caused by faulty pipes or poorly maintained air conditioning units, these may have to be repaired or replaced. If tests show that the mold in your home is one of the toxic varieties, then you and your family will have to move out while the remediation process takes place. This may involve a significant additional cost.

That said, the longer you leave it before you take action, the further throughout your home the mold will spread and the more difficult it will be to get rid of. In the end, the mold remediation expenses may be high, but the cost of doing nothing is always going to be far, far higher.


Mold Remediation Equipment

By | Mold Remediation, News, Professional Mold Removal

Every job that needs doing around the house, from fixing a leaky faucet to sanding down floorboards, is always a million times easier when you have the right tools. Mold removal is no exception.

Tackling small patches, or a simple shower mold removal project may require nothing more than a scrubbing brush and a bucket and can easily be carried out by the homeowner.  But larger infestations or those that are not visible to the naked eye can require more specialized equipment.

In such cases, a major advantage of employing a mold removal company is that they will bring with them a range of expensive equipment that can help pinpoint both the source of the problem and monitor the progress that is being made in eliminating it.

One of the most useful items of mold remediation equipment in a professional’s toolkit is a borescope. This is essentially a thin, flexible telescope which enables the operator to spot mold inside wall cavities, crawl spaces, ceilings and other tight spaces that would otherwise be inaccessible. Only a small hole is needed to use a borescope, minimizing the level of damage to the property.

Professionals will also employ humidity gauges to see how much moisture is in the air of your home. If the levels are too high they can bring in a portable dehumidifier to reduce them rapidly by extracting moisture from the air. Portable heaters may also be brought into rooms to assist with the drying process and progress is monitored with the use of moisture meters which can measure how much wetness remains in carpets, walls, wood and other materials.

If testing shows the presence of airborne mold spores, air scrubbers may be used. These machines act like giant vacuum cleaners for the air, filtering out all unwanted particles from the atmosphere to prevent mold from spreading and reduce its impact on the health of those living in the house. Hospitals use similar air scrubbers to remove potentially infectious particles from the atmosphere.

Before remediation can begin, the type of mold must be identified. Inspectors will use hand-held ‘sniffing’ machines to sample the air and take other types of samples from areas of visible growth.  Mold inspectors send their samples to a specialized lab which, after testing, will provide the inspector a detailed report outlining the results of testing and suggested remediation procedures.

Several companies offer homeowners the opportunity to test their own samples. You simply take short strips of sticky tape and press them against any mold you see, transfer them into a zip lock bag and mail them to the laboratory.

For major infestations, professionals can now bring out the state-of-the-art in mold remediation equipment: an organic fog which is sprayed around the infected area using a special compressor.  This fog literally consumes the mold and mold spores in the room.  This method is effective not just on hard surfaces but will also penetrate carpets, clothes and reach right to the heart of an air conditioning system or ventilation shaft.

Vacuum cleaners fitted with HEPA filters which trap mold spores and other unwanted particles are used during the final stage of clean-up in order to ensure the problem is truly gone forever.

Regardless of whether you are a professional or an amateur, the most important items of mold remediation equipment are the goggles, gloves, masks and overalls that protect you while you are in the process of removal.


Household Mold Remediation

By | Do It Yourself, Mold Remediation, Mold Removal, News

Discovering mold in your house but failing to act on it is a little like putting off a visit to the dentist when you have toothache: the longer you wait for mold removal, the worse it will ultimately be.

Small infestations can be dealt with using a range of low-cost, DIY household mold remediation products but if the situation is allowed to get out of control, you may have no choice but to call in the professionals. Inaction not only risks your health, it can also be highly detrimental to your bank balance. It can even affect the value of your home.

How much mold is too much for you to deal with? According to guidelines issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, patches that cover less than 10 square feet – roughly 3ft. by 3ft. – can be dealt with by the homeowner. Once things go significantly beyond this size, though, it is usually best to call in a certified mold remediator.

If you intend to do the job yourself, it is important to bear in mind that household mold remediation requires both time and careful attention to detail. There are no short cuts. Each and every step of the clean-up process needs to be carried out if you want to ensure a successful long-term outcome and the best chance of a mold-free future.

Mold cannot grow without moisture so the first goal of any remediation plan is to identify the water source that is feeding the growth. In some cases, such as following a burst pipe or in the aftermath of a flood, this may be blatantly obvious but if the problem is a cracked and slow leaking pipe or a blocked vent, it may be far harder to track down.

It’s vitally important to devote sufficient time and energy to this part of the process. If the moisture continues to build up, the mold will eventually return, no matter how good a job you do of clearing it up, or the type and expense of the mold cleaning products that you used.

Before making your attempt at household mold remediation, it is important to ensure you have the right protective gear. While only a minority of molds are truly toxic, most are capable of producing a nasty allergic reaction that can leave those nearby feeling quite unwell.

Safety goggles (without air vents to prevent spores getting into the eyes), a good-quality respirator mask and long rubber gloves are all absolutely essential. They will protect you not just from the mold but also from any unwanted exposure to the chemicals you may be using to do the cleaning, some of which can irritate unprotected skin.

If possible, purchase a set of disposable paper overalls to wear while the job is in progress. If none are available, be sure to launder all clothing worn during the operation immediately afterwards.

When it comes to the actual clean-up, hard surfaces like brick or floor tiles simply need to be scrubbed clean with water and detergent or a specialized mold cleaning product. The area then needs to be allowed time to completely dry out. Once this is done, you can disinfect the area with a solution made of water mixed with bleach or white vinegar, which can help to retard future mold growth. Bleach solutions should be mixed in a 4:1 ratio and white vinegar should be mixed at 1:1.

Softer or more porous surfaces like carpet or fabric-covered furnishings may need to be replaced altogether.

Because mold is microscopic, it is important to clean well beyond the area that you can actually see the mold. You should also be aware that the process of cleaning may release spores into the air that can travel to other parts of the house and start a new infestation, months or even years later.

Mold removal companies will usually seal off the area where the cleaning is taking place from the rest of the home and a homeowner can easily do the same with sheets of inexpensive plastic from the hardware store. However, remember to ensure there is plenty of ventilation in the room where the bleach and other chemicals are being used.

If during your close inspection you discover more mold sites, or if after a thorough cleaning you find that the problem has returned, then it may be time to call in a team of household mold remediation professionals after all.