Molds can be found everywhere, as they are a natural part of the environment, and have the important job of decomposing organic matter in nature. There are over 100,000 known species of mold, and most exist outside of homes and buildings. Not all molds cause health issues – in fact, mold is considered a health irritant, not a health hazard—and some molds have been used to create medicines and antibiotics (e.g. Penicillin), or even in food production (like cheese). With this in mind, mold found in homes can certainly be harmful if left to grow and spread through the air, exacerbating respiratory issues and/or allergies, especially in immunocompromised individuals.
WHAT CAUSES MOLD TO COLONIZE?
Indoor mold growth should be avoided – when mold starts “eating” materials, it is given the opportunity to affect the look, smell, and structural integrity of a building or home. Molds can grow on practically any substance or material, as long as there is a presence of moisture, oxygen, and an organic source to consume. Because of their small size, mold spores can grow [undetected] anywhere there is air: inside wall cavities, under carpet, under cabinets… practically everywhere. Even on non-porous materials, mold can grow on dust and dirt that has built-up on these surfaces. The most common molds found indoors are Stachybotrys (“black” mold), Penicillium, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, and Alternaria.
Mold requires moisture to grow. While mold spores and fragments are in all areas of our environment, they cannot become active without a water source; therefore, every water loss has the potential to become a mold remediation project. If the conditions are right, mold can grow as fast as 24 – 48 hours after the event of water damage. When a property has started showing the signs of microbial damage, it is imperative to act as quickly as possible to have it remediated in order to reduce long-term risks to the property and to improve over-all air quality.
DON’T BE FOOLED:
It is a common assumption that mold is not present in the home unless it is visible, yet most of the hazardous spores from mold are invisible in the air. Due to this, the most reliable way to detect the presence of mold is smell. The musty odor that many associate with mildew, is more likely mold in the air. It should also be known that the common myth that bleach has the ability to kill mold, is an absolute misconception. Seeing, especially, that the bleach will be diluted in order to apply, using it to try to clean mold can actually cause the mold to regrow and spread even faster. Painting over mold staining is also a bad idea – the mold will reappear because it has the ability to eat through the coating of paint that has been applied.
MOLD REMEDIATION STEPS
Mold remediation is much more than simply washing away the visible traces; it is a controlled cleaning process, requiring a professional removal and remediation plan. DAI Restore’s licensed, certified staff of technicians are trained to follow ANSI/IICRD S520 and EPA guidelines for remediation. Typically, the proper job sequence for a mold remediation project includes:
Identifying and stopping the source of moisture—A visual inspection is made to detect water intrusion and/or moisture using multiple detection tools including infrared technology for behind-the-surface readings. Air quality samples will be taken and tested by an independent, third-party laboratory facility. Mold testing and inspection prior to remediation provides the property owner with a clearer understanding of the problem, while also creating a baseline for any post-remediation testing.
Setting up containment—Containment is a barrier that separates the unaffected area from the affected area. Leaving the structure until proper containment is established is strongly recommended to occupants. Once containment has been erected, the structure needs to remain secure throughout the project. Breaches in containment can result in cross-contamination and failures in clearance tests
Establishing negative air—Once containment is built, negative air pressure (i.e. a vacuum) is established inside the containment. The negative air pressure is to assure that nothing escapes into the clean area outside of the containment. This vacuum is created using a Negative-Air machine, or Air Scrubber with attached ducting to filter the contaminated air, allowing it to exhaust out of the contained area.
Removing contaminated building materials and contents—Before cleaning, restoration, or preservation actions are taken, an inspection for pre-existing damage is done on any contents. All potentially contaminated contents are to be contained (e.g. bagged or wrapped) before being moved to avoid cross-contamination. Not all contents or materials are able to be saved. Unsalvageable porous materials are to be removed and discarded, because they are apt to create a reoccurrence of mold growth.
Cleaning surfaces—Visible traces of mold will be removed by HEPA vacuuming and damp-wiping all surfaces. An antimicrobial or biocidal spray is then applied, and a wet-wipe method is used on all surfaces. All cleaning is completed within the containment.
Drying the affected area(s)—Remediation is not complete without a thorough drying process. Proper drying will be completed using air movers and dehumidifiers, while moisture-meters will be used to monitor whether the materials are drying successfully. If the affected areas are not thoroughly dried, there may be a reoccurrence of growth due to any remaining moisture settling.
Conducting post-remediation evaluation and repair; it is also recommended that an air-quality test is conducted by a third-party to ensure the cleaning protocol was followed and effective.
At DAI Restore, we know that time is of the essence when mold growth occurs and are available 24/7 for your emergency remediation needs. DAI Restore is there to work with you through all aspects of the restoration process: inspection, insurance coverage, estimating, remediation, through repair. The health and safety of our clients and staff is paramount, and DAI Restore’s certified technicians have the training and experience to return your property to a clean, comfortable, and safe environment.