Mold, a four letter word that every homeowner dreads hearing. There are three things that mold needs to grow: warmth, food, and moisture. It is typical to find mold growth in a shower or in HVAC vents, but in these cases a common bleach based cleaner will do the trick. If mold growth occurs on a porous surface, such as drywall or wood framing, chances are you will need to call a professional to do the cleanup.
Mold Mitigation vs Mold Remediation
First, it is important to understand the difference between mold mitigation and mold remediation. Mold mitigation is to reduce the further damage of the mold (or the cause). Mold remediation is the correction of the apparent defect (source of moisture) and treatment.
We would like to stress that not all mold is dangerous and that a third party should always be utilized to do any testing. Plumbline utilizes a third party lab to test our samples to metrics on the effectiveness of our treatments. We provide a copy of all lab tests to our clients before further steps are taken. We can also make the necessary mitigation repairs to prevent further destruction, or if major damage has occurred we can give you a fair estimate to recover your property.
Does My Home Have A Mold Problem?
There are several signs, causes, and conditions for mold growth in the home to be on the lookout for. Here's a basic checklist to determine if you should get your home inspected:
- Visible growth or report of a musty odor. If no visible growth is detected, but you notice a strange odor in your home, it may signify that there is hidden mold growth occuring behind ceiling tiles, wallpaper, in carpet padding, or on the backside of drywall.
- Health problems with symptoms mimicking allergies and respiratory problems
- Recent water damage due to a broken/leaky pipe, a leaky roof, a basement flood, if the home has been vacant for a long period of time, or a home disaster such as a fire or damage from a hurricane has recently occured
- Recent or potential real estate transaction. Properties should be inspected to prevent unforeseen future repair costs
Once Mold Has Been Detected
First, stay out of the infected area until it is determined what type of mold exists. Mold can begin to grow within 24 hours so it is very important that mold mitigation begins as soon as possible as well as a proper evaluation by a trusted lab.
The next step is to try to contain or isolate the problem. You shouldn’t try to dry the mold yourself or blow air across the infected surface. Turning off fans and HVAC ventilation will prevent the spread the airborne spores to unaffected areas.
You should not try to treat or clean the mold from porous surfaces with household cleaner as this may taint a test sample. Removing and cleaning non-porous items is suggested. The prep for removal of contaminated building materials, demolition, clean up and post clean up should be done by a professional.
Floods, hurricanes, and often times, house fires have water damage in common. Cleanup of water and wet drywall must begin within 24 to 48 hours to prevent mold growth, which can potentially cause more loss.
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How to Prevent Mold:
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Clean Up and Mitigation
Here's just a small list of actions you can take to prevent the growth and spread of mold in your home.
- Cleaning and repairing roof gutters, to prevent moisture seepage into the home
- Keeping air-conditioning drip pans clean and drainage lines clear
- Monitoring indoor humidity
- Drying areas of moisture or condensation and removing their sources
- Treating exposed structural wood or wood framing with an EPA-approved fungicidal encapsulation coating after pre-cleaning (particularly homes with a crawl space, unfinished basement or a poorly-ventilated attic)