Guide to Mold Removal
The appearance of mold in the home or workplace can naturally be a cause for alarm. Mold is highly toxic and can contribute to a wide range of serious health issues, as well as property damage. A timely response is crucial for keeping these mold-related problems in check.
In this guide on mold removal, we'll cover what you need to know about the mold removal process, and how Mold KO can help you address this common issue.
What Causes Mold Growth Inside the Home?
For mold growth to occur, it needs two things: moisture and a food source. As the CDC explains, many indoor materials actually provide nutrients that mold uses to grow.
These food sources may include:
- ceiling tiles
When these materials get wet, any mold spores that are present will have everything they need to grow. Mold spores are often already inside your home after coming in through open windows or getting attached to your clothes. Once enough moisture is present, the spores will begin to grow.
Because of this, mold growth most often occurs after flooding or a leak. Areas with high humidity (at 70% or higher) are also more likely to experience mold growth. This is why bathrooms and basements are often at higher risk of mold outbreaks when they don't have adequate ventilation.
Can Mold Cause Health Problems?
Exposure to mold presents a notable health risk. As the EPA explains, "Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people."
Individuals with allergies are also at risk of more severe reactions, such as fatigue, shortness of breath, and coughing. Early mold exposure has also been linked to the development of asthma in children.
Regardless of the makeup of your household, mold remediation should be a priority for keeping everyone healthy - particularly children and at-risk individuals.
Are There Any Federal Regulations Regarding In-House Mold?
Despite the health risks associated with mold, there are currently no federal regulations in place for mold removal guidelines. However, several states and the District of Columbia have either implemented or are planning to enact laws regulating mold remediation services.
For example, in Washington DC, regulations specify education and experience requirements for licensed mold assessors and remediators, while also requiring that larger areas of contamination only be addressed by licensed professionals.
What Does the Mold Removal Process Look Like?
After discovering mold contamination on your property, calling a professional is key to eliminating the issue. By following important mold removal guidelines, licensed mold remediators ensure total removal of the mold, while also helping to prevent future outbreaks.
Step 1: Locate the source of moisture
The first step is locating the source of the moisture that is contributing to the mold leak. This is accomplished by using equipment such as moisture meters and thermal imaging cameras. These tools allow technicians to detect all areas where mold is growing, as well as where the moisture contributing to its growth is coming from.
Preventive mold actions, like fixing the source of the moisture is essential for ensuring that mold doesn't come back in the future. This could involve fixing a leaky pipe, installing a ventilation fan in the bathroom to reduce humidity, or even repairing a roof leak. Read more about Mold Containment the way professionals secure the area of mold remediation so that no other unaffected areas will be contaminated during mold removal.
Step 2: Secure the area for mold remediation
As a natural side effect of the mold removal process, mold spores will be released into the air as technicians remove contaminated materials and clean the affected area. Without proper precautions, this could result in mold spores spreading throughout the house - potentially leading to new outbreaks in other locations.
To prevent this, technicians will apply plastic sheeting to block off the mold-infested area from the rest of the house before beginning the remediation process. This may also include placing plastic over the air vents. Negative air pressure systems are also used to keep spores from escaping this area.
Step 3: Wear protective gear before entering the affected area
Because mold exposure can cause a variety of medical ailments, technicians must use protective gear throughout the mold removal process. Protective gear used during the mold removal process includes N95 face masks, goggles, gloves, and disposable coveralls. This equipment protects technicians' lungs, eyes, and skin from the irritating effects of the mold.
Step 4: Physical removal of contaminated building materials
While materials that have been damaged by mold can sometimes be restored, this isn't always the case. Any items that are considered unsalvageable must be removed from the building before cleaning the area. Items that soak up moisture, such as carpet, insulation, and drywall, can become completely rotted and overrun with mold. Sometimes, furniture and other personal belongings may also need to be removed.
These materials are removed inside plastic coverings to prevent spreading additional mold spores throughout the house.
Step 5: Thorough cleaning process
Once all contaminated materials have been removed from the area, mold treatment can begin. Areas that have been affected by mold are sprayed with an EPA-registered fungicide, which not only kills currently living mold spores, but also prevents future growth. These fungicides are non-toxic to humans. After mold removal is completed, the next step is mold restoration process.
Step 6: Vacuum all exposed surfaces with HEPA equipment
HEPA air filters and scrubbers are also used to eliminate airborne mold spores and remove mold growth from hard surfaces. HEPA filters are designed to remove 99.97% of mold spores, dust, and other airborne pollutants. Combined with the use of fungicide, this equipment effectively eliminates all mold spores that may be present in the home.
Step 7: Dispose of mold-contaminated items
Finally, all mold-contaminated items that cannot be restored will be thrown away. This includes the protective barriers the technicians used as part of the mold removal process. Safe disposal of contaminated items will help prevent future mold growth.
How Soon Can You Rebuild After Remediation is Finished?
In some cases, the mold removal process may involve the disposal of drywall and other building materials. To fully restore the affected area to normal, you may need to do some rebuilding and remodeling - particularly if the moisture leak caused structural damage to walls, floors, or ceilings.
Because every mold remediation project is unique, it is best to ask your technician how soon you can rebuild after their work is complete. The scope of the mold removal process and the need to monitor for new growth will likely influence how quickly you can rebuild.
Who Should You Call For Mold Remediation?
While water leaks and other maintenance issues can lead to widespread mold growth, this problem can be effectively addressed with a comprehensive mold removal process. By locating and addressing the source of the moisture, removing contaminated materials, and cleaning the area to prevent mold spore growth, our technicians will keep your property clean and healthy.
If you've identified mold growth on your property, don't wait. Get the help you need by calling Mold KO at (888) 253-4551. With the latest tech and procedures, we won't just eliminate mold. We'll make sure that it doesn't come back.