Archived Mold Remediation Blog Posts
Mold: What To Look For?
When spring is here and temperatures are fluctuating, moisture is making its way into our homes in the most unexpected areas. As moisture sits and humidity rises within the home, mold begins to find its place to grow. According to Houselogic.com, the 5 most unexpected places for mold to hide in your home are chimneys, refrigerator drip pans, front-loading washing machines, dishes, and windows sashes and seals.
As rain and snow collect down in the chimney, they combine with the dirt and other particles within the brick to create a breeding ground for mold to grow.
2. Refrigerator drip pans
The drip pan collects moisture and food spills over time and goes unnoticed from being located under the refrigerator where most people don’t think to clean or even look.
3. Front-loading washing machines
The seal around the door of the front-loading washing machines often stay wet from being closed when not being used, which creates a great environment for mold growth.
4. Window sashes and seals
This is the time of year when the chill of the cold weather combine with the warmth of the inside to create condensation along windows and walls. The dirt and dust particles left on these surfaces mixed with the moisture create the perfect surface area for mold to grow.
5. Air conditioners
The air conditioning units hold the dust, pollen and moisture from the air. With the AC sitting throughout the winter, it gives mold the chance to grow and still be hidden away.
SERVPRO of Marysville/Arlington knows the ins and outs of mold damage and remediation, if you have any questions or concerns about mold damage or remediation give us a call at (360) 658 0506.
How Mold Gets Into Your Home
Mold and fungal spores occur naturally outdoors, where fungi are the earth’s most important recyclers. Indoors, mold needs moisture to grow; it becomes a problem only where there is water damage, elevated and prolonged humidity, or dampness. Common sources of excessive indoor moisture that can lead to mold problems include:
- flooding from surface waters (i.e., overflowing rivers) or from severe storms;
- roof leaks from damaged or missing roofing materials, ice dams or blocked gutters;
- storm-driven rain through window frames, exterior walls or door assemblies;
- leaking pipes, sewer back-ups or overflows;
- damp basements or crawl spaces due to a high water table or poorly managed rainwater drainage; and
- condensation on cold surfaces.
Call SERVPRO of Marysville/Arlington today for a mold inspection
What Is Mold?
The term “mold” is a colloquial term for a group of filamentous fungi that are common on food or wet materials. This includes the green Penicillium species that produces penicillin, and fungi that spoil our bread, fruit, cheese and crops. Most of these are Ascomycetes that produce a lot of spores.
The majority of the molds that grow on damp building materials are found in the soil and are adapted to grow on a wide variety of materials. Outdoors, molds live in the soil, on plants, and on dead or decaying matter. There are thousands of species of mold and they can be any color. Different mold species are adapted to different moisture conditions ranging from very wet to just damp. Many times, mold can be detected by a musty odor. Live spores act like seeds, forming new mold growths (colonies) under the right conditions. All of us are exposed to a variety of fungal spores daily in the air we breathe, both outdoors and indoors.
What To Expect When Mold Remediation Takes Place
Day 1: Kill Mold with Biocide
- Company Prepares: The mold remediation company will park a truck as near as possible to the doorway, lay down plastic sheeting, and run hoses through the house to the mold area. If the mold area is accessible from the outside (such as a crawlspace), so much the better. A good mold remediation company will take care to keep your house clean while they do the work.
- Suiting-Up Process: As with any other potentially hazardous process, such as the removal of lead-based paint or asbestos, mold remediation workers fully suit up for action: head-to-toe white suits, booties, respirators, and goggles. This does not necessarily mean that the mold remediation company will be removing toxic mold. This is the usual procedure for any job they are dealing with.
- Spray Down: The first step of this two-step process is to spray the mold area with biocide. Biocide is an EPA-approved liquid which kills mold. Note that bleach is not approved by the EPA for killing mold. Typically, this first step should take less time than the second step.
- Wait: After the workers leave, the biocide goes to work, killing the mold spores.
Day 2: Spray Mold Area with Encapsulant
Next day, the mold remediation company returns. Again, clear access is needed.
- Encapsulation: The workers will spray the area with a type of paint or whitewash that encapsulates the remaining mold spores. The mold remediation company should spray well beyond the moldy area to ensure that no more mold grows. For example, if only a limited area of an attic exhibits mold, the company will probably still spray down the entire attic. This is more desirable, and you should confirm with the company that they will do this.
5 Principles Of Mold Remediation
- Make sure safety and health precautions are taken by cleanup professionals and occupants. Mold-contaminated buildings can be associated with a number of health problems. Anyone involved in the mold remediation process must be protected from exposure through a combination of practices and controls.
- A post-cleanup assessment by an independent environmental expert. An effective mold remediation cannot be developed without first determining the extent of the contamination to be removed. To ensure that remediation work is being properly performed, it is highly recommended that appropriate documentation of the remediation process be kept by project management
- Control of mold before it spreads further. Eliminating mold at the source of contamination is essential. Once mold spores spread through the air, it will be much more difficult to capture.
- Oversee the proper physical removal of the mold. The mold must be physically removed from the structure. Attempts to isolate mold or remove signs of mold on the surface are not adequate. Note that bleach alone cannot kill mold.
- Ensure that moisture is controlled to limit future contamination or recontamination. Mold growth is virtually inevitable if moisture is not controlled. Moisture problems must be identified, located and corrected or controlled as soon as possible.
- Application of these principles may involve multiple disciplines and professionals from a wide range of restoration and indoor environmental fields.
Overview Of Mold Remediation
Mold becomes a problem inside a home or business when there's excessive humidity or moisture for an extended period of time. The problem can originate from sudden water releases, like a burst pipe or large spill that goes untreated, or from a chronic condition, such as a leaking roof or plumbing. Even high humidity or warm, moist air condensing on cool surfaces can trigger mold problems. It's always best to have the mold evaluated and removed by a certified professional.
Mold can grow almost anywhere in a home or business if conditions permit. If there is visible growth on painted wall surfaces, property owners should be concerned about what may be growing on the wall's opposite side. The environment inside the walls of a house often differs drastically from the outside and could create a perfect haven for mold. If the wall remains wet for a prolonged period, it's almost guaranteed that the mold growth on the back side will be worse than on the front. At that point, containing the work space and removing moldy materials, followed by cleaning of salvageable framing, are the best options.
Certified professionals have the training and experience to:
- Identify moisture sources
- Evaluate mold growth (visible or suspected)
- Contain damage to the smallest area possible
- Physically remove contamination
- Dry materials to ensure that mold will not return
- Perform or recommend procedures for returning property to a preloss condition
Who should do the cleanup depends on a number of factors. One consideration is the size of the mold problem. If the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet (less than roughly a 3 ft. by 3 ft. patch), in all cases it is recommended to call a reputable mold mitigation company:
- If you choose to hire a contractor (or other professional service provider) to do the cleanup, make sure the contractor has experience cleaning up mold. Check references and ask the contractor to follow the recommendations in EPA guide Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, the guidelines of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygenists (ACGIH), or other guidelines from professional or government organizations.
- If you suspect that the heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system may be contaminated with mold (it is part of an identified moisture problem, for instance, or there is mold near the intake to the system), consult EPA guide Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned? before taking further action. Do not run the HVAC system if you know or suspect that it is contaminated with mold - it could spread mold throughout the building.
- If the water and/or mold damage was caused by sewage or other contaminated water, then call in a professional who has experience cleaning and fixing buildings damaged by contaminated water.
- If you have health concerns, consult a health professional before starting cleanup.*