If an indoor environment has been deemed to have a mold problem bad enough that a professional mold remediation company should be contracted, it is important to know what is involved in the process. A company that specializes in offering this service is going to have equipment cleaning products that a general handyman will likely not. The difference between the two is often getting rid of the mold problem completely or having lingering issues with the possibility of the problem coming back in full force down the road.
Special suits and masks protect professional mold removers from the harmful effects of inhaling spores and other contaminants that may be found during the removal process. Attempting mold removal without appropriate gear can result in harmful inhalation. Do not assume that your respirator is sufficient for removing mold yourself. Disturbing mold also causes it to go airborne so unless handled properly, someone who is not experienced may actually make the air quality worse even though it “looks” better.
Containment or Vacating a Property
A mold inspector will likely either recommend creating a containment area if the problem is isolated to a specific area. A containment is created using temporary plastic barriers with zippers that technicians use to enter and exit. This keeps the mold spores that are in the air being cleaned within that area. If the problem is widespread they will suggest vacating the property as work is done throughout.
Negative Pressure and Exhaust Fans
A fan that sucks out will help reduce the amount of mold spores present. Good ventilation helps prevent excess moisture as well which can lead to mold issues in your home. There are many types of ventilation fans that can be installed or you can purchase a fan and place it in windows. This is most commonly used when a containment is created as it helps filter out the mold spores within the work area and forces it in a certain direction rather than ending up leaving when workers are entering and exiting. The containment.
Mold remediation companies use various anti-microbial solutions and sealants to clean mold off different surfaces. The strongest chemicals are used when mold has infested porous building structures like wood as this is very expensive to replace but it most certainly must be addressed. Luckily at this point in time there are some very effective chemicals to clean this when 10 years ago workers had to resort to sanding and wire brushes. Any area that has a mold remediation performed should receive a wipe down of all horizontal and vertical surfaces like walls, floors and countertops. The cleaning products used for this are not as strong but just as important.
Both before and after any cleaning products are used, technicians HEPA vacuum all molded areas to have the minimum amount of mold released into the air and to speed up the process of removing mold spores after they have been disturbed.
One of the most critical steps that both handymen and people trying to remove mold on their own miss is the use of air scrubbers. These industrial sized HEPA filters run in each affected area for 48-72 hours where they are constantly removing excess mold spores from the air. If these machines are not used, it is extremely likely that the property in question would fail a clearance test and be left with lingering issues. Each machine is charged by the day and is one of the biggest difference makers in terms of price from someone who has this equipment to someone who does not.
Restore or Replace
One of the decisions that a mold inspector can help with is whether various items should be restored or replaced. Non-porous materials like tile, marble, and granite for example can be cleaned fairly easily during the wipe down. Porous materials like carpet, drywall and fabrics are a different story. While there are certain times like when carpet has been saturated or drywall is showing deep mold growth that is should undoubtedly be removed and replaced. However, in circumstances where levels are only slightly elevated or growth on walls is surface only, a thorough cleaning will usually suffice. This is where having a professional consultant becomes valuable as they have experience with these situations to make an educated suggestion after mold testing has been completed.
HVAC System Cleaning
In the event a property does have elevated conditions, a completed cleaning of the HVAC system should always be performed. The HVAC system is typically not the source of a indoor mold issue like many people may think, but it definitely can be effected and contribute to the spreading of elevated spores to other rooms.
Preventing Future Growth
While all of the above are very important aspects of the mold remediation process, it can all be for nothing unless the source of the water and/or moisture is addressed as well. Many times this means you will need a separate contractor outside of a mold remediation company to help complete the job. For example; roofer, plumber, HVAC, window, door, and foundation specialists. Often times the restoration company you hire will have relationships with these companies and can even subcontract them so you only have to deal directly with one company.