Fixing the Problem
Once the mold problem has been identified there are a number of corrective steps that can be used independently or in conjunction with each other to resolve the mold problem.
1. Identify and Fix the Moisture Problem – the most important step in solving a mold problem is to identify and correct the moisture sources that allowed the growth in the first place. Common indoor moisture sources include:
- Condensation (caused by indoor humidity that is too high or surfaces that are too cold);
- Movement through basement walls and slab;
- Roof leaks;
- Plumbing leaks;
- Overflow from tubs, sinks, or toilets;
- Firewood stored indoors;
- Humidifier use;
- Inadequate venting of kitchen and bath humidity;
- Improper venting of combustion appliances;
- Failure to vent clothes dryer exhaust outdoors (including electric dryers);
- Line drying laundry indoors; and
- House plants – watering them can generate large amounts of moisture.
To keep indoor surfaces as dry as possible, try to maintain the home’s relative humidity between 20-40 percent in the winter and less than 60 percent the rest of the year. You can purchase devices to measure relative humidity at some home supply stores. Ventilation, air circulation near cold surfaces, dehumidification, and efforts to minimize the production of moisture in the home are all very important in controlling high humidity that frequently causes mold growth in our cold climate.
2. Begin Drying All Wet Materials – as soon as possible, we begin drying any materials that are wet. For severe moisture problems, we use fans, heaters and dehumidifiers and move wet items away from walls and off floors.
3. Remove and Dispose of Mold Contaminated Materials – certain items which have absorbed moisture (porous materials) and those with mold growing on them need to be de-constructed, bio-bagged and removed. Such materials may include sheet rock, insulation, plaster, carpet/carpet pad, ceiling tiles, wood products (other than solid wood), and paper products. Likewise, any such porous materials that have contacted sewage are also bio-bagged and thrown away. Non-porous materials with surface mold growth may be saved if they are dried and properly remediated (see step 4).
We take exhaustive steps to protect occupants, including minimizing the amount of dust generated. The following actions help minimize the spread of mold spores:
- Hanging 6 mil plastic sheeting (known as containment) to separate the work area from the rest of the home.
- Vacuuming all contaminated areas with hepa-filtered vacuum units.
- De-constructing and depositing all moldy materials in bio-bags before removal.
- Wearing personal protective equipment and removing that equipment and clothing in the work area before moving through the structure.
- Running a HEPA filtered, air scrubbing machine to capture mold spores while venting contaminated air outside the structure.
- Bio-washing the entire work area to pick up settled contaminants in dust.
4. Disinfecting Surfaces – surface mold growing on non-porous materials such as hard plastic, concrete, glass, metal, and solid wood can usually be disinfected. Again, exhaustive steps are taken in this process, including…
Thoroughly scrubbing all contaminated surfaces using a stiff brush and EPA registered disinfectant product designed to kill mold.
Collecting excess cleaning liquid with a wet/dry vacuum, mop, rag or sponge.
5. Applying Mold Prevention Antimicrobials. As an occupant, you should continue looking for signs of moisture problems or return of mold growth. Be particularly alert to moisture in areas of past growth. To minimize future concerns, we apply an EPA-registered mold prevention antimicrobial as an added step. This antimicrobial for a safe, durable subsurface which inhibits the future growth of mold.
6. Rebuilding – can occur following remediation, any post remedial testing and complete dry out. We have limited re-construction services but are happy to refer credible general contractors, painters and carpet installation companies.