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Mold Detection & Remediation

The first question is – do you have mold or do you suspect that you have mold? If so, you want certified mold detectives and remediators to assess your situation. Testing is something that is done independently, if you feel you need to test. Our approach is simpler – if you have mold, no necessity to test if you want the situation remediated. Once remediated, regardless of the type of mold, it will be gone. We can detect mold – so can you. If you have moisture in your basement, and organic materials, i.e. – the paper on drywall, clothing, boxes, furniture, – then you could have mold. Look for discoloration, but your nose and eyes are usually the best detector. Regardless, the first step in solving an indoor air quality and mold problem is stopping the source of moisture. Next is to remove the mold growth.

Mold spores are a common component of household dust and in nature, they are ever-present. In large quantities, they can and often do present a health hazard, with the possibility of respiratory problems and allergic reactions.

Some molds produce mycotoxins, which can pose serious health risks to both humans and animals. Continued exposure to high levels of mycotoxins can lead to neurological problems, and in rare cases death. Prolonged exposure, e.g. home and workplace exposure can
be particularly harmful. The term’ toxic mold’ does not refer to all molds; it specifically refers to molds that produce mycotoxins, such as Stachybotrys Chartarum.

If you have any concerns about mold, we believe that mold remediation is worth the cost, but beware of companies that charge exorbitant amounts. Although your family’s health depends on you taking action, removing the moisture first is critical or you are just wasting your money. Call The Foundation Expert at (877) 344-1155 and let one of our certified professionals come out
and analyze your situation.

Causes / Growing conditions
Mold spores and fungi are living organisms found in all environments, both inside and outside; they can grow on almost any organic substance when moisture is present. When the conditions are ‘right’ molds reproduce and make spores that are then carried by air currents. When these spores land on a surface that is moist, organic, and suitable for life (ambient temperature), they begin to grow and reproduce. Molds are essential to the natural breakdown of organic materials in the environment. Mold is normally found indoors at levels that do not affect most healthy individuals. When these levels become abnormally high as determined by indoor air quality testing or a mold inspection, remediation is recommended to be carried out by a professional remediation company.

Common building materials are capable of supporting mold growth, and mold spores are ubiquitous (ever-present). As a result, mold growth in an indoor environment is usually related to an indoor moisture or water problem. Incomplete drying of concrete or other flooring materials may also cause or contribute to mold growth. Indoor plumbing problems, building maintenance problems, or leaky roofs can lead to mold growth inside buildings such as schools, churches, office buildings, and homes. When flooding occurs, this is
a perfect condition for mold growth.

Common building materials such as drywall, wood framing, carpets, and carpet padding, plywood, furring strips, cardboard, etc., are food for molds. Invisible dust and cellulose, invisible and inside carpet are food sources.

There is no such thing as a mold free environment in the Earth’s biosphere. Both our indoor and outdoor environment have mold spores present. Spores need three things to grow into mold:

  • Nutrients: Food for spores in an indoor environment is organic matter, often cellulose.
  • Moisture: Moisture is required to begin the decaying process caused by the mold.
  • Time: Mold growth begins between 24 hours and 10 days from the provision of the growing conditions. There is no known way to date mold.

Mold colonies can grow inside building structures. The main problem with the presence of mold in buildings is the inhalation of mycotoxins. Molds may produce an identifiable smell. Growth is fostered by moisture. After a flood or major leak, mycotoxin levels are higher in the building even after it has dried out.

If there is a continual source of water (which could be invisible humidity), significant mold growth can occur, but there must be other sources, such as food (cellulose), and a substrate capable of sustaining growth. Food sources for molds in buildings include cellulose-based materials, such as cardboard, wood, and the paper facing on both sides of drywall, and all other kinds of organic matter, such as soap, dust, and fabrics. Carpet contains dust made of organic matter such as skin cells.

Usually, when an incident of water damage occurs in a building, molds then grow inside the walls and become dormant until the next incident of high humidity. This is one method in which mold can appear to be a sudden problem, long after a previous flood or water incident that did not produce a mold-related problem. These conditions re-activate mold. Studies also show that mycotoxin levels are perceptibly higher in buildings that have once had a water incident.

If a house has mold, the moisture may be emanating from the basement or from a crawl space. A leaking roof is another source, as well as a leak in plumbing pipes behind the walls. Insufficient ventilation can further enable moisture build-up. The more people in a space, the more humidity builds up. This is from normal breathing and perspiring. Visible mold colonies may form where ventilation is poorest, and on perimeter walls, because they are coolest, thus closest to the dew point.

If mold problems in a house consistently appear only during certain times of the year, then it may be because the home or building is either too airtight, or too drafty. In the warmer months (when humidity reaches high levels inside the house, and moisture is trapped) mold problems occur more frequently in airtight homes. For drafty home, mold occurs more frequently in the colder months (when warm air escapes from the living area into unconditioned space, and condenses). In addition, if a house is artificially humidified during the winter, this creates conditions favorable to mold. Moving air may prevent mold from growing since it has the same desiccating or drying effect as lowering the humidity. Keeping the indoor air temperature higher than 74 °F (23.3 °C) also has an inhibiting effect on mold growth and the reverse also occurs – cold, lower temperature prevents mold growth.

Leaky roofs, building maintenance problems, or indoor plumbing problems can lead to mold growth inside homes, schools, or office buildings. Another common cause of mold growth is flooding. Removing one of the three requirements for mold greatly reduces or eliminates the new growth of mold. These three requirements are 1) Moisture, 2) Food source for the mold spores (dust, dander, etc), and 3) Warmth (mold generally does not grow in cold environments).

HVAC systems can create all three requirements for significant mold growth. The A/C system creates a difference in temperature that allows/causes condensation to occur. The high rate of dusty air movement through an HVAC system may create ample sources of food sources for the mold. Finally, since the A/C system is not always running – the ability for warm conditions to exist on a regular basis allows for the final component for active mold growth.

Because the HVAC system circulates air contaminated with mold spores and sometimes toxins – it is vital to prevent any three of the environments required for mold growth. A) Highly effective return air filtration systems are available that eliminate up to 99.9% of dust accumulation (as compared to 5% elimination by typical HVAC air filters). These newer filtration systems usually require modification to existing HVAC systems to allow for the larger size of electrostatic 99.9% filters. However, thorough cleaning of the HVAC system is required before usage of high efficiency filtration systems will help. Once mold is established – the mold growth and dust accumulation must be removed. B) Insulation of supply air ducts helps to reduce or eliminate the condensation that ultimately creates the moisture required for mold growth. This insulation should be place externally on the air ducts, because internal insulation provides a dust capture and breeding ground for mold.

Assessment
The purpose of an assessment is to determine if mold is present. We start with a visual examination of the premises. If mold is actively growing and visible, in our opinion, the need for sampling for specific species of mold is unnecessary. Proper remediation will remove the mold, and as long as the water source has been taken care of, further mold growth should be halted. Another method of assessment, which often can’t be prevented, is smell – often one of our inspectors will enter a building and know immediately there is mold due to a ‘mold sensitive’ nose. However, not all molds produce these recognizable mold odors.

These first methods are considered to be non-intrusive / non-invasive; however, using these methods, only visible and odor-causing molds will be found. Sometimes more invasive methods are needed to determine or assess the level of mold contamination. This may include moving furniture, lifting the corners of carpet, drilling, and then using a borescope to checking behind walls, drywall, wallpaper, or paneling; we may also check ventilation ductwork, opening and exposing wall cavities, etc.

By conducting a careful and detailed visual inspection and relying on the recognition of moldy odors, we can usually find any problems that need correction. Our efforts usually focus on areas where there are signs of moisture or signs of water vapor (humidity), or where moisture problems are suspected. The goal of any investigation is first, to locate indoor mold growth and then second, to determine how we or anyone can correct the moisture problem and remove the contamination safely and effectively. If these questions can be answered by simple, cost-effective methods, the the need for mold testing is not mandated and probably not a wise use of resources.

Many organizations exist that provide certification for mold investigation/assessments. However, only the American Council for Accredited Certification (formerly known as the American Indoor Air Quality Council) provides accredited certifications. We only have four mold states with legislation or legislation waiting for approval: Maryland, Florida, Arkansas, and New York. These are the progressive states which require not only accredited certification, but a license. If the contractor you use has a mold license or certification, you can probably trust they know what they’re doing.

Sampling / Testing
We do not do testing as it is a conflict of interest. For example, you request we investigate for mold, we take a sample, and in OUR laboratory find that your entire house is contaminated. Hmmmm.? For this reason, you’ll find most companies that detect and/or remediate, send their test samples, swabs, slides to an independent and accredited laboratory for those results, and you are entitled to see those results.

In general the EPA does not recommend sampling unless an occupant of the space is symptomatic. When sampling is necessary, a trained professional who has specific experience in designing mold-sampling protocols, sampling methods, and the subsequent interpretation of the findings should perform it. Sampling should only be conducted to answer the following questions: “what is the spore concentration in the air”, “is a particular species of fungi present in the building”, “what action can or should a person take upon obtaining data.”

The sampling and analysis should follow the recommendations of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA). Also important is that if and when a sample is taken, the proper chain of custody should be recorded and adhered to. The AIHA offers lists of accredited laboratories that submit to proficiency testing that is required on a quarterly basis.

Three types of air sampling include but are not limited to:

  • Air sampling: the most common form of sampling to assess the level of mold. Sampling of the inside and outdoor air is conducted and the results to the level of mold spores inside the premises and outside are compared. Often, air sampling will provide positive identification of the existence of non-visible mold.
  • Surface samples: sampling the amount of mold spores deposited on indoor surfaces (swab, tape, and dust samples)
  • Bulk samples: the removal of materials from the contaminated area to identify and determine the concentration of mold in the sample.

When sampling is conducted, all three types are recommended by the AIHA, as each sample method alone has specific limitations. For example, air samples will not provide proof a hidden source of mold. Nor would a swab sample provide the level of contamination in the air.

Though it may not be recommended, air sampling following mold remediation is usually the best way to ascertain efficacy of remediation, when conduct by a qualified third party.

Remediation
The first step in solving an indoor mold problem is stopping the source of moisture. Next is to remove the mold growth. Common remedies for small occurrences of mold include:

  • Sunlight
  • Ventilation
  • Non-porous building materials
  • Household cleansers

Significant mold growth may require professional mold remediation and removal of affected building materials. A conservative strategy is to discard any building materials saturated by the water intrusion or having visible mold growth.

There are many ways to prevent mold growth; In extreme cases of mold growth in buildings, it may be easier to condemn the building rather than clean the mold to safe levels. Certain contractors are capable of repairing mold damage – usually by removing the affected areas and eliminating the cause of the excess moisture. There are also cleaning companies that specialize in fabric restoration – a process by which mold and mold spores are removed from clothing to eliminate odor and prevent further mold growth and damage to the garments.

Improper methods for cleaning mold include exposure to high heat, dry air, sunlight (particularly UV light), ozone, and application of fungicides. These methods may render the mold non-viable; however, the mold and its by-products can still elicit health effects. As noted in following sections, the only proper way to clean mold is to use detergent solutions that physically remove mold. Many commercially available detergents marketed for mold clean up also include an anti-fungal agent. The most effective way at this point is formal Mold Remediation.

The goal of remediation is to remove or clean contaminated materials in a way that prevents the emission of fungi and dust contaminated with fungi from leaving a work area and entering an occupied or non-abatement area, while protecting the health of workers performing the abatement.

Cleanup and removal methods
The purpose of the clean-up process is to eliminate the mold and fungal growth and to remove contaminated materials. As a rule, simply killing the mold with a biocide is not enough. The mold must be removed since the chemicals and proteins, which cause a reaction in humans, are still present even in dead mold.

Vacuum
Wet vacuum cleaners are designed to remove water from floors, carpets and other hard surfaces where water has accumulated. Wet vacuuming should only be used on wet materials, as spores may be exhausted into the indoor environment if insufficient liquid is present. After use, this equipment must be thoroughly cleaned and dried as spores can adhere to the inner surfaces of the tank, hoses, and other attachments.

Damp wipe
Damp wipe is the removal of mold from non-porous surfaces by wiping or scrubbing with water and a detergent. Care must be exercised to make sure the material is allowed to quickly dry to discourage any further mold growth. With surfaces such as metal, glass, hardwood, plastics, and concrete, you should scrape off as much of the mold as possible. Then, scrub the surface with a moldicide or fungicide cleaner.

HEPA vacuum
High Efficiency Particulate Air filtered vacuum cleaners are used in the final cleanup of remediation areas after materials have been thoroughly dried and all contaminated materials have been removed. HEPA vacuum cleaners are recommended for the cleanup of the outside areas surrounding the remediation area. During this process, the workers wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent exposure to mold and other contaminants. The collected debris and dust should be stored in impervious bags or containers in a manner to prevent any release of debris.

Disposal of debris and damaged materials
Building materials and furnishings contaminated with mold should be placed into impervious bags or closed containers while in the remediation area. These materials can usually be discarded as regular construction waste.

Equipment
Several types of equipment may be used in the remediation process and may include:

  • Moisture meter: a tool that measures the moisture level in building materials. It can also be used to measure the progress of the drying of damaged materials. Pin moisture meters have a small probe that is inserted into the material. Pinless moisture meters usually have a flat sensing area that is pressed directly against the material’s surface. Moisture meters can be used on carpet, wallboard, woods, brick, and other masonry.
  • Humidity gauge: measures the amount of humidity in the indoor environment. Often gauges are paired with a thermometer to measure the temperature.
  • Borescope: a hand-held tool that allows the user to see potential mold problems inside walls, ceilings, crawl spaces, and other tight spaces. It consists of a camera on the end of a flexible “snake”. No major drilling or cutting of dry wall is required.
  • Digital camera: used to document findings during assessment.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE): includes respirators, gloves, impervious suit, and eye protection. These items can be used during the assessment and remediation processes.
  • Thermographic camera: Infrared thermal imaging cameras are often used (and effective) in addition to moisture meters to double check moisture meter findings, and look at the broader picture. They help mainly in identifying auxiliary points of moisture intrusion.
  • Dehumidifier :[citation needed] If you have high humidity in your home from things like aquariums or house plants, a dehumidifier can help bring down the level of moisture in the air. This in turn will reduce the chances that mold can build up within these areas of your home.

Protection levels
During the remediation process, the level of contamination dictates the level of protection for the remediation workers. The levels of contamination are described as Levels I, II, and III. Each has specific requirements for worker safety. The levels are as follows:

Level I

Small Isolated Areas (10 sq. ft or less) for example, ceiling tiles, small areas on walls.

    • Remediation can be conducted by the regular building staff as long as they are trained on proper clean-up methods, personal protection, and potential hazards. This training can be performed as part of a program to comply with the requirements of OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200).

 

  • Respiratory protection (for example, N-95 disposable respirator) is recommended. Respirators must be used in accordance with the OSHA respiratory protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134). Gloves and eye protection should also be worn.
  • The work area should be unoccupied. Removing people from spaces adjacent to the work area is not necessary, but is recommended for infants (less than 12 months old), persons recovering from recent surgery, immune-suppressed, or people with respiratory diseases.
  • Containment of the work area is not necessary. However, misting and dust suppression is recommended.
  • Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from the building in sealed impermeable plastic bags and disposed of as ordinary waste.
  • The work area/areas used by workers for access/egress should be cleaned with a damp cloth or mop and a detergent.
  • All areas should be left dry and visibly free of from contamination and debris.

 

Level II

Mid-sized Isolated Areas (10-30 sq ft) – for example, individual wallboard panels.

  • Remediation can be conducted by the regular building staff as long as they are trained as for Level I. Respiratory protection, occupation of the work and adjacent areas, and handling of contaminated materials are the same as for Level I.
  • Surfaces in the work area that could become contaminated should be covered with sheet(s) of plastic that are secured in place. This should be done prior to any remediation process to prevent further contamination.
  • Dust suppression methods, such as misting (not soaking) surface prior to remediation, are recommended.
  • The work area/areas used by workers for access/egress should be HEPA vacuumed and cleaned with a damp cloth or mop and a detergent.
  • As with Level I, all areas should be left dry and visibly free from contamination and debris.

Level III

Large Isolated Areas (30-100 sq ft) – e.g., several wallboard panels

  • Industrial hygienists or other environmental health and safety professionals with experience performing microbial investigations and/or mold remediation should be consulted prior to remediation activities to provide oversight for the project.
  • It is recommended that personnel be trained in the handling of hazardous materials and equipped with respiratory protection (N-95 disposable respirator). Respirators must be used in accordance with OSHA respiratory protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134) Gloves and eye protection should also be worn.
  • Surfaces in the work area and areas directly adjacent that could become contaminated should be covered with a secured plastics sheet(s) before remediation to contain dust/debris and prevent further contamination.
  • Seal ventilation ducts/grills in the work area and areas directly adjacent with plastic sheeting.
  • The work area and areas directly adjacent should be unoccupied. Removing people from spaces adjacent to the work area is not necessary, but is recommended for infants (less than 12 month old), persons recovering from recent surgery, immune-suppressed or people with respiratory diseases.
  • Dust suppression methods, such as misting (not soakings) surface prior to remediation, are recommended.
  • Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from the building in sealed impermeable plastic bags and disposed of as ordinary waste.
  • The work area/areas used by workers for access/egress should be HEPA vacuumed and cleaned with a damp cloth or mop and a detergent.
  • All areas should be left dry and visibly free from contamination and debris.

Level IV

Extensive Contamination (greater than 100 contiguous sq. ft in an area).

  • Personnel trained in handling of hazardous materials and equipped with:
    • Full face respirators with HEPA cartridges
    • Disposable protective clothing covering the entire body including the head, shoes and hands
  • Containment of the affected area:
    • Complete isolation of the work area from occupied spaces using plastic sheeting sealed with duct tape (including ventilation duct/grills, fixtures, and other openings
    • The use of an exhaust fan with a HEPA filter to generate negative pressurization, a decontamination room, and airlocks
    • Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from the building in sealed impermeable plastic bags and disposed of as ordinary waste.
    • The contained area and decontamination room should be HEPA vacuumed and cleaned with a damp cloth or mopped with a detergent solution and be visibly clean prior to the removal of any isolation barrier.

In conclusion, after the moisture source has been eliminated and the mold growth removed, the premises should be revisited and reevaluated to ensure the mold growth and the remediation process was successful. The premises should be free of any moldy smells or visible growth.

Facts About Mold and Dampness (From the CDC Website)
There is always some mold everywhere – in the air and on many surfaces. Molds have been on the Earth for millions of years. Mold grows where there is moisture.

Mold and Your Health
Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, molds can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation. People with mold allergies may have more severe reactions. Immune-compromised people and people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may get serious infections in their lungs when they are exposed to mold. These people should stay away from areas that are likely to have mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas.

A link between other adverse health effects, such as acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage among infants, memory loss, or lethargy, and molds, including the mold Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra), has not been proven. Further studies are needed to find out what causes acute idiopathic hemorrhage and other adverse health effects.

Mold and Your Home
Mold is found both indoors and outdoors. Mold can enter your home through open doorways, windows, vents, and heating and air
conditioning systems. Mold in the air outside can also attach itself to clothing, shoes, bags, and pets can and be carried indoors.

Mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding. Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mold can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.

You Can Control Mold
Inside your home, you can control mold growth by:

  • Keeping humidity levels between 40% and 60%
  • Promptly fixing leaky basements, roofs, windows, and pipes
  • Thoroughly cleaning and drying after flooding
  • Ventilating shower, laundry, and cooking areas.

If mold is growing in your home, you need to clean up the mold and fix the moisture problem. Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water.

Mold growth, which often looks like spots, can be many different colors, and can smell musty. If you can see or smell mold, a health risk may be present. You do not need to know the type of mold growing in your home, and CDC does not recommend or perform routine sampling for molds. No matter what type of mold is present, you should remove it. Since the effect of mold on people can vary greatly, either because of the amount or type of mold, you cannot rely on sampling and culturing to know your health risk. Also, good sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable quantity of mold have not been set. The best practice is to remove the mold and work to prevent future growth.

If you choose to use bleach to clean up mold:

Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products will produce dangerous, toxic fumes.

  • Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.
  • Wear non-porous gloves and protective eyewear.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using bleach or any other cleaning product.

If the area to be cleaned is more than 10 square feet, consult the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guide titled Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. Although focused on schools and commercial buildings, this document also applies to other building types. You can get it free by going to the EPA web site at http://www.epa.gov/mold/mold_remediation.html.

Mold Prevention Tips

  • Keep the humidity level in your home between 40% and 60%. Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months and in damp spaces, like basements.
  • Be sure your home has enough ventilation. Use exhaust fans, which vent outside in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
  • Fix any leaks in your home’s basement walls, floors, roof, above grade walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.
  • Clean up and dry out your home thoroughly and quickly (within 24–48 hours) after flooding.
  • Add mold inhibitors to paints before painting.
  • Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.
  • Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried promptly. Consider using ceramic or inorganic flooring.
  • To learn more about preventing mold in your home, see the EPA’s publication “A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home” www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/moldguide.html.

What are molds?

What makes mold grow in my home?

Can I be exposed to mold?

Do molds affect my health?

When is mold a problem?

When should I sample for mold?

Can I control mold growth in my home?

What can I use to clean up mold?

What cleans up moldy furniture?

Should I paint over mold?

Q: What are molds?
A: Molds are tiny microscopic organisms that digest organic matter and reproduce by releasing spores. Molds are a type of fungi and there are over 100,000 species. In nature, mold helps decompose or breakdown leaves, wood and other plant debris. Molds become a problem when they go where they are not wanted and digest materials such as our homes.

Q: What makes mold grow in my home?
A: Mold enters your home as tiny spores. The spores need moisture to begin growing, digesting, and destroying. Molds can grow on almost any surface, including; wood, ceiling tiles, wallpaper, paints, carpet, sheet rock, and insulation. The mold grows best when there is lots of moisture from a leaky roof, high humidity, or flood. There is no way to get rid of all molds and mold spores from your home. However, you can control mold growth by keeping your home dry.

Q: Can I be exposed to mold?
A: When molds are disturbed, they release spores into the air. You can be exposed by breathing air containing these mold spores. You can also be exposed through touching moldy items, eating moldy food or accidental hand to mouth contact.

Q: Do molds affect my health?
A: Most molds do not harm healthy people. However, people who have allergies or asthma may be more sensitive to molds. Sensitive people may experience skin rash, running nose, eye irritation, cough, nasal congestion, aggravation of asthma or difficulty breathing. People with an immune suppression or underlying lung disease, may be at increased risk for infections from molds.

A small number of molds produce toxins called mycotoxins. When people are exposed to high levels of mold mycotoxins they may suffer toxic effects, including fatigue, nausea, headaches, and irritation to the lungs and eyes. If you or your family members have health problems that you suspect are caused by exposure to mold, you should consult with your physician.

Q: When is mold a problem?
A: You know you have mold when you smell the “musty” odor or see small black or white specks along your damp bathroom or basement walls. Some mold is hidden growing behind wall coverings or ceiling tiles. Even dry, dead mold can cause health problems, so always take precautions when you suspect mold.

Mold is often found in areas where water has damaged building materials and furniture from flooding or plumbing leaks. Mold can also be found growing along walls where warm moist air condenses on cooler wall surfaces, such as inside cold exterior walls, behind dressers, headboards, and in closets where articles are stored against walls. Mold often grows in rooms with both high water usage and humidity, such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements. If you notice mold or know of water damaged areas in your home, it is time to take action to control its growth.

Q: When should I sample for mold?
A: You do not need to sample for mold because in most cases you can see or smell mold. Even a clean, dry house will have some mold spores, but not enough to cause health problems. If you smell mold it may be hidden behind wallpaper, in the walls or ceiling or under the carpet. If you suspect you have hidden mold be very careful when you investigate, protect yourself from exposure in the same manner as you would for a clean up. See chart below:

Q: Can I control mold growth in my home?
A: Yes, you can. Dry out the House and fix any moisture problems in your home:

  • Stop water leaks, repair wet basements, leaky roofs, and plumbing. Keep water away from concrete slabs and basement walls.
  • Open windows and doors to increase air flow in your home, especially along the inside of exterior walls. Use a fan if there are no windows available.
  • Make sure that warm air flows into all areas of the home. Move large objects a few inches away from the inside of exterior walls to increase air circulation.
  • Install and use exhaust fans in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.
  • Ventilate and insulate attic and crawl spaces. Use heavy plastic to cover earth floors in crawl spaces.
  • Clean and dry water damaged carpets, clothing, bedding, and upholstered furniture within 24 to 48 hours, or consider removing and replacing damaged furnishings.
  • Vacuum and clean your home regularly to remove mold spores.
  • Check around your windows for signs of condensation and water droplets. Wipe them up right away so mold cannot start to grow.

Unless you get rid of the moisture, and organic materials such as wood, paper, etc., the mold will always return.

Q: What can I use to clean up mold?
A: Clean up mold and take care of the problem by following the advice above to keep your home dry and keep mold out Or call a certified mold remediator.Act fast! Mold damages your home as it grows. Call The Foundation Expert today @ (877) 344-1155!

Size the moldy area Decide if you have a large or small area of mold. A small area is less than about ten square feet, or a patch three feet by three feet square. To clean a small area, follow the advice below. You may use a cotton facemask for protection.

If you have a lot of mold damage (more than ten square feet) consider hiring a cleaning professional. If the moldy area has been contaminated by sewage or is in hidden places hire a professional. To find a professional, check under “Fire and Water Damage Restoration” in your Yellow Pages. If you decide to clean up on your own, follow the guidance below.

Use protection

Wear goggles, gloves, and breathing protection while working in the area. For large consolidated areas of mold growth, you should wear an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) approved particle mask.
Seal the area

Seal off area from the rest of your home. Cover heat registers or ventilation ducts/grills. Open a window before you start to clean up.

Remove items

Remove all your furnishings to a mold-free area. Clean the surrounding moldy area then follow cleaning directions below for the items you removed and the new space.

Bag moldy trash

Bag all moldy materials and tie off the top of the bag. Bring them outdoors and place in your garbage container right away.

Scrub surfaces

Scrub hard surfaces:

  • First, wash with a mild detergent solution, such as laundry detergent and warm water. Allow to dry.
  • (Optional step) Then wipe with a solution of ¼-cup bleach to one quart of water. Wait 20 minutes and repeat. Wait another 20 minutes.
  • Last, apply a borate-based detergent solution and do not rinse. This will help prevent mold from growing again. A borate-based laundry or dishwasher detergent has “borate” listed on the ingredients label.

Clean and wash

Give the entire area a good cleaning, vacuum floors, and wash any exposed bedding or clothing.

Monitor

Check regularly to make sure mold has not returned to the clean-up area.

Q: What cleans up moldy furniture?
A: How to clean your moldy furniture depends on how it reacts to water. See chart below:

Items Recommendations
Doesn’t absorb water and is washable Wood, metal, plastic, glass, and ceramics objects. Wipe with a solution of lukewarm water and laundry detergent. Once mold finds it way inside the wood, it will usually have to be replaced.
Absorbs water and is washable Clothes and bedding. Wash in laundry. Use bleach if possible.
Absorbs water  but not washable Beds, sofas and other furniture. These items may have to be discarded.

Or, try to save by vacuuming well and allowing to air out. If there is no odor it may be okay. Mold can come back, so watch for any mold growth or mold related health problems. Discard the item if you suspect mold is growing inside or outside the item.

Q: Should I paint over mold?
A: No. Do not paint or caulk over mold. The mold will grow under the paint and the paint will peel.

If you have concerns about mold, which is a very valid concern, we believe that the investment into mold remediation is well worth the cost. Your family’s health may depend on you taking action. However, you have to remove the moisture first, or you are just wasting your money. Give The Foundation Expert a call today @ (877) 344-1155 and let us help you resolve your mold and moisture problems.