Burst pipes, overflowing gutters, flood-inducing rains and water seepage often cause water damage in residential homes. If left unchecked, this can lead to massive structural damage, loss of possessions and contamination in the form of mold. Sever backup and pipe burst can happen in areas of the house that are not visible to the naked eye. These are perhaps the worst kind of leaks as it not only damages the foundations of the house but also leads to water contamination, which can often be a much more serious problem than the water damage itself.
Mold is perhaps the least desirable thing someone could hope for in their homes. Once water is contaminated, it facilitates the growth of mold that can seriously increase the cost of remediation as it requires specialized equipment and training to have mold permanently removed. The existence of mold in homes can lead to serious health risks and even diseases if left unchecked. If they are any signs or early indications of mold existing anywhere in a residential or commercial property it is important that experts are contacted immediately before the issue exponentially increases.
What is mold? And how does it form?
Mold is a term used to refer to fungi that grows in the form of multicellular thread-like structures called hyphae. Mold is often found in damp building materials and has the appearance of stains that can have various colors. Mold can be white, black, gray-green or gray-brown. Some mold is white and thread-like. Mold growing behind wallpaper made of vinyl can even appear pink, orange or purple. Other mold looks like clusters of small black spots. If one cannot visibly see mold growth they can definitely smell it as it has a very particular stench that is hard to miss. If mold is allowed to fester in homes and offices it can contribute to poor indoor air quality leading to various health related problems. Mold only grows in areas where there is moisture or humidity. The sources of moisture could be anything from washing machines and air humidifiers to leaks from plumbing and rain floods.
Why is mold harmful to health?
The growth of mold releases spores into the air that can increase exponentially especially in a closed indoor environment. When these spores are inhaled deep into a person’s lungs they risk developing respiratory problems. This can cause severe lung damage leading to coughs and various airborne diseases.
Mold spores are considered as a common constituent of the workplace along with domestic dust. Mold spores can create serious health hazards to human beings which results in respiratory problems and allergic reactions. There are several toxic molds which becomes a major reason for posing serious risks to animals and humans in terms of health. Mold, mildew, fungi, and bacteria are known as the leading biological pollutants. Fungus and slime mold are mostly found in the areas where there is a high level of humidity including kitchens, laundry rooms, damp basements, and kitchen.
Causes of Mold
Moisture is the lifeblood for mold growth and this form of moisture can be created by a variety of different factors listed below.
- Air Humidity
- Leakages in plumbing
- Roof Leakage
- Poor or inadequate ventilation
- Wet or damp clothes
- Dampness in basements and attics
- Ground water
- Sewage backup
Addressing these issues immediately is the safest way to ensure a mold free environment.
Warning Signs of Mold
There are several warning signs of mold presence that can be easily identified if one knows where to look. Here is a list of warning signs that could be attributed to mold growth in residential and commercial properties.
- Visible mold presence
- A strong and musty smell
- Above average humidity levels
- Allergic reactions including eye sores, sneezing and running nose
- Neurological symptoms like headaches, memory loss, and dizziness
- Long-term moisture related issues
- Water stains or discoloration from moisture in walls, floors and ceilings
- Peeling or bubbling of wallpaper and paint
- Warped or bulging walls
- Damp surfaces
Mold inspection process:
- Learn: Clients are considered as the most valuable resource for any organization. So, it is important to understand a client’s problem in detail. To cater for such a purpose, professionals should spend maximum time with the client in order to give the best possible advice.
- Investigate: With the help of the client’s observations, professionals conduct a deep process of assessment of the property. Experienced mold remediation teams start the assessment from the outside space of the property and investigate the drainage, building envelope, potential pollutants, and landscaping. They then continue the process of mold inspection with respect to indoor property space. This step includes the inspection of all water sources such as humidifiers, sinks, and bathrooms.
- Analyze: Completing the above-mentioned steps, a team gets a clear idea as to the source of the problem, how it was originated and migrated throughout the property space. In addition, trained workers use specific tools including moisture meter and infrared cameras to confirm the hypothesis and to develop a methodology specifically for the purpose of customized testing.
- Educate: Workers then share the assessment results in terms of the mold It is a time taking the process to identify and explain the exact source of ‘moisture intrusion’. So, it is important for workers to provide a brief description of how the mold issue has migrated over the entire property. Once the team is satisfied that the client has now a solid understanding of initial findings, the details of the suggested testing strategy are shared with the client, which helps in deciding ‘how to proceed?’
- Test: There are a number of techniques which can be incorporated to test allergens and molds with respect to the indoor It is always recommended to first determine the type of mold. As, all molds are not equal so, professionals make sure to identify the initial source of mold growth. The testing phase is mainly conducted in order to determine that what types of molds are growing? Types of species present in the mold? And whether these species generate toxic materials that are invading the indoor environment. ‘In-depth’ sampling methodologies are incorporated to provide answers to the above-mentioned questions. In some cases, getting mold information is not enough instead proper testing procedures and strategies are required to provide a clear picture of the severity of mold present.
- Report: Mold is then reviewed thoroughly in order to conduct the process of mold inspection in an efficient and effective manner. This way, a proper plan is executed which states clearly how to clean and remove the mold contaminants from home.
- Review: A mold remediation team will make sure to review the entire process of mold inspection in order to ensure that all the steps are carried out properly. This way mold spores are cleaned and removed which results in creating an environmentally safe property.
Mold Remediation Process
It is important to take proper measures in order to prevent mildew and mold growth. Highly professional workers are required to provide the best quality services of mold removal and mold remediation.
Mold remediation including recovery and removal is an arduous and time consuming process that requires a team of professionals to carry out. They are certain remediation steps that have to be followed in order to effectively remove mold from homes and commercial buildings. These steps are as follows:
- Repair the Leak or Water Problem: Fixing or replacing the leakage point where moisture is gathering is the first step towards an effective solution and preventing future mold growth.
- Isolate Contaminated Areas: All windows and doors have to be sealed with polyethylene sheets and duct tape around the infected area.
- Use of Protective Clothing: The mold remediation process results in the dispersion of mold spores in the air and thus it is important that appropriate protective clothing such as dust filters and gloves are used to avoid health problems.
- Supress Dust: Ensure that there are no dust particles in the air. A good way to do this would be to mist contaminated areas so that dust settles.
- Remove Materials: Any material that is wet or damaged by mold needs to be immediately removed from the vicinity.
- Place Materials in Plastic Bags: All material that is damp, wet or moldy has to be placed in plastic bags that are at least 6mm thick. The material then needs to be double bagged and tied shut along with being cleaned from the outside with water and detergent prior to being disposed of as regular trash.
- Clean: Non-porous materials and wood surfaces have to be cleaned using a wire brush and disposable wipes. It is necessary to scrub off all moldy surfaces using a damp cloth and detergent solution until all mold is removed. The surfaces are then washed with clean water and wiped again to ensure to further mold growth.
- Clean the Affected Areas and Egress: This process often requires a HEPA Vacuum to suck all the contaminants from the air and infected areas. Once this process is complete the entire area has to be cleaned with a damp cloth and detergent solution.
- Visibility Test: A thorough scan of the area needs to be done to ensure that it is visibly free of contamination and debris. If there are no signs of dust or dirt present there is likely no mold either.
- Dry: All material present around the infected area needs to be dried off thoroughly to ensure that no moisture remains. To speed up the process professionals often use fans and dehumidifiers so that all moisture is evaporated.
- Replace: Any material that was too damaged to be recovered and discarded needs to be replaced.
In order to run the process of mold remediation and mold removal experienced workers first seal off the tainted area to prevent the mold from spreading. After that, mold affected materials are removed and the surrounding area is cleaned by using anti-microbial agents and chemicals. Once the process of mold remediation is started, trained professionals use specialized equipment to clean the mold spores in the air. These are important steps as in most cases, mold spores are removed from the surfaces but some of the particles are still present in the air which can be harmful to health.
It is recommended to hire professionals in order to conduct the process of mold remediation and mold removal. Improper mold remediation or removal will only increase spores in homes, offices and businesses by producing noxious, allergens and other serious health related issues.
Need a professional mold remediation specialist to come to your home or business quickly? Contact ServiceMaster QRS, day or night, for speedy emergency service. We work with your insurance company. Call (773)388-9200 today!