I can’t even begin to count the number of times that I’ve heard that comment. Even though we live in a desert environment, mold can happen anywhere, under the right conditions. Those conditions include:
- The presence of mold spores (which are everywhere);
- A food source (organic material, such as wood, paper, drywall, etc.);
- Temperature (32°-122° F);
- Time (as little as two days).
Here are some things to look for and steps to take if you suspect you have mold in your home or business:
Mold Damage Emergency Tips
In as little as 48 hours, mold can quickly become a problem in your home or business when there’s a water intrusion, like a roof leak or leaking water line. Mold can cause health effects and also significant damage to your property. SERVPRO® of St. George has the training, protective gear, and specialized equipment necessary to handle your mold problem.
If you have a mold problem in your home or business, consider the following facts:
- Significant mold growth can occur in 48-72 hours.
- Mold may present a greater risk to children, the elderly, and anyone with respiratory problems.
- A strong, musty odor may indicate hidden mold behind drywall or under carpeting.
What to Do
- Stay out of affected areas.
- Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
- Contact a restoration professional for mold remediation services.
What Not to Do
- Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
- Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
- Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
- Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.
What is Black Mold?
You may have seen sensational news reports that warn about the dangers of “black mold” or “toxic mold.” These reports can be alarming and confusing, so it’s beneficial to get the facts to better understand mold.
Stachybotrys chartarum is the type of mold often referred to as black mold, and it does produce allergens and irritants. However, many types of mold can produce allergens and irritants. Treat any mold with caution – stay out of affected areas and don’t touch or disturb the mold.
How Do I Tell If It’s Black Mold?
Since many types of mold can cause reactions, you should contact a restoration professional regardless of the color or type of mold. In many instances, multiple types of mold may exist in the same house or structure. If you suspect you have a mold problem, contact a restoration specialist immediately.
When water intrudes into your property, mold growth can start in as little as 48 hours. Consider the following mold facts:
- Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
- Mold spores are microscopic, float along in the air, and may enter your home through windows, doors, AC/heating systems, or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or on a pet.
- Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
- Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed, otherwise the mold may return.
- Mold often produces a strong, musty odor, and that odor can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
- Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
“Mold Removal” vs Mold Remediation
Since microscopic mold spores exist naturally almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors, removing all mold from a home or business is impossible. Many restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold. This is a fallacy, since mold is present everywhere. There is not a way to remove all of it!
Mold Remediation Process
Every mold damage scenario is different and requires a unique solution, but the general mold remediation process stays the same. The steps listed below illustrate a “typical” process:
1. Contact a Mold Remediation Specialist
The mold cleanup and restoration process begins when you call a specialist. Representatives will ask a series of questions to help determine the necessary equipment, resources, and personnel.
2. Inspection and Mold Damage Assessment
Next, they will carefully inspect your property for visible signs of mold. Mold feeds on cellulose and water, and can be hidden from plain view. There are various technologies to detect mold and hidden water sources.
3. Mold Containment
Restoration professionals use various containment procedures to prevent the spread of mold. They may use advanced containment procedures like negative air chambers to isolate the contaminated area with physical barriers, and negative air pressure to keep the mold spores from spreading during the cleanup process. All fans, heating, and cooling systems will be turned off to prevent the spread of mold/mold spores.
4. Air Filtration
The specialist uses specialized filtration equipment which allows them to capture microscopic mold spores out of the air. They utilize powerful “air scrubbers” and HEPA vacuums to prevent the spread of these mold spores while the mold remediation is in process.
5. Removing Mold and Mold-Infested Materials
The mold remediation process depends on the amount of mold growth and the types of surfaces on which the mold appears. The use of antifungal and antimicrobial treatments will help eliminate mold colonies and help prevent new colonies from forming. It may be necessary to remove and dispose of mold-infested, porous materials, like drywall and carpeting, to remediate heavy mold growth.
6. Cleaning Contents and Belongings
They will then clean your furniture, decorative items, curtains, clothing, and other restorable items affected by the mold. A variety of cleaning techniques are used to clean and disinfect your belongings. The restoration professional is also trained to remove odors and deodorize using fogging equipment.
Depending on the level of mold damage, drywall, subfloors, and other building materials may have been removed. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet; or it may entail major repairs, such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business. The restoration step gets your home or business back to normal.
Be aware of what is going on in your home or business, do a visual inspection for mold anywhere there are water lines. Ten places homeowners tend to overlook when checking for mold are:
- Ice Maker Connections
- Washing Machine Connections
- Hot Water Heater
- Plastic P-Trap
- Toilet Connections
- Shower Doors
- Exterior Hose Bib
- Outdoor Water Sprinklers
If you suspect you have mold, follow the precautions listed above, and call SERVPRO® of St. George at (435) 656-9061 to come and do an inspection and offer a plan for mold remediation. Franchises are independently-owned and operated.