The assessment of mold is the identifying location and amount of damage in a home. Mold remediation covers the process of removal and cleanup from an infected area. Mold can be removed with a bleach solution, but the threat of mold in the future remains to some degree. Like many things, prevention is the key. Of course, you cannot prevent a hurricane or a flood from your home. The only remediation for those instances is immediate cleanup.
There are many health issues associated with mold:
- Nasal congestion or runny nose
- Irritated eyes. They can be red, watery or itchy
- Wheezing and difficulty breathing along with chest tightness can occur.
- There can be skin and throat irritation
There are some instances in instances that can cause asthma-like symptoms or actual asthma from exposure to black mold. Some children and adults are more sensitive to mold than others are. People who suffer from lung illnesses are especially susceptible to issues with mold. Damp environments are definitely correlated to symptoms of asthma and other upper respiratory illnesses.
Causes of Mold
Mold is found both inside and outside the house. It can grow on any surface that contains moisture. Spores reproduce molds. Spores can travel through the air. There isn’t a lot you can do to stop their reproduction on a permanent basis. It is a constant battle in the home.
Mold in the home is related to moisture that has not been repaired. It can come from concrete floors in the basement that have not been properly dried or walls that have not been properly repaired after a leak or flood. Carpets, drywall, plywood, padding and any other product in the home, can be a breeding ground for mold. Often, mold will grow and go unnoticed inside walls or furnishings. When there is another high humidity event, it appears and people will think it is a new problem. This is usually the result of believing that the problem was solved after a flood, only to have the mold back after the next rain or other humidity-producing event. The dormant spores will reproduce and present themselves as black mold.
There are three things necessary to grow spores:
- Moisture begins the decaying process caused by mold.
- Nutrients such as cellulose
- Time: it takes 24 hours at least for the mold to begin growing. To date, there is no way to date the onset of mold growth.
Cardboard, wood and paper are all cellulose products. These are excellent food supplies for mold. Any organic substance can be a growth area for mold. Soap, fabric or dust that contain food cells can all promote mold growth. People contribute to the growth via perspiration and breathing. If the home is not adequately ventilated, it aids in the promotion of mold.
Removing any one of the three conditions that encourage mold growth can eliminate or reduce growth. The three requirements are:
- Food source such as dander and dust
- Warmth. Mold rarely grows in cold areas.
Your home HVAC systems will create all three of the requirements. A/C changes the temperature, thus causing condensation. The dust and dander moving through the system creates a great environment for food sources. You A/C is not always running, therefore some warmth will complete the list of requirements. Mold prefers temperatures between 77 and 86F.
Newer, effective return air systems have the ability to eliminate 99.9% of dust. The normal filters remove about 5%. If the air ducts are insulated will also contribute to the prevention and remediation. The insulation needs to be outside on the air ducts because placing it on the inside will provide enough dust to provide a perfect breeding area for mold.
The initial step in solving the indoor mold problem is to stop the source of moisture. Next is the removal of the growth. Some of the steps needed are:
- Non-porous materials both within the house and in the building materials
- Dry wall
- Regular household cleaners
New science has developed a dry fog that is safe and approved by the EPA. It does not harm people or animals. This fog fills the room and kills mold as well as stopping its growth. While this will help with structural remediation, you may have to hire a company that specializes in fabric restoration. They can remove mold and spores from clothing and fabrics that will remove odor and stop further growth of mold and reduce damage to fabrics.
Using substances that kill mold will not stop the danger. Dead mold can also cause health problems. It is necessary to physically remove the mold either with household solutions or hiring a company that specializes in that field. There are several in the Atlanta area. Many of the products that are available for mold removal contain anti-fungal ingredients as well.
Recommendations for cleaning
All of the following steps should be performed by professionals.
- Remove anything that may have been exposed to floodwater and contaminated. Dispose of these things according to local and state regulations.
- Remove HVAC filters to prevent the system from bringing contaminated air into your home. These two should also be disposed of properly.
- Thoroughly clean the entire HVAC system including duct work, drains, filters, tight corners and curves. A HEPA-filtered vacuum should be used.
- Disinfect the entire system once it has been turned off. A solution of one cup household bleach in a gallon of clean water will be adequate.
- Use fans to blow contaminated air outdoors.
- Once all components have been cleaned with bleach, it is important to rinse the system with clean water. Any of the HVAC parts that have come in contact with contaminated water needs to be discarded.
- Once your system has been properly cleaned and contaminated parts replaced, reassemble. Be sure to put smooth-surfaced insulation on the external areas.
- Once you have completed the reassembly, contact a professional to test your system.
There is a large amount of special protective items that need to be purchased to complete the job safely. When you consider the time and financial output, it may be wiser to hire a professional company to do the job for you. They have the expertise to do it right. Your homeowners insurance may reimburse you for the expense of either method. A lot of this will depend on the size of the area that has been contaminated.