Mold is one of the most common household problems that require proper attention. Mold can grow and spread quickly on various surfaces, especially in damp and dark environments. That’s why they are too commonly found in attics, basements, kitchens and bathrooms.
Apart from its musty, unpleasant odor and unappealing sight, mold can bring serious damage in your home. Mold can cause wood and even concrete structures to rot. If not addressed immediately, you will soon have to replace those walls, floors, insulation, wood and other building materials that once cost you thousands of dollars.
What’s worse is that mold poses health risks to your family. Exposure to indoor mold has been linked to problems with upper respiratory tract symptoms in healthy people, asthma symptoms in people with asthma, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis in those with compromised immune system. Mold exposure is also linked to the development of asthma in young children.
Mold in the House: Step by Step Solutions
Eliminating mold is easier these days than it was decades ago. Thanks to the modern technology. Now, remediation professionals make use of specialized tools and equipment to efficiently clean mold and repair damaged surfaces.
Even homeowners can deal with mold problems, but only small infestations. Nevertheless, extreme precaution is necessary as some types of mold can be toxic and therefore require a more stringent removal approach.
Below are the key steps in mold remediation, as provided by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
Consult health professional as necessary.
Did you know there are 12 types of common molds that can be found in any home? There are molds that cause allergy, complications to those with acute illness, as well as toxic mold that can lead to deadly health conditions. After the remediation process, ask the health professional to check for any remaining mold spores and moisture.
Select a remediation manager.
Remediation professionals can accurately assess the size and type of mold that is invading your property. They can also identify which materials have been damaged and need to be replaced. It is important to inform everyone in the household about your upcoming mold removal project. As much as possible, you don’t want your kids and pets to be around during the cleanup to ensure their health and safety.
Identify the source and cause of water/moisture problems.
Just because you can’t see the mold doesn’t mean it’s not there. When there is moisture or water problem in your house, most likely there is mold build-up. They could be hidden somewhere far and dark, such as underneath your sink, between walls, in the refrigerator dip pan, behind your wallpaper, in the attic, underneath the carpet, etc. Thus, the very first thing you want to check (aside from visible mold spores) is the presence of water leaks or moisture.
Fix water or moisture problems.
There are sources of leaks that you can fix on your own using just a few basic handyman tools. But most of the time, repairing water damage requires professional help. Among the most common sources of leaks at home are the toilet (which often goes unnoticed because the leak is often silent and out of view), HVAC system, pool and fountain, and burst pipes.
The type of remediation technique to be used will depend on various factors, such as the area of contamination and type of mold.
Among the most common tools are the borescope (used to assess damage in hard-to-reach areas), digital moisture probe (determines the perimeter of water intrusion), air scrubber (removes particulates and gases caused by mold in the affected area), air filtration device or air movers (creates pressure differentials to easily convert water into moisture), and dehumidifiers (pull down humidity levels). Meanwhile, hydroxyl and ozone generators remove odors and kill germs in the air.
Clean and dry moldy materials.
For minor infestations of mold, there are plenty of handy cleaning products you can use. These include bleach, vinegar, borax, ammonia, and baking soda. These are all inexpensive products that you probably have in your home already.
Nonetheless, proper care is required in using some of these cleaners, particularly bleach and ammonia. For large infestations, specialized cleaning chemicals are used and should be administered only by remediation professionals. After cleaning the surface, it has to be dried. Severely damaged materials have to be discarded.
Even the non-moldy surfaces should be dried within 48 hours after the mold removal and cleanup. Using air movers and humidifiers is an easy and convenient way to eliminate moisture and speed up the drying process.
Check for return of moisture and water problem.
Don’t forget to make a follow-up inspection for the water leak sources. You shouldn’t see any signs of recurring water damage. Even minor leak issues can cause mold to come back. Additional testing may be conducted to verify that the mold has been removed.
Preventing Mold Infestation in Your Home
Mold remediation is an expensive undertaking. The cost can be anywhere from $500 to $4,000, depending on the extent of damage. Once the mold has been successfully eliminated from your home, you should take extra steps to keep it from coming back. The key is to keep the humidity and moisture levels in your home down.
On humid days, keep fans circulating in your home. If you need to use humidifier in your room, turn it off when you’re not around. Keep your kitchen always clean and dry and address leaks as soon as you find out about them.
Mold problems in your home should be addressed right away to avoid further damage and costly repairs. Always remember that when there is water damage, there is a likelihood of mold as this potentially dangerous organism thrives in moist environments.
Minor infestations can be easily dealt with using common home cleaners. However, major mold problems should be left to remediation professionals. Once the damage has been repaired, cleaned and dried, additional steps should be taken to prevent mold from coming back.