Members of the fungi kingdom, molds are more than just a nuisance. These micro-organisms love dampness and multiply quickly by releasing ‘spores’ into the area. When inhaled, these spores can cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems, including asthma in people. Mold spores in the air can colonize new areas pretty quickly. So, immediate mold inspection and remediation are a must. Many homeowners try to inspect and remediate mold on their own. Here are the top mistakes they are likely to make:
Mistake #1: Assuming a Visual Inspection Is Sufficient
A visual inspection is helpful, but it is never sufficient. Do not let yourself believe that a visual check is sufficient to determine the mold problem’s extent, the type of mold, and ways to remove it. Before you put together a mold remediation plan, a thorough inspection is a must.
A reputed mold inspection & remediation company will typically test the air samples and the mold samples. While the first test tells you whether the mold spore count inside your home is higher than what you’d expect in your area, the second (swab) test tells you about the type of mold.
Mold inspection professionals also need to inspect all areas of your home where mold colonies may be present. So, don’t be surprised if a professional mold inspection requires access to your kitchen, bathroom, roof, basement, or attic.
Mold remediation is successful only when you identify the root cause of a problem.
Mistake #2: Ignoring the Relative Humidity (RH)
Mold thrives in moist areas. If you can see mold in the crawl space, under the cabinet/sink, or in your attic/basement, rest assured, you DO you a moisture issue. Many homeowners use swamp coolers or humidifiers in their homes. Humidifiers are used to add moisture to the dry air.
If the RH level in your home rises above 55%, it will create an ideal breeding ground for mold. Any mold inspection and subsequent mold remediation will be far less effective if RH in your home reaches this level but isn’t remedied. You can get an RH sensor at a local home improvement store or let a professional measure the humidity level in your home. Trained mold inspection professionals do not ignore environmental factors that contribute to mold growth in your home.
Mistake #3: Trying to Save a Lost Cause
You can remove spores when mold sits on the surface. But, when mold spores thoroughly colonize porous materials such as wood, upholstery fabric, wallpaper, drywall, etc., it becomes next to impossible to rid them of spores.
Trying to repair severely infested goods and materials is a temporary measure at best. Mold removal and remediation done this way are not effective. Your mold problem can get worse in the long term. A trained mold remediation technician will always recommend immediate and safe disposal of affected materials.
Mistake #4: Relying On the Eyeball Test during Mold Removal
During a DIY mold clean-up, many homeowners rely on visual cues to determine whether they have completely removed the mold.
But, mold often grows in areas away from the plain sight of your family members or employees. Tiny mold spores might be clinging to drapes, clothes, or carpets, ready to create new colonies. Mold can grow beneath tiles/carpets, between walls, and other closed-off spaces people can’t easily see.
Mistake #5: Spreading the Mold While Removing It
One of the top benefits of hiring a mold remediation company instead of taking up mold removal as a DIY task over a weekend is that trained professionals know how to prevent the spread of mold during the clean-up process.
To avoid spreading mold spores, it is advisable to seal up the target area (shown in the video below) with large plastic sheets. If you fail to isolate the area to be cleaned, mold spores can fly around to other areas of your home or office.
In some cases, mold remediation companies may also use equipment to create negative air pressure in the target area to prevent mold spores from spreading to other areas of the home or office. A professional mold removal team will also use vacuums with HEPA filters to remove contaminated debris.
Mistake #6: Expecting Bleach to Fix the Mold Problem
Homeowners think they can use bleach to fix all kinds of mold problems. While bleach can remove traces of rigid and impervious surfaces such as bathroom tubs or tiles, they are not effective when used on porous surfaces such as wood. In the case of the latter, mold growth will continue beneath the surface.
In most cases, bleach will do just what it is meant to – bleach the color out of spores. So, there will be no visible signs of mold growth for some time. Bleached mold will continue to pose health risks for people in a home or office.
Mistake #7: Ignoring Safety Precautions
Some species of mold can cause mild to severe respiratory problems. Others release allergens that cause allergic reactions similar to that of other allergies. Therefore, it is essential to wear protective clothing that can be discarded or laundered after mold removal. Respiratory protection, too, is a must. Touching mold with bare hands or breathing in mold spores can lead to coughing, whizzing, and even asthma.
Mold and contaminated materials, including carpeting, fabrics, drywall, etc. should be disposed of safely in sealed bags.
For the past 30 years, twin brothers Dave and Jim Schuelke have run their company Twin Home Experts. Twin Home Experts can be found throughout California, Arizona, and Utah for home services including plumbing, mold repair, bathroom remodeling, and rodent control. Twin Home Experts is also one of the fastest-growing YouTube channels online for valuable content to both homeowners and plumbers showcasing DIY and frequently asked questions.