To fully understand how to treat a mold infestation, you must understand what it is and how it lives, or grows. So, we’ll start with a quick overview of what mold is.
What Is Mold?
Mold is one of many types of fungus. Mold is a living organism that can exist in many shapes and colors, living both indoors and outdoors. Molds live in moist environments and the multiply or reproduce by using lightweight spores, capable of moving through air. We come in contact with mold every day, mostly unaware of is presence. Most mold is harmless in small amounts; however, when they find a damp spot in your home, they can easily reproduce. When spores are inhaled, it can lead to sickness.
Facts About Mold
Is it common to have mold in my home?
It is very common to have mold in your home. In fact, it’s almost impossible to eliminate mold completely. This is because mold is a naturally occurring organism that lives in moisture. Mold grows on almost anything, including paper, cardboard, ceiling tiles, carpet, concrete, and more.
The most common types of mold found are Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus.
How does mold get into my home?
Because it naturally grows outside, it can enter though doorways, windows, air vents, or event be carried in on your clothing and shoes. Mold can also present itself through eleveated humidity levels.
Studies show that 60% humidity levels and 17% moisture content support microbial growth. This means that bathrooms and kitches can very easily be within the microbial growth range, allowing mold to grow quickly.
How do I know if I have a mold problem?
If you have a mold problem, it can typically be seen or smelled. Mold odors are very musky and distinct. Because mold grows in moisture, you may have mold growth behind your walls, sheetrock, wall-paper, or areas that have seen excessive dampness. Mold odor removal is a common necessity when mold has been allowed to grow uninhibited.
Are there health risks associated with mold exposure?
If your home has damp and moldy environments created by water damage or basement/garage flooding, mold may grow to cause a variety of health issues. In some cases, mold may cause no health issues at all. For a percentage of people, exposure to molds can cause symptoms such similar to a common cold. These symptoms include a stuffy nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes. People who have asthma may experience more harsh reactions to mold.
Important Mold Cleaning and Saftey Guidelines
- Always wear personal protective equipment such as an N-95 respirator, goggles, and protective gloves.
- When working with chemicals of any kind, always be sure to have flowing air through your area of use. Opening windows and doors can help facilitate the flow of air while using chemicals or cleaning products.
- Do not mix bleach with ammonia or any other chemicals or cleansers.
Basic Steps For Mold Remediation
1. Identify and repair your source of moisture
Where there is moisture, mold is soon to come. If your home has experienced a basement flood, garage flood, or a leaky roof, there is a good chance you have excessive mold growth where that water once was. Before you can eliminate the mold, you must first stop the water from entering your home.
2. Remove or replace anything that shows mold growth
Removing anything and everything that has been mold-infested in your home is absolutely essential to mold remediation. If you have excecssive water damage using a mold remediation service may be the best option. Mold inspectors have special tools that allow them to test the amount of mold found in the air.
3. Remove all covering debris from water damaged or flooded areas
If your flooded or water damaged area is covered in thick mud or dirt, cleaners such as bleach and other soaps cannot kill or clean up the mold. The affected area must first be properly cleaned up so that the mold can be directly treated with the appropriate chemicals. Using soapy water and a bristle brush will be sufficient to clean the debris from most surfaces.
4. Kill the mold on all affected surface
Killing mold is as simple as using a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup (8 ounces) of household laundry bleach per 1 gallon of water. This solution is effective at killing and cleaning up mold, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Visit the CDC’s mold page for more technical information on Mold.
5. Have your heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning system (HVAC) checked
In any affected home or building that has seen major flood damage, it is very important to have your HVAC system thoroughly checked and cleaned BEFORE turning it on. Allowing an HVAC system to run before having it checked and cleaned could result in spreading mold throughout your entire home or building.
6. Dry all cleaned surfaces promptly after cleaning
To mitigate the chances of mold regrowing on cleaned surfaces, you must promptly dry all cleaned or bleached surfaces. It is strongly advised that you make use of fans and a dehumidifier or air conditioner that wasn’t affected by the flood incident to help remove the remaining moisture from all surfaces. Be sure to follow step 5 closely BEFORE turning on any existing air-conditioning or HVAC unit.
How to Keep Mold out of your Home or Building
1. Mold Inspections
Routinely checking homes or buildings for water damage and visible mold is the best way to stay aware of potential mold growth. Being that we at Restoration 1 are in the business of water damage restoration and mold remediation, we highly recommend reaching out to a certified professional to perform a proper mold inspection, especially in the event you’ve had recent water damage occur.
2. Control humidity levels
Keep humidity levels consistent by using air-conditioners or fans in humid environments and areas. High humidity and moinsture content levels will support microbial development; therefore, keeping these levels to a minimum is essential to keeping mold from reproducing.
3. Promptly fix leaky roofs, windows, and pipes
Don’t allow leaks to continue with any frequency. The longer water is allowed to remain, the greater the chances of a mold infestation.
4. Thoroughly cleaning and drying after flooding
Always thouroughly clean and dry after a flood incident, event if it was a minimal flood. Make use of dehumidifyers or air-conditioners if the flood is large enough.
5. Properly Ventilating shower, laundry, and cooking areas
In many homes, different rooms can have flucuating levels of humidity such as bathrooms, showers, wash and laundry rooms, and kitchens. Make use of in-ceiling ventilation, fans, or constant airflow to allow the moisture to properly move from the area.