Mold is a problem most homeowners have to deal with from time to time. It was a menace a few years ago, and now its effects have reduced due to effective methods used and awareness among homeowners over the years. With safety being a priority, you are supposed to know these two things about mold. You should prevent mold at first by doing the right things, and when you face it, you should take not hesitate to take care of it. You should ensure that your warranty team follows mold remediation process when handling mold
The following steps can help remediating mold problems:
Step 1: Learn about the moisture
Ideally, all moisture growth is facilitated by water or moisture, and hence you should be knowledgeable about moisture in your home. In fact, assessing the growth of mold involves more than just looking for what is growing visibly on walls or corners of your house because they can grow under or around the walls or corners before they become visible.
Therefore, you should first understand that mold growth is catalyzed
By moisture and then know the sources of moisture or water in your home. This knowledge will help your warranty representative locate the source of moisture in your home and hence locate the source of mold growth to solve the problem once and for all. Even if you keep on clearing the mold on the ground without knowing the source, you won’t be able to eradicate mold for good. Therefore, be a master of moisture to be able to deal with mold.
Step 2: Keep records of mold problems and have a remediation plan
You should document the mold situation in writing or take photos and videos before you embark on remediation. This documented information is very helpful to your warranty team supervisor because it will help him or her develop an effective remediation plan to eradicate the molds for good. A well-documented information will help your warranty team in:
• Approximating the time needed to complete the work
• Determine when to start working on the molds depending on severity
• Knowing whether there are any testing procedures to be done
• Knowing if they will have to relocate the occupants temporarily to deal with the problem
• Choosing who will do the remediation
In the long run, documentation can help your warranty company experts understand more about molds e.g. common species, mode of reproduction and growth to be able to help more home owners.
Step 3: Calculate contamination extent before you start remediation
Since mold growth may be extent, you need to know the extent of mold contamination before you start working. These calculations will help you determine how you will approach mold removal and clean up because you will be having a rough figure of their severity and expanse of growth. Normally, the main aim of mold remediation is to clean up mold growing areas in a home to avoid exposing home owners to a significant amount of mold which would eventually cause health problems. This is only possible if you contamination is calculated to know how you are going to deal with it.
Due to widespread mold problems, The New York City Department of Health (NYC DOH) has developed guidelines to be used in cleaning up mold contamination. The guidelines are used in construction industry to prevent mold growth. Based on the square footage of the mold growth or based on whether mold is located within the HVAC system, these guidelines recommend six (6) levels of mold remediation. These guidelines are widely used in construction industries to reduce mold growth. You can, therefore, calculate the remediation level needed as per the NYC DOH guidelines.
Step 4: Remedy mold contamination
Remediation involves cleaning up of existing molds while still avoiding exposing oneself or the home owners to the molds.
Remediation also involves preventing new growth of molds by amending sources of moisture in a home. Depending on your contamination calculations, you will be able to determine if you are working on level 1 remediation (which is used in small, isolated areas which have mold growth up to 10 feet) or level 2 remediation (which involves 10-30 feet mold coverage). Regardless of the level, mold clean-up process is similar, and it involves the following steps:
a. Repairing water problem – this is important to prevent new mold spores from growing and consequently remedy the problem once and for all.
b. Isolate contaminated areas – isolation for level 1 and two remediations is done by closing all doors and windows between the area contaminated and other rooms in a home. However, for level 2, a six mil polyethylene sheeting is used to cover all doorways and other openings found in the contaminated area. Also, to make sure that the sheeting properly isolates the area, seams are sealed with duct tapes.
c. Suppress the dust – to reduce the amount of dust in the contaminated area; you should sprinkle some water to suppress the dust.
d. Remove materials – after suppressing dust, remove all wet and even mold damaged porous materials found in the contaminated area. If you are not sure which materials you should remove, you can check with your supervisor, refer to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or even Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings.
e. Place the materials in plastic bags – all wet and moldy materials should be discarded in in plastic materials which are at least six mils thick. Then, double the bags and tie them tightly to dispose of the materials
f. Clean the area – using a wire brush on moldy surfaces, clean all porous materials and wood surfaces and the wipe the areas with disposable wipes. Also, scrub all moldy surfaces with a damp cloth and a detergent solution until you’ve removed all the mold and then rinse with clean water to removal all spores that may regenerate.
For level 1, you can clean with a damp cloth and mop with a detergent solution, but level 2 requires thorough vacuuming with HEPA vacuum followed by wiping with a damp cloth and/or using a detergent.
g. Carry out visibility tests – all areas should be clean and visibly free from contamination and debris i.e. dirt and molds.
h. Dry your items – allow your materials to dry so that moisture could evaporate to avoid regeneration of molds. To speed up the drying process, you can use fans, raise indoor temperatures or even use dehumidifiers.
i. Carry out replacement – replace all defective materials or the materials which should be replaced.Most builders hire mold remediation firms to clean up homes which have contamination areas exceeding 30 square feet. If any additional mold is discovered during the clean-up process, the warranty supervisor should update the plan to remove mold contamination thoroughly.
Step 5: Determine whether the clean-up process has been successful
Even if the surface appears clean, it is not a guarantee that you are done with molds! You should carry out tests to see whether the clean-up process has been successful. The EPA document, Mould Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings offers important guidelines on how you can complete the clean-up process. Some of the guidelines documented include this article: http://www.ipcrenocrew.ca/water-damage-mold.asp
• Verifying if the moisture problem has been successfully fixed. This can be done by revisiting your home after remediation to see if there are any moisture problems
• Checking for signs visible molds, mold damaged materials or even mold odours
• As a home owner, you should be able to occupy or re-occupy your home without any health complaints related to moulds
• You can carry out additional testing with an environmental testing
company to verify that molds have been removed successfully
With a good management strategy, it is possible to successfully clean-up molds from your home. However, the clean-up must be immediate and thorough by following the steps outlined above. Personal protection is of paramount importance when carrying out the clean-up process to avoid developing health complications. For level 1 and two remediations, you can use an N95 respirator, eye goggles and hand glove that extend to mid fore arm as personal protection equipment.
Finally, assess mold growth situation before you embark on the clean-up process to know how you will go about it. Also, make sure that you’ve all the protective equipment for your personal safety