Mold Removal 101: How Do Professionals Remove Mold?
Did you know that there are about 100,000 known species of fungi? Or that 500 of these, according to the CDC, can be harmful to people? These include Aspergillus and Stachybotrys, which, unfortunately, are common in homes.
At the very least, molds appear to contribute to about four in 10 cases of asthma attacks in US households. In addition, long-term exposure to them may cause allergy and asthma development.
With all that said, it’s best to remove mold growths as soon as you see them at home. The sooner you do, the sooner you can stop them from proliferating and wreaking havoc to your indoor air.
To that end, we’ve come up with this guide on how professional mold removal works. Read on to learn what to expect when you hire a reputable mold remediation service.
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Some states require professional mold removal services to carry a mold-related license. In the State of New York, for instance, this applies to any business engaged in mold remediation. In the Empire State, “mold remediation” includes mold removal, clean up, and containment.
Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Texas are other states that require mold removal licensure. Some local laws may still apply in other areas, though, so be sure to check with your city government.
Thorough Inspection of the Mold Problem
When you reach out to mold removal companies, the first thing they’ll ask you is how big the problem is. If it’s less than 10 square feet, a reliable contractor is likely to advise you about DIY options.
If you still want to hire them, that’s the time they’ll provide you an initial quote. However, they’ll also ask for your permission to conduct a thorough mold inspection. This will allow them to determine the extent of the issue as well as the exact type of mold they need to deal with.
After the inspection, the mold experts will give you a more accurate cost estimate. According to OC Restoration, the final cost may be lower than the initial quote. Meaning, your actual bill may be lower, depending on the extent of your mold problems.
For this reason, make sure you choose a mold removal company that offers a free assessment.
Evaluation of Potential Mold Causes
Before starting the job, the mold removal team will first determine the source of mold. This is especially important if your problem didn’t occur due to indoor flooding. Unless you find and treat the source of excess moisture, you’ll keep seeing molds all over your home.
That’s why a respectable mold remediation company will first pinpoint the problem source. To do this, they will use a hygrometer to measure your home’s indoor relative humidity (RH). This device will let them know which areas of your home have high levels of indoor RH.
Mold experts will also use water leak detectors and meters to find hidden plumbing leaks. Moreover, they will use infrared cameras to pick up abnormal temperature variations. Once they find potential leak “hotspots,” they’ll advise you to call a licensed plumber.
Again, that’s because molds will keep growing so long as there’s excess moisture in your home. These microorganisms thrive in indoor environments with an RH level of 70% or higher. They also take as little as 24 to 48 hours to multiply and spread.
Utilization of Proper Personal Protective Equipment
From the time of the inspection itself, the mold removal team will already wear proper gear. At the very least, these include gloves, goggles or eye protection, and an N-95 respirator. However, if the job includes toxic black mold removal, they’re likely to wear a hazmat suit.
Sealing of the Infected Areas
The mold removal pros will also need to seal off the rooms that they will treat. This is a vital step to mold containment, as mold spores can mix with the air during removal. If they do, they can spread and wreak havoc to other parts of your home.
To seal the areas, the team will affix polyethylene sheeting from the ceiling to the floor. They may also use a fan to keep a negative air pressure within the treatment area. The fan should directly exhaust the air to the outside of your home.
The mold remediation experts will also cover all HVAC supply and return vents and ducts. They must seal gaps around doors, too, to ensure spores don’t contaminate other rooms.
Removal of Contaminated Materials
The mold remediation team will remove all wet and mold-infested porous materials. For materials that are still salvageable, the experts will use a wet vacuum. However, they must make sure that the materials are damp enough to avoid stirring up mold spores.
For non-porous (hard) surfaces, the pros should use the damp clean-up method. This will involve wiping or scrubbing the surfaces with water and detergent. They must wipe it completely dry right after.
All the materials they remove will go into thick plastic bags, which they then tightly seal. They must also double-bag all the removed items to prevent possible leaks.
Air Cleaning and Scrubbing
After the physical removal of the infestation, the mold experts will then clean the air. You can expect them to use High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) air scrubbers. They will also utilize air exchangers to replace the indoor air with fresh outdoor air.
During this time, the mold remediation team will also dry out the entire room. They must do this as any excess moisture can trigger future mold growths.
Sanitization, Disinfection, and Cleanup of the Treated Area
You can also expect the mold removal experts to sanitize and disinfect the treated area. They will use EPA-approved disinfectants to kill any lingering pathogens on surfaces. They will also take all garbage bags with them for proper disposal.
Hire Professionals to Remove Mold Infestations Safely
There you have it, your ultimate guide on what to expect when you hire professionals to remove mold at home. Now that you know, be sure to ask your prospects about their methods. At the very least, their processes should mimic everything in this guide.
If a lot is missing, or if they don’t care to share any info with you, take that as a sign to look for another company. Dependable mold remediation experts always take the time to educate their clients.
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