Mold Remediation, Testing, Removal After Water Damage
Despite slowing down, the calls from people here in Greenville SC about mold remediation are still quite frequent. This is why I’ll be sharing some more information about what it is when it’s needed and what steps you should take.
First, you should know that before remediation, experts in mold removal need to come on-site and perform a thorough mold inspection before anything else. This is done to determine the severity of the situation so a detailed plan of action can be taken for the safe remediation and removal of the unwanted mold.
The article is lengthy, so in the interest of time I’ll summarize it with these tips and if you’re interested in learning more, you can go through the rest.
Mold Prevention Tips
- Controlling moisture levels is vital — keeping your home, building or office dry and clean will prevent mold growth
- If any area becomes wet due to an accident or other reason, dry wet or damp them within 48 hours
- Leaky plumbing and any other leakage (from damaged roofs for instance) should be fixed first. Pay attention to condensation buildup as well as wet spots.
- Increasing the surface temperature or reducing the humidity can fix moisture problems.
- You can increase the surface temperature by increasing the circulation of air and better insulating.
- To reduce the levels of moisture in the air you should increase the ventilation but only if the air outside is dry and cold. You can use a dehumidifier. Repairing leaks is a must.
- Keep heating, ventilation, and air conditioning drip pans clean, flowing properly, and unobstructed.
- Dryers and other appliances that can cause an increase of moisture levels should be used outside, whenever that is possible.
- Indoor humidity levels should be below 60% RH, 30 to 50 % ideally.
- Make sure that the building is checked regularly and HVAC inspections and maintenance are regularly performed.
- If you don’t have any experience in fixing leaking roofs, bad plumbing or any other home/building repairs, you should not attempt to fix them yourself. Instead, hire professionals to make the repairs for you.
And let me say this right away — this article is just for information so you’re aware of all the major details, not so you can try and to it yourself. By all means, you’re free to do so — but if you don’t know what you’re doing you may make things worse — not only that but you may be putting yourself and your family at risk.
The information provided here should give you an idea of what is going on and armed with this knowledge you can then make a better decision in the hiring of a mold removal company here in Greenville, SC.
When it comes to mold, you should remember these two things first and foremost:
- Prevention is always better, this involves doing things right the first time.
- If you couldn’t prevent it, you should take action immediately
What is mold?
Mold is everywhere, in nature it grows on dead organic matter but for us it becomes visible only when the situation has grown out control and the fungi have formed a large colony — mycelium. Unlike other colonies, mycelium is actually one big organism which consists of interconnected networks of hyphae.
How does mold harm your health?
Left unchecked, mold damages not only the surfaces it grows on, but it can be a serious problem for your health as well. Prolonged exposure can lead to respiratory infections, the onset of fungal allergy and if you have a condition like asthma — that can be made a lot worse.
However, mold exposure is not always harmful, but a lot of people are sensitive to it. According to the CDC, people sensitive to mold can experience allergic symptoms similar to hay-fever. There’s no need to be alarmed, most people do not experience any health problems but if your immune system is compromised — you’re at higher risk of developing these problems. The same applies to people with chronic respiratory issues. This is why the CDC recommends the removal of any mold that can be seen or smelled. Not to mention — it ruins our interior design!
What Mold Needs to Grow
Fungi are resilient and resourceful. Mold needs only 2 things to grow — moisture and food, the latter being less important for the indoor growth of mold.
This makes controlling the moisture levels in your home key factor in preventing its appearance in the first place. Fungi are not like plants, they don’t need a lot of moisture and water — a little condensation in a bathroom or around a window sill can be more than enough.
Some common sources of water and moisture are:
- Roof leaks
- Condensation due to cold spots or increased humidity
- Slow leaks in plumbing fixtures
- Humidification and sprinkler systems
Unfortunately for us, mold can grow on virtually any organic substance and the majority of the buildings in Greenville, SC are full of organic materials — paper, cloth, wood, plant material, and even soil.
Contrary to what many people believe, the temperature is not a determining factor as some mold has no problem growing in warm areas while others prefer cooler ones — have you ever forgotten a loaf of bread in the fridge?
Mold remediation and removal procedures
There are a lot of methods available to mold removing companies here in Greensville when it comes to remediating damage to buildings and homes which are caused by moisture problems. What procedure is selected depends on the size of the moldy area as well as the type of materials that are contaminated. Additional factor is your budget.
I will focus on just one of the approaches, but different expert prefer different methods so make sure to ask how are they going to approach the problem.
It is highly recommended that all mold remediation and removal activities should be performed in the off-hours of a business or establishment and when there is no one at home.
The mold cleanup methods may include some of the following:
This is done by using wet or water-extracting vacuums. They are often used to remove the build-up of water on floors, carpets, other hard surfaces. However, they should only be used when those materials and surfaces are still wet. If not — they may spread the mold spores, making things a lot harder to deal with.
Wet vacuums will not dry materials like carpets, those must be pulled up and dried then put back. Don’t forget to dry the carpet padding as well. When done, you should clean and dry all the parts of the wet vacuum — spores may have stuck on their surfaces during the cleaning.
In less severe cases, mold can be removed from hard surfaces by just wiping or scrubbing with water and some detergent. Make sure that you always follow the cleaning instructions on the labels. If you’re using damp wiping to remove the mold, you should dry the surface immediately and thoroughly to prevent further mold growth. You may have to throw away whatever you used to wipe the mold off — porous materials that are wet can be a source for future mold growth.
Completely removing mold is almost impossible — mold can easily infiltrate any porous substances and grow, filling the empty spaces or small and tiny crevices. Staining and other cosmetic damage are commonplace where there is mold.
The use of High-Efficiency Particulate Air vacuums is recommended in the final clean up of the remediation areas, only after all of the materials have been dried and any contaminated material — removed. Materials which are contaminated with mold and can’t be salvaged should be double-bagged in a 6-mil or thicker bags made of polyethylene. Those bags can be discarded as ordinary construction waste. Make sure that you’ve packaged the materials and sealed them well before removing them — this is an important preventive step from spreading the mold spores elsewhere in the building. Large objects like couches should be completely covered with polyethylene sheeting and sealed with duct tape before removing them from the area.
Completing Mold Remediation — Fix the water problem and clean up the mold
Sometimes, for inspecting and cleaning mold under homes, crawl space encapsulation may be necessary. This is achieved by the installation of a crawl space vapor barrier which are at least 6 millimeters thick, covering the ground underneath completely. If you have crawl space insulation — that may have to be removed for an effective mold remediation procedure.
How do you know when the mold removing experts you hired have finished remediation well?
At the end of the day, it’s a judgement call they have to make. After a professional cleaning, all the residents should be able to move back in without any health or other complaints. The most important thing that can be done to prevent further mold growth in the building is to control the moisture that causes the problem in the first place.
It doesn’t matter how good the clean up was, if the water problem isn’t solved, mold will come back. After the job is complete, there shouldn’t be any visible or other sign that mold was present, no musty odors, no stains.
Here are a few steps to follow in order to deal with unwanted mold:
- Completely fix moisture and water problems first
- Hire a mold removal company to safely and thoroughly clean your home or office/building.
- If the experts have sampled, the concentration of mold and spores in the building should be similar to those outside after the cleanup activities are over.
- The company you hired should offer you a follow-up inspection shortly after the remediation.
- After all that, you should be able to safely return to your home or workplace.
- Keep in mind, mold is extremely hard to remove, and complete removal is almost impossible, so at the end of the day it’s a judgement call by the mold inspection and removal specialist in Greenville, there is no easy solution. Sometimes, more than one procedure is required.
As I said before, the main preventative measure you can make to avoid mold is keeping your home and furnishings dry. If something goes wet for some reason — dry it quickly, within 48 hours. Routine repairs and maintenance is recommended. Often mold starts to spread first in places where we don’t usually look often.
Controlling moisture is key — all the water entry points or crawl spaces should be checked periodically. If there is leakage or flood or some other accident, the damaged areas should be repaired as soon as possible. There are many water damage repair and restoration companies working in Greenville, SC — call one immediately to prevent further water damage.
Hidden areas should be monitored and paid attention to more than other areas. Same goes for the areas behind the walls and ceilings, crawl spaces, attics — those are often overlooked and rarely dried carefully. As a rule of thumb, any wet area should be completely dried within the first 48 hours in order to prevent the development of mold growth.
Another thing you should keep an eye out for are ducts in which humidifiers are installed. The filters in those humidifiers can easily become a safe haven for mold and the humidifier can spread the pores all over the area. To minimize such risks, you should set your humidifier to produce less than 60% relative humidity. Any greater than that and condensation will start to form, which leads to mold problems.
Whether you’re buying a home and moving into Greenville, or selling your home, mold testing and mold inspection absolutely have to be a part of the process. This can prevent serious health issues, as we’ve discussed earlier in this article.
If you call for your home to be inspected for mold early, that can prevent further, more expensive mold removal problems, especially if crawl space encapsulation or installation is required.
Mold Removal in Greenville County South Carolina:
Address: 1068 N Church St, Greenville, SC 29601
Phone: (864) 432–1524