What Is Mold Remediation? Everything You Need to Know

mold remediation

You wake up and look around at the carpet you just had cleaned professionally a few days ago. Ah, how nice! Then, you take a deep breath and cough a little. There’s a musty smell, and it’s emanating from the carpet.

What do you do? Is it time for mold remediation?

Mold is helpful when it’s outdoors since it breaks down dead organic material, such as the fall leaves you mulched with the lawnmower or that old tree that fell in the forest behind your house.

When mold is indoors, though, you need mold remediation services. Let’s discuss those and what they do.

What Is Mold Remediation?

Let’s begin by talking about mold—what is it and where and how it grows. Mold is a fungus that manifests in various colors, though black mold is probably the most widely spoken about due to its reputation for toxicity.

Mold thrives in moist areas and produces tiny spores that dissipate through the air. Mold is generally harmless in small amounts. However, when the spores find a moist environment, they will land and grow colonies there.

That’s when mold becomes a problem—for health, breathing, and overall cleanliness.

Mold Remediation Certification

The legal definition of mold remediation is “the removal, cleaning, sanitizing, demolition, or other treatment, including preventive activities, of mold or mold-contaminated matter that was not purposely grown at that location.”

In short, mold remediation is about keeping naturally-occurring household mold under control by using available resources from routine cleaning to professional mold remediation services.

If you have less than three square feet of mold in your home, it should be all right to try and remove it yourself, using substances like vinegar, bleach, and borax. Remember, though, the key is to eliminate the source of the moisture.

Suppose the area is larger than a square-yard or the problem returns. In that case, you should call a mold remediation company with a mold-remediation certification from the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC).

Our society needs mold remediation services more than ever before. It’s is because our homes are sealed more tightly than they used to be due to our well-intentioned energy conservation efforts. We also keep our homes a bit chillier on average.

How Is Mold Remediation Different From Mold Removal?

We’ll begin and end here by saying that “mold removal” is a term used by businesses that are dishonest or naïve.

Mold is present throughout the natural environment, and its visibility in our homes means that it has found favorable conditions there.

So, while you can remediate mold, you can’t make it go away any more than you can make the air or the soil go away. Again, mold remediation is about keeping indoor mold under control, not making it go away (since that’s impossible).

What Happen During Professional Mold Remediation?

Are you wondering what happens during professional mold remediation? The following are the steps professional, certified companies always follow:

1. Take Care of the Moisture Source

  • Identify and repair the moisture source that caused the mold growth.
  • Dry out the area and restore the humidity to a healthy level.

2. Contain the Mold

  • Contain the mold before disturbing it. This prevents its further spread.
  • Construct a containment area from protective plastic sheeting.
  • Create negative airflow from the affected space to remove mold spores from the air.

3. Remove and Dispose of Contaminated Materials

  • Bag all contaminated, non-structural materials (such as drywall, floor coverings, or insulation) and properly dispose of them.

4. Clean and Treat the Affected Area

  • Treat surface mold with an eco-friendly and biodegradable cleaner to allow for further mold removal.
  • For larger or more densely affected areas, use a wire brush or high-pressure baking soda-blasting.
  • Vacuum the cleaned area using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
  • Wipe the area thoroughly with microfiber cloths and an anti-microbial product.
  • Spray the anti-microbial on all surfaces as a final protective measure.

5. Have the Treated Area Inspected

  • Arrange for a certified indoor air quality inspector from a third party company to test the surfaces air for any lingering mold.

What Is a Mold Remediation Calculator?

A mold remediation cost calculator is a tool provided by various commercial entities to help homeowners calculate the cost of mold remediation based on the area needing treatment.

These can be helpful since, on average, professional mold remediation costs $500 to $6,000. A professional mold inspection, which is recommended, adds a bit to this figure. Mold remediation costs can go even higher if the problem worsens.

You should estimate the amount of mold damage so that you’re not in total shock when you see the bill for the mold remediation. Also, knowing ahead of time might give you time to do some of the preparatory work yourself.

If you do, proceed with care. PPE isn’t only to protect you from the danger of COViD-19.

Attic Mold Remediation

Attic mold ultimately comes from the same source as any other household mold, mold spores in the air. Attics are a little different from the rest of the house, though.

For one thing, many attics are unfinished, and people seldom go there. So the homeowners might have little idea what is going on up there.

Mold remediation services can tell us exactly what has caused mold in the attic, though. Here are at least a few of them:

  • The obvious cause: roof leaks
  • Missing or old insulation or the wrong type of it
  • Insufficient attic ventilation
  • Ice dams (usually the fault of plugged gutters)

Despite their conspicuous location in a house, attics are quite vulnerable to leaks and other moisture incursion types. That’s where we come in—but hopefully, before the moisture and accompanying mold have caused severe damage.

Once the Mold Remediation Is Complete

The good folks at the mold remediation company have done a terrific job getting rid of your household mold, wherever it was. Now, you know all too well the need for mold prevention, not just costly remediation.

Avoid letting moisture collect from soaking or vapor-producing fixtures and appliances. Clean up spilled liquids, especially on porous surfaces. Clear out your gutters. And keep an eye on your attic!

Contact us if you need mold remediation or any of our other disaster restoration services. At Helpers Disaster Restoration, we’re there when you need help.

Mold Experts: Certified Mold Remediation Firm

Not all mold remediation companies are the same.  Helpers is an IICRC certified firm (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification).   The IICRC is responsible for setting international quality standards for restoration activities from carpet cleaning and water damage restoration to professional mold remediation.  These standards are based upon industry accepted best practices.

Helpers achieved certification by meeting rigorous requirements set by the IICRC.  Our technicians participate in ongoing, specialized training.  We are committed to provide our customers with exceptional services that meet the highest consumer protection standards set by the IICRC.   We don’t cut corners.

You can be confident that Helpers will restore your home or property to healthful living standards.  Look for the IICRC logo when selecting a disaster restoration company to insure you are getting the very best service and care for your property.   Only certified remediation firms can use the Clean Trust Certified logo.

The following is taken from the IICRC website and lists the requirements that Helpers is committed to:

IICRC Certified Firms have earned the right to display the IICRC logo as a symbol of quality. In order to achieve IICRC-certified status, firms must meet a rigorous list of standards in business ethics and expertise. All IICRC Certified Firms must:

  • Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.
  • Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.
  • Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.
  • Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.
  • Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

Mold in Your Washing Machine? 5 Tips to Keep it Clean

Despite constantly being used for cleaning,  washing machines have all the necessary conditions for mold and bacteria growth: water and residue build up.  Have you noticed a musty smell in your washing machine or mold and mildew growing in your detergent dispensers?  You are not alone.

Follow these 5 prevention and maintenance tips to keep your washing machine and your laundry clean and healthy:

  1.  Washing With Hot Water.  Energy conscious homeowners are using more cold water to wash their laundry.  Mirroring this change in laundry habits, detergents are designed to be effective with cold water washing.   Using hot water can help kill bacteria and keep your washer from smelling musty.   Hot water use on highly bacteria prone items like musty towels, stinky socks or other odor laden materials can prevent bacteria from growing on the clothes and in your washer.  Hot water washing reduces detergent and fabric softener build up, a common source of odor and bacteria.  Running your machine periodically without any laundry with hot water and either vinegar, bleach or baking soda is a great cleaning option.  For best results, let the water sit in the machine for several minutes before you complete the washing cycle.
  2.  Wash Mold From Detergent and Fabric Softener Dispensers.  Build up of detergents and trapped dirt or lint combined with a moist environment are perfect conditions for fowl smelling mold growth.  In some machines, these come out really easily and can be soaked and scrubbed with either a bleach based cleaning solution or vinegar.   If you can’t remove them, simply clean them in place.  Avoid using too much detergent.  High efficiency washing machines require a lot less detergent and most homeowners are actually putting in too much leading to build up and odors.  Follow with Tip 1 for best results.
  3. Clean the Rubber Seal.  Most washing machines have a rubber sealing rim around the wash basin.  Periodically wipe this with a bleach based cleaner or cleaning wipe to remove residue build up.
  4. Use Washing Machine Specific Cleaning Products.  Many companies make detergents or pods that are specifically designed for cleaning your washing machines, particularly front loaders.    Found in the laundry product section, these can be used to help remove odors and bacteria.
  5. Don’t Let Wet Loads Sit.  I am a big culprit in our house for starting a load of laundry and then forgetting about it…for days.  If your laundry is starting to smell, it is a good idea to re-wash everything in hot water to help kill any bacteria.  If the washing machine is not cleaned following a bad smelling load…the smell will linger and spread to the next load and so on.    Follow your preferred washing machine cleaning procedures to get rid of that smell.

The Risks of Being an Uninsured Renter: You Could Lose it All

Did youmud sink by dark day know that if you rent a home or commercial space every item that you moved into that space is at risk for losses from fire, theft or flood, unless you purchase renters’ insurance?   That’s right…no matter the origin of the damage, your personal property is not covered under the property owner’s insurance.

We have seen first hand renters’ lose all of their property following a home fire because they did not purchase renters’ insurance.   One of our clients had significant smoke damage to her personal property after badly burning a turkey in her oven.  She was unable to afford the cost of replacing and repairing her damaged furnishings, and without renters’ insurance, she had no options but to swallow the loss.

Another client experienced a flood in their basement level rental.  Even though the flood came from a damaged water main, his personal items were still a total loss because he did not have insurance.  His landlord did have insurance..but this only protected the landlord’s property.

Another benefit of renters’ insurance is that should you be forced to temporarily move out of your home because of a significant event, often your insurance will cover the costs of moving you out and housing you while your home is repaired.  Coverage will also usually pay to clean, repair or replace your damaged property.

Some landlords make it mandatory that their tenants purchase insurance.  For as little as $10.00 to $30.00 a month, you can protect yourself from a catastrophic loss.  Don’t leave your property and piece of mind at risk.  Talk to your insurance agent today to find out more about renter’s insurance.

Disclaimer: Depending upon your personal needs and the terms of the coverage purchased the amount of coverage you are eligible for may vary. Helpers has no affiliation with any insurance broker, agent or carrier and does not profit in any manner from the provision of this advice.  We strongly advise you to contact a licensed insurance broker to learn more about the coverage options that are best for you.

Mold Removal with Dry Ice Blasting: Faster and Cleaner

Check out our newest mold remediation technique: Dry Ice Blasting.  The benefits of Dry Ice Blasting include:

  • Reduced cleaning time
  • Reduced labor requirements
  • No secondary waste
  • Chemical-free process
  • 99% mold spore removal on wood when IAQA standards followed
  • An environmentally responsible clean

What is Professional Mold Remediation: 6 Tips to Make Sure Your Mold Problem is Handled Properly

 

mold

As a home owner faced with the discovery of mold in your home, it can seem overwhelming to figure out what needs to be done.  Mold growth can have many negative impacts from significant health problems to the delay or failure of  the sale of your home.  Here are some tips to help you understand the process and make sure that your mold problem is being dealt with properly and no corners are being cut.

1  Why is Mold a big deal?  According to the EPA, molds are part of the natural environment, and can be found everywhere, indoors and outdoors (including dry climates). Mold is not usually a problem, unless it begins growing indoors.  Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions) and irritants. Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash.  These reactions are common.

Indoor Air Quality specialists can assess your home for the presence of unhealthy levels of mold spores.  Mold can be hidden behind walls, in attics or rarely entered crawl spaces.  A home inspection during the sale of a home is often how mold is discovered which is why a thorough home inspection before buying a home is a good idea.  Mold remediation can cost thousands of dollars and often this cost becomes the responsibility of the home seller.

2  Indoor Mold Growth = A Water Problem.  If you have mold growing indoors, it means you have a water problem.  In order to eliminate mold and prevent grow-back your remediation company must identify and repair the water source.  This could be as simple as fixing a leaking pipe or more complex such as adding air circulation and venting to attics or crawl spaces, the lack of which is a very common cause of mold growth.

3  Don’t Skip Air Quality Tests.  Passing an air quality test following mold remediation is an essential step to make sure your mold issue has been properly addressed.  Some remediation companies will not include air quality tests in their services (this is a red flag).  Make sure that a post-mitigation, professional air quality test from a third party company is included in your mold remediation bid.  Without it you cannot know with certainty that the health risks of mold are gone and that it was mitigated properly.  If mold remediation is a condition of a home purchase, make sure you ask for a copy of the mold clearance test from the home seller.

4  How Should Your Mold Remediation Company Handle Your Mold?  There is a lot of mis-information about mold and how to best get rid of it.  Part of that comes from companies who do not follow industry standards or who are misrepresenting the use of certain mold remediation techniques.  This industry is pretty lucrative and many companies add-on mold remediation services without certification or proper training (we recommend using only Certified Mold Remediation companies).

Professional, certified companies will follow these steps:

  • Identify and repair the source of water leading to mold growth.
  • Dehumidify the area to return humidity to healthy levels.
  • Contain the mold BEFORE disturbing it to prevent it from spreading to other locations in your home.  A containment area will be constructed out of protective plastic sheeting and include negative air flow to suck mold spores out of the air so they don’t circulate throughout your home.
  • Contaminated, non-structural materials are bagged and removed e.g. drywall, floor coverings, insulation
  • Treat the mold with a biodegradable, “green” agent that will lift it off of the surface to allow for the removal of mold.  In larger or densely effected areas, wire brushing or high pressured baking soda-blasting, may be used (in our opinion, this is clearly the best option for removal).
  • The entire contained area will be HEPA Vacuumed (a specialized vacuum with a filter on it that captures the mold).
  • The area will then be wiped down with microfiber clothes using an anti-microbial agent.
  • An anti-microbial agent will then be sprayed on all surfaces as a final protective measure.
  • Bring in an Indoor Air Quality inspector from a third party company to test the surface and/or air.

If your remediation company skips these steps your mold problem may not have been handled as completely as is recommended by industry standards.

5  Why is it so Expensive?  Professional remediation companies will follow industry standards to insure that the job is done right.  Those standards not only dictate the processes that must be followed but also the number and type of machines necessary (eg. air scrubbers, air movers and dehumidifiers) and how long they run to achieve necessary air quality (IICRC S-520).  OSHA also regulates the types of protective equipment that must be used during mold remediation (e.g. respirators, suits, supplies).

Pricing, as a standard, is set by the insurance industry through a software program called Xactamate.  These costs are set by zip code.  If your remediation company uses Xactamate in the estimating process they have agreed to accept this pricing structure.

During mold remediation, every square inch of contaminated area will touched a minimum of three times.  This can be a significant amount of area to cover.  If for example, an attic and all of the support structures have mold growth, you can imagine how time consuming and involved touching the whole area that many times can be.  This degree of thoroughness is necessary to properly remove mold.

6  Beware the Low Bidder.  We have discussed this before in a separate blog post, but it is definitely worth repeating.  If the bid is low and all your remediation company is offering to do is spray the mold with a serum or fog the area with a chemical…that is an incomplete service (review the above steps).  Mold must be removed even with the use of these agents.  If you are buying a home and are requesting mold mitigation be completed before you buy the home, make sure it has been mitigated properly.

Sadly, we often see homeowners hiring companies that suggest that spraying or fogging mold with these chemicals or serums will “kill”it.  Even if a chemical agent could kill mold (most manufacturers of these products do not make these claims) the remaining “dead” mold is still toxic.  Leaving this material behind can leave health hazards behind.  Mold must be removed in all circumstances.  Period.

Low estimates, in the majority of cases, fail to include all of the recommended steps.  If you have any questions about your mold project, Helpers certified technicians are available.  Helpers is a Certified Mold Remediation Company and follows industry standards with all of our mold remediation projects.

Complete Mold Remediation: Fogging vs. Removal

big mold

The prospect of removing mold growth from your home can seem overwhelming and expensive. Different mitigation companies may offer different methods for mitigating mold, but which one is the most effective?

Some companies will suggest that fogging or spraying the mold with chemicals to “kill” it is sufficient for correcting your mold problem. Complicating matters further, these bids will seem attractive as they are usually significantly lower than a complete remediation estimate. This is understandable as often these bids do not include actual mold removal or air quality tests or guarantees upon completion of the work.

According to the IICRC (The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration), killing mold without removing it is not considered a complete solution to your mold problem. In their newly published guidelines  (2015 Guidelines), the IICRC states “Remediators should not mist or fog disinfectants or sanitizers in an attempt to kill mold in lieu of source removal”. The EPA is in agreement stating, “Dead mold may still cause allergic reactions in some people, so it is not enough to simply kill the mold, it must also be removed.”

Complete and effective mold remediation includes the removal of mold at the source such as drywall, insulation or other porous materials. Mold is resilient and covering it up is not a solution.

Helpers is a Certified Mold Remediation firm that follows the highest industry standards to insure that your home is safe and hazard free.‪#‎helpers‬ ‪#‎moldremediation‬ ‪#‎dontcutcorners‬

Mold: 5 Tips to Prevent Mold in Your Home

When moisture is present, mold can grow in as little as 24-48 hours. Poor ventilation, water leaks, and high humidity can all contribute to mold growth.

Here are 5 tips to prevent mold in your home:

1. Inspect the grading around your home foundation to make sure it allows water to run away from the home and not pool around it.
2. Make sure attic and crawl spaces are properly ventilated. Poor ventilation in these areas either from blocked or closed vents is a common culprit in mold growth.
3. If water or condensation builds up around windows, clean up the water immediately.
4. Keep indoor humidity between 30-50%. Use bathroom vent fans when you shower.
5. Insulate pipes to prevent freezing and leaks.

Soda Blast #2_resized
Before and After: The fresh wood has been treated with soda blasting to remove the mold. The darker wood is the untreated wood.