Mold Remediation (Cleanup) Process
Every mold assessment begins with a concern about the possible presence of mold. Before doing anything else, a visual assessment is made. The first priority is to find all the sources of moisture. There's no point in going any further until moisture conditions are controlled. Afterward, mold samples may be taken, depending on goals.
When elevated mold levels are found, clients are referred to a variety of mold professionals, including remediators, doctors, lawyers, and remodelers. When the remediator believes the mold is cleaned up, then it's time to consider clearance testing. If the house shows acceptable levels of hazardous mold, clearance letters may be issued.
Red Flags. Mold is expected in every house, just not at elevated levels. Where there is moisture, mold is sure to be present. If any of these 5 conditions are present, unusual mold levels may be present.
- Human sensitivity, such as musty odor & health complaints
- Flood or plumbing leak, past or present
- Visible mold, especially in living areas
- High relative humidity, above 50%
- Construction defects, including
- Heating and air malfunctions
- Plumbing leaks or slow service
- Improper grading or poor drainage
- Insufficient ventilation
- Exterior damage
- Roofing, siding, window, or door mis-installation
The mold assessment and remediation process is as follows
More Mold Removal, Cleanup, Prevention, & Health Information
Initial Mold Assessment
Mold inspection and testing begins with a visual assessment of the property. Before starting one, any sudden flood or plumbing leak needs to be taken care of with in 24-48 hours as mold will likely be present in 72 hours.
Mold Inspection. A mold assessment is about finding all the possible sources of moisture and determining the present condition of the house, by first completing a mold inspection by a Certified Mold Inspector. The most important thing to do stop the moisture. It doesn't make sense clean up the mold until it is because mold will come right back.
Mold Testing. After the mold inspection is complete, only then does it make sense to think about mold testing. The decision to do mold testing depends on the goals for the assessment.
Stopping the Water. The value of a mold inspection is figure out how to stop the water an start the process for cleaning it up. As a home inspection service company, we specialize in identifying where the water is coming from and making recommendations for making repairs.
Sometimes, repairs need to be made before calling in the mold remediators. Other times, contractors and mold remediators need to work together. It depends on the situation.
Mold Test Results. Once mold test samples are taken, repairs can continue and mold removal can begin. Lab results are normally available at the end of 2 business days after they were taken and presented in a mold report. In the mean time, work may begin.
Select Certified Mold Remediator
Professional mold remediation is expensive. What you're paying for is training, equipment, insurance, and availability. It's usually done by water damage restoration companies, such as ServiceMaster and ServPro. In limited cases, homeowner mold clean up may be done.
Due Diligence. Finding a Certified Mold Remediator is a process. Look for one certified by the Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA). Ask them if they carry pollution insurance. Also, determine their business track record.
Restoration. Some mold remediators also do demolition, repairs, and remodeling. All of them do demolition, to the extent necessary to clean up the mold. Many companies subcontract repairs and remodeling. Some just do mold clean up. Find out who's responsible for rebuilding your house.
The mold remediation process involves isolating the area, removing mold and water damaged materials, and drying the area.
Containment. The first goal of mold remediation is to avoid further contamination, especially when the water damage is confined to a local area. Normally, this is done with a containment barrier. Air scrubbers (vacuum cleaners for air) are put inside the work zone to remove spores from the air as they are released into the air during demolition. Sometimes, dehumidifiers are placed in the work zone too.
Demolition. Moldy, water damaged materials need to be removed. Drywall and insulation are cheaper to replace than it is to clean. as are many carpets. These items are torn out to the extent necessary to dry the structure and clean it.
Clean Up. Mold remediation is about removing mold spores. The structure, interior, and personal items need to be cleaned. Some personal items are thrown away. The decision whether to keep personal items or throw them away usually depends on cost. Some items are easy to clean, such as glass, wood, an metal. Others are more difficult. Some items aren't cost effective to clean at all, such as magazines. The mold remediator helps make those decisions
Reconstruction. The air scrubbers run from the time the work zone is created until 2 days or more after the clean up is finished. Afterward, it may be time to put the house back together. The decision depends on whether you want to verify the mold is cleaned up.
If you ever intend to sell your house, you're likely to need a mold clearance letter to show your buyer. The letter should be provided by a certified mold inspector or industrial hygienist. It can be obtained before reconstruction begins or after it's complete. The choice depends on goals and circumstances.
Mold Clearance Conditions. The mold clearance assessment can be done any time after mold remediation is complete. Before doing mold clearance testing, Home InSight verifies the moisture conditions have been addressed and the mold is cleaned up. When satisfied, air sampling is done. The goal is to determine if mold levels are acceptable.
Clearance Letter. When all conditions are met, a clearance letter is issued. Please understand that it's good only for time clearance testing was performed. Our goal is to confirm elevated mold conditions are gone and it's likely to stay that way. When we're satisfied, we'll issue the clearance letter without conditions.
More Mold Removal & Cleanup Information
This website only covers mold inspection & mold testing. Our other website, Metro Atlanta Area Mold Assessments, discusses the mold remediation process and the professionals who do them in greater detail.
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