A Mold Removal Guide

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A Mold Removal Guide

Introduction to mold removal

Mold Removal

Concern about indoor exposure to mold has increased along with public awareness that exposure to mold can cause a variety of health effects. This information provides recommendations for the prevention of mold growth and describes measures designed to protect the health of building occupants and workers involved in mold cleanup and prevention. By reading this people with little or no experience with mold removal will be able to tell whether mold removal can be managed in-house or if outside help is needed.

Mold Basics

Molds are part of the natural environment. Molds are fungi that can be found anywhere – inside or outside. Thousands of molds can be found in the United States. We have discovered more than 100,000 known species worldwide.

Molds play an important role in nature by breaking down organic matter such as toppled trees, fallen leaves. We would not have food and medicines, like cheese and penicillin, without mold.

Problems may arise when mold starts eating away at materials, affecting the look and smell. With the respect to wood-framed buildings, affecting the structural integrity of the buildings.

Molds can grow on virtually any substance, as long as moisture or water, oxygen, and an organic source are present. Molds spread by creating tiny spores that usually cannot be seen without magnification. Mold spores continually float through the indoor and outdoor air.

Molds are usually not a problem unless mold spores land on a damp spot and begin growing. They digest whatever they land on in order to survive. There are molds that grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods and insulation. While other molds feast on the everyday dust and dirt that gather in the moist regions of a building.

When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth often will occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains uncorrected. While it is impossible to eliminate all molds and mold spores, controlling moisture can control indoor mold growth.

All molds share the characteristic of being able to grow without sunlight; mold needs only a viable seed (spore), a nutrient source, moisture, and the right temperature to proliferate. This explains why mold is often found in damp, dark, hidden spaces. Light and air circulation dry areas out, making them less hospitable for mold.

Molds gradually damage building materials and furnishings. If left unchecked, mold can cause structural damage to a wood framed building by weakening floors and walls. If you suspect that mold has damaged building integrity, consult a structural engineer or other professional with the appropriate expertise.

Since mold requires water to grow, it is important to prevent excessive moisture in buildings. Some moisture problems in buildings have been linked to changes in building construction since the 1970s. Which resulted in tightly sealed buildings with diminished ventilation, contributing to moisture vapor buildup. Other problems may be from roof leaks, landscaping, gutters that direct water into or under a building, failed pipes and broken appliances. Delayed or insufficient maintenance may contribute to moisture problems in buildings. Improper maintenance and design of building HVAC systems can result in high humidity in a building.

Mold Removal Guidelines

This section presents mold removal guidelines for building materials that have or are likely to have mold growth. These guidelines are based on the size of the area impacted by mold contamination. Please note that these are guidelines; some professionals may prefer other remediation methods, and certain circumstances may require different approaches described below. Removal activities should be scheduled during off-hours when people are less likely to be affected.

Professional judgment always should play a part in remediation decisions. These guidelines are based on the size of the affected area to make it easier for remediators to select appropriate techniques. Not on the basis of research showing there is a specific method appropriate at a certain number of square feet. The remediation manager should rely on professional judgment and experience to adapt the guidelines to particular situations. When in doubt, caution is advised. Consult an experienced mold remediator for more information.

Level I & II: Small Isolated Areas (10 – 30 sq ft. or less) – e.g., ceiling tiles, small areas on walls.

  • Mold removal can be conducted by the regular building staff. Training can be completed to comply with the requirements of the OSHA (29 CFR 1910.1200).
  • Respiratory protection is recommended. Respirators must be used in accordance with the OSHA respiratory protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134). Gloves and eye protection should be worn.
  • The work area should be unoccupied. Removing people from spaces adjacent to the work area is not necessary, but is recommended for infants, persons recovering from recent surgery, immune-suppressed people, or people with chronic inflammatory lung diseases (e.g., asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and severe allergies).
  • Containment of the work area is not necessary. Misting (not soaking) surfaces prior to remediation, are recommended.
  • Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from the building in a sealed plastic bag. These materials may be disposed of as ordinary waste.
  • The work area and areas used by mold removal workers for egress should be cleaned with mop and a detergent solution.
  • All areas should be left dry and visibly free from contamination and debris.

Level III: Large Isolated Areas (30 – 100 square feet) – e.g., several wallboard panels.

  • It is recommended that personnel be trained in the handling of hazardous materials and equipped with respiratory protection. Gloves and eye protection should be worn.
  • Surfaces in the work area and areas directly adjacent that could become contaminated should be covered with a secured plastic sheet(s) before removal to contain dust/ debris and prevent further contamination.
  • Seal ventilation ducts/grills in the work area and areas directly adjacent with plastic sheeting.
  • The work area and areas directly adjacent should be unoccupied. Removing people from spaces near the work area is recommended.
  • Misting (not soaking) surfaces prior to mediation, are recommended.
  • Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from the building in sealed plastic bags.
  • The work area and surrounding areas should be HEPA vacuumed and cleaned with a mop and a detergent solution.
  • All areas should be left dry and visibly free from contamination and debris.

Level IV: Extensive Contamination (greater than 100 contiguous square feet in an area).

The following procedures may be implemented depending upon the severity of the contamination:

  • Personnel trained in the handling of hazardous materials and equipped with:
    • Full face piece respirators with HEPA cartridges.
    • Disposable protective clothing covering entire body including both head and shoes; and Gloves.
  • Containment of the affected area:
    • Complete isolation of work area from occupied spaces using plastic sheeting sealed with duct tape (including ventilation ducts/grills, fixtures, and other openings);
    • The use of an exhaust fan with a HEPA filter to generate negative pressurization
    • Airlocks and decontamination room.
  • If containment is effectively preventing mold from migrating from affected areas, it may not be necessary to remove people from surrounding work areas. However, removal is still recommended for infants, persons having undergone recent surgery, immune- suppressed people, or people with chronic inflammatory lung diseases.
  • Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from the building in sealed plastic bags.
  • The outside of the bags should be cleaned with a damp cloth and a solution or HEPA vacuumed.
  • The contained area should be HEPA vacuumed and cleaned with a damp cloth or mopped with a solution and be visibly clean prior to the removal of containment.

Prevention

Moisture control is the key to mold control. When water leaks or spills occur indoors – act promptly. Any water leaks should be stopped and cleaned quickly. A prompt response (within 24-48 hours) and thorough clean- up, drying, and/or removal of water-damaged materials will prevent or limit mold growth.

Mold prevention tips include:

  • Repairing plumbing leaks and leaks in the building structure as soon as possible.
  • Looking for condensation and wet spots. Fix source(s) of moisture incursion problem(s) as soon as possible.
  • Preventing moisture from condensing by increasing surface temperature or reducing the moisture level in the air (humidity). To increase surface temperature, insulate or increase air circulation. To reduce the moisture level in the air, repair leaks, increase ventilation (if outside air is cold and dry), or dehumidify (if outdoor air is warm and humid).
  • Keeping HVAC drip pans clean, flowing properly, and unobstructed.
  • Performing regularly scheduled building/ HVAC inspections and maintenance, including filter changes.
  • Maintaining indoor relative humidity below 70% (25 – 60%, if possible).
  • Helps venting moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers, to the outside where possible.
  • Venting kitchens (cooking areas) and bathrooms according to local code requirements.
  • Cleaning and drying wet or damp spots as soon as possible, but no more than 48 hours after discovery.
  • Providing adequate drainage around buildings and sloping the ground away from building foundations. Follow all local building codes.
  • Pinpointing areas where leaks have occurred, identifying the causes, and taking preventive action to ensure that they do not reoccur.

Questions That May Assist in Determining Whether a Mold Problem Currently Exists

  • Are building materials or furnishings visibly moisture damaged?
  • Building materials been wet more than 48 hours?
  • Any existing moisture problems in the building?
  • Are building occupants reporting musty or moldy odors?
  • Are building occupants reporting health problems that they think are related to mold in the indoor environment?
  • Recently remodeled or has the building use changed?
  • Has maintenance been delayed, or the maintenance plan been altered?

When do You Know You Have Finished Mold Removal/Cleanup?

  • You must have identified and completely corrected the source of the water or moisture problem.
  • Mold removal should be complete. Visible mold, mold-damaged materials, and moldy odors should no longer be present.
  • Sampling, if conducted, should show that the level and types of mold and mold spores inside the building are similar to those found outside.
  • You should revisit the site(s) after remediation, and it should show no signs of moldy or musty odors, water damage, or mold growth.

Conclusion

Mold is an apparent problem for homeowners and potential buyers. Mold experts can help you address issues regarding mold by targeting the root cause of the problem. Our trained personnel can help you assess the property for possible mold growths. We ensure that your property is free of mold and prevent your property from being devalued. Contact Titan Environmental by calling (913) 432-5500 regarding your mold removal predicament and preserving the value of your property today.

4 Comments
  1. Thanks for explaining that using measures to also prevent more mold growth in the future should also be observed when getting a mold removal service. I’d like to get such services soon because I’m planning to use my attic as an extra bedroom soon. A lot of cleaning and maintenance will have to be done up there before that could be done.

  2. Greetings! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this site? I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve had issues with hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform. I would be great if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

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