Here at FreshStart, we prefer to discuss mold removal and remediation in two words “safe” and “controlled”. When the mold is found in a property the homeowner or commercial property manager often respond with one prevailing thought, “Remove it! Quickly!" Almost like the person that who is injured and has some sharp object lodged in their body. Like a pocket knife, the response is “ouch-pull it out”. Medical professional tells us not to do this ourselves. Rather they instruct us to go to the hospital. Because uncontrolled removal of the object will only cause further damage. Such is the case with mold removal and remediation as well. The professional who has been trained to safely remove mold is much more likely to do so achieving the listed priorities for mold removal and remediation, “Safely” and “with control”.
If caution and precautions are not exercised in removing mold contamination, damage to the property will be the result. For example, when undisturbed fungi grow it can give off “mycotoxins” as it sporulates. Even when the mold is dormant it can also produce allergens. When the mold is disturbed through removal the mold spores/toxins become airborne. Once airborne they are then carried through the air which is when they can be inhaled by humans or animals alike. When the spores have been inhaled they can begin creating health problems not limited to upper repertory problems.
What to Expect During Mold Removal and Remediation
The Initial Estimate or Inspection
When a FreshStart mold specialist arrives at your home they will begin to examine the property and search for signs of water damage and or water leaks that have taken place. They will use a moisture meter to check for excessive moisture content in building materials and also for elevated levels of humidity. Both of these items can cause and or support microbial growth. This inspection is nonevasive in nature but when the mold is suspected it becomes necessary to remove small amounts building materials to really find the source of mold. We also utilize the use of an inspection camera to inspect under things like washing machines, in wall cavities, etc. Our inspector’s goal is to spend enough time in your property to gain a good understanding of all the potential sources and to acquire an accurate projection of the extent of the damage and contamination. This information enables our mold professional to then provide a thorough and substantial solution to the situation.
Setup of Containment Barriers before Removal
The EPA, the IICRC, and others have created guidelines to follow in order to remove the mold so that no potential harm will be done to the occupants. This is done by creating a controlled environment by building a plastic containment chamber around the contaminated area which enables for safe mold removal and ultimately restoring the property to a safe living space. This is why we suggest consulting a professional to determine if the amounts of mold present in your home is large enough to justify hiring a professional to perform the mold removal and remediation. If there is visible mold growth then we really don’t see the need to test for mold as the sign of visible fungi is evidence enough that there is a mold problem and according to the EPA it should be removed.
The Removal of Molded Personal Contents to Clean or Dispose
Many times the mold jobs we have done have included the proper cleaning or disposal of personal contents that have become molded. We provide you, the homeowner, with your options in regards to contents during the estimate process. Salvageable items can be cleaned with specialized antimicrobial solutions and then boxed for storage. Any items that must be disposed of, we will furnace a dumpster if outlined in your estimate for disposal purposes.
Setup of Mold & Air Equipment
The installation of professional grade dehumidifiers and negative air machines is normally recommended during the mold remediation process. This allows for any elevated humidity levels in the air or the contents to thoroughly dry. In addition, the negative air machines put the affected space under negative pressure and thoroughly scrubs the air with a specialized, professional grade HEPA filtration system. These machines many times will run throughout the length of the project.
Removal of Molded Building Materials
During this process, our workers will suit up in their EPA required personal protective gear and begin the process of removing molded materials that are unsalvageable and beyond repair. After all of the molded materials have been removed, we will begin the process of scrubbing salvageable materials clean with specialized tools and solutions. This process is to thoroughly remove the presence of existing mold spores on any remaining materials and surfaces.
The Clean Up Process: HEPA Vacuuming and Sanitization
After all of the materials have been removed and large debris disposed of, we begin the process of a thorough cleaning process with HEPA vacuuming and cleaning with a specialized antimicrobial sanitization solution. Any area affected by mold spores is thoroughly cleaned. We also take the time to clean all equipment and tools prior to removing them from the containment area to prevent mold spores from being distributed throughout your home or workspace.
Mold Sealant Applied, Vent Cleaning, and Reconstruction
At times, mold sealant is recommended as outlined on your estimate to seal any porous materials from mold growth in the future. We recommend mold sealant for new construction, basement projects and for renovation jobs. This allows for once mold-prone materials to become sealed in a specialized formula to block mold from using the materials as a food source. Many times our certified technicians and air quality controls experts recommend to have the HVAC vents thoroughly cleaned and sprayed with antimicrobial solutions. If this is recommended, the cost of service will be included in your estimate. After this remediation process has been completed then the reconstruction process can begin by your own preferred contractor or by FreshStart.