How Mold Remediation Works

Protecting Your Home from Mold Damage

Mold can be difficult to see and even more challenging to get rid of. That is why it is a good idea to do all you can to stay on top of home maintenance to do everything possible to prevent mold damage from happening in your home. Here are some mold prevention tips for managing risk factors associated with the most common causes of mold.

Maintain plumbing in your home

Leaky or broken pipes are among the most common causes of mold in homes. The owner of a property should be aware of the age and condition of plumbing and stay on top of maintenance to prevent issues. An annual inspection by a licensed plumber is recommended, regardless of the age of your home. If your home is vacant during the summer months, especially during monsoons, it is a good idea to have someone check on the property to ensure you are not developing any issues.

Regularly inspect your home’s roof

Roof leaks are another common culprit for moisture that causes mold. Damage may occur at any time due to severe weather or falling tree limbs, but homes are especially susceptible during monsoons. If you suspect any damage after a strong storm, arrange for inspections by a roofing service as quickly as possible. Identifying damage sooner rather than later may reduce the risk of a leak damaging the roof, insulation, or interior of a residence. It is also a good idea to have a simple inspection done once a year, preferably before storm season.

Address water damage quickly

Cleaning and restoring damage caused by water as quickly as possible is the most critical mold prevention measure as standing water is the ideal environment for mold growth. Mold growth can begin within just 24 to 48 hours after damage occurs, so it is essential to act quickly. Restoration specialists will extract water, clean, and dry the affected area to reduce the risk of secondary damage. While you might be able to sop up small water issues, larger flood and storm damage needs a pro to address

Keep in mind that there is no such thing as mold removal

Since microscopic mold spores exist naturally almost everywhere, indoors, and outdoors, removing all mold from a home or business is impossible, so do not believe a cleaning service that promises to remove all mold spores from your home

 

MOLD REMEDIATION

What is the mold?

Mold is very common in buildings. There are many different types of mold, and they can occur both indoors and outdoors. Mold grows in places with a lot of moisture, and everywhere that food is provided for them, such as your walls, carpet, floors, appliances, or furniture. Also in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements, and crawl spaces.

Types of mold

Rhizopus stolonifer is one of the more common types because it is found in tropical and subtropical regions.

Alternaria is another type of mold and it causes allergies in humans. Alternaria grows indoors and it also causes hay fever or hypersensitivity reactions that sometimes lead to asthma.

Aspergillus is found indoors, powdery food items, and building materials such as drywall and parquet

Penicillium can be found in a variety of places, including water-damaged structures as well as various foods.

Cladosporium is another type of mold that can grow in either warm or cool areas.

How to prevent it

Dry things thoroughly before storing them for a long time.

After showering always open the bathroom window

Use aspiration whenever you cook

Ventilating house every day by opening doors and windows

Ensure to keep moisture in control because it’s level should be under 60 percent.

How to get rid of mold

If mold is spread in lesser areas than 10 sq. feet follow these steps:

Wear proper gear when cleaning.

Try a mixture of bleach and warm water.

Use vinegar.

Use a borax solution to kill and inhibit mold growth.

Try using baking soda, either in a paste or by itself.

Hire the best team to do it

If the mold covers 10 or more square feet you should call a professional team to deal with. Using professional mold removal services is the best way to get rid of mold because the process will be quick and efficient and the living environment in your home will be fresh again.

 

HOW TO DEAL WITH BLACK MOLD AND RECOVER FROM MOLD POISONING

TEST FOR BLACK MOLD AND MYCOTOXINS

Mold can grow in your home for a variety of reasons. If you notice any of these things

you may want to test for mold:

Musty smell

Water damage, soft/wet walls, bubbling paint

Leaking pipes

Discolored wood or walls

Unexplained fatigue

Trouble concentrating

Sudden mood swings

THE DIFFERENT BLACK MOLD TESTS

The first thing to do is verify that you have black mold. Symptoms of mold exposure are almost identical to other fatigue issues, like Lyme disease and chronic fatigue syndrome. And because mold can grow behind walls as a result of burst pipes or water damage, it’s often hard to pinpoint where mold is in your home.

Otherwise, you have a few different options when it comes to testing for mold in your home:

Mold culture test. This test includes a petri dish with a swab. You expose the petri dish to either the air or, through the swab, a specific area in your home, and then you cover it and let it sit for 48 hours. If you get lots of growth in the petri dish (particularly black growth), you have a mold problem. If you get little to no growth, you’re okay. Mold culture tests are fast and cheap (under $10, plus a little extra if you want to send the culture to a lab for analysis). A mold culture test is a good option if you suspect mold in your workplace or school. The downside is that the test won’t tell you where mold is — only if mold is present. Here’s a good mold culture test.

ERMI test. Environmental relative moldiness index (ERMI) testing will tell you with much more specificity what mold is in your home and how big of a problem it is. ERMI tests will run you $200-$300.

CLEAN BLACK MOLD AND GET RID OF IT FOR GOOD

Once you know how bad your mold problem is (both in your environment and in your body), it’s time to get rid of the problem.

Clean mold yourself. If your mold problem is small and visible, like caulking around your bathtub, you can get rid of it yourself. You just want to make sure you use the right cleaning solution. Bleach won’t kill mold entirely, and as the chlorine in bleach dissipates, the bleach turns into water, which creates the perfect environment for new mold to grow. Cleaning vinegar (stronger than kitchen vinegar) will kill mold, as will industrial chemicals like Moldex. Always wear a P100 respirator so you don’t inhale mold spores while you clean. Goggles are a good idea too, and a full body suit for larger mold infestations.

Get rid of mold-contaminated items. Clothing, carpet, drapes, caulking, and paper goods like books and files will all absorb mold spores and can cause new mold growth. If they’ve been in an area with black mold, get rid of them, or in the case of cloth goods, get them professionally dry-cleaned. Throwing out belongings is a bummer, but it’s better to be safe than to have to deal with a new mold problem all over again.

Professional mold remediation. If you have water damage or major mold contamination in hard-to-reach places, hiring a professional is your best bet. Mold remediation can be expensive, but professionals have the tools to find and eliminate all the mold in your entire home.

 

I Found My Dream Home And It Has Attic Mold, Now What? Don’t Panic.

Mold spores are floating in the air all around us. They don’t “grow” until they can attach themselves to a moist surface. Attic mold tends to go undetected because the attic’s not a place a homeowner spends much time hanging around in – so when attic mold turns up on a home inspection, it’s often a surprise to both buyer and seller.

If you find mold in the attic, first, take a breath. Mold in these areas isn’t a significant factor in indoor air quality, and truthfully, most molds are relatively harmless to humans. Visible mold is ready to be remedied and doesn’t require costly testing. What you don’t want to do is leave mold untreated, because the materials the mold has attached to can cause issues with timber and framing integrity. In the attic, mold can degrade drywall, spread to the ceiling below, and even cause problems with your roof’s life expectancy.

Causes of attic mold

Attic mold occurs in the attic primarily due to the accumulation of moisture from condensation in the gap your attic fills between your warm house and the cold air outside your roof. Improper ventilation in the attic is actually worse in newer homes.

Eradicating mold for good is a two-part process

Now that you know the mold in your dream home’s attic is caused by a moisture issue, you might want to thank the mold. Why? Because it has helped you identify the more serious problem of water intrusion. Cleaning up the mold and making sure it doesn’t have the right environment to grow will be the key to a healthy, structurally sound home.

First, clean it up

A professional mold removal company will do just that – remove the mold. According to the EPA, the purpose of mold remediation is to remove the mold to prevent human exposure and damage to building materials and furnishings. This means all visible mold staining and the root structure “hyphae” of the mold must be removed. Unfortunately, even dormant mold can act as an allergen. Encapsulation or painting over the mold is not a recognized method of mold remediation by the EPA.  Protective barriers or anti-microbial paints have a limited shelf life and fail over time if the moisture source has not been appropriately addressed.

 

What I Should Know Before Hiring Mold Removal Help

If you have mold in your home, it’s essential that you take steps to remove it as soon as possible. Just like a bee sting is dangerous to some, mold can also be hazardous for specific individuals, and it isn’t healthy for your property either.

Everyone knows that mold removal can be a daunting task to take on. It’s hard to know where to start or how to get mold remediation done without spending a significant sum of money, right?

Should you test for mold?

In most cases, pre-testing will not be necessary. Mold is a pretty simple thing, generally speaking, and if you can see it, you don’t need to waste time and money in having it tested. You need to focus on having it removed and bringing indoor air quality back to a “normal” condition.

Mold of any type has no place being in your home if you want your home to be a healthy indoor environment. Having pre-testing done to determine the species and type when it is always going to be recommended to be removed regardless of the type is, in our opinion, a waste of time and money. Now there are certain circumstances where we do believe testing is very beneficial

What can I expect to pay for mold remediation?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. How much you can expect to pay for mold remediation depends on how much removal is necessary, what needs to be removed, the size of the area needing to be contained off, and the difficulty of building the containment chamber. Essentially the more mold, the more work and the higher the price, although it is fair to say that many jobs can cost $1000 or more.

Tips To Find Good Home Inspection

How to Select a Home Inspector

Choosing a home inspector is part of the home buying process, a decision that can have a significant impact on your satisfaction with your future home. The home inspector is responsible for telling you the things you need to know about the home you are interested in. His or her ability to spot potential issues is vital for you to make an informed purchase, one you will be happy with over the long-term. Knowing how to select a home inspector becomes paramount, especially for first-time buyers.

You only need to do a quick search for home inspectors in your area to find numerous options, but as with so many professions, some inspectors are better than others. The following tips will help you find a home inspector that you can be happy with, someone you can trust to provide you with all the relevant facts about the home you want to buy.

On the other hand, some excellent home inspectors do not have great delivery when it comes to pointing out issues. Having been in business for thirty years, I have found that the way problems are communicated can have a dramatic effect on a buyer.

Some of the worst home inspectors while thorough, use scare tactics to make problems sound way worse than they are! Why do they do this? If you don’t buy the home, you’re more than likely going to call them on the next house. Real Estate agents like to call this a two for one. This is the mark of an unprofessional inspector. Yes, there are bad home inspectors just like there are bad real estate agents!

 

Home Inspection Tips for Buyers That Sellers Can Learn From

Now’s your chance to get specialty inspections, too.

Although home inspectors are trained and certified to assess several parts of a home, they also can specialize in what are called “ancillary inspections,” or more detailed reviews focusing on individual components.

Request documentation to prove completed repairs.

While not essential, this can help verify any amenities the seller’s advertising, such as a new roof. “If the receipts are out, I’ll look at them,” Lesh said. “I think it’s a good thing for a seller to do if they actually did have work done.”

Know when to ask for a repair, take a credit, or leave it be.

The home inspection can trigger some delicate negotiations over a property’s flaws. For each, a buyer can request that the seller hire a contractor to fix it, obtain a credit (a reduction in the purchase price) toward fixing it themselves, or let it be. Sellers can opt for either or simply reject both and negotiate from there, although that puts the transaction at risk of the buyer walking away.

Be prepared to attend the inspection and ask lots of questions.

When buyers pay for the home inspection, it’s fairly standard for them to watch the inspector at work. “The first thing I always do is I ask what their concerns are. Maybe they had an issue with a previous house, so they’re sensitive to that,” Lesh said.

Temper your expectations for a perfect inspection.

Although a home inspection report is detailed, it doesn’t cover every nook, creak, and cranny.

 

TIPS FOR BUYERS TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL HOME INSPECTION

Using the Report

After the inspector has gone through the entire property and provided the report, take time to review it carefully and ask any questions to either your agent or the inspector so you fully understand what you’re reading. As you read the report, it’s important to remember the inspector is acting as a primary care physician, and should anything need further evaluation you’ll be referred to a specialist. If the home inspector finds evidence of mold or a pest problem, for example, they’ll recommend to you talk to a mold abatement specialist or exterminator to discuss the work needed to alleviate the problem.

Owner’s Manual

Whether this is your first home or 10th, each house offers its own quirks and there’s no owner’s manual provided. It’s highly recommended you attend the inspection, as the inspector will provide useful information throughout the process of not only the pros and cons of the property, but show you how everything works as well. An inspector will give you a plethora of information, from which way to point your air filter to where the main water shutoff valve is and how old all your major systems are. While the age and condition of many systems and appliances will be noted in the report, an explanation of how to use everything isn’t standard in written form. Bring a notepad and jot down useful information throughout the process.

Choosing Your Inspector

Every individual involved in the home buying process must be top-notch. This is likely the biggest investment of your life and understanding what you are getting yourself into is of the utmost importance. With this in mind, be sure you choose a tried and true inspector you can trust to overlook nothing and provide your report in a timely, organized manner.

Choosing the Right Type

When you sit down with your real estate agent to prepare your offer, he or she will go over the different types of inspections you can choose from. While there are different inspection options – radon, pest and mold, among others – you first want to steal with a standard home inspection.

 

Choosing a qualified inspector is an important step for new homeowners – but it’s not as easy as you may think

Go by referrals

There is no national accreditation or licensing for home inspectors, so relying on rave reviews from people you trust is your best bet.  Poll your real estate agent, friends, family and social networks for recommendations, and check out websites like homestars.com, which provides user reviews of home service providers in your area.

Ask for an interview

When it comes to hiring a home inspector, personality counts. A patient and experienced professional can help you make an informed decision about buying your future home, so it’s important to find someone you click with. “A lot of people don’t really interview us first, but it’s a good idea,” Meandro says. Spend a few minutes chatting with an inspector over the phone to decide whether you’ll be able to rely on that person to walk you through the pros and cons of a property.

Inquire about insurance

Look to hire a home inspector who carries errors and omissions insurance. This insurance isn’t mandatory for home inspectors in most provinces, and some qualified professionals may not carry it, but Meandro says those that do may be more seasoned experts. “Home inspection insurance is difficult to get unless you have experience in that field.”

Tag along for the inspection

It’s a major red flag if a home inspector doesn’t invite you to observe the process. “Some inspectors will say, ‘Go sit in the kitchen and I’ll come talk to you at the end of the inspection,’ but that’s not acceptable,” Meandro says.  “Educating people about their new house is a major part of what we do.” Insist that you join the inspection and ask lots of questions about potential problems and what it would take to fix them.

Go with a pro

Got a brother-in-law who’s a contractor? He’ll probably do a stellar job on your renovations but he might not be the right person to hire for your home inspection. “A home inspector has to have basic knowledge of virtually everything related to a home,” Meandro says. “A contractor might not have the right equipment to look for moisture or test the electrical.” Make sure you hire an inspector with several years of experience under their tool belt.

 

Increase Your Professionalism From the Moment You Arrive at a Home Inspection

To begin an inspection, it’s absolutely critical that you arrive on time. As a matter of fact, I like to arrive about 15 minutes early. Why? I want to show the customer that I value their time. That means if they’re waiting for me, I’m going to be concerned about how they’re going to begin to feel about me. So, I’m here early. The second thing that’s really critical about a home inspection: to look professional is to bring equipment that’s clean. Don’t bring a ladder that you’ve been painting your bedroom with last night. Bring a clean ladder. Bring clean drop cloths. Bring clean booties. Keep in mind that these people haven’t bought the house yet, but they’re most likely going to. You want to show respect to their new home. You don’t want to be walking around their carpet, leaving things behind.

Make sure, again, that as you come up to the door and knock on the door, give people time to come to the door. You’d be amazed. They could be in all other parts of the house, and it’s going to take them a while to get there. What you don’t want to do is to come in and surprise somebody. Boy, that’s embarrassing. It can be, again, very, very bad for the customer relationship issue. What I like to do when I get here early is I begin to prepare my report. I begin to fill out things that are kind of general comments, the style of the home, the type of the shingles, and things like that prior to the customer getting here. The other thing that I would encourage you to do as we go throughout the house for the entire inspection is: digital photography is really in the marketplace now. It gives you a little bit of an edge, being able to explain to people what you’re looking at, what you’re seeing, and what’s good and what’s bad.

Remember that you can overuse digital photography. So, don’t make it a showmanship attitude. Make it a, “I need to show somebody something.” Communication is the number one key to the success of a home inspection. If I can both in writing and verbally explain myself well to my customers, I just won the battle, and I haven’t even started the inspection yet. The more you can prepare before the customer comes here, the less you’re going to be inconveniencing them. That’s just good business, and I encourage you to do that. I would also encourage you to, one more time, just check their name so that when you do get out and greet them, and they should be here in a few moments, you’ll be able to call them by their first name. Boy, that’s just great marketing.

The Right Reason To Make Mold Inspection

Factors to Consider When Looking for a Mold Inspection Company

Health and Safety

This is the final and most important factor. Health and safety is very vital. The inspection company has to give you assurances that they will conduct the work without any alarming health and safety concerns. The company should therefore assure you that they will use proper safety gear, face masks and gloves in the inspection process. In addition to this, they should seal off the working area to curb the mold from spreading throughout your home. When mold spreads to other parts of your home, it can be a great health concern, as your loved ones will be at risk of exposure. Your desired mold inspection company should implement a wide range of safety measures to promote safety while doing the work.

Price and Pre Testing

The price of mold inspection varies from company to company. It is good and prudent for you to get quotations and compare them before choosing and settling for one. Some companies insist on pre-testing mold but this is not important, as it escalates the prices. Professionals who insist on doing these tests only want your money and to ultimately drain your bank. It is also not ideal for you to choose quotations that are exceedingly low hence; this should be a major red flag. Only quacks charge very low prices, as they are not properly trained but just merely experimental.

Insurance

It is vital to hire an inspector who has insurance that duly covers them. This protects and guards you in case there might be any possible losses. Insurance is therefore very important, especially pertaining to liability if any accident happens in your house. This also applies when there is sub-contracting. Such contractors also have to be well trained and insured as well. They ought to bear documents or credentials clearly depicting the same.

Testimonials and Experience

Testimonials and experience are essential factors to consider. They help ensure that you do not settle for mold inspector who is actually a rookie. The testimonials could be by word of mouth or you can find them in the inspectors or company’s website. This therefore implies that you have to enquire about the company and any possible recommendations. It ensures that you settle for a company that will exceed your expectations.

Certification

You should do extensive research before settling on a certain mold inspection company. Most companies have websites and the “about us” page reveals whether they are industry certified or not. The mold inspection field might appear to be hugely unregulated. However, check whether they have certification from the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration.

 

What You Should Know Before Hiring Mold Removal Help

How expensive can I expect removal to be?

-Price of mold removal depend on the size of the job — they can often be over $1000. But, some mold professionals out there exaggerate the amount of work that needs to be done, driving up the price. If you think a quoted price seems high, we recommend getting multiple quotes to compare.

However, if you get a quote that’s shockingly low, that’s also a big red flag.  Companies that don’t do things properly are the only ones that can charge shockingly low prices.

Mold professionals are licensed and skilled tradesmen, just like a plumber or electrician, so you can expect to pay more for a mold company than a regular handyman. Keep in mind that mold professionals have high overhead costs, such as high general liability and workers comp insurance, which also factors into their price.

Wanna keep things really cheap? Do it yourself! In some cases, minor mold problems (less than about 10 square feet of mold) in places like a bathroom corner can easily be handled by a handy homeowner with a free weekend afternoon and a few basic supplies from the hardware store. For more information, see our previous post on the subject: Do I need a Mold Remediation Professional?

-No need to take a wrecking ball to the entire house at the sight of a little mold.  You can keep the price down by focusing just on the area where there is visible mold.  For example, mold on drywall in one corner of the room only needs cut out and replaced in that corner.  Yes, the rest of the room (and maybe adjoining rooms) should be cleaned, but only damaged drywall needs to be cut out and replaced.

 

I See Mold. Do I Really Need a Mold Professional?

When should a mold inspection and mold testing be considered?

  • When visible mold is not present, but the smell of mold is. Here a mold inspection and mold test can reveal whether there is indeed elevated mold, and where it is located.
  • There have been plumbing leaks or water issues and there is a suspicion that elevated mold may exist in the air and/or behind walls.
  • Post Mold Removal Clearance Testing to ensure that the previous mold issue has been resolved and mold counts have returned to levels found in normal environments of the same type.
  • Health Concerns: In some cases, a doctor or the patient has a health issue that they cannot pinpoint the cause but seems to be related to mold symptoms (coughing, sneezing, headaches, etc). Here, a mold inspection and test may help to confirm whether the doctor’s or patient’s suspicions that a mold problem exists.
  • For real estate transactions for the protection of Buyers and Sellers.
  • Landlord/Tenant disputes as to whether there is a mold problem.
  • Someone thinks they see or smell mold but are not sure.
  • Someone is interested in a general Indoor Air Quality test of their environment.

 

Tips to Protect Yourself During Mold Inspection

Do Your Research

Experts say homeowners should not underestimate the importance of checking referrals, references or credentials. While some certifications reflect extensive training, others, like ABC’s “The Lookout” uncovered, do not. ABC News anchor Cynthia McFadden received her certification as a mold assessor after taking an honor system test, paying $49.95 for the certificate and purchasing a book for approximately $34.00.

Slower Is Better

Experts warn homeowners should be wary of inspectors that reach a conclusion too quickly. Every investigation should include a thorough visual inspection looking for signs of mold and moisture, a history of your home’s problems, the health of its occupants, as well as moisture and temperature readings. An entire home could take approximately one to three hours, depending on its size.

Tests Do Not Hold All the Answers

According to the EPA, “in most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is unnecessary,” but testing can be a tool in detecting hidden mold. However, some government agencies say remediation should not be based on test results alone. Experts say to be wary if an inspector does nothing but test for samples and bases mold remediation on sampling alone.

Don’t Think Extreme

Inspections should start with the least intrusive approaches first. Mold inspections can be like peeling an onion: If signs of mold or moisture are indicated, then an inspector may have to become more invasive and peel another layer. Mold inspection is a step-by-step process that is based on what you see.

 

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST MOLD REMEDIATION COMPANY

Ask the Right Questions

  • The first thing to look for in a mold remediation company is whether or not they stand behind their work. What kind of warranty does the company offer? Octagon Cleaning & Restoration offers a 5-year warranty on its high-quality, specialized cleaning services for all residential and commercial properties that it remediates.
  • Next, ask if the company if it is insured and licensed. Look for a company that is fully licensed and has the proper certifications to perform the job as required. The staff should be trained and highly experienced. Mold remediation requires a high degree of expertise. The person actually overseeing the work on your property should be able to communicate with you through the entire mold remediation and removal process each step of the way.
  • Finally, a company’s certification is just as important as its reputation. Octagon Cleaning & Restoration is IICRC certified—the industry standard. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC), is the institution that sets the standards and certifications for the inspection, cleaning, restoration and installation industries. More importantly, these are the standards that insurance companies adhere to.