Respiratory exposure to mold can cause serious health problems. Individuals who are who are immunosuppressed are the ones most at risk. An infection could be disseminated or localized to a specific organ in the body. While most species are not disease causing, one never knows which one might infest the home and whether it is dangerous. This makes it important to perform a Mold Remediation if you suspect that an infestation might occur.
Fungi can grow almost everywhere as long as there are moisture and oxygen. This includes any organic matter, such as wood, carpet, foods, insulation, and paper. If there is too much moisture on a surface and the situation remains unattended for a few days, then fungi will most certainly grow on that surface. While it is impossible to eradicate spores in an indoor setting, it is important to control the moisture, as this would limit infestation.
There are many causes of moisture problems. The most common are uncontrolled humidity and alterations in building construction practices that were introduced in 1970s, 80s, and 90s. As a result of these changes, some houses are tightly sealed and at the same time lack adequate ventilation, which may lead to a buildup of moisture. Drywall, for example, may not allow for the escape of moisture. Conditions such as leaking roofs, poorly constructed gutters, unvented combustion appliances and landscaping problems all lead to moisture problems. When maintenance is delayed or insufficient, then moisture problems could result in large buildings.
The process of Remediation
Any structure flooded after a storm should be presumed to contain mold-containing material if they have not been thoroughly dried within 48 hours. In the event of such an occurrence, taking immediate steps could reduce the risk of exposure. This requires a systematic process that needs the expertise of a professional.
First, there is a need to conduct an exposure assessment. This requires the specialist to determine the level of human exposure in the affected building. Contamination is not always obvious in a flooded area. Therefore, it is important to understand the strengths and limitations involved in such a process. It is also important to realize that buildings that are not affected by floods could still have mold. This could be caused by leaking pipes or roofs that allow water to infiltrate into biodegradable materials. Excessive humidity could also be another factor.
Moisture Assessment and Visual Inspection
The best way of identifying mold contamination is through visual inspection. This is the only way through which the most appropriate remedial strategy can be determined. Individuals within the contaminated area should wear protective clothing. The inspection should place emphasis on gypsum wallboard, ceiling tiles, paper, cardboard, and other cellulosic surfaces. However, not all contamination can be seen with the naked eye. The ceiling and the interior wall cavities could be affected as well. To determine the level of infestation in such areas, you may have to approximate the total square feet of affected building materials. Professional judgment, however, will come in handy because of the less quantifiable factors such as the use and function of the building, and location of the mold. Ventilation systems should be equally checked for dampness in the system. The HVAC should not be run if suspected to be contaminated as this will help limit the spread of the contamination. The CDC as well as the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency provides the algorithms for remediation and you need a professional who understands these guidelines.
Materials and Equipment Required
For effective assessment, one needs equipment such as moisture meters, humidity meters and a borescope. To determine the potential exposure, you need to measure the humidity, temperature and moisture content of the building materials following water damage. Fungi can infest hard to reach areas such as ceiling plenums, crawl spaces, inside walls, and other tight areas, which can be accessed using a borescope; hence eliminating the need to cut or drill walls. Adequate protective clothing is also required, depending on the severity of the problem. You also need a respirator or a dust filter, gloves and goggles. It is very expensive to buy these materials because you will only be using them occasionally.
The Remediation Process
Always ensure that you hire a professional who understands the process of remediation. A good place to start is Mold Remediation Portland who specializes in removal as well as sewage cleanup and water damage restoration. The area to be cleaned need to be prepared adequately. To minimize spread, the area should have negative pressure and it should be sealed off. This is because the process will disturb spores into the air and this may cause risk of exposure. The sealing can be done using plastic sheets and duct tape around openings such as doors and windows. For an effective remediation process, negative pressure is required in the affected room so that any spores can be driven outside. To limit stirring a lot of spores into the air, any dry mold should be moistened before the cleaning process begins.
The best method of killing the mold is by using a biocide. The chemical will kill the spores as well, preventing future growth and leaving the area sanitized. The solution should be used to clean all the surfaces in the house because they might contain spores that were spread in the preparation process. Unsalvageable porous material should be discarded, but non-porous materials can be reused after thorough cleaning and drying. Once the area has been allowed to dry, it should be vacuumed using HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner to get rid of any residual spores. All the disposal materials that result from the cleaning should be disposed in sealed plastic bags.
Hiring a Professional
The advantage of hiring a professional is that these people are well trained on the right procedures to follow for specific materials and the right products to use. As a non-professional, you may not be aware of how to completely get rid of the mold to prevent future recurrence. Moreover, you may even damage your materials by using corrosive cleaning products. Therefore, look for a profession certified by the Institute Of Inspection Cleaning And Restoration Certification because they will offer quality services and use EPA certified products. This ensures that you get someone you can hold to account if the problem persists.