Moldy Ceiling

5 Levels of Mold Remediation

What are the 5 levels of Mold Remediation?

According to Vicki Lankarge in her book “What Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Mold & What to Do About It,” mold remediation can be broken up into 5 levels: level one being the least contamination, level four being the most, and level five HVAC and air conditioning systems.

When dealing with mold contamination in your home it can be difficult to decide when a mold remediator is needed or what you can take care of yourself.

In the following 5 levels, you will have a guideline to go by when removing mold from your home :

5 Levels of Mold Remediation

  • Level I (10 square feet or less)

Smaller infestations categorized in level I is mostly found on ceilings or baseboards. Level I mold contamination may be cleaned without hiring a mold remediator, but there are several important safety precautions that you need to know :

1. Do not attempt cleaning mold if you suffer from asthma, allergies, or immune disorders

2. Wear gloves, eye protection, and an N95 disposable respirator

3. Vacate from your work area any infants less than 12 months old, individuals recovering from recent surgery, anyone with a suppressed immune system, or people with chronic lung diseases such as asthma, sever allergies, emphysema, etc.

4. Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from your home in a sealed plastic bag to prevent an infestation in another part of your home.

5. Clean your work area when you’re done with a damp cloth or mop.

6. Make sure all areas are left dry and visibly free of mold contamination.

  • Level II (10-30 square feet)

To remove mold from an area category the size of level II (probably one wall panel), the same precautions used in level I should be taken as well as the following :

1. Moldy materials should be covered with plastic sheets and sealed with tape before any handling or removal of materials. This will contain dust and debris. It may be wise to double wrap in plastic before escorting the moldy material from your home.

2. WHen the mold removal is finished, vacuum the work area with a HEPA vacujum. Clean the area with a damp cloth or mop.

  • Level III (30-100 square feet)

Mold contamination this size (patches of mold on several wall panels), should still be handled with the same precautions as level I and II as well as the following added measures :

1. Seal ventilation ducts/grills in the work area and areas directly adjacent with plastic sheeting.

2. Vacate everyone from your work area until work is completed. Further vacate adjacent work areas of any infants less than 12 months old, individuals recovering from recent surgery, anyone with a suppressed immune system, or people with chronic lung diseases such as astma, sever allergies, emphysema, etc.

  • Level IV (greater than 100 square feet)

An infestation depending on how much greater than 100 square feet may require the assistance of a mold remediator. If not, the same requirements should be followed as were needed in levels I, II, and III along with the following :

1. Every worker must be trained in the handling of hazardous materials and equipped with full face respirators with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cartridges, with disposable protective clothing covering both head and shoes.

2. Make sure workers completely isolate hteir work area from the rest of your home with sheeting sealed with duct tape, including ventilation ducts/grills, fixtures, and any other openings.

3. Make sure workers set up and use a “decontamination room,” or a chamber taped off with plastic sheeting. The outside of sealed bags containing contaminated material should be wiped down with a damp cloth or HEPA vacuumed in the decontamination chamber prior to their removal.

4. Air monitoring should be conducted prior to moving back into your home to determine if it is fit to reoccupy.

  • Level V (Air Conditioners and HVAC Systems)

If there is a small area of mold growth beneath your air conditioning system it would be safe to apply precautions from levels I and II to remediate the mold contamination. However, all remediation procedures for air conditioning units and HVAC systems should be left to professionals. Procedures for level V remediation for areas larger than 10 square feet are the same for all previous levels with the following precautionary measures added :

1. Shut down the HVAC system prior to remediation.

2. Growth-supporting materials that are contaminated, such as the patper on the insulation of interior lined ducts and filters, should be removed and sealed in plastic bags.

3. A variety of biocides – broad spectrum antimicrobial agents designed to prevent the growth of microorganisms – are recommended by HVAC manufacturers for use with HVAC components, such as cooling coils and condensation pans. HVAC manufacturers should be consulted for the prodcuts they recommend for use in their systems.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger team

Source: Lankarge, Vicki. “What Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Mold & What to Do About It.” 52-58.

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40 thoughts on “5 Levels of Mold Remediation

  1. Great information. As you can see, several precautions should be taken when handling mold. I’ve discovered it is easy to aggrevate mold and end up spreading the spores to another part of the house. We had a fairly low level of mold and hired EcoGuard Mold Solutions and they did a great job masking off the infected area and keeping the rest of our house safe. http://www.ecoguardsolutions.com

  2. Help! We smell mildew but we can’t find it. All five of us agree the smell is in one area but we have checked the floor, rugs, wall, cabinets, closets, furniture, even the attic in that area and still no visible mold or mildew.

  3. This is great info relating to mold damage remediation.. We completely agree with Bill above that neg. air containment is very important to prevent the further growth and migration of mold spores.

  4. It is interesting how mold can grow very fast and spread in a home. Definitely not good for your health! So to just leave it and do nothing is a ticking time bomb. Mold remediation is costly but well worth it if you have an infestation of mold that needs to be taken care of. A mold specialist can get to the source of the problem and get rid of the mold so it won’t come back.

  5. So after 10 months of owning our home, we have found that we have the Black Toxic mold Stachybotrys_chartarum behind our kitchen cabinets and apparently they have been found at different places in the carpet. While we are dealing with a professional contractor to deal with the situation and have had to move out of the house, we are receiving different stories about what items in the home need to be removed and disposed. For example, we were told to dispose of anything plastic, like dishes, toys… But my TV is plastic? And so is my computer? What is the truth… I don’t want to trash a perfectly good computer if I don’t have too. So far it seems like no one is really sure or they don’t want to dissapoint me.

  6. David,

    Anything that is hard plastic or glass can be cleaned from mold with a solution as simple as soap and water. Once mold gets into carpet, or upholestry it must be cleaned by a professional in order to completely remove it. Any hard surface items do not need to be thrown out, simply cleaned. Hope his helps!

  7. @David: It depends on how intrusive the mold problem is. Most likely you can clean your TV and computer and keep using them. But you might need to open them up and see if mold is growing inside. If not, you can probably clean the outside and keep them. If mold is growing inside, you’ll need to figure out if you can clean the mold or if it’s grown onto sensitive components. Hope that helps!

  8. The five levels of mold removal should be helpful to property owners by helping them decide how to proceed with the mold remediation. Very simple yet instructional. Good, simple resource…clearly written. Thanks!

  9. Very vital information about mold as it is very dangerous for human beings in many aspects.It cause illness,property loss and many other problems so its better to get rid of mold and mildew as soon as possible.Good info. to share.

  10. So, my wife and I purchased a condo over three weeks ago and the soap dish in the master bath fell off the wall. There was black mold around the area. I kept it damp before I could figure out what to do with it. After talking to folks, I removed the surrounding tile and cut away the bad dry wall to replace it. I damped the area when I did it, but I didn’t seal anything or cover anything in the bathroom. Is this going to be a major problem? I threw the bad pieces into a trash bag and sealed it up before taking it outside. Am I at risk for further infestation? Also, would spraying the area down with baking soda kill any residual mold before putting up new drywall? Thanks!

  11. Wow, its incredible what lengths mold remediation companies have to go through in order to truly alleviate a problem. While there are a ton of DIY home remedies, sometimes it really is best to leave this up to a professional. This article is really insightful, especially for someone trying to understand a pricing quote for a remediation project.

  12. Thank you for posting this blog. Mold, as naturally occurring as it is and despite the fact that we live with mold in various degrees, mold is quite dangerous when it lives inside of your work or living space. We stress that to home and business owners all the time. Sometimes to no avail. Mold Remediation is a serious process and mold removal companies should be wisely chosen.

    Sam Simon
    http://www.ServiceMaster-RestorationBySimons.com
    Chicago, Illinois

  13. It’s only after lever 3 people start taking mold attack seriously and call for help. Many people mistake trying remove them by themselves when they are not very sure. I believe if someone not very sure should remove call for some local help, like I called All Florida Remodeling Group after I found my home infested with black mold after coming for vacations.

  14. You might get straight forward, upfront and detail scope of function. Detailed list of all
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  15. Great information! I’ve been having the same problems on my ceiling, my boyfriend and I, we were planning to burn them with torch light. At the moment, we are just searching for precautions and tips and so far, this blog helped. Thanks!

  16. Am writing a practical guide for restoration professionals on source containment.

    Would strongly encourage sealing mold to the surface as a first response to mold. Traditional method is to place poly sheeting over the affected area and seal the edges with an effective tape.

    Our site http://www.moldhold.com offers an effective source containment product that actually sticks to wet surfaces including mold.

  17. Good information. In NJ at least mold companies are only regulated as home improvement contractors. When selecting a testing or remediation firm, ask for references and do check them ! You would not believe what we have run into – the scare tactics and price gouging. Hope this helps

  18. Here in our area of Florida, because of the humidity, mold is a big problem. It is so scary to go into a house where there are children and the parents don’t take the danger seriously! I’m going to have my team refer people to your site to help them see the importance of prevention and properly remediation.

  19. My mom is 65 in hospital. Just had 4 surgerys in less than a month. Also has been hospitalized the last 3 1/2 monthe out of 4. Her home has level 3 to 4 mold in the walls and insulation. Should she be in her house? Also if not, who do I contact to have herself and my sister forced from the home till the mold is properly removed?

  20. My daughter has a 6 month old and had her home tested, they told her she had a 5 for mold, but no one will tell her what that means, can you help me… thank you

  21. I had no idea that mold could get into your HVAC system and then spread everywhere. That sounds like it could be a major disaster! I will definitely be sure to turn off my HVAC system if I ever come across any mold. I need to make sure that my home is clean and mold free. http://www.aeconllc.com

  22. Its very interesting post… Basement Mold and Mildew are hard to get rid of and cause health problems. Its provide accurate Mold Testing and Removal to ensure the safety of your home. Mold becomes a problem inside a home or business, removing affected material and eliminating moisture sources .The cause of the mold in order to reestablish a healthy environment.

  23. I have also heard that you have to be really careful when removing mold because you can release spores into the air where they can attach and grow on other parts of the house. I am pretty sure my friend had a level 5 because his air conditioner smelled really bad in the summer and I honestly thought it was something that had died. That is one of the worst kinds of mold growth because they can spread like wildfire through the air.

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