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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.

walking on the streets

Impact of Mold on Thoughts, Emotion, & Personality

How Mold Affects the Body

We know that mold affects health. Mold exposure can cause sickness, allergy symptoms, blurred vision, nausea, etc etc. But did you know, that by being exposed to mold, your emotional and cognitive sides are also affected? According to James Schaller, M.D., CMR and Gary Rosen, PhD, CIE, in the book Mold Illness and Mold Remediation Made Simple , Mold chemicals can affect cognition, emotions, and personality! They’ve made a list of all the different affects mold can have:

Mold Affects Emotions, Cognition, & Personality

  • mood swings
  • mania
  • irritability
  • impulsivity
  • increased risk taking
  • decreased speech smoothness
  • poor stress coping
  • increased verbal fighting
  • lateness
  • poor empathy
  • poor boundary awareness
  • immaturity
  • spacey
  • rigidity
  • poor insight
  • decreased productivity
  • unable to process trauma or pain
  • increased narcissism
  • forgetfulness
  • poorly or obsessively organized
  • dead creativity
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • panic attacks
  • decreased attention
  • eccentric personality
  • delay in child develpment
  • increased drug or alcohol consumption

Mold Illness

Of course mold is not the only cause of these mental issues, but it can be a direct source as well as worsen the prognosis further.

Further Recommended Reading:

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source: Schaller, James and Rosen, Gary. “Mold Illness and Mold Remediation Made Simple.” 30.

12 Tips to Prevent Moisture & Mold

Moisture : Key Ingredient for Mold to Grow

One of the most important necessities mold needs to grow, is water.

It does not take a whole lot of water, just a small amount of condensation or moisture will do the trick.

The conclusion then, is that if moisture is prevented or eliminated, the chances of mold growth decrease greatly.

In Vicki Lankarge’s book “What Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Mold & What to Do About It”, she gives 12 tips that can prevent the collection of moisture from a few different sources.

12 Moisture Prevention Tips

  • Vent bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture generating sources to the outside.
  • Use air conditioners and dehumidifiers.
  • Increase ventilation throughout the home.
  • Use exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.
  • Fix plumbing leaks immediately.
  • Keep your home’s exterior painted.
  • Keep flower beds away from exterior walls so the soil doesn’t touch your home’s siding
  • Don’t wet walls with lawn sprinklers for a long period of time. This can allow the fungus to from rhizomorphs, so even when the sprinklers are off, the decay continues.
  • Make sure the grade of your lawn slopes away from your home and there is adequate drainage. You don’t want water form sprinklers or heavy rain to pool around your home.
  • Don’t pile wood or other debris in crawl spaces or against the side of your house.
  • Further inspect your home if you see evidence of bugs such as roaches or termites. Remember where you have bugs, you have water.
  • Further inspect your home if you see evidence of the fungus. Remember: The fungi can be tricky. The place where you see the fungus may not be the point of origin.

Moisture -> Mold’s Best Friend

If you fall these 12 simple tips, the chances of mold growth in your home will be severely minimized.

Prevention is always the best answer. If a problem is prevented, you will never have to deal with the consequences.

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.” 37-38.

7 Warning Signs for Mold Contamination

How Can You Tell if Mold is Growing in Your Home?

Sometimes mold can be very sneaky.

Generally though, not including physical ailments, mold gives obvious warning signs in your home, to if and where it is growing.

Vicki Lankarge, in her book “What Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Mold & What to Do About It”, gives us 7 warning signs for mold contamination.

7 Warning Signs

  • Sunken areas in baseboards or trim. These indentations appear when mold has consumed the wood behind the paint. The paint itself is often cracked and peeling.
  • Separation of the baseboard from the wall or floor
  • Whitish mats under carpet, linoleum, in cabinets, or even behind furniture.
  • “Fruiting bodies,” or mushroomlike growths on rotten wood on the underside of flooring or a cabinet. Fruiting bodies are flat, up to a half-inch thick, and a pale olive, gray, brown, or black.
  • Staining, swelling, or crumbling of plaster or sheetrock.
  • Discoloration (blackish staining) around air conditioning vents.
  • Vinelike branches from the soil to the foundation, framing, or underside of flooring. Vines are typically white, brown, or black and are called rhizomorphs. The fungus forms these vines that connect the soil to the wood.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

8 Most Common Places to Look for Mold

Where Should I Look For Mold?

You know that mold is bad, ugly, and that it can be dangerous. You also know, of course, that it is something that needs to be removed immediately from your home if found growing there.

You even know that you should try a do-it-yourself mold kit if mold contamination is even suspected.

You know how to look for mold, and maybe even what to look for.

But do you know where to look for mold growth?

According to Vicki Lankarge in her book, “What Ever Home Owner Needs to Know About Mold & What to Do About It”, she tells us that there are 8 places where mold growth is most common.

8 Most Common Places for Mold Growth

  • Basements or cellars that have been flooded
  • Underneath kitchen and bathroom sinks
  • Underneath or behind refrigerators
  • Behind walls that also house plumbing
  • Stacks of damp or wet newspaper or cardboard boxes
  • Around air-conditioning units
  • Wallboard or around windows that leak
  • Under carpeting that may have become wet

Mold Growth: Moisture & Cellulose

Mold growth is of course not limited to these 8 places, however there is a common principle that links all of these common mold environments together: moisture and cellulose – not to be confused with cellulite.

“Cellulose is mold’s favorite food source” says Vicki Lankarge in her book.

Along with moisture, anywhere there is cellulose, there could be mold growth.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

5 Simple Tips for Cleaning a Small Mold Infestation

Mold has been found. Now what?!

Don’t panic! The first thing that needs to be determined is whether or not the infestation is large or small.

Ask yourself, is the area affected with mold small and contained? How much mold can be seen and how much more may be unseen?

If the answer is only small amounts and the area is indeed contained, there are 5 easy tips tips according to Vicki Lankarge in her book “What Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Mold & What to Do About It” that can help you to rid yourself of any further mold problems:

5 Easy Tips for Small Area Mold Remediation

  • Make sure you’re free of allergy symptoms and/or asthma
  • Wear a mask and rubber gloves during clean up
  • Using water and detergent, scrub mold off nonporous surfaces and dry completely. (Perhaps a little bleach wouldn’t hurt as well)
  • Absorbent materials may have to be discarded if they are moldy. It is likely that hidden mold lurks beneath the surface and will grow back and fill in the crevices
  • Dispose of any sponges or rags used to clean the mold (It is best to double bag any mold contaminated items and remove them from the home entirely)

When do I need a mold professional?

If the area is small enough, there won’t be any need for professional help as it can be taken care of with do-it-yourself methods.

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.” 50-53.

Q & A: Molds that Grow on Food

What types of Mold Grows on Food?

On December 15, 2007, a reader requested the following:

Informative Request:

I really need to know what type of mold grows on the following food:

Cauliflower
Tomatoes
Raspberries
Lunch Meat (Chicken Breast)
Hotdog
Pita
Yogurt
Mozzarella Cheese

I cant seem to find this info anywhere…so if anyone could help me as soon as possible it would be much appreciated.

Answer:

Different types of mold grow on different types of food.

Some molds cause severe health problems and sickness quickly where as others progressively worsen over time. Molds that contain mycotoxins are the cause of the illness from mold exposure.

Listed in the following are types of mold that typically grow on different foods:

Cauliflower

Cauliflower is susceptible to a type of mold called White Mold or Sclerotinia Sclerotiorum.

This mold causes the vegetable to have to have a dark, green greasy or water soaked appearance.

Tomatoes & Raspberries

Both of these fruits can be assaulted with gray mold, or botrytis blight. Fruits or vegetables affected by this type of mold usually contain a visible grayish fuzz.

Lunch Meat (Chicken Breast)/ Hotdogs

According to the USDA, the following are the most common types of mold that can grow on meats and poultry:

Alternaria, Aspergillus, Botrytis, Cladosporium, Fusarium, Geotrichum, Monilia, Manoscus, Mortierella, Mucor, Neurospora, Oidium, Oosproa, Penicillium, Rhizopus and Thamnidium. They are most certainly not limited to these types however.

I would recommend the following site for more information: USDA Mold Facts

Pita

Pita, because it is a type of bread, will most commonly develop the same forms of mold that other breads do.

Two of the most common are Rhizopus, a blackish fuzzy fungus, and Penicillium, which is a bluish-grayish-greenish fuzzy fungus usually having a white border.

Breads are of course not limited to these two types.

Yogurt/Mozzarella Cheese

As Mozzarella cheese and yogurt are both dairy products, and of course mozzarella is a soft cheese, the most common type of mold that can be grown is Penicillium.

Aspergillus is another common mold that grows on dairy products. Soft dairies such as yogurt, sour cream, and soft cheeses (mozzarella, etc) should be disposed of quickly.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

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