Thanks to extensive media coverage, public knowledge about mold and the potential health problems associated with it has increased. It is common to find magazine articles, TV spots, news reports and blog articles on the topic
However, even with this dramatic increase in media coverage, many people often wait to seek mold and remediation help. A home owner’s delay in seeking the professional help often stems from perceived misconceptions about how the actual clean up could occur; from time, the level of invasiveness, to just plain embarrassment.
The purpose of this article is to shed some light on the five most common misconceptions about mold and mold abatement.
Myth #1: Only the “Dirty House” Can Have Mold Problems
Many people are embarrassed to seek professional help simply because they do not want their neighbors to know that they have a mold problem. This is due to the popular misconceptions that only a “dirty” house can have a mold issue. The truth is any home with the right combination of factors can be impacted by mold.
Mold will grow if certain conditions are met; there has to be a high level of humidity, an organic source of food, steady supply of oxygen and a proper temperature.
Does your house have to be dirty in order to meet these conditions? Absolutely not! All it takes is a prolonged exposure to water damage caused by plumbing problems, flooding or by any substantial water spill.
Since mold spores are microscopic particles (at most 100 microns in diameter), they can be easily carried into your home on your shoes, clothing, waft in from an open window or come in on your pet’s fur.
Myth #2: Mold Inspection is Messy and Intrusive
Due to the nature of the mold, it is often impossible to assess the scale and size of your mold infestation with just the naked eye. Mold may be hiding in hard to reach corners of your house, under the carpets and wallpapers, inside of the walls, or behind the sheetrock.
Before the invention of thermal imaging, the only way to visually verify the presence of mold in such places was by removing wallpaper, breaking through the walls and removing the carpet from your floors. Such inspection would leave a path of destruction and a mess in your home.
Fortunately, intrusive mold inspection methods are the thing of the past. Today, most mold inspectors are equipped with a thermal imaging camera. This camera allows them to confirm the presence of mold without the need to poke holes into your walls or rip up the carpeting.
Myth #3: You Must Leave Your Home During Mold Remediation
In case of a severe mold issue, the mold remediation process can quickly grow into a time-consuming and labor-intensive project. In such situations, surface mold removal is not enough, and remediation could require removing drywall, cleaning up the building structure and the replacement of the drywall materials.
Due to the level of work that may be required, many people think they have to leave the house while the mold remediation occurs. The good news is you do not have to leave your house during the mold removal, unless you want to.
During the cleaning process, the mold-infected area is isolated with plastic sheeting sealed with duct tape. Negative air machines and air scrubbers run around the clock to make sure mold spores do not spread outside the work area.
A typical mold abatement job takes one to three days with a full-sized crew. After mold has been removed and encapsulated, they rebuild and clean up the affected areas, leaving your house cleaner then it was before they started.
Myth #4: Mold Removal Presents Health Risks
Historically, mold removal involved using chemical cleaning solutions that, in some cases, were even more toxic that the mold itself. Fortunately, in the last decade this situation has changed.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency requires that only non-toxic mold cleaning solutions be used during professional mold remediation. There are many mold cleaning products that meet this requirements and completely safe and biodegradable.
Depending on your mold situation, you may want to consider a chemical-free mold removal method called dry ice blasting. The only byproduct of this method is carbon dioxide (CO2), a harmless gas that is ventilated away without leaving any traces.
Myth #5: Mold Removal Will Make Your House Smell
Many people think mold remediation will result in strong chemical odors during the remediation. Some types of mold have a strong characteristic odor and most mold cleaning products carry their own odor. However, a professional mold remediation company will put all of your “stinky house” fears to rest.
The work areas are always tightly isolated with plastic sheeting and sealed with duct tape. Negative air machines and air scrubbers run during the process to vent out odors along with the mold particles. Following the mold abatement, most crews will deodorize the house to make sure it smells better than before.
On the other hand, if you were to clean mold from a large polluted area on your own, there is a good chance that your home will be odor-filled, as you are not likely to have all the necessary equipment to keep the work area and air contained. Also, when you turn mold removal in do-it-yourself project, there is a risk of spreading the mold into the other, unaffected areas of your house.
Thanks to sophisticated equipment, non-toxic biodegradable cleaning products and time-proven remediation protocols, mold removal is a safe, fast and typically painless process.
If you think you may have a mold problem, don’t delay. The sooner you call a professional, the sooner you can get the issue take care of. Don’t let fear or misperceptions result in delays to deal with this serious life-threating issue.
This guest post was contributed by Carl Bennett, the vice president of Above & Beyond Unlimited Cleaning – a New Jersey based company specializing in mold remediation, testing & mold inspection services.