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flooding and mold

Dealing With the Threat of Mold After Flooding

When Can I Safely Re-Occupy My Home?

This is the most common question often asked after a major calamity. Homes that have sustained any flood damage should expect to have a mold contamination with visible growth, and should not be re-occupied until the necessary mold remediation is performed.

Mold is a now considered as a national health crisis of epidemic proportions due to the health effects from exposure that most commonly occur by inhalation, skin contact, and sometimes, ingestion can be extremely dangerous to anyone, depending on indoor air counts and length of exposure.

It is strongly advised that mold remediation work involving large areas (100 sq ft or 10 ft x 10 ft) should be performed by trained mold remediation experts.

In normal circumstances, areas exceeding 25 to 30 sq ft should also be remediated by trained personnel who can contain the area and remove the mold effectively and safely. By following this suggestion, you don’t risk being exposed to harmful molds and their effects.

Do-It-Yourself Mold Remediation

If you decide to do mold clean up by yourselves, it is strongly advised to use protective equipment and dutifully follow these tips. Use dust masks and gloves, when inspecting areas small that have severe presence of molds.

Always remember to stay for a maximum of 15 minutes only on places were there is severe mold contamination. As much as possible minimize dust release as it also includes mold spores.

If you are trying to clean up an area of at least 100 square feet or a total area of 10 feet by 10 feet, use half-face air purifying respirators with goggles and gloves for safety purposes.

In the event that you are covering an area of 100 square feet it is highly advised to use a full-face air purifying respirator, gloves and disposable cover all. Doing so lowers your chance to exposure to mold spore to zero. But it is still highly suggested that a professional do this.

Mold Remediation in a Two Story Home

If you are doing clean up on a two story house, thoroughly seal-off the second floor by using poly sheeting. Remember to always run a high power exhaust fan in the area where you are working to provide ventilation and prevent possible infiltration of any airborne mold or bacteria into adjoining spaces.

To clean up small debris and dust, use vacuum cleaners with filters. After all these, clean off and disinfect the area with a detergent and bleach solution.

Health and safety advisories to remember when cleaning up after flooding:

  • Be aware of black mold that are growing on sheetrock. There is a possibility that it may be Stachybotrys chartarum. This kind of mold produces a toxin which has been associated with severe health problems in humans.
  • Be vigilant in looking for a whitish or yellowish cotton candy-like mold growth that is observed in many homes.This mold growth has been identified in some testing as Fusarium, which like the black mold or Stachybotrys chartarum, also produces a toxin that is associated with adverse health problems in humans.
  • If you smell a gas leak, it is highly advised to call your utility company. Doing so prevents the possibility of fire or explosion that may lead to more damaged property or loss of life.
  • Be aware to stay away from downed power lines and damaged electrical wires. A sudden electrical surge may prove fatal.
  • Usually, mold clean-up activities may result in the release of lead paint dust. It is recommended for households that have children under the age of 7 to have a lead dust wipe post clearance testing.Doing this ensures the safety of everyone in your household from possible lead poisoning.
  • There is a probability that the plaster that you may be working on may contain asbestos. More extensive testing is required to really understand and know the scope of this potential problem.It is good to know that plaster can be inexpensively tested for asbestos content. Cleaning-up of asbestos-containing plaster surfaces poses a very severe health risk to workers and occupants.
  • In the event that you are using a gas powered generator, place them outside the house. Long term exposure to carbon monoxide will kill anyone.

Further Recommended Reading

mold remediation services

How to Choose A Mold Inspector

When Do You Need a Mold Inspector?

If you are concerned about your health and suspect that you may have molds in your home, then it may be time to choose and pick the right mold inspector.

Three Goals When Choosing a Mold Inspector:

When choosing a professional mold inspector, look for one that has these three goals in mind:


Goal # 1

To find readily accessible and major defects in the house.


Goal # 2

To provide you, the client, with the cause and effects of such defects that will help the homeowner develop a clear understanding of what repairs are needed. These defects may be causing the growth of mold and often go unknown to the owner.

Goal # 3

The inspector should point out where the main water, electrical disconnect switch and heating system shut offs are in case of an emergency.

Qualifications Needed from a Mold Inspector:

Do not choose a mold inspector based on price alone. There are many services where you can price shop, but mold investigation and sampling should not be one of them. Expertise should be top priority. Look for the following training, experience, and qualifications when choosing a mold inspector:

Home inspections, building construction, or building forensics

Your mold problem is not in a dish or cage. It is in a building and is the result of building failure. So, mold testing should be done by someone who has knowledge of buildings, vapor barriers, roofing, HVAC systems and other related things.

Psychometrics

Psychometrics is all about humidity, temperature, dew point and air. A profound understanding of the interrelations of such factors is very important.

Biology knowledge

Because mold is a living organism and subject to the principles of biology, it is very beneficial if the mold inspector understands at least some basic biological and ecological science principles about microbiology or mycology, the study of mold.

It is best if the mold inspector you have chosen has a background in biological sciences and also in building sciences.

HVAC Knowledge

Your chosen mold inspector should be familiar with HVAC systems. It is known that 50% of mold problems are related to HVAC system malfunctions, leaks, or contamination.

Lab results interpretation and mold training

Your mold inspector should be properly trained and experienced in investigating and sampling mold, and they should know how to interpret the lab results.

Knowledge about indoor air quality issues

The mold inspector should have training and experience in general indoor air quality issues because what is sometimes perceived initially as a mold problem may not be mold at all.

Odors or illness may be the result of hydrogen sulfide gas, poor ventilation, dust mite allergens, deadly legionella bacteria or any number of other indoor air quality related issues. If such issues are the real problem, you will need someone who has some knowledge of such issues.

In addition, your inspector should have specialized training in mold inspections as well as training in other related, indoor air quality issues other than mold.

Comprehensive inspection report

Your chosen mold inspector should give you a comprehensive inspection report documenting visual findings, environmental monitoring results, interpretation of lab results, inspector’s conclusions and recommendations on how to control the mold problem.

A report from the lab alone will only result in you asking some other mold inspector for interpretation of the results the discount inspector did not understand. Some mold inspectors do not feel they need to provide those when they have charged you such a low price per sample.

Note that some states initially allowed persons to obtain a license as a mold inspector, without requiring that the inspector pass any written exams or prove in other ways that he or she has the knowledge and competence of a professional inspector. Before choosing one, make sure that they have the proper credentials needed.

How Many Inspectors Should You Contact?

Try to contact at least three inspection firms. Speak with the mold inspector. Find out what type of training and experience each inspector has. Inspectors should be willing to provide you with a sample report and prior client references.

Pay close attention to how much time the inspector spends with you over the phone. A willingness to answer your questions on the phone may indicate his or her attitude during the inspection.

All these things are necessary when choosing an inspector to check out the appearance of molds in your home.

Further Recommended Reading

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