Everything You Need to Know About Mold Removal and Remediation
Before calling an expert on mold removal and remediation, there plenty of things you need to know about mold. Mold results from water damage and excess moisture and can form as quickly as within 24-48 hours. If you experience flooding or water damage of any kind, you must address it as quickly as possible to avoid health hazards and damage to your property. The longer it is left prior to remediation and mold cleaning, the more difficult it is to remove, and the more damage will be sustained. Mold can leave stains on walls, furniture, and important documents and it can even lead to structural damage in your home.
Mold is a toxin and can cause serious health problems like allergic reactions, asthma attacks, and more. Depending on the extent of the problem, and if the damage is minimal, you may be able to handle it yourself, as long as you take the proper safety precautions. More on this below.
When in doubt, or if you see mold infestation, standing water, or water damage to porous materials, call a professional mold and water damage remediation expert who will have the proper knowledge and equipment to safely and quickly remove the problem.
What is mold?
Molds occur outdoors naturally as part of the environment and have a role in nature by breaking down dead matter such as fallen leaves and trees. They reproduce by means of microscopic mold spores that are invisible to the naked eye. These mold spores are often airborne, and indoor mold grows when these spores land on a damp surface. Mold can occur anywhere that moisture is present, whether it is from a leaky pipe, flooding, or spilled water left unattended. There are many types of mold, with some more toxic and
Black mold (stachybotrys chartarum) is one of the most known toxic molds and can grow very quickly in your home. It is a greenish-black color and can grow on materials with a high cellulose content such as fiberboard, cardboard or paper. Black mold thrives in warm, moist environments such as baths, showers and toilets, basements or kitchens.
Another toxic mold, pink mold is common in bathrooms, aspergillus mold, which is prevalent even in arctic regions is less dangerous to those with healthy immune systems but can be detrimental to those with compromised immune systems and lungs.
This mold can even be found in your kitchen on starchy items such as bread or potatoes. It is not necessary to determine the type of mold you have growing in your home. All molds should be treated with caution with regards to potential health risks and removed as quickly as possible.
And don’t forget your pets! Pets can also be susceptible to health issues from mold.
What causes mold?
In a word, water!
Every type of mold needs water to form. Moisture is the key cause of mold growth in a home and there are numerous possible mold problem areas in every home. The combination of water and mold spores can quickly lead to mold infestation. High humidity from extensive rain, or by the coast or other large bodies of water increases indoor humidity. It is important in those conditions to keep your home well vented.
Other causes of mold are leaking pipes, roof leaks, condensation, poor ventilation, wet clothes, a water-saturated floor that is not promptly dried and of course, flooding and other water damage due to storms or other natural causes. Mold will form in a damp basement, or at a house’s foundation if the water run off is directed toward your foundation.
What are the dangers of mold?
Black molds are toxigenic, which means they release toxins called mycotoxins that can be irritating or harmful to people with preexisting conditions. High concentrations can even cause poisoning in healthy adults. People with compromised immune systems or respiratory issues must take extra caution.
Some common signs of mold are coughing, wheezing, nose stuffiness, itchy or red eyes or itchy skin. Those with allergies or asthma may experience headaches, exhaustion, coughing and sinusitis, chest colds, fever or difficulty breathing. Long-term exposure can lead to additional symptoms over time. Medical professionals do not conclusively agree upon the effects of mold, but you should take steps to prevent, and remove any mold infestation immediately.
There are certain mold levels that are normal and expected indoors but when they exceed those norms remediation and mold removal must be urgently undertaken.
Where is mold most commonly found?
Mold is very common in buildings. It grows in places with lots of moisture, and so is common in bathrooms, near dishwashers, and under sinks. Basements are often damp areas and a commonplace for a mold infestation. It also grows in any water damage sites and so can be found anywhere in your home including around roof leaks, window leaks, damp basements, around pipes, in damp drywall, ceiling tiles or cardboard, and paper products stored in damp places.
Your heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) could be contaminated with mold as well, which could spread mold through the entire building.
How to prevent mold
The key to controlling mold is moisture control. If you have a water spill, leak or flooding you must act quickly. Mold can begin forming as quickly as 24-48 hours. Call mold remediation and mold restoration specialist immediately to avoid further damage. Take preventative steps to avoid excess moisture in your home and reduce the chance of mold. Do an annual or biannual FYI mold inspection to look for any trouble spots.
Watch for rain drainage to be certain it is directed away from the building to avoid seepage through the foundation. Be sure to clean your roof gutters to prevent back up there. Always keep any air conditioning drip pans clean and drains lines unobstructed. Try to keep your indoor humidity level low, between 30 and 50 percent if possible. Invest in a dehumidifier if humidity is a problem in your home. Watch for any signs of pooling water, condensation, or moisture collection.
Vent dryers outside, and use air conditioners and dehumidifiers when practical. Be especially cautious in the bathroom, being certain to run fans and open windows when showering, and wiping any excess water immediately. Leave the bathroom door open after showering. Never ignore any signs of mold in your home. You can often smell it and often will even see the mold growth.
Testing for Mold
A professional mold inspection can determine if your home contains an unhealthy level of mold. Mold can be found most everywhere including in homes at a safe level. Be sure to understand before the test what the mold inspection company considers abnormal.
There are several types of mold tests, including swab testing, air cell testing and a full residential mold test which normally includes inspection, reports and two tests- one for control and one inside. The average cost of mold testing in 2020 runs from $350 to $400 on average but can be larger depending on the size of the area and access to the area.
Test for mold when you notice an odor of mold or have water damage. Other signs of mold can be cracked paint, rust, warped ceilings, or water stains. Mold growth can attach to wallpaper, insulation, carpets, fabric, and upholstery. Tests can also identify hidden mold without damaging drywall and releasing additional mold.
Be sure to hire a qualified Mold Inspector to do your testing. AndbBe sure to document any damage to your home or contents and call your insurance company immediately.
Mold Removal and Remediation
The first step is to identify the cause of mold. This means identifying the source of water, and stopping the flow of water or moisture.
If a small amount of area is impacted, you may be able to handle mold removal yourself. Small amounts of mold on a non-porous surface like a shower or tub can be cleaned by you with mold removal sprays, special soaps, baking soda or bleach. (For your safety, do not mix these or any other chemicals. But if the mold is growing and is in hard to reach or hard to see places like walls, attics or crawlspace, hiring a professional is highly recommended.
Anything over ten square feet of mold also requires professional mold remediation. Remember, you need to discover the source so you can cut off the moisture and recurrence. Also, you will need to have the right equipment. A mold remediation and mold removal company will have the right equipment and will use advanced mold remediation techniques.
If your issue is small enough for you to handle, be sure to wear proper protection including a mask, non-porous gloves, and goggles and vent the room well. See more tips here from the US Environmental Protection Agency.
If you suspect that the heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system may be contaminated with mold (it is part of an identified moisture problem, for instance, or there is mold near the intake to the system), consult the EPA’s guide “Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned?” before taking further action. Do not run the HVAC system if you know or suspect that it is contaminated with mold – it could spread mold throughout the building.
If the water damage and mold damage were caused by a sewage leak or other contaminated water, this is even more dangerous and you should call in a professional who has experience with cleaning and repairing buildings affected by contaminated water.
As always, safety first! If you have health concerns, consult a health professional before starting cleanup.
Mold Removal Experts
To handle your water damage or mold problem there are mold damage professionals who can identify the problem, stop the leaks or damage and repair it. Schedule a consultation with a mold remediation expert. If you have water damage such as a burst pipe, leaky roof, flooding, storm damage or leaky appliance, call in a water damage specialist. They will have the right expertise to identify the problem and determine the scope of the damage.
Mold remediation and restoration companies will have the commercial dryers, dehumidifiers, testing, and other state-of-the-art equipment required to quickly stop the spread of mold through your house, and thoroughly perform mold cleaning and mold repair it so it is safe for you and your family. For more about the mold remediation process and mold restoration process see
Mold damage restoration takes place after the cleaning of the affected area and contents, and removal of any infested materials. The restoration can be as minimal as grouting and replacing tiles to a full structural rebuild of roof areas, ceilings, or the sheetrocking of large areas. Every mold damage scenario is unique, but your home is one of your most important assets and your health could be at risk.
Does my insurance cover mold?
Every insurance policy is different and many carriers have revised their mold coverage within the past few years. Most often, whether a mold damage and mold cleanup is covered by homeowners or not depends upon the source of the moisture. Review your policy and specifically look for exclusions and limitations.
Most policies now exclude coverage of damage caused by mold, fungi and bacteria. But it may not automatically be denied. If it results from a sudden and accidental covered peril such as a burst pipe, the cost of remediation may be covered. Many policies have limits on mold coverage which may range from $1000 to $10,000 in mold remediation. Many policies will deny coverage due to floods, which would require a separate flood policy.
Again, document any damage, and call your insurance carrier as soon as you can so you know what will and will not be covered before undertaking the remediation process. Review your policy beforehand, and your agent will be able to answer any questions regarding your coverage.