Recent Mold Remediation Posts
Prevent Moldy Carpets
Mold can grow in virtually every area of a home and on any surface, if given the right environment. That includes your beautiful carpets that you spend so much energy trying to keep clean and looking beautiful. While there can be many causes of mold in a home, when it comes to moldy carpets there are a few things you can do to reduce the chances you ever have to deal with it.
Mold damage can be costly. Not to mention the health effects it can bring upon inhabitants of the dwelling with a mold problem. As with many aspects of home maintenance, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Not only can moldy carpets be unsightly and need to be replaced, they can be the tip of the iceberg in terms of more substantial damage to your property. So, consider taking these steps to keep black mold from growing on your carpets!
Control the humidity and temperature in your home
Mold grows best with a certain amount of moisture in the air as well as certain temperature ranges. One way to help prevent mold growth on any surface in your home, including your carpets, is to ensure your humidity levels never reach 60%. And while it’s unlikely you like living in this warm of a house, make sure you don’t set the thermometer to 80 degrees.
Consider a different floor covering in areas prone to moisture
Some areas of a home are just more prone to humidity and moisture. Like your bathroom, for instance. Every design aspect of your home should be done with appearance and functionality in mind, and that includes making sure you’re making smart decisions about the type of floor coverings to have in certain areas based on the area’s usage along with environmental aspects. When it comes to bathroom floors, and to a lesser extent basement floors, sometimes the smartest plan is to avoid carpets altogether.
Use carpet padding that is anti-microbial
There are a few different types of padding most commonly used in residential homes. While some are more budget friendly than others, if you’re considering carpet in areas that may be more prone to moisture issues, consider installing rubber-slab carpet padding. It’s much more resistant to mold growth than traditional carpet pads.
If you do get standing water on your carpets, get it out fast!
This goes for any surface type in your home, and it’s especially true with carpets. With the right humidity levels and temperatures, mold growth can accelerate quickly when food and water are present. Getting the water and excess moisture out quickly can be the difference between a close call and a serious health problem for your family.
Clean your carpets regularly
Vacuuming your carpets regularly, along with having them professionally steam cleaned, can go a long way in preventing mold growth. One of the components of rapid mold growth is food, and mold loves dirt, grime, food, and any other organic substance that can be found in your carpet fibers. Regularly cleaning your carpets is a great way to help reduce the likelihood of dealing with mold in the future!
Typically, if you have black mold on your carpets a visual inspection is all that is necessary. But in other instances, you may notice a musty smell or perhaps you’ve also been experiencing some troubling health issues that you think may be attributed to high levels of mold. In most states, mold remediation companies must be different than mold testing companies. The way it works is that the mold testing company will come take environmental samples from your home and have them sent off to a lab to be evaluated. If it’s determined through the testing that your home has a toxic black mold problem, it’s at that point that you’ll want to hire a mold removal company like us. Call SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast at 770-448-5782.
Prevent Mold Growth in the Summer
In the summer, a closed house with the air-conditioning turned off will have higher humidity levels than an air-conditioned home. A vacant house also receives little or no sunlight through closed shades and no air movement with the fan off and the doors locked.
If you simply leave the air conditioning running, it will cool the home and remove moisture from the air and circulate and filter the air.
Molds thrive when the humidity levels exceed 70 percent. Because humidity levels vary from day to day, the thermostat should have been left at or below 74 degrees, and the fan should have been set to "On."
Normally, mold cleaning and remediation processes disturb the spores, which become airborne and can settle on unclean or untreated surfaces, where they continue to thrive in the humid, warm, dark conditions.
The Environmental Protection Agency suggests that self-cleaning should be considered if the area to be treated is less than 10 square feet. A guide to treatment and cleaning is available at http://www.epa.gov/mold/index.html. You can also learn more about mold remediation contractors and remedies for contaminated buildings.
Molds present at typical indoor levels have never been scientifically shown to cause any other illness.
Even when mold spores were at elevated levels, there were no similar elevated reports of illnesses. Examples from the article show certain occupations that are exposed to extremely high concentrations of mold spores.
- Sawmills: 1.5 million CFU/m3 (colony-forming units per cubic meter of air).
- Honeybee overwintering facilities: 2,200 to 13,931 CFU/m3
- Spawning sheds of mushroom farms: 100,000 CFU/m3
- Municipal waste-composting facility: 8.2 million CFU/m3
- Farms: 120,000,000 CFU/m3; it's 10 times greater (1.2 billion CFU/m3) on farms where adverse health effects are reported.
In these highly exposed populations, however, there are no reports of brain damage or of many of the other fungal diseases now common in current indoor mold attributions. What I gathered from the article is that some people -- those with asthma, hay fever or suppressed immune systems -- can be affected by low levels of mold spores, while the majority are not aware of the spores in the very air they breathe, even when there are elevated levels.
When mold spores are discovered at elevated indoor levels, you need to contact your doctor first to determine if the mold species will affect you or your family. Then you need to consider some type of removal or treatment of the affected areas.
What Is Mold and How Is It Remediated
Mold is found under the fungi classification. It is a soft green or at times grey growth which develops on objects or old food left for a lengthy period in warm, wet air. It can be found in outdoor and indoor places, thus, it is important for the indoor humidity to be kept below forty-five percent because a higher humidity supports the growth of this class of fungus. Floods and high humidity levels often lead to microbial growth and fungus. Microbial growth can be present in an area, but that does not classify it as mold. The most efficient method of controlling microbial growth is by the moderation of temperature. When the temperature is lowered, the rate of microbial growth decreases rapidly.
Mold and mildew are two fungi that people often tend to confuse. Mildew appears to be powdery and white in color then later turns to brown, black or yellow. The other fungus seems fuzzy but can appear in similar colors as the mildew. Mildew damages crops while molds damage the structural foundations of homes. Both fungi are usually accompanied by a musty odor which can lead to more health issues. It likes to thrive in moisturized areas and grows quickly into colonies with water exposure. These colonies are responsible for the production of irritants and allergens that affect the health of people. For remediation of molds to take place, all sources of moisture and water need to be addressed otherwise it may regrow. The first step is to remove all traces of moldy growth immediately. Five fundamental principles must be applied by homeowners and employers to ensure successful mitigation of this fungus. They should focus on the source and moisture removal, safety, contamination control and assessment. Proper mitigation is essential once the fungi are removed because areas must be monitored to prevent it from occurring again. It is important to determine the party that will be in charge of the mold cleanup. An environmental hygienist can determine what treatment can be used for this fungus. These hygienists mitigate the problem by sealing off the affected areas with plastic sheets to stop dispersion of the spores. Fungus should be dealt with by the wearing a face mask with high filtration and neoprene gloves. Once the mold cleanup is finished, the air around it needs to be cleaned using air exchange and scrubbers. It is essential for the environmental hygienist to have a protective suit because harsh chemicals are used for the mold cleanup. Hard surfaces with moldy growth have to be scrubbed with water and detergent and left to dry completely. Porous materials like carpets and ceiling tiles need to be disposed of by the environmental hygienists if they get moldy. The crevices of these porous materials are prone to mold growth, and painting can only happen once the environmental hygienists complete the mold cleanup otherwise the paint peels off. The correct mitigation strategies need to be employed for effective cleanup. Contact SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast at 770-448-5782 for more information on mold remediation.
Call SERVPRO for Mold Remediation Needs
When a home suffers a water damage event, a mold infestation can quickly arise and spread throughout a home in 48-72 hours. Because mold can produce allergens and irritants, you will want a professional that has training and experience to properly resolve the mold infestation. If you suspect that your Gwinnett County home or business has a mold problem, SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast can inspect, assess and remediate your property.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – 770-448-5782
- Some restoration companies advertise “mold removal” and may even guarantee to remove all molds. This is a fallacy because removing all molds from a house or business is impossible; microscopic mold spores exist almost everywhere, both indoors and outdoors. Here are the facts:
- Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
- Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
- Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
- Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
- Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
- Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent
Mold vs Mildew
How to determine which one you have?
Before anyone panics, let’s be clear. We live in the south, in a humid environment. Everyone has mold in their house. Everyone.
Mold and mildew have a few common characteristics. They both like warm areas and spread easily. They live on various surfaces, from food to your shower. And of course, they are both types of fungi.
But they are very different when it comes to size, color and texture.
Primarily mildew is a plant disease but it can thrive on any organic matter, not just living tissue. It can appear on clothing, leather, paper, walls, ceilings, floor and even on your shower wall. It usually grows in a flat pattern in a white, gray or yellowish color. It will turn brown or black over time.
Mold is usually fuzzy and appears in irregular shaped spots. It also can appear in many different colors – blue, green, yellow, brown, gray, black, or white. Mold grows on organic matter everywhere but is only visible once the colonies grow.
While most mold is not toxic, prolonged exposure can cause a variety of health issues. Including but not limited to sneezing, coughing, nasal congestion, etc.
If you are not sure what you have, you can have it tested. Obviously the best course of action is to ask for professional assistance but you can easily identify which one it is with a little bit of household bleach.
Apply a few drops of bleach to the affected area. Wait about 5 minutes and inspect the spot. If it becomes lighter, you are dealing with mildew. If it remains dark, it is most likely mold.
The best and most efficient way to prevent mold and mildew in your house is to keep all areas dry and moisture free. Keep your air ducts clean and in good condition.
If you discover you have a mold issue call a professional. Do not try to remediate this yourself. Contact SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast at 770-448-5782 and we can help!
What Conditions are Best for Mold Growth
What Conditions are Best for Mold Growth?
Keeping mold from growing in your home is an important consideration for a healthy, safe environment to live. The first task in keeping mold at bay is discovering what areas and conditions might encourage mold growth. Molds are pervasive everywhere, and thrive in wet conditions. How does mold grow? Mold grows best when moisture and humidity are present. When mold spores encounter a damp surface most advantageous for fungal growth, they can begin to grow and thrive.
What Does Mold Need to Grow?
Mold spores require three things in order to grow mold:
- time (mold growth can start after 24 hours
How Does Mold Grow in a House?
Mold spores are everywhere, and are carried by air currents. If the spores discover a moist, dark environment they will likely settle and proliferate until your home has a major mold issue. They key to preventing mold in your house is to be diligent about maintaining proper moisture levels, keeping up with home maintenance, like roof or plumbing leaks, and quickly and effectively cleaning and drying any water spills, leaks, or flooding.
Moisture Levels in the Home
The EPA suggests maintaining or reducing home humidity levels to 30-60% (ideally 30-50%) to prevent mold growth. Mold also grows optimally in warmer conditions, and flourishes the best between 77 to 86 °F (25 to 30 °C). Condensation on or around windows can be an indication that your home’s moisture levels are too high. Two ways a homeowner can decrease the humidity in the home is by increasing ventilation and buying a dehumidifier.
To increase your home’s ventilation, be sure to use correctly vented exhaust fans while in the kitchen and bathroom, to reduce the moisture in the air. Assure that ventilation throughout your home is adequate to keep up with moisture levels. If your home is still struggling with higher than advisable humidity levels, consider buying a dehumidifier to maintain a healthy home moisture quantity that is unsusceptible or resistant to mold growth. Make sure you purchase a dehumidifier that will cover the square footage necessary for your residence.
Leaks and Home Maintenance
If your home has a leak, there is likely a mold issue. Leaks can occur in pipes, roofs, basements, appliances and windows. Because leaks are usually undetectable behind a wall or in the attic, leaks can have the advantage of time to release water into your home continuously. This constant influx of water can fuel mold growth considerably. To look for leaks, be on the watch for:
- water stains
- warping or bowing of walls
- deterioration of wood
- bubbling or cracking paint or wallpaper
- mold symptoms (aka “sick building syndrome”)
Flooding and Other Water Damage
Flooding is a serious risk factor for mold. When excessive amounts of water enter a building and remain for a period of time, mold will begin to develop. Remember, mold can begin to emerge in 24 hours under the right growing conditions. Therefore prompt action is needed in the event of a flood to prevent or reduce mold damage in your home.
Flooding is a serious risk factor for mold.
You may wish to hire a professional like SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast at 770-448-5782 to restore your home after a flood. This is a very good option if you can afford to hire someone who has the credentials and equipment to deal with flood and water damage in a home, or if your insurance provides you with this option. Be sure to check your home’s insurance policy on flooding and mold damage.
Extensive mold growth on ceilings and walls.
In as little as 48 hours, mold can quickly become a problem in your home or business when there is a water intrusion, like a leaking water line or roof leak. Mold can cause health issues and can also cause significant damage to your property. Fortunately, our SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals have the training, protective gear and specialized equipment necessary to handle your mold problem.
Although every mold damage scenario is different requiring a unique solution, the general mold remediation process stays the same. The following steps illustrate a “typical” mold removal process:
- Call SERVPRO® of Gwinnett County SE & SW at 770-448-5782 or SEVPRO® of Stone Mountain/Clarkston at 770-496-1976 or 1-800-SERVPRO to begin the mold cleanup and restoration process.
Our professionals will ask questions to help determine the necessary equipment, resources and personnel needed.
- Inspection and Mold Damage Assessment
Your property will be carefully inspected for signs of mold using various technologies to detect mold and hidden water sources.
Various containment procedures will be placed to prevent the spread of mold, like negative air chambers to isolate the contaminated area.
Special filtration equipment captures microscopic mold spores out of the air using air scrubbers and HEPA vacuums to prevent the spread of the mold spores.
- Removing Mold and Mold-Infested Materials
The mold remediation process depends on the amount of mold growth and the types of surfaces on which the mold appears. Antifungal and antimicrobial treatment s will be used to eliminate mold colonies, but sold-infested porous materials may need to be removed and disposed.
- Cleaning Contents and Belongings
Our SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals will clean your furniture, decorative items, curtains and other restorable items affected by mold.
Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting and installing new carper or it may entail major repairs such as reconstruction
Steps Property Owners Can Take to Prevent Mold
Intrusion of water into your building can result in mold growth. Water intrusions can result from storm damage, plumbing or equipment failures, long-standing leaks and poor humidity control. When water intrusions are not addressed right away, the resulting damage can present increased risk of harmful mold growth.
If the humidity and moisture levels in a water-damaged environment are not promptly returned to normal, mold spores may grow and multiply. Organic materials found inside a building, such as wood, paper, drywall and insulation, provide food sources for mold to flourish. Excessive mold growth can lead to indoor environmental conditions that pose a health threat.
SERVPRO handles water damages every day and know prompt action is required to prevent mold growth. Mold is more likely to spread when an environment has been subject to moisture for a long period of time. If your property has sustained a recent water damage, it is vital to remove excess water and dry the structure promptly. If there is an ongoing moisture problem in the building, it is important to be alert for:
- The presence of visible mold.
- Strong musty odors which may indicate mold is present.
- ny evidence of past moisture problems that might have caused undetected mold growth.
- Excessive humidity.
To control mold growth in your business, we offer the following tips:
- Repair leaky plumbing and leaks in the foundation of your building
- Reduce moisture with increased surface temperatures or reduced humidity levels in the air. To increase surface temperatures, insulate or increase air circulation. To reduce humidity, repair leaks, increase ventilation if outside air is cold and dry or use a dehumidifier.
- Keep heating, ventilation and air conditioning drip pans clean, flowing properly and unobstructed
- Maintain indoor humidity below 50 percent
- Perform regular inspections and maintenance on buildings and heating and air conditioning equipment
- Clean and dry wet or damp spots within 1-2 days
- Provide adequate drainage around the foundation of your building. Regularly maintain roof gutters, and ensure that water does not collect near the foundation
- Insulate windows, walls, pipes, roofs, exterior, floors and other cold surfaces to reduce condensation
- Watch your utility bills; an unusually high water bill could signal an interior leaking problem
If you are sure or suspect that there is mold in your building, call SERVPRO immediately at 770-448-5782. The longer you wait to call, the mold growth will continue to spread, resulting in a greater chance of unrecoverable property. SERVPRO professionals have the expertise to prevent or mitigate the devastating effects of mold damage.