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What is Mold?
Dictionary.com defines Mold as:
- A growth of minute fungi forming on vegetable or animal matter, commonly as a downy or furry coating, and associated with decay or dampness.
- Any of the fungi that produce such a growth.
Mold Spores – Mold is part of the fungi kingdom, which features many thousands of species found both in indoor and outdoor environments. As such, it is adaptable. Mold is a growing issue within the health awareness community. Indoor exposure to mold has increased among the public and has become a growing health concern due to a variety of adverse health effects.
Mold produces tiny spores called mycotoxins which are toxic agents that can digest most things that they come in contact with. Mold needs water in order to grow, when it come in contact with damp, wet areas the spores are able to grow and produce causing indoor mold damage. The best way to control mold is to control the moisture; since moisture fuels mold growth. If it gets out of hand you will need to call a mold removal specialist like Abatement Professionals to come in and completely remediate to safely remove the mold and not cause contamination to the rest of your home or commercial property.
Mold damage can occur wherever there is minimal uncontrolled condensation and humidity control. These areas include roof & plumbing leaks, damp basements, rain damaged areas, plumbing failures and malfunctioning humidification systems. These mold spores can have a negative effect on a human’s immune system especially when exposed indoors and in enclosed areas.
The varieties of health problems caused by mold include symptoms such as headaches, breathing difficulties, skin irritation, allergic reactions, and aggravation of asthma and other respiratory complaints.
Mold Remediation and Removal
A basic tip for mold remediation is to identify and stop the source of the moisture that the mold is growing off of. Next is to remove the mold growth. For smaller affected areas, basic remedies such as sunlight, ventilation, household cleansers, and dehumidifiers can be great for mold removal.
Just like spores are invisible to the naked eye, large mold infected areas may also be invisible or hidden. Many times mold grows in places that you would never except to see such as the wood surface behind insulation or a water damaged area such as a wall that may have be covered up by wall paper or drywall. A good indication of hidden mold is if you or someone else walks into a room and it smells off, or if occupants are reporting health problems such respiratory and cough-like symptoms. If you suspect hidden mold in your house or building consult a mold removal specialist here at Abatement Professionals right away to prevent the further spreading of the mold infected area. Abatement Professionals in Maine has the proper equipment to investigate if you have hidden mold. If they find hidden mold, they have the proper equipment to investigate and remove the mold in large infected areas. Many times, the large mold growth can produce spores in warm damp areas (such as behind wallpaper and drywall)if measures are not taken, and this is when your health will become a factor. The outcome from trying to remove the wallpaper or drywall yourself may end with releasing thousands of toxic spores all over your home. If inhaled, these airborne spores may cause major respiratory health problems.
Clean up Methods
Depending on the material and severity of the affected mold area, some of the covered methods may not be required during the mold remediation process. From the start of the mold remediation project, Abatement Pro specialists always take preventative care whenever they are on the job site.
Method 1: Wet Vacuum
Wet Vacuums are Vacuums made specifically for water damage clean up. A few tips to remember when using the vacuum are not to be used on porous surfaces; for floor, carpet, and hard surfaces; and only on surfaces that are wet or where water has collected. Please note that if the area you are working on does not have the sufficient amount of liquid, then using the wet vacuum may disrupt and spread mold spores.
Method 2: Damp Wipe
Mold Removal Cleaning Wipes – Most times in mold removal of non-porous or hard surfaces you can simply scrub or wipe up with water or a mixture of water and detergent. Again- make sure that the surface that was remediated is completely dry to discourage the growth of mold again. On porous surfaces mold can fill in holes and crevices. If this has happened, it will be virtually impossible to clean the affected surface. If mold has spread to wet or damp porous surfaces you may have to completely remove and discard the affected areas. Remember to always follow safety instructions, even with basic clean up materials which can be found on the back label of the clean up products. To be sure that clean up is done efficiently and effectively consults the mold removal specialists at Abatement Pros.
Method 3: HEPA Vacuum
HEPA, or High-Efficiency Particulate Air vacuums, are generally used for clean-up process of the mold remediation project once the area is dried and contaminated materials have been removed and replaced. Another recommended use of the vacuum is to clean up outside of the mold remediation work area. This will clean up dust and material that has landed on other surfaces. Take care that the filter for the vacuum is properly installed to prohibit mold spores from spreading. Allowing all the air to move through the filter and catch any dust or mold spores. For changing the vacuum filter and cleaning out the contents of the vacuum, use a well-sealed plastic bag to disposal of the materials. Be sure to wear PPE or Personal Protective Equipment while cleaning the HEPA Vacuum. PPE should include:
-Protective disposable clothing
(All of the above PPE are to protect against dirt, dust, and harmful toxic spores kicked up from the mold removal process.)
Method 4: Discard — Remove Damaged Materials and Seal in Plastic Bags
Any materials that were not salvageable need to be double-bagged using 6-mil polyethylene sheeting. The larger materials with heavy mold damage need to be covered with polyethylene sheeting and completely sealed with duct tape. The bags and sealed materials oftentimes can be discarded as ordinary construction waste. Remember, make sure you are in the contaminated remediation zone when sealing the contaminated materials to prevent the dispersal of mold spores.
Remember to consult the mold removal specialists at Abatement Professionals any time, Call 207-773-1276 or send us a message through our contact form.
INFORMATIONAL ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN 2002
Today, mold is the hottest issue around, not only for the field servicing industry but for society in general. Not only is mold a hot issue, it is an extremely litigious issue with multi-million dollar lawsuits flashing the news headlines with more frequency than defendants care for it to be. We see mold seminars frequently being announced not only for mere educational purposes but also for preservation mechanics to learn how to abate or remediate the mold from vacant properties. HUD, one of the largest loan guarantors, generally will not accept properties with mold in them.
How serious is the mold problem for vacant properties? Several servicers have stated that their inventory records show an increase from as low as 3% to as high as 70% this year over last year of properties with mold in them. This means that last year, as few as 3 out of 100 properties were reported as having mold. This year as many as 70 properties out of 100 are reported as having mold. Could it be that awareness of the issue has revealed more properties having a problem or is it a monetary issue?
Mold is natural in our environment. It exists in the air around us and is a living organism. Mold is not a problem in most homes that have proper ventilation and adequate protection from water/moisture. Mold does not just grow out of control all by itself. There is usually some event that triggers abnormal growth. That event could be a leak in the structure (such as a roof leak) or a water entry point (such as a broken plumbing line) or lack of care (such as a sump pump not working because the electric service has been disconnected). Given the moist and unventilated environment mold needs to grow, in a vacant property mold can rapidly grown out of control. Once mold is discovered, it must be appropriately addressed.