Most people know that mold growth in the house is a dangerous condition that comes with various health hazards, and it can easily lead to extensive structural damage to your building. When faced with mold contamination, you may not know the severity of the problem and what remediation steps to take. It can be challenging to know when you need professional mold remediation or when you can sort the matter yourself.
If the contaminated area is small or when the affected materials are not too many and are easy to clean, you may be able to handle the problem on your own. In other situations, the only viable solution is to bring in professional mold removers to do the remediation.
Signs of mold problem might include an earthly or musty odor, staining, discoloration on surfaces/walls, and fuzzy growth on furnishes and building materials. Mold might appear as velvety, cottony, leathery, or granular growth. It can be in many different colors.
Determining Levels of Contamination
When water damage occurs, mold growth in homes and buildings can be averted by eliminating the water source and effectively cleaning and drying the affected materials. Although the contaminated area’s size generally indicates the level of mold containment needed, the final choice regarding the containment level should ideally be based on professional judgment.
Other risk factors that must be considered in deciding whether a professional mold/IAQ investigation is needed include the vulnerability or health risk of the building occupants. The professional exposure assessment goal should be to establish the extent of the mold growth problem and then develop an effective and safe site-specific remediation work plan.
The experts generally divide mold remediation into five broad levels. Level one has the least contamination, while level four has the most significant degree of mold contamination. On the other hand, level five is used on reference to mold growth in the HVAC system.
Level 1 Remediation
Level 1 remediation covers 10 square feet or less. However, even in such small areas, following a thorough remediation plan is crucial if you are to get rid of the mold quickly. In areas that are 10 square feet or less, so long as the remediation is done per OSHA safety standards, anyone trained in mold removal can do the work. When addressed quickly and adequately, level 1 mold is not likely to cause any severe problems.
Identifying Level 1 Mold Risk Areas
Risk areas include spaces and materials in a building where there is no evidence of becoming wet or being exposed to high moisture levels. These are areas where problematic mold has not been detected or where the house materials are generally considered unfriendly to mold growth. These may be un-painted, unclean masonry surfaces.
Typically, the mold spores are found on baseboards, ceiling tiles, and/or wall panels that have been exposed to temperature fluctuations or high humidity. Mold can also appear in such locations in the future if structure conditions change or another mold-related event occurs.
Steps in Level 1 Remediation
During level 1 remediation, the infected area should not be occupied except by the remediation personnel. Those doing the work should use eye protection, gloves, and temporary respirators. Before the work begins, misting the area is recommended to deter dust. DIY mold cleanup should not be tried if you have allergies, suffering from immune disorders, or asthma.
The equipment and area should be cleaned after the work is complete using an antimicrobial product. Alternatively, the equipment should be removed from the scene in sealed containers for safe disposal. Dispose of contaminated materials and items that cannot be adequately cleaned, such as porous ceiling tiles and carpeting in sealed plastic bags. That will prevent the spread of mold spores to other parts of the house.
Level 2 Remediation
Level 2 remediation areas are between10 and 30 square feet. This is about the size of a single wall panel in a building. Getting rid of mold at this level requires taking the same precautions as used in level 1 remediation.
The mold location is often a ceiling or wall area, but the contamination hasn’t yet spread to the other parts of the room. The goal is thus to limit mold spreading throughout the building. This also minimizes the exposure of the building occupants and the remediation personnel to mold hazards.
Identifying Level 2 Mold Risk Areas
Level 2 risk include spaces with mold-friendly building materials. These include drywall and Kraft-faced insulation that appear to be wet but are in enclosed cavities such as ceilings or walls but there is evidence that nearby building areas have been moldy or wet. These are typically level 1 risk areas that have been exposed to high moisture levels.
This risk category also includes cases where mold-friendly materials become wet from a single event. The materials successfully dried inside 24-48 hours of becoming wet, leaving enclosed, hidden cavities unattended.
Steps in Level 2 Mold Remediation
Mold covered materials should be placed in plastic sheets, sealed with tape before removing them as they also contain dust and debris. To prevent the spread of mold, wrap them twice in plastic sheets before taking them from your home.
When the mold remediation is complete, clean the area with a damp cloth/mop or, if required, use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum. This eliminates the risk of mold spilling over to new areas of the house or some remaining behind.
The earlier you know of the presence of mold in your home, the easier it becomes to deal with it. This is why it’s important to know what level of mold remediation is needed for your house. Whenever a contaminated area is detected within the home, you should call a professional to determine the level of remediation required or recommend the best course of action.
In some mold contamination cases, it may be useful to have a qualified personnel conduct air sampling when the work is complete to determine whether the remediation project has been done successfully or when there are safety concerns for people with allergic, immune sensitivities, or other types of health problems.