The drill goes something like this. A mold expert is called into to your home and you find out the bad news that you have mold in your home. The remediation company is called in and after a few hours or a few days worth of work, they report that you are clear of the mold. What a relief! That is until your mold expert is called back in to reinspect the work. It’s been my experience that the remediation company can leave three major items incomplete during the remediation. Here are the errors to watch for:
- Killing, not removing, mold
I have had some clients inform me that “The only good mold is dead mold.” I usually correct them and say “No, the only good mold is physically removed mold.” Whether it’s on drywall, wood, or dust, the only way to be sure that mold is not going to pose a danger is to safely remove it. Some companies might see mold growth on attic sheathing and spray anti-microbial fungicide to kill it. We call these companies “Spray and Pray” because the fungicide can often times look like white primer paint and it is difficult to determine if the mold is properly removed. Then they pray the mold doesn’t come back! Remember, even dead mold can be allergenic and toxigenic. Be sure to physically remove that mold!
- Not scrubbing the air
The second issue that can ruin a remediation job occurs when the air is not properly cleaned of mold spores. When workers are tearing down walls or scraping the mold away, we find that a large number of spores have been released into the air. The air after remediation can have a higher level of airborne spores than before the work began. This is why containment is so important; the plastic walls prevent large numbers of spores from going throughout the rest of the building. Another issue is not running the air scrubbers or negative air machines for a long enough period of time to properly clean the air. Air scrubbers can suck the spores through a HEPA filter, but a better method is to have them act as a negative air machine (or NAM) to suck the spores, trap them in a filter, and properly exhaust anything left through ducting to the outdoors. It’s not enough to remove the mold, the spores in the air need to also be removed to ensure a healthy environment.
- Not addressing the moisture source
The third issue, which seems to be a no-brainer, is to address and fix the moisture problem that initially allowed the mold to grow. It seems obvious, but I have seen it more than once or twice. The homeowner has paid thousands of dollars to have remediation performed, but will have the exact same problem in a year or two because the moisture source that created the mess, to begin with, was never addressed. Fix the moisture source!
So for review, if you ever have remediation performed on your property, keep in mind these three objectives: 1.) Physically remove the mold. 2.) Properly clean the air of mold spores. And finally 3.) Fix the moisture source that caused the problem to begin with. Then you can be assured that the problem has been fixed once and for all.