Did you know, when given the right conditions of moisture and a nutrient source, mold can grow within 24 to 48 hours following water damage? To prevent the spread it is essential to act quickly to both dry out wet materials (where possible) and remove others. Using an independent environmental consultant, like Indoor Science, is essential to your emergency response to 1) Accurately assess the extent of water damage 2) Ensure the proper scope of mold and material remediation is developed and executed.
Moisture Mapping and Initial Inspection
Mold requires an organic nutrient source. Many building materials such as drywall, wood, boxes, fabrics and ceiling tiles are perfect nutrient sources for mold growth. Following an indoor water intrusion event, the likelihood of mold growth increases exponentially if these nutrient sources are present and dampness isn’t dried within 24-48 hours.
If a water loss event occurs at your property or business, you may require moisture mapping and an initial mold inspection. This involves a company, like Indoor Science, to 1) track the path of the water intrusion 2) determine what materials are wet and can be dried 3) determine what materials are wet and should be removed 4) evaluate the severity of the mold problem.
This inspection, uses a variety of instruments and techniques to evaluate the impacted space and document findings on a floorplan:
- Infrared camera – to see moisture not visible to the naked eye
- Moisture meter – to see how wet materials are and if they can be saved or should be removed
- Boreoscope – to see moisture behind walls
- Airborne mold spore and surface mold samples – to validate the presence of mold and if suspect mold is, in fact, confirmed by an independent lab
After the assessment is complete, the property owner will have peace of mind to the extent of the problem and if remediation is required to safely remove the mold from the space.
Mold Remediation Protocol Reports
If mold growth is detected during the moisture mapping and initial assessment, a mold remediation contractor will need to properly remove and dispose the water damaged and moldy building materials. These contractors are trained and licensed professionals who follow specific standards to ensure the material is removed as safely as possible.
Before the remediation begins, a “mold remediation protocol report” written by an independent environmental consultant can provide peace of mind and save significant costs by right-sizing the scope for the remediation team. This expert report provides precision, a science-backed perspective and avoids conflicts of interest for what needs to be done to remove all health hazards from the air and surfaces.
The Mold Remediation
When conducting a mold remediation, there are specific steps, standards and guidelines that need to be followed to ensure safety and avoid of cross-contamination of mold spores. This is why a professional should always be utilized.
Remediation contractors wear extensive personal protective equipment (PPE) to maximize safety protocols. This typically includes full face respirators with P100 filters. They will also be wearing Tyvek suits and rubber gloves to protect their bodies from being contaminated with mold spores.
The first thing they do is set up a “containment” to block the affected area(s) with plastic sheeting and tape to prevent cross-contamination. They will place industrial air scrubbers with HEPA filters inside the containment to remove airborne spores and provide negative pressure to force the airflow inward. This process ensures spores won’t be spread to unaffected areas in the home or business.
Once the containment is in place, the mold remediation contractors will remove and dispose of building materials. All porous materials like drywall, paper, cardboard boxes, etc. will need to be removed and disposed. Mold growing on wood products like wall framing and support beams can be removed by sandpaper, wire brushed and/or media blasting. Hard non-porous materials will be HEPA vacuumed and wiped down with damp cloths.
Post Remediation Verification (PRV)
Post remediation verification (PRV) testing is required before the mold remediation contractors can proceed with reconstruction. PRVs need to be conducted by environmental consulting companies like Indoor Science. PRVs entail a consultant conducting a visual inspection, moisture evaluation and mold air sampling.
If the environmental consultant discovers extensive dust within the containment, any current moisture, and/or air samples contain elevated mold concentrations, the PRV will fail. If, however, the containment area is clean, building materials are dry, and air samples display a health indoor ecology, the environmental consultant will provide a PRV Clearance Letter to the mold remediation contractors. After receiving this letter, reconstruction can begin.
Do you think you may have a Mold Problem?
If you had a recent water event, allow Indoor Science to conduct an initial assessment to determine the severity of the issue. If we determine remediation is the best option, we can write a mold remediation protocol report to right size the scope and provide peace of mind. Lastly, if you had a recent mold remediation, Indoor Science can perform the PRV testing to ensure it was a success.