Mold Removal Questions
The following information is the second in a series of posts created by 3Rs Construction in Salem Oregon to help inform the general public on how to best deal with Mold and Mold Removal or Remediation in their homes or businesses.
As I mentioned in “Part One” of this series on “Mold Facts 101”, I am neither a professional writer nor a guy who likes to take the long way to an answer so I will try to be concise and clear for those like-minded people who want to get straight to the point.
So you have read “Part One and want a little more detail? Alright, that I can do.
If you have or suspect mold growth in your home or business contact a professional like the ones at 3Rs Construction Management LLC for a Mold test or evaluation. Many types of Mold can be remediated easily if caught early but there are some fungus and mold species that you do not want to risk exposing your tenants or family to and should only be handled by a professional who is trained on the proper precautions necessary to ensure no further contamination is caused during remediation.
If you are determined to conduct this remediation without the help of a professional remedaitor like the ones at 3Rs Construction in Salem, Oregon I have included a few tips to help keep you safe and minimize the risk of contaminating your home further.
Tip #1 – Find and repair the water leak that has made this growth possible. This is critical, Mold needs moisture to grow, usually more moisture then you find in a normal healthy home environment. If you do not arrest the additional moisture intrusion then you will have more mold growth in the very near future.
Tip #2 – Contain the affected area so no spores can drift to other areas.
We are hoping to have video tutorials up on this soon but in the meantime, the important thing is to create a plastic room the completely encloses the affected area. If it is a small spot use a piece of plastic carpet protector with adhesive back and press it onto the affected area. You want to be certain that you have covered not only the affected area but also a generous margin around the visible spots. If there is an HVAC supply or intake in the immediate area, de-commission it for the entire process. There is no advantage to containing the area if you allow your furnace or air conditioner to suck up the spores and distribute them all aver the house or building
Tip # 3 – devise a method to suck air from the work area and vent to the outside without air flow going the other way. If you don’t have a Negative air machine with a mold rated filtration built in laying around you can create a similar device using a regular shop vac.
You may need a couple of extra lengths of hose to make this work but that is still quite a lot less expensive than a $15,000.00 professional model. Put the hose into the exhaust port of the shop vacuum and route the hose to the outside. Tape all joints so there is no way for them to separate while in operation and contaminate the entire home. Route the hose to the exterior of the home being careful to seal the point of penetration from your containment area.
Put in ear plugs and turn it on. As long as it is running it is creating a low pressure area in the work space and venting the contaminated air to the outside. Your standard filter will not be effective in trapping or containing mold spores so don’t expect it to be filtering the air. (A side note, be sure the air you are expelling is not being blown right back into the house or building through an open window, gaps in the siding or around doors and windows.) Successful Mold Removal requires thinking ahead to prevent further contamination.
Tip #4 – wear a good, fitted respirator rated for Mold. Not a dust mask and not a bandana, a half or full face mask is required to minimize how much of the stuff you take into your lungs. Remember mold needs moisture and anything organic to grow. Your lungs are a perfect place for spores to take hold and start to grow. ( I don’t need to tell you that you do not want that to happen) Each respirator is equipped with two replaceable cartridges. Most of the big box stores carry replacement cartridges. You want one rated for molds and pesticides. None of the other ones filter down small enough to prevent you from inhaling the spores that will be in the air while you are working.
Tip #5 – Wear disposable gloves and clothing covers (including shoe covers) anything you do not have covered will become a transport mechanism to carry mold spores from the work area to where ever you go in the house. Keep everything covered and try to stay in containment from beginning to end of the process.
Booties and hooded coveralls are available at most paint supply companies.
Tip #6 - Do not traffic between work area and other areas of the house or you will take spores with you and contaminate the room.
Tip #7 – Remove affected materials and place inside heavy duty plastic garbage bags. It is a common practice to do the work and clean up in containment then pass the clean-up bags into a second staging area also in containment. That room is for downing and removing clothing shields and putting the tied garbage bags into a second garbage bag then wiping down the exterior to prevent further contamination potential. Unless there is a serious health issue at hand this extra containment step may not be needed.
Tip #8 – Spray affected area and surrounding area with proper fungicide. Don’t go with an economy cleaner or bleach and water. If you’re going to go to the trouble to properly remediate this mold use a fungicide that has a bona fide kill claim. Micro-ban is a good one sometimes available without needing an applicators license.
Tip #9 –Wipe down all surfaces with clean rags (one wipe or pass per rag) This is very important and tedious. Remember you do not want one spec from a contaminated surface to touch a clean one. Often Remediation Experts will fold a cloth into fours, spray one exposed side with a fungicide then wipe on smooth pass on the wall. Fold that side under and repeat using all four quadrants of the same rag. Then toss out the rag.
Tip #10 – Throw used booties, gloves and coveralls into the plastic bags with the other debris before leaving the work area.
Tip #11 – Have the site tested before you take down the containment barriers to be sure mold is gone.
Remember, aside from health issues, if you ever intend to sell this property you are obligated to disclose to the potential buyers that you had a mold problem and what steps if any you took to resolve it. The value of the property can and will be directly affected by how you handle the Remediation Effort.
We sure hope this has been helpful. For other tips and remodeling ideas visit our website at www.3rsconstruction.com