Black mold removal has become big business and there are a multitude of companies, some good and some bad, who will offer their services to remove black mold from your house.
The reason for this is very simple. Black mold exposure can make people very sick. In some cases it can even prove fatal. The very young, elderly, people with compromised immune systems and those with preexisting respiratory problems like asthma or bronchitis are at greatest risk.
Black mold is known as Stachybotrys chartarum or Stachybotrys atra scientifically and besides making you sick it can make it impossible to sell your home. If left unattended it can damage your home structurally as it gives way to rot.
Before you do anything or hire someone else, you need to get all the facts and understand the mold remediation process better. Some time spent doing your home work prior to black mold removal can save you thousands of dollars down the road.
Mold Remediation Is A Process
It is important to understand mold remediation is a process. Simply put this term refers to restoring the home environment to a healthy state. It consists of various sub processes that must be done correctly and in the right order for mold remediation to be successful. Black mold removal by itself will not solve the problem.
Obviously mold inspection is an important part of the equation. But mold detection is not always a simple task as it can hide unseen in walls and other hard to see places. Sometimes there will be a telltale musty odor but other times not. My house never had a mold smell but it was there making me sick all the same.
It is important to find it all so it may be a good idea to have a certified mold inspector do the job. They have specialized equipment that can find hidden mold and you definitely want to know the full scope of any black mold removal project before you start it. Otherwise you could quickly be in over your head.
Please don’t rush out and buy a home mold test kit. In most cases it is not necessary. Although we are mainly concerned with Stachybotrys chartarum because of its high toxicity, all mold can cause health problems and should be removed according to the Center For Disease Control. You don’t need to know what kind it is.
There are two cases where testing should always be done. You will always want to test for mold after remediation to make sure levels are normal again. Testing for mold should also be done if you are experiencing mold symptoms even though none was found following an inspection. This will at least confirm whether there are high levels of mold in the house.
Correcting Moisture And Humidity Problems
It is important to fix all leaks, drainage problems and condensation problems around your home. This needs to be done before the process is complete. There are obvious areas to inspect and fix such as leaky roofs and gutters. And there are common areas like under sinks or behind washers. But there also may be pipes leaking inside your walls and water from hidden roof leaks can end up far from the original source.
Removing black mold is actually the last step in the process although many think of it as the first thing to do. You will not get rid of black mold if you skip steps in the remediation process. You will have spent time and money only to have to do it all over again.
Black Mold Removal Can Be Expensive, Time-Consuming And Disruptive
I know none of this is what you want to hear but I am leveling with you and giving you the truth. I wish I could tell you to just spray bleach on the mold and paint over it and you will be good to go. But this is just not the case. There would be no need for EPA safety guidelines for black mold removal or certifying those who do mold remediation if it were that easy.
Where small isolated areas are involved d.i.y. black mold removal may be an option. The general rule of thumb is areas less than 10 square feet are suitable for a do it yourself project. This assumes you are healthy, don’t have mold allergies or other health issues and wear a respirator and gloves.
But for dealing with larger areas there is increasing risk to your health. The EPA requires full body protection for areas over 30 square feet. Isolation and containment become increasingly difficult as size increases and spreading the infection to other parts of the home is likely.
Before you can begin the black mold removal process yourself or hire a mold remediation company there are several things you need to know.
Getting rid of mold is not like cleaning up other toxic wastes like asbestos. Stachybotrys is a living organism that is always present in the air. Removing asbestos for example is relatively easy because once the offending materials are removed and a good clean up is done it’s gone forever. Black mold, on the other hand can grow back.
So you may be wondering what the point of black mold removal is if it will be able to grow back. Well you can take steps to prevent this from happening and this actually needs to happen before you begin removing it.
As stated before mold is everywhere. It is no respecter of persons. It will grow in a rich mans house or in a ghetto slum. It will grow in the cleanest of homes or the dirtiest. All mold needs to grow is food, moisture and the right temperature. Yes it’s true, and maybe you feel a bit better knowing even Bill Gates can have mold in the house.
It is impossible to totally remove mold in homes and even if you could it would only be temporary as it would soon find its way back in on your shoes or clothing or through an open door or window.
Black Mold Removal Hinges On Controlling Moisture
If we look at what Stachybotrys needs to grow and can control these elements we can get rid of mold and keep it from growing back.
Which ones though? Well mold feeds on cellulose like wood and paper. Being microscopic it really doesn’t need much for food and since our homes are generally made of wood or contain it we are not going to be able to starve it out. Mold won’t grow much if temperatures are cold but living in a year round ice box is not an option for most of us, so that option is out.
This leaves one crucial element left and that is moisture. And yes it may take some work but we can monitor and control our humidity. We can find and fix leaky pipes, leaky roofs and correct condensation problems and we need to do this before we start black mold removal.
Controlling moisture and humidity is the key to preventing mold growth. If you don’t get this step right it doesn’t matter how thorough black mold removal is because it will grow back.