Finding mold in your home is never a pleasant experience. Not only does it look bad, but many types of mold including the dangerous black mold, can cause severe health effects and damage your property.
While the internet is littered with DIY mold removal hacks, most of these techniques don’t work and can make the situation much worse. Sure, they may remove what you can see on the surface, but the complete mold removal process requires more than a bit of vinegar and elbow grease.
While a few small spots of mold may be tackled with household or mold cleaning products, true and complete mold remediation is much more complicated than simply wiping down a surface.
It’s almost always recommended to contact a professional mold removal service to safely and effectively remove mold from your home and prevent it from coming back. Attempting to remove mold on your own can be dangerous and make the problem worse.
If you’re going to the step of calling in the professionals, its helpful to understand how professionals remove mold and what steps they take to ensure your health and property are protected while they do it.
BEFORE THE REMEDIATION SPECIALISTS ARRIVE
The first step in the mold removal process is to contact your remediation service. Mold technicians will take down your information and details about the mold you’ve found and any water damage.
They’ll ask about water damage, previous mold infestations, where it’s growing, and ask questions about it’s appearance such as color, texture, and patterns. Once they have this information, an appointment will be set up for an inspection by a certified mold specialist.
How To Prepare For Mold Remediation
There are a few things you can do to prepare the area for the mold removal technicians. The National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Heath has more information on mold remediation recommendations.
- Resist the urge to touch, disturb, or try to clean mold, as this can spread spores further and make the job more difficult.
- Don’t move things from contaminated areas. While you may want to remove special items, this can also spread mold spores around and cause a bigger problem
- Turn off the HVAC system if it’s still running
- Wash any contaminated clothes in hot water and detergent and store in a plastic bag to prevent contamination
- Document the condition of your home by taking photos before and after the remediation process is finished. This serves as a safeguard in case the removalists miss something or damage any property during the removal process.
- Look for moist or humid areas that may be potential sources of growth (without getting too close to any potential mold)
- Ask for an air quality sampling report to identify the type of mold and its severity
HOW DOES PROFESSIONAL MOLD REMOVAL WORK?
Once the professionals arrive, they’ll go through a check list and start their inspection. Then they'll make recommendations and begin the mold removal process.
Step 1 - Mold Inspection
Once the mold technicians arrive on-site, they’ll perform a comprehensive inspection and look for visible signs of mold growth and determine the types of mold growing. They’ll look for signs of previous mold growth as well as past mold growth indicating a problem with moisture.
Not all mold growth is out in the open, however. The technicians use a variety of mold inspection tools and specialized technology to assist with finding hidden sources of mold and water infiltration.
As water damage is often the cause of mold growth, identifying any water leaks or areas with elevated moisture levels is a critical first step to addressing the problem. Dangerous black mold is commonly found after flooding leaks, especially if that water is from an unsanitary source.
Some common areas of concern include bathrooms, basements, attics, window sills, and HVAC systems.
If you have experienced serious water damage from flooding or other sources, mold removal may be combined with water damage restoration services as well.
Step 2 - Isolation
Molds spread very quickly given the right conditions. Once the source of the water or moisture has been located and repaired, the next step is to seal off the area to prevent the spread of mold spores. This containment is a critical step to avoid cross-contamination to other unaffected areas.
Depending on how severe the mold infestation is, the area may be closed, sealing doorways and windows, laying down plastic sheets to protect flooring and further ensure the spores don’t spread.
They may also use advanced containment techniques such as negative air chambers and negative air pressure to further keep spores from spreading.
All fans, heaters, air conditioners, and other HVAC systems need to be turned off until the end of the remediation process.
Step 3 - Protective Gear
Don’t be surprised by the site of mold specialists dressed head to toe in protective gear. Even if the problem area is quite small, it’s standard procedure to take extra precautions when removing mold.
Safety gear specialists wear includes items such as full hazmat suits, goggles, booties, and face masks. Mold is most dangerous while being removed, as spores are released during the mold removal process.
These safety precautions highlight the importance of hiring professionals to do the job and how risky it is to do yourself without the proper equipment and training. Sticking your head in a crawl space and wiping down some visible mold is extremely dangerous as well as ineffective.
The professionals know the risks and know how to fix the issue in the safest and most effective way possible.
Step 4 - Air Filtration
Once the removalists are suited up and the area contained, the next step to professional mold removal is air purification and air filtration. During the mold removal process, spores are inevitably disturbed, which can spread through the air and cross-contaminate other areas.
To combat this, air scrubbing and negative air vacuums with HEPA filters run throughout the entire removal process. These machines are designed to remove over 99% of airborne spores, preventing cross-contamination and improving air quality.
Step 5 - Remove Contaminated Materials
The next step to the professional mold removal process is removing all contaminated materials. While some contaminated areas can be treated in place, others have to be removed.
Some common materials removed may include drywall, carpet, wood trim, insulation, tile grout, and sometimes furniture.
Strict guidelines are in place to ensure all contaminated materials are safely bagged and disposed of, eliminating the risk of cross-contamination. Once the bags are sealed, a mold solution is sprayed to ensure no spores remain on the outside of the bag.
Often, mold damaged or water damaged materials are able to be repaired and restored. Restoration services can restore property and belongings to pre-loss condition.
Step 6 - Scrub Areas & Mold Removal
Once contaminated materials have been removed, your mold technicians will use specialized tools to scrub and clean any areas that cannot be removed or can be safely remediated without removal.
Remediation specialists scrub the infected areas with a wire brush, using a non-toxic, hospital-grade cleaning agent to safely kill mold. These cleaning agents are antimicrobial and antifungal, ensuring mold is both killed and doesn’t return.
After the areas are scrubbed and cleaned, an EPA-approved protective biocide and protective coating is applied to prevent mold growth from moisture in the future.
All contaminated cleaning equipment is disposed of with the same safety guidelines used to remove contaminated materials.
Step 7 - Drying The Area
After all materials are decontaminated, technicians will clean up the area and remove all plastic sheeting or seals.
All wet materials or residual moisture from water damage is dried using industrial-sized fans, dehumidifiers, and scrubbers.
Step 8 - Final Inspection & Reporting
After the area is completely dry, a final inspection is done to make sure the mold removal process was fully completed. Mold is incredibly hard to remove on your own. Any mold left behind risks returning quickly, requiring the process to be done all over again.
Before they leave, your mold technicians will prepare a full report of the type of mold they found, the removal strategies they used, and detail the list of materials they have removed, cleaned, and restored.
You’ll be given some easy-to-follow mold prevention techniques to help reduce moisture levels and prevent mold from returning in the future.
It’s important that any water leaks are addressed right away. When it comes to mold prevention, moisture control and management are the keys.
Have a mold problem or more questions about our mold removal process? Contact Mold Removal Calgary for quality removal and restoration services.