Unlike simple mold removal, Los Angeles Mold Remediation addresses the causes of mold and provides preventative measures. Generally, professionals fix the water problem that caused the mold and use antifungal cleaners to remove visible mold and kill microscopic spores.
Before beginning, they will usually sequester house pets in a safe room and clear a path from the mold area to the outside and back inside. They will also package any saveable contents and take them off-site for restoration.
Mold spores are everywhere, both indoors and outdoors. They float in the air and can enter your house through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems, or hitch a ride on your clothes or a pet. Once they get inside, they thrive on moisture and can start growing into a mold colony in a few days. Once you notice a musty smell or see signs of mold growth, you should call a professional immediately.
When you hire a company for mold remediation, they will set up a containment chamber around the area affected by the mold. This will prevent the spores from spreading to other areas of your house. They may also use an airlock, which is a small decontamination chamber with slit entries from the outside and the room. The airlock is separated from the rest of the building by a sheet of 6mm polyethylene, which is sealed and taped to make sure no dust or spores escape the contained area.
Once the area is contained, the remediation company will scrub the mold from hard surfaces and dry them thoroughly. If porous materials, such as drywall and carpet, become contaminated with mold, they should be removed from the building and disposed of, since these items cannot be cleaned. Some fabrics and soft furnishings may also be contaminated and must be discarded.
The next step is to locate the source of the mold and stop it from returning. This might involve a roof leak, plumbing problem or condensation issues from bathroom and kitchen venting. Once the source of the moisture is fixed, the mold will not return.
Before the mold cleanup company arrives, you should move any unaffected furniture to another part of your house and clear a path from the entry door to the room that needs to be cleaned. You should also sequester pets in a safe place, close all the windows and turn off your HVAC system.
The professionals working on the mold cleanup will wear protective equipment, including masks and gloves. They will also disinfect any non-porous surfaces and apply a chemical biocide to porous surfaces, such as wooden wall studs, to kill the mold spores.
One of the most important steps in remediation is to find and stop the source of moisture. Then mold can be removed and the structure can be rebuilt properly. This is especially important for a home or business with black mold (Stachybotrys chartarum), as this type of mold needs constant moisture to grow and can be deadly if inhaled.
Moisture can come from many sources, including plumbing leaks, roof problems and high humidity levels. To help pinpoint the cause, a qualified inspector can take air samples from both inside and outside of the affected areas. These samples are then tested to determine the level of contamination and to identify what types of mold may be growing.
Once the results are in, an experienced professional can take a closer look at the problem area and the building materials that have been affected. In most cases, the best course of action is to completely remove all affected materials and install new ones. This includes drywall, insulation, wood trim and carpeting. The contaminated items are bagged, sealed and disposed of in accordance with EPA guidelines.
In addition to removing impacted materials, the remediation process also involves cleaning the space. This step is usually done with negative air machines that filter out mold spores, dust, microbial volatile organic compounds and other debris. The spores are also sprayed with biocide, which kills the mold and prevents it from growing back once the area is clean.
During the cleaning process, it is highly recommended to wear protective clothing. This is to protect against the transfer and spread of spores from skin to clothes and from contaminated material to skin. Disposable paper overalls are typically worn during a large remediation project, while smaller jobs can be handled with disposable plastic or polyurethane sheeting.
Once the area is cleaned, it must be sanitized and dried again. This can be done with negative air machines and HEPA vacuums, or it can be accomplished by spraying an EPA-approved substance that eradicates the spores and makes them sterile. During this phase, it is important to avoid stirring up the spores with mechanical means.
The next step in the mold remediation process is identifying all areas of contamination. This involves using a HEPA-approved vacuum and containment procedures to ensure that mold spores don’t spread to other parts of the house. In some cases, the contaminated materials must be removed and disposed of by a hazardous waste company.
This step may also involve a thorough cleaning of the affected surfaces. The professionals will use a biocide, an EPA-approved substance that eradicates mold and makes the spores sterile. The surface will then be wiped down and allowed to dry. The experts will then apply whitewash or special paint to prevent new outbreaks of mold from occurring in the future.
In some cases, a significant amount of contaminated material must be removed from the home. This could include porous items such as carpeting and drywall that can no longer be cleaned. This can be more expensive than simply removing and replacing the affected materials, but it is often necessary to ensure that the mold problem has been properly remediated.
Some surfaces can be saved with the application of an antimicrobial solution that will prevent the formation of additional mold. This can be particularly useful in bathrooms, basements and sink cabinets that frequently experience condensation due to moisture buildup.
After the affected surfaces have been cleaned, it is important to determine whether they can be disinfected or if they need to be replaced. This will require the use of basic personal protective equipment, including gloves, eye protection and an N95 mask.
Nonporous surfaces can usually be cleaned by wiping or scrubbing with water and detergent solutions. It is important to dry these surfaces quickly to discourage future mold growth. It is recommended to follow instructions on product labels for the safest method of cleaning. Absorbent and porous materials such as drywall or carpeting must be removed and discarded.
When deciding whether to relocate building occupants during the mold remediation process, consideration should be given to the size of the affected area, the type of mold, and any health effects reported by occupants. It is also important to consider the ability of the remediation team to contain and minimize possible aerosolization of mold spores during the cleanup activity.
If mold is a problem in a small area, homeowners can clean the affected areas with a few pieces of equipment and some good cleaners. However, for large areas, or if there is severe or chronic mold growth, hiring a professional mold remediation company is recommended. A certified technician can use proper tools and techniques to remove mold without spreading spores and without harming your health.
Before the mold remediation experts arrive, homeowners should clear out a work space for them. They should put pets in a room or in the yard if they won’t be kept out of the work area, and move furniture away from walls and other unaffected surfaces. Then they should turn off the power to the affected area, especially if it is located in a basement or attic. This step prevents electrocution during the remediation process.
Once the mold team arrives, they will begin by identifying the moldy areas and locating the source of moisture. Usually, mold grows in areas with high moisture content, such as bathrooms and sink cabinets. Mold professionals can locate the area with elevated moisture by using special moisture meters. Once the moldy area is identified, the professionals will begin by removing porous items that are affected with mold. These include carpeting, drywall, and fabric-covered furniture. They are then tightly bagged and wiped down to ensure that any spores are removed. These items are then disposed of in accordance with local regulations and laws.
Non-porous items that cannot be removed, like bathtubs, countertops, metals, tiles, and sinks, will undergo a biocide treatment to kill any spores and sterilize the surface. This process is called “sanitation.” Once the contaminated materials have been treated, the professionals will vacuum and wipe down all non-porous surfaces with cleaning solutions. This step is designed to control airborne mold spores, and negative-air machines with HEPA filters are used throughout the process.
After a few days, all of the materials should be dry and mold-free. The mold remediation experts will check the results of the inspection and will let homeowners know if they need to take additional steps to keep mold from returning or if the remediation was successful.