Where to start.
You will have heard the term Mold remediation. This is basically the clean-up process and removal of mold (particularly toxic mold) from an indoor environment. If the problem is not too extensive, this may be a project you can take on yourself but if it is widespread, you may be better considering this use of a specialist company. The benefit of this is that they have the expertise and equipment to manage the task more efficiently and most importantly, quickly.
Mold remediation is not for the faint hearted, it’s hard work. It’s not just about removing what’s there but also you need to make sure that it doesn’t re-occur. Part of the process is creating an environment that ensures that the problem is dealt with once and for all. When you understand the cause of the problem and have taken step to prevent it, then the mold remediation clean-up can truly begin. I’ve seen many cases of homeowners believing that the many hours of hard work and cleaning resolved the issue only for the mold to come back. This is basically because they didn’t really understand why it was happening in the first place. The mold begins to creep back in mainly because they didn’t make the environmental changes required to prevent this. Time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted (as I have said before.)
Where is the moisture coming from that’s causing the mold? Understand that and you have a better chance of resolving the problem. So before you start the mold remediation process, consider the following:
- Take time to fully assess the affected area. What is the source of the moisture and how to I prevent it.
- Don’t just check what you can see, check what you can’t see. Is there evidence of mold in the cavity walls, ventilation systems, fabrics, carpets or furniture.
- Can’t I tackle it? Do I really understand the problem or sure I get professional help in?
- What is salvageable and what is not. If any item in the property is beyond economical repair due to the level of contamination, then safely remove it. Don’t waste your time and effort trying to fight lost causes.
- Clear the area of any debris. Give yourself the best chance of seeing exactly the extent of the problem.
- Have I created a safe environment to work in? Do I have the appropriate equipment to ensure that I am safe? Breathing in mold spores can have serious health implications and must be avoided. As a minimum you should have a half-face respirator with changeable filters (a full-face respirator would be better as this will also protect your eyes.) Invest is some disposable coveralls and bin them at the end of each day’s work. Also invest in some good quality rubber or neoprene gloves.
If the mold problem is significant, you will have to consider investing in some equipment. Really it is the level of investment that you may have to make to resolve what will hopefully be a one-off problem that may help you decide whether it would be better to use a mold remediation specialist. It’s not only the investment itself (in terms of money) that’s the issue. It’s your investment in time to understand what you are looking for and using the equipment in the right way to get the job done.
A moisture meter, is definitely worth considering. They measure the percentage of water in, for example a wall, floor or ceiling. It’s good to get a measure of this from the outset and monitor it throughout the course of the remediation process. This is give you both an indication of where the problems are but also whether or not the work you are doing is making things better.
Alongside this a humidity gauge, should be in you tool-box to monitor the amount of moisture in the air of the indoor environment in which you are working. The old adage, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” is true when tackling mold problems. You only want to do this once, so get it right first time.