Mold Remediation in Your Home

Mold Remediation in Your Home

Mold can be a silent but destructive home invader, creeping in from unsuspecting spots and causing significant damage and even health threats if left unchecked. Fortunately, mold remediation is possible no matter how extensive the problem may be, and knowing how to take remediation steps yourself can help keep the problem from becoming completely unmanageable.

Where Mold Comes From in Your Home

Anywhere the conditions are damp, humid, warm, and dark, mold can grow quickly. This is especially true in attics, basements, and crawlspaces where ventilation may already be inadequate. Mold can also grow in areas where windows may be leaking, or poor landscape grading may cause seepage into the home, which could lead to mold in the walls or under flooring.

Sink or toilet leaks, air conditioner condensation, damp ductwork, poor drainage of a washer, and other water sources can also promote mold. Emergency incidents and water intrusion, such as flooding from a rainstorm or a broken pipe, can also lead to mold if not treated promptly and thoroughly.

Mold can begin growing in as little as 24-48 hours, and will adhere to all types of building materials. Drywall, wood, upholstery, cotton, insulation, leather, carpet, paper, and other materials can all become breeding grounds for mold.

Problems With Mold

Once mold begins to grow, it is not only unsightly, it can also weaken and destroy materials. In extreme cases, this can lead to even larger leaks or structural problems in the home, such as unstable walls or flooring decay. Fabrics can be stained or damaged, and if left untreated, mold can create disastrous problems for property value and insurance coverage.

Furthermore, different types of mold can create health problems in both humans and pets. Depending on the mold, the extent of the infestation, and individual susceptibilities, mold can lead to headaches, difficulty concentrating, breathing problems, allergic reactions, depression, and more. Some severe types of mold are even more toxic and can be fatal with intense or long-term exposure.

Mold Remediation Steps in Your Home

Making your home mold-free can be a lengthy process if the mold has built up over time or if the damage is extensive. If caught early, however, mold remediation is a simpler task that can be managed in just a few days or weeks. The key is to react quickly when mold is discovered, as the more time passes, the greater the mold infestation will be and the more irreversible damage it may cause.

The first clue you may have mold in your home can be from a musty, foul odor, signs of water leakage, or staining or discoloration on walls or floors. As soon as these hints are discovered…

  • Trace the source of the mold or leak if possible.
    The faster you find where the problem originated, the easier it will be to mitigate the damage. If you are unable to find the source, contact a professional immediately for assistance.

  • Stop water leakage.
    If you do find the source of the water, stop leaking or seepage as quickly as possible. This will minimize the spread of the water damage and the mold infestation.

  • Move non-affected materials out of danger.
    Carefully inspect nearby materials – clothing in a closet, for example, or furniture on damp carpeting – and move any unaffected items away from the mold so they do not become contaminated. This will help minimize damage and facilitate cleanup.

  • Determine the size of the problem.
    If the mold contamination is small and contained, it may be possible to remediate the issue yourself. If it is a large-scale problem or the result of extensive leaking or long-term contamination, however, professional remediation will be necessary.

  • Contact your home insurance company.
    Depending on your home insurance policy and the cause of the mold, you may be able to apply for coverage to handle the remediation. If so, you will need to work with the contractors approved by your insurance company, or you can file to be reimbursed for expenses.

  • Contact professional water mitigation and mold removal specialists.
    Even if the damage may seem slight, professional mold remediation companies are best equipped for thorough, efficient cleaning and restoration. They will be able to identify the mold infestation, dry it out, remove the mold, and help correct the problem.

  • Dry the area thoroughly.
    Whether the mold-infested area is large or small, it must be thoroughly dried. This includes carpeting, walls, behind baseboards, fabrics, and all other affected surfaces. Air blowers and dehumidifiers can be helpful to dry areas faster, before mold can spread more extensively.

  • Scrub and disinfect hard surfaces.
    Where mold has grown on hard surfaces, such as pipes or glass, the surfaces can be cleaned with detergent or bleach to kill the mold. Using a mold-specific cleaner is also helpful to ensure the spores are killed and the surface is no longer contaminated, but follow instructions carefully.

  • Replace materials as needed.
    If soft surfaces such as wood, drywall, or carpeting have been damaged or stained by mold, it is best to replace the materials completely to ensure all mold is removed. Dispose of contaminated material carefully to avoid spreading loose spores to new areas.

  • Increase ventilation if appropriate.
    Once the problem has been corrected and the mold removed, improving ventilation in the area can help prevent a recurrence. Solar fans in an attic or crawlspace, dehumidifiers in the basement, and better landscaping drainage are all useful options.

  • Inspect for new mold after remediation.
    After a mold infestation, a new inspection can determine if all the mold has been cleared or if any further problems remain. It may also be wise to schedule an additional inspection several weeks or months later, to be sure the problem has not returned more slowly.

Mold can be a challenging problem for any homeowner, but with the proper remediation steps you can restore your home easily and safely, without the problem growing out of control and causing even more difficulties.