The Need to Know on Mold
Mold is a common issue in residential homes and businesses alike. Because mold problems and infestations are somewhat frequent occurrences, it is beneficial to gain a thorough understanding of what mold is, how it spreads, how it can be contained, and what we here at SERVPRO can do to help.
The Biology of Mold
Mold is a type of fungus and is more specifically classified as saprophyte. We know that there are at least 20,000 different species of mold, but there may be even more. Deriving the nutrients it needs to survive from organic matter that has decomposed, mold grows on various different types of surfaces, branching out in order to spread. These branches are called hyphae.
5 Common Types of Mold in Buildings
There are five different varieties of mold that can grow on indoor surfaces inside of buildings. The first is penicillium, which is often blue or green in color and has a texture similar to velvet. Aspergillus tends to grow in oxygen-rich environments. A third variety, chaetomium, usually takes on a cotton-like texture. On fabrics, cladosporium is the most common variety of mold that will grow. Lastly, the fifth variety is stachybotrys, which tends to grow in areas that are high in humidity and damp.
Containing the Spread of Spores
While it’s impossible to completely get rid of mold because there has always been some mold in the air and on surfaces, mold remediation seeks to contain mold spores in order to prevent mold issues from reaching extreme levels of severity. Mold begins as small spores, but its structure is capable of holding thousands more spores. Aerosolization, or any event that causes airflow to pick up mold spores, facilitates the spread of mold. When remediating mold infestations, it is critical to prevent the spread of mold spores to other, clean areas as best as possible. Therefore, we utilize advanced containment procedures, such as negative air chambers, to contain areas contaminated by mold through the use of physical barriers while we clean affected areas.
Why Should We Be So Worried About Mold?
Some types of mold, like Penicillin or bleu cheese, are not a cause for concern. Bad molds, on the other hand, can cause health effects. Additionally, while large colonies of mold become visible to the eye, mold is generally an enemy that we cannot see, making it difficult to know if materials in your home or business are contaminated.
Mold in Buildings
When buildings become infested with mold, “sick building syndrome” (or SBS), in which occupants of the building experience minor health effects that result from spending time in the building, sometimes occurs. These problems can worsen over time if air circulation is lacking in the building or the building is not being properly maintained. Above all else, HVAC systems often serve as the impetus of mold growth in buildings. Mold can quickly and easily grow in the malfunctioning drain pans, filters, and piping of HVAC systems if they are not maintained and if mold grows in HVAC systems, they double as a delivery service, spreading mold spores throughout the building.
Mold Growth Requirements
In order for mold to grow successfully, several factors are required to be present. These include mold spores first and foremost, an organic material to serve as a food source, a temperature between 32 and 122 degrees fahrenheit, water or moisture, and as little as two days’ time. In terms of organic matter, mold can feed on wood, paper, drywall, insulation, paints, starch in wallpaper paste, and caulk, just to name a few surfaces.
Preventing Mold Growth
When preventing mold growth, the response to water damage must be immediate and moisture is the most critical factor to get under control?. Often, it is more beneficial to mitigate than to remediate? mold-damaged areas. There are also several things that building owners and occupants can do to prevent mold growth. These actions include frequently surveying areas that are often overlooked, such as dishwashers, ice maker connections, washing machine connections, shower doors, and space behind the dishwasher. Additionally, washing machine connections should be replaced every 5 years. Ultimately, good ventilation, maintaining a dry environment, limiting food sources for mold, and utilizing fungicides and biocides all help in preventing mold growth in homes and businesses.
Mold Remediation Basics
Here at SERVPRO, we follow the IICRC S520 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation. There are three condition levels for mold remediation as stated by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification. Condition 1 is Normal Fungal Ecology, which describes an indoor environment that may contain spores or traces of growth that are characteristic of a natural environment. Condition 2 is Settled Spores, indicating that indoor areas have undergone secondary contamination from settled spores. Lastly, Condition 3 is Actual Growth, in which the indoor environment is contaminated with actual mold growth.
Our 5 Principles of Mold Remediation
As we explained earlier, our primary concern when working with mold is containment in order to prevent further spread. We achieve successful containment through the use of negative air chambers, which are used to isolate the area with physical barriers and negative air pressure to prevent mold spores from spreading during the cleanup process. ?In order to ensure the best results, we adhere to 5 principles of mold remediation:
- Safety and Health;
- Control Contaminants;
- Remove the Contamination;
- and Correct the Moisture Problem.
As soon as the moisture problem has been corrected, an Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) conducts final clearance testing, surveying all Condition 3 and Condition 2 areas as suggested by the IICRC S250 Standard in order to make certain that all areas have returned to Condition 1 before containment can be removed.
Have a Mold Problem? Call SERVPRO
Learn more about our Mold Remediation and Restoration Services by clicking here and in the event that your home or business experiences mold growth of any capacity, call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County at (410) 229-0012 immediately for trustworthy and efficient mold remediation services. Check out our website to read more about our Commercial Mold Remediation Services, as well as our Mold Remediation Process.