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Environmental’s Basement Mold Remediation Program is a comprehensive 5-step program that will clean and remove existing mold, make the area safe again, and prevent future mold from returning:
First, if there are any water issues due to defects in the home those must be fixed. Second, bring down the humidity level in the treatment area by installing a dehumidifier. Mold cannot grow in low humidity environments.
Mold occurs naturally everywhere. It is healthy and is naturally occurring in nature, at certain levels. Mold is found both indoors and outdoors. Mold can enter your home in many ways. Open doorways, windows, vents, and HVAC systems are all entry points. Outside mold in the air can attach itself to pets, clothing, shoes, and be carried indoors. When these tiny mold spores drop on places where there is excessive moisture, a food source and the right temperature - such as in basements - they will grow. When mold levels increase to an unhealthy level, that is when we start to see visible signs of black mold on basements walls, carpeting, woodwork, ceilings and cement floors. When mold grows, it gives off a strong musty odor. If you notice a musty smell in your basement, this indicates unhealthy levels of mold.
Like many allergens, some people are sensitive to mold and some are not. So, exposure to household mold may cause health issues, or none at all. Symptoms of black mold sensitivity include asthma, stuffy nose, wheezing, itchy eyes, headache or skin irritations. Mold in basements is dangerous since it can be spread through HVAC systems to the entire house. According to the CDC “No matter what type of mold is present; you should remove it.”
It might be highly visible but often the growth is hidden behind basement walls, carpets and even wallpaper. Basement mold comes in all colors from black to white to green to stains with a yellowish tint. The term “black mold” is widely used but in truth that type of mold isn’t the most common one. Four other types are much more common, according to the CDC, and they include Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Alternaria. Black mold is technically Stachybotrys chartarum or Stachybotrys atra. Use your sense of smell! Mold hidden behind the walls usually leaves a trademark musty odor. However, when basement temperatures fall into the 60’s, molds may go temporarily dormant and stop emitting that musty smell.
There steps you can take decrease the likelihood of having a mold issue. Mold needs three conditions to take hold: an ideal temperature, a source of food and moisture. Keep humidity levels as low as possible - especially during high humidity months - via dehumidifiers and well-maintained HVAC systems. Replace HVAC filters often. Make sure ALL house ventilation systems are working properly. These include kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans which vent outside and clothes dryers exhaust ducts. Eliminate sources of moisture from any leaks in roofs, walls, gutters, windows, sump pumps or plumbing. Avoid carpets in basements. If your laundry is in the basement, consider moving it. Do not store wood in your basement. Avoid running your HVAC system if you know or suspect that it is contaminated with mold. That may greatly exacerbate the situation by spreading mold throughout your home.
The answer depends on a number of factors. The top consideration is the size of your mold problem. When mold areas are easily accessible and less 10 square feet you may try to handle the job yourself. If mold damage is more extensive, or in inaccessible crawlspaces, behind walls, or was caused by sewage, flooding or other contaminated water, then call in a professional. Often, we are called to remediate a mold problem after the owner has tried DIY cleanup. And the mold keeps coming back. Mold remediation is complex and must be performed properly and safely or you risk making things worse, or getting sick in the process. There are reasons why proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be worn and very specific containment procedures followed. A HEPA air filtration system - and its proper use- is needed catch the spores and prevent them from spreading during cleanup.
Homeowners need to be aware of potential conflicts of interest when dealing with a company that performs both the basement mold testing and the remediation. Mold testing and mold remediation are important - and costly - services so homeowners need to make sure they are spending money on real issues. Do not rely on any company that only provides only a swab test and then tells you that you need to remediate a larger area. Again, without a mold air test, it is not possible to know exactly what area(s) of the property have been affected. Beware of any company that tries to sell mold remediation services based only a swab test. Because of the well-known conflict of interest in the mold industry, there are a lot of mold test companies that only provide mold tests and they do not perform any mold removal services. A dedicated mold test company will provide a thorough mold test (air test) and will then also provide a lab report with results and recommendations. Conversely, there are mold removal professionals that do not do mold testing and only do mold removal services, such as Environmental Mold Control. This ensures there are no conflicts and that the mold removal is solely based on the outside test results and recommendations.
Each policy is different. However, homeowners’ insurance policies are often vague regarding mold coverage. Insurers quickly realized that covering mold was too risky and therefore most policies now offer limited coverage, if any. It can be difficult to determine whether your specific claim will be covered. Policies usually exclude coverage for mold damage, except when the mold is the result of a "covered peril", such as some water damage which is caused by a failure in the homes plumbing (broken water pipe, broken sump pump). Most all insurance plans do not include coverage from water damage caused by rain, snow, etc.…. You best insurance is mold prevention.