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Running water leads to a moldy mess in Saint Johns FL – 34986

Tuesday, April 6th, 2021
On Feb 10, 2021, our client explained to Rytech hat he was hearing water in the back area of his home where his guest bedrooms are located. He told us that he noticed his floors were buckling and he could hear running water. The customer said he called a plumber immediately who found the leak in the wall inside of the guest bedroom closet. The leak was quickly fixed, but our technicians found moisture in the drywall and the laminate flooring inside of the guest bedroom and second bedroom closet.  The drywall has already been cut inside the closet by the plumber before Rytech arrived. Our technicians were able to feel standing water underneath the tub and, inside of the closet the shelves were beginning to separate and warp. They needed to be removed. Rytech technicians quickly cleaned up the remaining standing water. 
Pictures of wet readings in all affected areas were taken with our moisture reading equipment. In the hallway and bathroom, elevated moisture readings were found in the drywall.
The two bedroom doors were sealed up with six mill plastic and ‘do not enter’ signs were taped to the containment door. The AC vents were sealed off and our techs began moving items out of the closets. We removed the remaining laminate in the guest bedroom and took all of the content placed it in the second guest room and it wrapped with six mill plastic.
Pictures were taken of the demo completed in the 2 closets.  Once the shelving was removed we cut two feet up on the affected walls to ensure complete removal of all mold from this water datama. The backside of the drywall above 2 feet had no mold and was clean. The studs were metal so we wiped them down with anti microbial wipes to ensure no future thread of mold. The exterior wall inside of the closet was removed and wooden studs and plywood were exposed. They were sanded and the wiped down with anti microbial spray to ensure no mold growth.

Finally, we opened up the wall inside of the closets to expose a cavity where the tub was installed. We sealed up  all of these areas with six mill plastic to avoid contaminated air from entering the environment. Equipment was cleaned, walls were scrubbed and the floors were sprayed and wiped. After the anti microbial cleaning, each room was fogged and the homeowners property was ready for testing to ensure all mold was remediated properly.

Rytech processed the claims for the homeowner directly with his insurance American Integrity Insurance and our homeowner was safe to return to his mold-free home!

What Is Pink Mold?

Thursday, January 21st, 2021
pink mold

Two fast facts to know about pink mold:

1. It’s often not pink.
2. It’s not really mold.

What is generally known as “pink mold” is a slimy, oozy biofilm that appears in enclosed areas where condensation and high humidity are common. In most homes, that’s the bathroom. Pink mold—its formal designation is Serratia marcescens—is actually a form of bacteria, not a fungus. Therefore, it’s not officially classified as a mold.

Serratia marcescens can range from pink to dark purple to shades of bright orange. As an airborne bacterial species, pink mold feeds on moisture and soapy scum often present on hard surfaces like shower stalls and bathtubs. It may also infect shower curtains and toilet bowls or grow on hard wooden bathroom surfaces like windowsills or moulding.The appearance of this slimy film does not enhance household aesthetics. 

DIY Treatment

Pink mold is resistant to standard household cleaning methods and typically requires special attention to eliminate it. Local occurrence of pink mold totaling less than three square feet can usually be treated by the homeowner with these steps:

  • Mix up a thick solution of water, a cup of baking soda, and a few teaspoons of liquid soap.
  • Use this solution with a soft brush to scrub pink mold contamination and loosen it from the surface.
  • Rinse away the residue with water.
  • After visible growth is removed, the surface must be sterilized to kill residual bacteria. Make a 50/50 mix of warm water and household bleach in a spray bottle and spray all affected surfaces. Allow the mixture to remain for 10 minutes, then scrub lightly with a brush.
  • Wash away the residue with water and dry with a clean towel.

Is Professional Remediation Required?

Where Serratia marcescens bacterial contamination exceeds three square feet, contact a qualified mold remediation specialist about professional treatment to remove this more advanced and extensive growth. 

What Is Aspergillus Mold?

Thursday, January 14th, 2021
Aspergillus Mold

Aspergillus mold is the most common type of fungus on earth that grows both outdoors and indoors. First identified in 1729, there are now more than 200 confirmed species of Aspergillus mold. However, only three of those species known to thrive in indoor environments like homes and commercial buildings: Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus flavus, and Aspergillus fumigatus.

Where Does It Grow?

Aspergillus mold is a resilient fungus that grows in temperature ranging from 68 degrees up to over 100 degrees, well within the residential range. Moisture from routine indoor sources such as elevated humidity and minor household leaks—or incidents like water damage—plus a food supply such as paper, fabric, or wood building materials, create optimum conditions that support Aspergillus mold growth.

How Does It Spread?

Within 48 hours after contact with water, active mold growth begins releasing microscopic airborne reproductive spores. These spores are carried by air currents throughout the house, spreading contamination to multiple areas inside the structure. Prompt application of professional preventive methods following water damage is critical to prevent widespread mold infection. 

What Does It Look Like?

Contamination may appear as the “black mold” type, or it may look blue-green, gray, or tan, resembling other fungus varieties. This variation in color is a good reason why all mold contamination inside a home needs to be examined and tested by qualified mold remediation specialists.

What To Do About It?

Aspergillus mold requires professional mold remediation. This includes identifying the exact type with air sampling and tracking contamination within the house. All growth must be physically removed, followed by sterilization of surfaces where it was present with EPA-approved biocides.

Chronic moisture conditions inside the house that triggered the growth of mold must be identified and corrected. After the remediation procedure, follow-up air samples are utilized to verify that contamination has been  eliminated.

How to Choose a Mold Remediation Company

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021
Mold Remediation Company

Because effective mold remediation is critical to the home environment, choosing the right remediation company is vital. The consequences of unprofessional, second-rate work may have long-lasting impact on the health of your family. It’s also an economic issue as the expense of additional, more comprehensive treatment in the future is inevitable if the job isn’t performed professionally the first time.

Removal Vs. Remediation

Mold removal isn’t remediation. Simply moving conspicuous indoor mold growth out of the house isn’t enough. Mold contamination requires professional remediation, a multi-faceted process.

  • Most remediation includes pre-testing to determine the exact type of mold as well as quantify the extent of contamination inside the house.
  • Remediation means utilizing specialized equipment and expertise to track down and properly remove every incidence of mold inside the house, then properly treat each affected location with EPA-approved anti-micorbial agents. 
  • Remediation also includes correcting conditions that triggered active mold contamination including sources of indoor moisture like leaks and even simply excessive indoor humidity.

Making The Right Choice

Some things that a professional remediation company is not:  It’s not a home improvement contractor or remodeling company. It’s not a carpet cleaner. It’s not a carpenter or painter who occasionally moonlights on mold jobs. It’s not a freelance jack-of-all-trades, nor your brother-in-law who has lots of spare time on weekends. Recognizing professionals in this industry means looking for specific characteristrics:

  • The company is IICRC-certified. As the primary certifying body for the mold remediation industry, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) publishes the official standards for remediating mold that are universally recognized throughout the industry.
  • IICRC certification also means that company employees receive specialized training and testing at all levels of mold remediation.
  • Remediation professionals have an established presence and reputation in the community, as well as business licenses and references that can be verified.
  • A professional remediation company has invested in specialized technology to locate, identify and eliminate mold contamination inside a structure. Every remediation project begins with scientific testing and the work isn’t concluded until follow-up tests verify successful decontamination.
  • Some states may also require a state mold remediators license to be held in order to offer remediation services. Be sure to check with your state to confirm licensing requirements.  

Avoiding Cross Contamination During Mold Remediation

Thursday, November 12th, 2020
Mold Remediation

Inside a mold-contaminated home, microscopic mold spores are often concentrated in the immediate vicinity of contamination. However, efforts to remove that mold runs the risk of dispersing spores more widely. Known as cross-contamination, the process of removing active mold growth may potentially spread contamination to parts of the house not previously infected by mold.

Professional mold remediation services utilize a variety of tactics and equipment to ensure that cross-contamination doesn’t disseminate mold more extensively inside a home during the procedure. Here are some of the methods commonly employed:

  • Preliminary air sampling. Air sampling for spores provides important information about which areas of the home are contaminated versus those that are not. This allows mold remediation technicians to isolate particular target areas while preventing spread to areas that aren’t contaminated.
  • Sealing the area. If the contaminated area is more than 30 square feet, specific techniques are utilized to isolate the area from the remainder of the house. The work area will be air-sealed with sheets of 6 mil plastic barrier, including an air lock to enter and exit the area. HVAC vents in the affected area will also be sealed.
  • Preventing spore spread. To further ensure that airborne spores do not migrate into uncontaminated areas, a negative air machine will be installed to reduce air pressure in the infected area. This device, which includes high-efficiency HEPA filtration, continuously reduces air pressure in the infected area to retain airborne spores.
  • Restricting access. Only individuals who are trained and have proper mold remediation credentials, as well as equipped with proper personal protection equipment (PPE), should be allowed in the contaminated area while mold remediation procedures are underway.  
  • Final procedures. After active mold growth and any infected materials have been removed, and before the containment area is unsealed, the entire area is vacuumed with HEPA-filtered equipment. All surfaces inside the area will be wiped down with an antimicrobial cleaner. HVAC vents are unsealed.
  • Post-remediation air sampling. To verify that mold has been removed from the affected area and all other parts of the house remain uncontaminated, air samples will be taken throughout the home. 

Can You Kill Mold By Drying It Out?

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020
mold issues

No moisture, no mold. It sounds like a simple solution to mold issues in a home. Since mold is a fungus that requires moisture to grow, just drying out mold growth ought to eradicate it in short order. Right?

Like many easy answers to complex problems, it ain’t necessarily so. While moisture is the key factor that triggers the active growth mode that causes mold issues, ironically, the absence of moisture alone doesn’t make mold go away. Here are two reasons why:

  • Mold can exist in more than one living state. Active or viable mold triggered by moisture grows and releases microscopic airborne reproductive spores that spread that growth to other locations in the house. These spores contain mycotoxins that cause allergic reactions or other symptoms when inhaled by certain individuals.
  • In the inactive state, an absence of moisture causes mold to be dormant and cease growth—yet not be technically dead. Inert spores from dormant, dried-up mold can be just as allergenic as active spores from living growth if inhaled. Moreover, moisture from any source such as water damage or leakage—or even simply sustained high humidity—quickly reactivates dry, dormant mold growth and triggers the release of reproductive spores once again. Mold issues then recur throughout the house.

Successful mold remediation isn’t a one-step solution. It requires multi-faceted treatment to ensure comprehensive decontamination.  

  • All mold growth must be tracked down and physically removed from wherever it exists in the house. No existing mold—active or inactive—can be left behind, as any remaining growth may likely reactivate at some later point under certain conditions.
  • After removal, areas of contamination must be directly treated with EPA-approved fungicides to sterilize surfaces and prevent regrowth.  
  • The source of water which triggered active mold growth must be identified and permanently eliminated.
  • If mold growth occurs as a result of a water damage incident, prompt professional water damage remediation includes standardized mold prevention methods like air sampling to detect the presence of spores and proven techniques to locate and remove mold growth and sterilize affected surfaces. 

Is DIY Mold Removal Ever Safe?

Thursday, February 27th, 2020
DIY Mold Removal

Is DIY mold removal safe? It depends. Will it fully eliminate mold contamination from a house? Probably not.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, mold contamination larger than 3 feet by 3 feet should be left to qualified mold remediation professionals. If a very limited area of mold growth on a non-porous surface is all you’re dealing with, put on gloves and eye protection. Mix 1/2 cup of household bleach with a quart of water, saturate a rag and wipe away the mold. Leave the surface wet and open windows to ventilate fumes until it dries. You’re done. Or are you?

What You Don’t See

Superficial mold is often only the visible evidence of more extensive, covert contamination you can’t see. Mold flourishes in chronically damp and dark spaces of a structure not frequently (or easily) accessible. From that primary focal point, active mold releases airborne reproductive spores that spread contamination throughout the house. DIY mold removal such as wiping away a very limited spot is well and good—if you’re careful. But, it doesn’t address the comprehensive problem in a contaminated house, nor potential hazards that come with removing it.  

How the Pros Stay Safe

Professional mold remediation teams arrive fully trained and prepared to locate and safely neutralize all mold growth inside a house, wherever it may be. Teams typically include a designated health and safety technician specifically certified by the IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning Restoration and Restoration Certification) to assure the safety of mold remediation workers. Crews are also specially equipped to reduce hazards when working around mold, including:

  • Full face mask with a filtered respirator
  • Protective overalls and booties
  • Rubber or nitrile gloves
  • Air exchangers to vent spore-contaminated air from the structure and induct fresh filtered air during the project
  • HEPA-grade air scrubbers to capture airborne spores in the indoor environment
  • Specially formulated antimicrobial chemicals to sterilize contaminated surfaces

Established safety procedures and specialized equipment for comprehensive mold remediation are beyond the scope of the average DIY-er. For anything beyond the most minor contamination, follow EPA recommendations and call a professional.

4 Reasons to Avoid DIY Mold Removal

Thursday, October 10th, 2019

Mold growth can occur almost anywhere under the right conditions. Dormant microscopic mold spores are ubiquitous in nature, both outdoors and indoors. In fact, you’re probably inhaling a small concentration of spores right now. So, if mold is such a common event, why not just handle it yourself?

Actually, small outbreaks of mold growth in common spots like a shower stall or underneath a kitchen sink aren’t a big deal and respond well to a DIY approach with off-the-shelf disinfectants. However, when more widespread contamination—or the conditions that inevitably trigger it—exist, professional mold remediation is usually necessary.

Here are four examples of why you shouldn’t handle mold removal yourself.  

  • Contamination is time-critical. When mold growth conditions are present, such as indoor water damage, the consequences become dire in a very short time. Mold activates and begins releasing airborne reproductive spores within 24 to 48 hours after exposure to water. Confronted by the aftermath of water damage, few homeowners are prepared to take the steps required to interrupt the sequence of contamination in that short time frame. Rapid professional intervention is vital.
  • You don’t know how much there is. Mold spreads and active growth is often not limited to a single occurrence. Every house is different. To evaluate the extent of contamination, mold remediation specialists take air samples and count the captured spores. This important calculation provides a basis for a treatment plan to deal with the specific circumstances in each home.  
  • Mold type matters. “Mold” is a generic term applied to a wide range of fungal growth. Some things that look like mold, actually aren’t. Certain types of mold growth are more likely to be toxic to some persons while other types are relatively benign. Because it’s important to know what kind of mold is present, mold remediation specialists physically sample active growth and have it laboratory-tested for positive identification.
  • It could be harmful to your health. Contacting and removing mold without protective measures could cause allergic reactions or illness in certain individuals, particularly those with specific fungus sensitivities. Leaving the job to properly equipped professionals is a safer approach. 

Is Green Mold in My Home Toxic or Dangerous to My Family?

Thursday, December 20th, 2018

green moldGreen is among the rainbow of colors that growing mold may display, depending on the type and the environment where it grows. However, color alone is not a reliable indicator to identify mold. Experts say that literally thousands of mold species may exhibit greenish coloration. Most often, greens tend to be among the Cladosporium or Penicillium genus. White mold types are somewhat more likely to be found growing on paper products or raw wood in a moist environment, while green mold requires less moisture to thrive.

Is It Toxic?

Green mold shares a trait common with virtually all forms of indoor and outdoor mold, regardless of color: it spreads by releasing spores. These microscopic airborne particles carry mycotoxins that are proven to cause allergic reactions in susceptible individuals, including chronic illness.

Because airborne spores can accumulate to very high levels within an enclosed environment, symptoms are more likely to result from prolonged exposure to indoor mold versus outdoors.

Does Color Matter?

The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) recommends that all verified mold should be removed from a residence. The color of the mold—be it green, black or blue—isn’t a deciding factor.

Professional mold remediation relies on established procedures such as analysis of airborne spore samples and active mold growth. Testing is utilized to determine the genus of the mold as well as estimate extent of contamination in the house. These facts—not the color—inform proper techniques to remove the mold and sterilize the environment to prevent recurrence.

Is My Home Infected?

Any unexplained allergic symptoms should always be brought to the attention of a physician first. If other potential factors are eliminated, mold contamination may be suspected if:

  • Water damage has occurred inside the house or chronic moisture from any source is affecting some part of the structure.
  • Musty odors persist in susceptible areas—basement, attic, crawl space, etc—and can’t be attributed to some other cause.
  • You notice fungal-like growth—of any color—occurring anywhere inside the house.

Mold Exposure Dangers – Get The Facts!

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

mold factsClarity is critical when evaluating potential health concerns like mold exposure. A study by the World Health Organization finds “sufficient epidemiological evidence” that occupants of buildings infected by mold are at increased risk of respiratory infections, asthma, and allergic symptoms. Furthermore, the WHO confirms that proper remediation of mold and conditions that trigger it “can reduce adverse health outcomes.”

How do these facts apply to the day-to-day risks inside the typical home? Here are common questions and answers about mold exposure dangers.

Can I avoid all mold exposure?

Mold is naturally occurring. There is no practical way to prevent microscopic airborne mold spores from infiltrating a structure. When dispersed in open air outdoors, mold spores typically cause no symptoms. Concentrated within the enclosed environment of a house, however, active spores released by growing mold may reach potentially toxic levels in daily exposure.

Is all mold toxic?

Only mold types that release spores containing mycotoxins are linked to ill effects in some humans. Common indoor varieties are Cladosporium, Penicilium and Fusarium. One type, Stachybotrys chartarum, is known generically as “Black Mold.” In an enclosed environment, Black Mold is most likely to trigger adverse reactions in susceptible persons. Mold testing and sampling by a professional can identify the type of contamination and help locate active growth. The World Health Organization recommends remediation of all indoor mold contamination, regardless of specific type.

How do I prevent indoor exposure to toxic mold?

Moisture triggers dormant mold spores into active growth mode. To inhibit mold growth, control household relative humidity—the EPA recommends the range between 30% and 50%. Also, repair plumbing leaks, seal the basement to prevent water intrusion, keep the crawl space dry and have roof leaks fixed. Should water inundation occur inside the house, active mold growth will begin within 48 hours. Water damage recovery must include prompt professional mold remediation to avert chronic contamination.

Are my symptoms mold-related?

Many illnesses mimic symptoms of mold exposure. Always discuss any suspect symptoms with your physician, first.