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Mold Remediation Process

Tuesday, June 15th, 2021
mold remediation process

Mold contamination is a statistically rare consequence of water damage. However, in the unlikely event that it occurs, a prompt mold remediation process is critical to prevent further spread.

Within 48 hours after water damage, a small potential for active mold growth exists. Confined in the enclosed environment of a house, microscopic spores released by active contamination could potentially accumulate to levels that trigger allergic reactions and chronic illness when inhaled by susceptible individuals. 

Should the need arise, here are the phases of an effective mold remediation process performed by qualified water damage professionals:

Inspection and Testing

Trained certified technicians utilize moisture meters and other technology to determine the extent of water damage inside the house. Visible inspection and if necessary, Indoor air and surface samples may be taken to detect the presence of mold spores, a generally reliable indicator of active contamination. In the small percentage of cases where active mold is confirmed, technicians can accurately estimate the extent of contamination as well as determine the specific type of mold growth.

Physical Containment

If mold is activated by water damage, contamination is on the move. Rytech professionals employ proven methods to prevent the spread of toxic spores. These include physically isolating areas where mold exists as well as establishing negative air pressure zones to keep spores from dispersing into uncontaminated areas.  

Advanced Filtration and Humidity Control

Because reproductive mold spores are airborne, high-efficiency filtration is utilized to remove microscopic spores and inhibit the spread of contamination. High humidity inside water-damaged homes also activates mold spores so industrial dehumidifiers also operate throughout the decontamination process.

Removal and Replacement

All existing mold contamination is physically removed from the house and affected surfaces sterilized with EPA-approved biocides. Where mold infection has permanently penetrated porous materials such as drywall and carpeting, these materials are removed and replaced with new material.

Testing

Airborne spore samples are taken throughout the mold remediation process to track the progress of mold removal and verify that recognized industry standards for decontamination are met. Follow-up air sampling is also performed after a specified time interval.

Mold so bad you could smell it in Crawfordville Fl 32327

Wednesday, May 5th, 2021

Our Rytech technician arrived at our homeowners residence on March 10, 2021. He found visible water damage, but no elevated moisture readings. There were lots of stains on the drywall ceiling and a noticeable smell – a heavy odor of microbial (mold) growth throughout the home.

Following the Rytech protocols. we set up the recommended mold remediation equipment before starting our work in the kitchen. The affected wall cabinets were removed for treatment. Rytech cleaned the area and salvaged appliances. All appliances were cleaned and wrapped in plastic to eliminate cross contamination from the remainder of the mold remediation work to be done in the home.

The same procedures were applied to the laundry room for the washer and dryer as the ceiling in the laundry room needed to be removed, cleaned, treated and contained for mold growth too.

The dining room also required removal of the affected wall and ceiling drywall before treating cleaning and containment

The master bathroom was almost fully gutted with the removal of the vanity, tub, shower, sink and and toilet. All of this work led to opening up the wall inside the master closet, where thick mold growth was present. Unfortunately, the master closet was also fully gutted to assure the removal of all of the mold contaminants.

This mold remediation job was large and, some would consider, extreme. But, for Rytech it was another days work and easily remediated. Rytech worked seamlessly with the customer’s insurance company, Tower Hill, to ensure all parties were completely satisfied and to get the home owner one step closer to living in a healthy, mold free home.

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. 

Selling Your Home? Resolve Mold Issues First

Thursday, May 7th, 2020
mold problems

If you’re considering putting your home on the market and the house has an ongoing mold problem, what’s the preferred strategy? Should you offer the house at a discounted “as is” price—mold contamination included? Or is it a better idea to take control of the issue and get professional mold remediation now, before trying to attract prospective buyers? Here are some facts to take into consideration when you’re selling a house with a mold problem.

  • You can’t keep it secret. A known mold issue—or even knowledge of conditions that would likely trigger contamination such as water damage—are facts that, in most states, must be divulged to prospective buyers in a pre-sale disclosure. If existing mold not mentioned in the disclosure is discovered after the sale, the seller may be liable for civil damages.
  • In the real estate industry today, the presence of mold is considered a substantial liability. Neglected mold contamination is often a deal-breaker or at least a substantial negative impact on market value.
  • Many qualified buyers won’t make an offer on a house with existing mold issues—at any price. There’s simply less risk and headaches by offering fair market value on an uncontaminated property, versus dealing with potential issues that accompany the moldy house down the street.

Before You Sell

Mold issues resolved by a qualified mold remediation service eliminate the stigma that drags down a home’s value. In fact, proof that a house has been certified mold-free by trained professionals is a positive selling point.

  • If you know or even suspect mold contamination, get testing and inspection by an IICRC-certified mold remediation provider. This includes in-depth visual inspection in areas where mold is likely to occur, air samples to detect mold spores, and attention to secondary factors associated with mold, such as ongoing moisture issues or water damage.
  • If the presence of mold is confirmed, have the problem professionally resolved before listing the house for sale. Once the home is declared mold-free, you’ll have written certification to substantiate that fact as an extra inducement to attract qualified buyers and the most favorable offers.

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.

How Does Household Mold Affect Asthma?

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020
household mold

Household mold and asthma frequently develop under the same roof.  Asthma is a sensitivity in the air passages leading to the lungs. By itself, the asthmatic condition is frequently silent until some specific “trigger” is inhaled. Typically beginning with shortness of breath and tightness in the chest, an asthma attack can result in a variety of acute symptoms, including wheezing, coughing, a sensation of straining for air and excess congestion in the lungs.

It’s In The Air

Indoors, asthma may be triggered by a variety of airborne irritants: dust, pollen, lint, pet dander, cigarette smoke, and air pollution. A common asthma trigger is spores released by household mold. Airborne mold spores contain mycotoxins that are a known respiratory allergen. In outdoor air, the concentration of mold spores is usually very diluted and does not cause symptoms in humans. Inside an enclosed structure, however, levels of these toxic microscopic particulates may become elevated to an extent sufficient to trigger a reaction in individuals with a predisposition to asthma.

Finding Mold And Fixing It

Effective asthma prevention includes reducing exposure to triggers in the indoor environment. An elevated spore count is one indicator of active mold growing somewhere inside the house that may be responsible for asthma reactions in occupants. The presence of chronic moisture that promotes mold growth is another red flag.

Professional mold remediation utilizes a proven treatment sequence to eliminate contamination:

  • Air sampling to determine spore count and estimate the extent of mold growth inside the house.
  • Locating all active mold growth and testing to establish the specific type.
  • Removal of active mold and sterilizing surfaces where mold growth occurred with EPA-approved fungicides.
  • Identifying and resolving ancillary causes inside the house that promote mold growth, including prior water damage and ongoing moisture issues such as plumbing or roof leaks.
  • Controlling indoor humidity to maintain safe levels that do not support mold growth.
  • Conducting one or more follow-up air samples inside the house to ensure that remediation is effective and mold growth has not recurred.

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Black Mold

Thursday, October 17th, 2019
black mold

Though there are approximately 20,000 species of mold, only about five are commonly found inside structures. One of these species, Stachybotrys chartarum, is also known as “black mold.” It’s not the most common type encountered inside houses, but black mold has a reputation for triggering particularly problematic symptoms in certain people exposed to it. Here are five questions and answers about Stachybotrys chartarum to clear up some confusion surrounding it.

  • Is black mold always black?  No, it may also appear dark green or gray. Conversely, other types of more common mold that may appear black are not the Stachybotrys chartarum species.
  • Does black mold occur more frequently inside houses than other mold?  Actually, the reverse is probably true. Stachybotrys chartarum tends to require more moisture to proliferate than most other common mold types. Therefore, it is most likely to be found only in more chronically wet indoor settings.
  • Is there something about black mold that makes it especially toxic to humans?  For individuals with a sensitivity to mycotoxins contained in airborne mold spores, black mold is associated with a wider range of reported physical symptoms than other types of mold. However, the severity of reactions to black mold spores also depends upon the extent of contamination inside the home as well as the duration of exposure. Individuals who are not sensitive to mold mycotoxins may not experience symptoms from black mold exposure.
  • Is black mold contamination more difficult to remove than other types?  No, the same basic mold removal techniques are involved: First, eliminate the source of moisture that triggers active mold growth. Then, test to confirm the type of mold present on the premises. Locate all active mold growth and physically remove it. Disinfect surfaces where mold existed and remove any materials that are permanently contaminated. Follow up with later air sample testing to confirm decontamination.
  • Are physical symptoms caused by black mold permanent? For most people who experience a reaction to mold exposure of any type, including black mold, symptoms will gradually disappear when professional mold remediation techniques are utilized to remove contamination inside the house. 

Educate Yourself Before Hiring A Mold Remediation Specialist!

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

mold remediation
If you suspect mold in your home, educating yourself on the basics facts can take away a lot of the mystery and X-factors about hiring a mold remediation specialist. Mold is an unwelcome but common phenomenon. While treatment should begin ASAP to minimize the extent of contamination, there’s no need to panic and make uninformed decisions.

Mold contamination facts

To become familiarized with the issues involved, here are some facts about mold contamination and hiring a mold remediation specialist.

  • A qualified mold remediation specialist is not a carpet cleaner, general contractor, or local handyman. This person is a trained, experienced professional certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning And Restoration Certification, the industry organization that publishes guidelines for mold remediation and tests/certifies technicians.
  • Microscopic mold spores exist everywhere in nature. There’s no effective method to keep airborne spores out of a house.
  • Mold spores remain dormant unless activated by moisture from sources like a ruptured pipe, chronic leakage or inundation due to outdoor flooding. Mold spores may also be activated simply by high humidity or condensation.
  • Active mold growth including release of airborne reproductive spores begins about 48 hours after exposure to moisture.
  • In susceptible individuals, inhaling toxic spores can cause responses ranging from allergies to debilitating long-term illness. Always consult your physician about physical symptoms.
  • Professional mold remediation begins with indoor air sampling to determine extent of contamination as well as pinpointing location of mold.
  • Not everything that looks like mold is mold. Mold remediation specialists sample growing mold to confirm the type. Testing also helps guide remediation methods and use of EPA-approved fungicides.
  • Affected rooms may be sealed off to prevent contaminants spreading during treatment. Negative air pressure may be induced with blowers to contain airborne spores in contaminated areas.
  • All active mold growth must be removed from a structure. Mold on hard surfaces can usually be removed and the surface treated with fungicides. Where mold has penetrated porous building materials such as wood or drywall, affected materials must be cut out and replaced.

For more facts to consider when hiring a mold remediation specialist, contact Rytech, Inc.