Whether or Not You should Remove Mold Yourself
Many homeowners are interested in do it yourself mold removal. They want to know how to clean mold themselves because they want to save money. Some also like the satisfaction of doing a job themselves. In some cases, it makes sense to handle a household mold problem yourself. Sometimes, though, it’s necessary to call in a professional that knows how to clean mold, like SERVPRO of Central Auglaize, Hardin & Logan Counties.
When Is Removing Mold Yourself a Good Idea?
Cleaning up mold yourself may be a good idea if:
- The mold only covers a small area.
- The mold is growing on easy-to-clean surfaces like glass, metal, tile, tubs, or sinks.
- The mold is growing on hard-to-clean materials, like carpet, that are easy to remove and replace and you know how to do it properly.
Of course, you always have the option of hiring a professional for the job if you don’t want to do it yourself or simply don’t have the time or energy for what can be a time-consuming process.
When Is Do It Yourself Mold Removal Not Such a Good Idea?
In some situations, it’s better to call in a mold remediation professional for assistance. Cleaning up mold yourself is probably not such a good idea if:
- The mold covers a large area (greater than three feet by three feet, according to the Environmental Protection Agency).
- Mold develops after flooding with water that might be contaminated with sewage or other potentially hazardous substances.
- There is mold in your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (most homeowners have neither the knowledge nor the equipment needed to properly remove mold from their HVAC systems).
- You aren’t sure how to do all parts of the job correctly (if, for instance, there is mold inside your walls and you don’t know how to remove and replace drywall) or you don’t have all the tools required to do the job (such as a drywall saw, if you need to remove moldy drywall).
- You have moldy wood that cannot be removed and replaced, so the moldy area needs to be sanded and encapsulated instead (it’s recommended that only mold remediation professionals sand moldy wood since it significantly increases one’s exposure to mold, which can lead to potentially serious illnesses).
In some instances, homeowners handle part of the job themselves while calling in a professional for other parts of the job, like removing mold from their HVAC system.
For Help with Mold Removal
If you need help with mold removal, or if you’d just like some professional advice before beginning do it yourself mold removal, we suggest consulting with a mold remediation specialist in Central Auglaize, Hardin and Logan counties. You can schedule a free in-home consultation with a professional that knows how to clean mold. You can get some free expert advice and then determine whether or not it’s a job you’re prepared to tackle yourself. There is no charge and no obligation, so there’s nothing to lose.
If you suspect mold that you cannot handle or want advice on contact SERVPRO of Central Auglaize, Hardin & Logan Counties at (937) 354-3540.
Moisture and Mold Prevention Tips
Moisture Control is the Key to Mold Control
- When water leaks or spills occur indoors - act quickly. If wet or damp materials or areas are dried 24-48 hours after a leak or spill happens, in most cases mold will not grow.
- Clean and repair roof gutters regularly.
- Make sure the ground slopes away from the building foundation, so that water does not enter or collect around the foundation.
- Keep air conditioning drip pans clean and the drain lines unobstructed and flowing properly.
- Keep indoor humidity low. If possible, keep indoor humidity below 60 percent (ideally between 30 and 50 percent) relative humidity. Relative humidity can be measured with a moisture or humidity meter, a small, inexpensive ($10-$50) instrument available at many hardware stores.
- If you see condensation or moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes act quickly to dry the wet surface and reduce the moisture/water source. Condensation can be a sign of high humidity.
Actions that will help to reduce humidity
- Vent appliances that produce moisture, such as clothes dryers, stoves, and kerosene heaters to the outside where possible. (Combustion appliances such as stoves and kerosene heaters produce water vapor and will increase the humidity unless vented to the outside.)
- Use air conditioners and/or dehumidifiers when needed.
- Run the bathroom fan or open the window when showering. Use exhaust fans or open windows whenever cooking, running the dishwasher or dish washing, etc.
Actions that will help prevent condensation:
- Reduce the humidity
- Increase ventilation or air movement by opening doors and/or windows, when practical. Use fans as needed.
- Cover cold surfaces, such as cold water pipes, with insulation.
Where does mold come from?
A mold situation begins with those small, dark, little dots that, with ample moisture and nutrients, gradually spreads and grows across a wall or on a surface. You may open a closet door and see a dark circular pattern growing on the back wall and can only wonder how it got there?
Mold has to come from somewhere and the reality is, it’s no mystery. Mold found indoors comes from the outdoors. There are many types of mold found in the environment—tens of thousands of species in a wide variety of colors, in fact—and many ways it can get in your home. Mold spores can drift indoors through a screened window or open door, or it can be carried in on shoes, a golf bag, a backpack, or a coat that gets hung in a closet, and then spread through the ventilation system. Mold spores can also enter your home through leaky roofs, foundations, door frames or window casements. Once the spores that are carried in or drift in are exposed to dampness, moisture or water, mold usually begins to grow there. The spores that come in through a leak somewhere in the structure of your house are already primed to grow.
Flood Damage Info for the Kenton, Ada, Bellefontaine Ohio & Surrounding Areas
Few disasters can ravage a home like a flood. Understanding the cause, what to look for, and how to prepare are the secrets to protecting your home and possessions from flood waters.
Floods are the most common natural disaster worldwide, accounting for 40% of all natural disasters. They cause billions of dollars in damage to life and property in the United States every year. With no specific season, they can happen anywhere, and at any time. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of Americans (less than 15%) have any sort of flood insurance at all, although the percentage may be locally higher in extreme flood risk areas. High risk areas pose a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a thirty year mortgage. All federally or insured mortgage homeowners in these areas are required to purchase flood insurance. In moderate to low risk areas, the danger of flooding is reduced but not eliminated. Flood insurance is not required, but is recommended.
Why Does Wood Hold Moisture?
A fundamental fact is that wood is hygroscopic. This means that wood, almost like a sponge, will gain or lose moisture from the air based upon the conditions of the surrounding environment.
But not only does wood gain or lose moisture, but it will also expand or contract according to the magnitude of such changes; and it is this swelling and shrinking in finished wood products—often referred to as the wood’s movement in service—that is responsible for so much mischief and so many malfunctions in woodworking.
When a tree is first felled, it is considered to be in the green state, and contains a very large amount of moisture. This moisture exists in two different forms: as free water that is contained as liquid in the pores or vessels of the wood itself, and as bound water that is trapped within the cell walls.
Once a fresh log or piece of lumber is cut and exposed to the air, it will immediately begin losing free water. At this point, the wood does not contract or otherwise change in dimension since the fibers are still completely saturated with bound water. It is only once all the free water has been lost that the wood will reach what is called the fiber saturation point, or simply FSP.
Below the FSP, the wood will then begin to lose moisture in the form of bound water, and an accompanying reduction in the wood’s volume will occur. At this point, the wood is no longer considered to be in the green state, but is now in a state of drying.
Just how much bound moisture is lost during the drying phase will ultimately depend upon the temperature and relative humidity (RH) of the surrounding air. At 100%?rh, no bound water will be lost. At 0% RH, all the bound water in the wood will be lost, a condition known as ovendry—so-called because a kiln or oven is typically required to completely drive out all moisture.
The amount of water in a given piece of wood is expressed as a percentage of the weight of the water as compared to its ovendry weight. Some species of trees, when they are initially felled, may contain more water by weight than actual wood fiber, resulting in a moisture content (MC) over 100%.
Info About Flooding in Kenton, OH
So what does water — not a small leak but a major deluge — do to a house?
Most insulation used in homes is made of fibers or foams that hold water, so it has to be replaced if it gets wet. But other types, such as closed-cell foam, don’t absorb water and can survive a flood.
Floodwater from a storm is a nasty soup of microorganisms from sewage leaks, chemical spills and everyday contaminants. Properly cleaning all but the most valuable pieces would probably cost more than replacing them.
Any carpet and padding that was covered in water will have to go because it’s just too hard to clean. Laminate flooring will usually peel apart. Hardwood floors may survive with a lot of TLC, such as removing boards here and there to let the others expand so that they don’t warp. Some tile may just need to be cleaned, but even usable flooring may need to be temporarily removed to clean and dry out the sub flooring.
Does Your Logan County Home Have A Moisture Problem?
Water damage describes a large number of possible losses caused by water intruding where it will enable attack of a material or system by destructive processes such as rotting of wood, growth, rusting of steel, de-laminating of materials such as plywood, and many others.
The damage may be imperceptibly slow and minor such as water spots that could eventually mar a surface, or it may be instantaneous and catastrophic such as flooding. However fast it occurs, water damage is a major contributor to loss of property.
An insurance policy may or may not cover the costs associated with water damage and the process of water damage restoration. While a common cause of residential water damage is often the failure of a sump pump, many homeowner's insurance policies do not cover the associated costs without an addendum which adds to the monthly premium of the policy. Often the verbiage of this addendum is similar to "Sewer and Drain Coverage".
Those individuals who are affected by wide scale flooding may have the ability to apply for government and FEMA grants through the Individual Assistance program.
On a larger level, businesses, cities, and communities can apply to the FEMA Public Assistance program for funds to assist after a large flood. For example, the city of Fond du Lac Wisconsin received $1.2 million FEMA grant after flooding in June 2008. The program allows the city to purchase the water damaged properties, demolish the structures, and turn the properties into public green space.
Have a water damage problem? Give us a call at (937)354-3540!
We are IICRC Certified at SERVPRO
SERVPRO of Central Auglaize Hardin & Logan Counties is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.
IICRC Certified Firms must
• Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.
• Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.
• Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.
• Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.
• Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.
The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry
The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.
Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.
About SERVPRO Central Auglaize Hardin & Logan Counties
SERVPRO of Central Auglaize Hardin & Logan Counties specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: from initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.
How to deal with smoke damage in Hardin County commercial buildings
When a fire occurs, SERVPRO of Central Auglaize Hardin & Logan Counties works to assist business owners and proprietors to move forward and put their lives and businesses back together. It can be overwhelming. The restoration process after a commercial fire is laborious if not time-consuming. It includes:
- damage assessment
- debris removal
- odor, soot, and residual water mitigation
Fire and smoke damage restoration professionals are there to advise and direct business owners to sift through the damage and greatly aid in rebuilding their businesses and commercial properties.
Once undertaken, the goal of commercial fire damage restoration is to thoroughly clean every nook and cranny of a business or commercial property after a fire. In a fire’s aftermath, much of the damage restoration focuses on eliminating the persistent smoke odors and the accompanying soot and residual water. Every trace of the contaminants responsible for odors must be scrubbed clean and deodorized. High-powered equipment such as air scrubbers can help clear the air of particulates and odors. Industrial air movers and dehumidifiers mitigate residual water and moisture from putting out the fire.
It all hinges on taking action quickly. In doing so it’s possible for smoke and fire restoration professionals to minimize damage and loss. Here are several steps to anticipate how your restoration professional deals with smoke damage after a fire occurs on your commercial property.
As with most fires, commercial fires leave a pungent odor that permeates the building, furnishings, fixtures, and air throughout the property. Those odors are in large part a result of the fire source itself—the debris from the fire, the soot and residual water and chemicals that were used to extinguish the fire. The debris must be dealt with first.
Once the fire and insurance company have determined an origin and cause of the fire, restoration crews move to quickly remove the debris and soot from the premises. Materials such as charred furnishings, rugs, and ceiling tiles are carried out until the property is emptied of any burned remnants of the fire. Debris removal also mitigates odors by removing microscopic dust particles, airborne and settled, that derives from soot deposits and burned debris. Debris removal reduces the intensity of odors, but will not completely eliminate them. Soot and residual water also combine to contribute to smoke odors, and they must be dealt with.
Thick layers of soot mixed with moisture cover a good portion of commercial fire sites. Soot is the black, powdered carbon and chemical byproduct of the burned material after a fire. Depending on the material burned in commercial fires, the chemical or acidic composition of soot can cause further damage on its own to just about any surface it is in contact with. Soot can stain porous and textured surfaces, permanently discolor granite, plastics, grout and the un-burned fixtures made of wood or textiles.
Removal of soot can reduce the likelihood of permanent soot staining discoloration and may reduce the costs of replacement. As an important step in fire damage restoration, industrial vacuums are very helpful in removing the layers and bulk of powdery soot after fires.
Not only is mold a problem after flooding but after fires as well. Residual water from extinguishing the fire can lead to mold spreading throughout the property if it is not properly mitigated. The increased moisture in the air interacts with mold spores. In a confined space this allows mold to grow rapidly, covering and staining porous surfaces. The smoky odor after a fire rapidly combines with mold to further contaminate the air and interact with surfaces. The longer such odors interact with surfaces the more difficult it will be to completely eliminate the odor.
Commercial fire damage restoration entails industrial-grade air movers and dehumidifiers to remove water and moisture that can lead to airborne mold spores. All interior walls must be checked for water damage. All surfaces must be cleaned thoroughly and wiped down with anti-bacterial agents throughout the process.
If you have a commercial building with fire damage, give us a call to help get you back and running. Our number is (937) 354-3540.
Does Your Home Have Signs of Mold?
Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:
- Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
- Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
- Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
- Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
- Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
- Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.