Mold: Causes, Prevention and Treatments

Photo by Pietro De Grandi on Unsplash

Photo by Pietro De Grandi on Unsplash

There are many reasons why you may get mold growth in your home. Mold needs darkness, warmth, oxygen, moisture and a food source to begin growing. A food source can be something as simple as drywall, fabric or wood. Most of what mold needs is already in place in your home and it is only an increase in moisture that is needed to set the mold off. High humidity caused by the weather could start mold growing, or if you use a humidifier, keep the level below 55% humidity to reduce the chance of mold starting.

Water leaks in your home such as in your pipes or roof can result in mold starting it’s life-cycle in your house. Check for areas in your home that might have high condensation, especially if this runs off onto a carpet or an area covered by wood or fabric as this could be an excellent breeding ground for mold. Damp clothing, damp rooms, flooding and even water accumulating around the foundation of your home could all start mold growing in and around your home.

Mold can be kept under control by regular maintenance of water pipes and areas of dampness. Do not leave wet clothing lying around for long and dry up water spills as quickly as possible. Mold only needs around 24 hours of increased moisture to begin growing. If it is possible to reduce condensation and humidity in your home, this is also something to consider. Lower condensation in warmer rooms, lower humidity percentage and dryer air will reduce the risk of mold spores gaining a foothold in your rooms.

Treating mold growth in your home differs depending on the material that the mold is growing on. Some surfaces, such as painted walls, can be wiped clean of mold and use a solution such as vinegar, borax or ammonia (check detergent specifications) to clean the surface thoroughly of mold spores. Mold growing on drywall cannot be removed efficiently and this should be cut out and discarded and the drywall replaced. Mold on your ceiling and other surfaces can be wiped off with detergents to remove the spores unless it is a porous material. On porous materials, it is best to remove the item or section of ceiling etc. completely and replace it as you cannot remove mold from porous materials.

It is recommended that you bring in a professional when you suspect mold inside your walls and HVAC systems as these will be need to be thoroughly checked and professionally treated. Mold can also be found on the top of ceiling boards, under floors (especially wood flooring), in your air ducts, in insulation, on windows and frames and is often found in basements that are not well aerated and might retain moisture.

While it is impossible to eliminate all mold spores from your home, you can reduce the number of mold spores by cleaning and vacuuming your home often, reducing levels of moisture, eliminating leaks, allowing sun and air into your home (UV kills mold) and keeping your home cool where possible. Mold needs a combination of heat, moisture, dark, oxygen and something it can eat to start growing, if you eliminate any of these factors, you can significantly reduce the chance of mold growing in your home.

Mold Remediation

Photo by Pietro De Grandi on Unsplash

Photo by Pietro De Grandi on Unsplash

Mold can creep into your residence very subtly. It may be there for months before you see the first signs in your bathroom or in some obscure corner of your home. Because of the health risks to the occupants, people look upon it almost as a house-cancer.  Remediation may be a great concern to you also because it’s another unexpected expense.  Knowing some of the factors that affect the cost of removing the unwanted bio hazard can help you in the search for the right professional service. Here are some of the things you need to know:

1) First, the size of the affected area is a big factor. It’s one of the first considerations when trying to figure out the cost of mold remediation. The larger the property size, the greater the cost usually is. Inspecting the entire premises is an important first step in mold remediation services because mold spores are easily transferred. When your home takes water damage, the restoration service team will take steps to make sure mold doesn’t take hold at that location, so that would be the last place you should expect it to start.
Mold often begins in some hidden place – such as inside a will or under a floor, where a small pipe leak is slowly letting out moisture. When restoring water damage, many services will use infrared sensors to check for hidden pockets and clean them before the infestation has a chance to spread.

2) Removal costs more than a clean-up, depending upon the severity of the mold infestation; this too will affect the cost of remediation services. If all you need is a simple cleaning, the restoration people can come in with high-grade antimicrobial products and scrub-brushes and … voila! Mold is gone. But when they have to remove and replace larger portions of drywall and/or carpeting, this will drive up the cost because of labor and purchasing fresh replacement materials.

3) The type of mold (black mold or some other fungal infestation) is another factor the remediation service will take into consideration. Also, the source of the water damage that caused the mold to grow. Remediating mold caused by a burst pipe is usually cheaper than when it is brought on by sewage backup or other water contaminated by a hazardous substance. The greater the hazard the more precautions there are that must be recognized by the technicians to reduce health risks to themselves during the cleanup procedures.

4) When mold is found in the HVAC system, things get more complicated. The removal procedures become more costly in this case because not only must the ducts be cleaned and sanitized (or replaced), but the heating and air conditioning systems must be wholly treated as well.

5) Dealing with insurance claims can be tricky. Mitigating the costs of mold remediation is possible if you have the right kind of coverage listed in your homeowner’s policy.  Some insurance companies list water damage without the mold remediation. Others may cover mold but only within certain circumstances. If mold is listed in your policy, then it is important to know how to submit a claim.  Best case scenario, find a remediation service that works directly with the insurance company through the claim filing process.