The most effective way to control the growth of mold is to prevent moisture from entering an indoor environment. When moisture is present – through a leak, spill or flood – it should be removed quickly and all affected materials completely dried as soon as possible. This will limit the growth of mold and any subsequent damage.
Mold needs only three things to grow:
1) An organic food source such as wood, paper, fabric, leather, wool.
2) Sufficient moisture that can come from a plumbing leak, a spill, seepage, or high humidity.
3) An agreeable temperature range between 55 and 95 degrees.
Mold causes property damage because it digests or destroys the organic food source it is using. This results in decomposition of building materials, furnishings, and other items. In addition, mold and its spores and byproducts can cause a wide range of adverse health effects including allergy-related reactions such as sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose, coughing, headaches, skin rashes, chronic fatigue and other more serious ailments.
We often see customers who will attempt to remove small amounts of mold themselves. A common example is when mold (also called mildew) is growing on the bathroom tile. Commercial cleaners designed for mold and mildew removal are usually successful in such cases. Obviously, the user should follow label directions, wear gloves and ensure there is adequate ventilation to avoid a buildup of unpleasant vapors. It is important to remember that such cleaners consist mostly of water (90% or more), and that moisture is the leading cause of mold growth. Therefore, it is essential to thoroughly dry the area after cleaning. If the area is left moist the mold will usually reappear in a short time.
If mold is a recurring problem, then consider creating more air movement in the area. Air movement hastens evaporation and thus drying. Installing a vent or exhaust fan in a bathroom often eliminates the re-occurrence of mold and mildew. If mold problems are in a basement or cellar, placing a dehumidifier or box fan can be sufficient to dry the area to a point where mold or mildew is no longer growing.
If a significant amount of mold is identified, it is best to contact a professional remediation company like Oceanside Restoration for a mold evaluation. If we are unable to visually identify the mold we may recommend air testing. We typically obtain a minimum of three air samples and send them out to an independent environmental laboratory for evaluation. If the test results suggest the presence of mold, additional evaluations will be required to identify the source and remediate the problem. This will involve isolation of the affected area (establishing a containment area) to prevent the spread of mold and spores to other unaffected parts of the structure. Oceanside employs a variety of techniques for mold removal which may include sanding, dry-ice blasting, HEPA-vacuuming, and treating and sealing of structural materials.