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What To Do When You Find Mold In A House

When a homeowner finds harmful mold in their house it can be detrimental to their health and living conditions, which is why it is so important to address the threat immediately. While it may be a beneficial component in an outdoor environment, it is to be avoided indoors. This microscopic fungus can grow on just about any surface so long as it is exposed to oxygen and moisture. From carpeting and furniture to insulation and windows, all aspects of a home can fall victim to its exposure.

Why is the fungus such an unwanted guest?

Without awareness the dreaded fungus can be forming due to tiny, airborne spores. In the proper environment they reproduce and cause damage rather quickly. If not addressed or prevented altogether the affected surfaces can see minor to severe cosmetic damage. The impact can be deeper when found on more absorbent materials, such as carpet and drywall.

The human impact of the resulting allergens can vary from allergy-like symptoms such as runny nose, irritated eyes, and sore throat, to more severe respiratory difficulties and skin rashes. The symptoms may be noticeable right away or may develop over time, depending upon the length of exposure and extent of growth.

Initial DIY strategies

Upon discovering an issue of mold in a house, it is imperative to start the clean-up process immediately. While locating a trained mold remediation professional should be the first step, there are things the homeowner can do to slow or stop the damage until the pro arrives. These include:

  • Reducing humidity to 30-60%
  • Ensure adequate ventilation in high moisture spaces such as bathrooms and laundry rooms.  Including checking and using exhaust fans and windows (if the outside humidity is lower than the inside humidity) to eliminate condensation.
  • Repair plumbing leaks or other water issues and dry the affected area utilizing  airmovers, dehumidifiers, and open windows when weather permits.
  • Clean hard surfaces with soap and water and allow to dry thoroughly.
  • Determine whether softer, porous materials such as carpeting, ceiling tiles, and upholstery are salvageable. Clean and dry the materials thoroughly when possible.
  • Refrain from repainting or caulking any impacted surfaces until it has been treated by a professional.

When a professional is on the scene

Upon arrival the technician will get to work on assessing the extent of the problem as it is important to work quickly to control the damage and costs that can continue to rise. Their clean-up techniques will include:

  • Ensuring any sources of moisture have been resolved and checking ventilation in the space.
  • Set-up additional drying equipment.
  • Clean and apply a disinfectant on any surfaces with fungus remaining and remove those that have irreversible damage, such as drywall, insulation, and flooring.
  • Provide guidance on the cleaning of expensive and/or more delicate personal items.
  • Monitor and test air quality utilizing high-efficiency particulate air filtration.
  • Ensure the home is protected against future water problems and fungus contamination.

Why hire a professional?

The technician that is hired to address mold in the house should be trained and educated in mold remediation and restoration. This will ensure they know proper testing and inspection techniques, as well as methods for restoring the space and the items within it. It is important to look for firms displaying the IICRC logo as it communicates the strict standards and ethics they must abide by on the job. Continuing education and testing on current methods, liability insurance, and performing their duties with integrity and the utmost quality of workmanship are all requirements of the IICRC to maintain certification. Entrusting a knowledgeable professional with the job will provide homeowners with the peace of mind that their home will be back to normal as quickly as possible.

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