Black Mold is toxic mold. It can cause health problems and is dangerous to have in your home. Black mold is a challenge that many people will run from, and for good reason.
Unfortunately, not everyone can run from black mold and this fact forces them to search for other solutions, and mold remediation is one of them.
This article will provide you with insight into the mold removal process for black mold, and will hopefully help you to better understand how to deal with your mold infestation.
This article will explain the mold remediation process, and outline different methods of dealing with this complicated problem. Hopefully, you will come away with an expanded knowledge and are equipped to deal with this issue should it arise.
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Mold and Black Mold Remediation
Office buildings have shut down because of black mold.
Apartment tenants have had to move out because they saw the black substance creeping up their walls.
It is a toxic compound and prolonged mold exposure to black mold can be quite dangerous. It is not a problem that should be taken lightly, so mold remediation might be a valuable option to addressing this problem.
In fact, there was one nasty case of a family finding out that their health problems were due to a black mold issue they didn’t know about until they moved out of their rental home.
Does Mold Remediation Really Work?
To answer this question, it is best to understand the basics of the black mold remediation process. For instance, the sight of mold means that you don’t have to have pretesting done.
You only need to pre-test if you suspect mold but can’t see it.
Why even mention pre-testing at this point then? It is to illustrate how urgent a black mold situation is.
When excessive moisture is the culprit of mold growth, one of the first things that you want to do is remove the moisture.
If you can’t remove the cause of the moisture, then you can look toward full-service mold elimination companies to make it happen for you and give you and yours a healthier environment to live and breathe in.
As a matter of fact, it may be prudent to call a professional. A qualified pro will know the science behind black mold, what kills it, and how to get it out of your home. In some cases, it is just not worth it to risk letting such a dangerous compound grow without seeking the help of a professional.
If moisture removal is going to be a practice that goes beyond the scope of their services, they will be able to guide you in the right direction toward having any moisture challenges rectified.
Nonetheless, opting for professional restoration means the moldy areas are going to be thoroughly cleaned in an effort to get rid of the mold.
A disadvantage, however, is that moldy building materials may have to be discarded so they can be replaced with new materials.
The good news is that any porous building materials in your home affected by mold growth and water damage can be found on the cheaper side.
Mold remediation services will also use a sealer or encapsulant to make the treated areas water-resistant.
Preventing moisture in this way can prevent future mold growth and the dispersal of mold spores.
Who Do You Call to Check For Mold In Your House?
One of the first things people do is try and scrub mold away.
This will cause the mold spores to become airborne. And, when the spores enter your air conditioning system, they will be carried throughout your home.
Some people pour bleach on the mold or attempt to tear out the affected area on their own.
Bleach is not only terrible for the environment but can also cause health issues if one were to breathe in its toxic fumes.
Additionally, bleach will only kill mold and the mold spores of the surface that you are treating.
Bleach does not penetrate many surfaces and get down to the root level of the mold.
In time, the mold will simply reappear as it was not effectively killed off at the root level.
One challenge with do-it-yourself home mold remediation; is that not having the proper experience or tools to remove the mold, can transfer the harmful bacteria to other areas of your home.
Especially, when cleaning the air ducts in a home air conditioning system.
Spores that travel through the air can affect the lungs and cause mold growth in other areas that may be moist. This causes an even bigger and more expensive problem.
Also, not having the right protective gear puts you at risk for respiratory issues, skin rashes, and serious headaches.
While it can be tempting to try and do it on your own to save a buck, the mold elimination cost isn’t always as high as one might think.
The best way to compare monetary cost to the cost of your own safety is to ask for free quotes from your local mold remedial specialist.
Some companies even offer a warranty on their services as a guarantee that the mold won’t come back for a specific period of time.
There are many companies that do this work, and there is more than likely one in your area. A quick search will probably bring up many companies. So don’t hesitate to contact a professional mold remediation company to get your problem solved in a complete manner.
Where to Look For Mold In Your Home
There are some areas in your home that are more susceptible and vulnerable to mold growth than others. It is best to know what these areas are so that you can perform a routine mold inspection on your own to identify whether you are in need of further measures.
These areas that are most susceptible include untreated basement walls, leaks around pipe fittings, poorly sealed flashing around chimneys or in attic spaces, your HVAC system, and anywhere moisture builds up due to poor ventilation.
A home is especially susceptible to mold growth after a flooding incident. And, sump pump failures will also exacerbate any basement flooding issues.
If you recollect seeing some of the homes on TV after Hurricane Katrina, you could see black mold growing on the walls up to where the water line had been.
If you aren’t sure whether or not you have mold in these areas, there are some obvious ways to detect mold growth.
Your nose may detect a musty mold odor. And, sometimes that is the only hint you have that there is mold in your house.
That is when you need to take a look in the aforementioned areas to see if mold is present.
You may actually see the mold. And, when the mold makes itself visible, it is possible that there is more below the surface.
However, mold peeking from behind a baseboard or through sheet rock can look like dirt rather than mold, which can result in nothing being done.
The moment you know it’s mold, you need to take immediate action and opt for mold remediation before the growth spreads.
And if you aren’t sure whether or not its mold, sometimes it is better safe than sorry. You can have the problem further identified by a mold inspection professional if you are unsure how to proceed.
You may be worried about the mold inspection cost, but remember to compare it against maintaining a safe, clean home, and also remember that mold problems tend to get more expensive to remediate over time.
Attic Mold Remediation – Attic Mold Removal Cost
By the time you realize that there is mold in your attic, the growth may be significant. This is often because people neglect to inspect their attic for signs of mold, or at all.
So it can be helpful to add a routine attic inspection into your home maintenance schedule, to avoid a larger issue down the line.
You will need to call an attic mold removal service as soon as possible if you suspect a mold issue, particularly a toxic mold issue.
When you make that call, simply describe the problem and the severity. Be sure to be as specific as possible so you can get an accurate quote.
The quote for services should be free and you will have the opportunity to ask questions.
Some questions to ask might include:
- What is the average cost to remediate mold in an attic space? (The mold removal specialist will want the square footage of the attic space and home)
- What do I need to do until you get here?
- Will my homeowner’s insurance policy cover the remediation costs?
- What methods do you use and are they safe for my family and me?
- Do you use any harmful or toxic chemicals?
- Will my pets be safe? (especially, birds and fish: make sure you ask)
- What guarantees do you offer that the mold will not come back?
- Will you come back to do a follow-up testing to make sure all of the mold and the mold spores are removed?
- Do I need to leave my home while you eliminate the mold?
These questions are all important, and it might be helpful to keep this list as a checklist. The more specific you are, the more accurate your quote will be. It also helps the mold inspection company to know that you are knowledgeable, and they might avoid trying to upsell you on things that you might not need.
Once a remediation specialist has been sent to your home to evaluate the mold problem, you can ask approximately how long it will take for the mold to be eliminated.
Some mold services will need 1-2 days or more to complete their work.
Expect up to one day for prepping your home alone, especially if large areas of mold growth have been noted during the inspection process.
Your mold remediation professional may (and should – make sure to ask) also take an air sample and pre-test various areas of your home to see if the mold has spread to areas that aren’t visible.
Once the technician has gathered all of the data needed and an appointment established, the company will begin the remediation process.
Not all companies are equal. But, some of the basic steps should include the following:
- The attic is isolated from the rest of the home
- Surface mold growth will be killed
- Additional mold and mold stains will be removed
- The roots of the mold will be killed so the mold doesn’t come back
- An anti-microbial sealer is applied to areas that could be susceptible to mold growth
- In some cases, porous building materials will need to be removed, repaired and/or replaced
- Once completed, an inspection will be done to ensure the mold is gone
A reputable mold remediation company will offer a warranty to guarantee services.
The average warranty for mold removal is 2 to 10 years.
This means that you shouldn’t expect to see any mold growth related to any deficiencies by the mold removal company.
If mold does come back because the company didn’t do something correctly, the warranty should stipulate that they must come back and rectify any recurrence of mold growth.
Here are a few more things that are important to note about the remediation process:
- It is important to read the fine print. Many times, a mold removal professional will not guarantee against any NEW mold growth; as a result of the homeowner not complying with the company’s recommended best practices against correcting ventilation issues or piping leaks as an example.
- There may be language in the contract that stipulates as follows. “It is ultimately the homeowner’s responsibility to correct any physical defects and/or deficiencies in the home space that led to the mold growth..,”And, we – the company, do not guarantee against future mold growth until the noted defects have been corrected by the homeowner”.
The total cost is going to depend on how extensive the attic mold is and how long it is expected to take to remove.
The average industry costs can range anywhere between $1,500 and $6,000 or more. Call around – And, always negotiate as the costs will vary from state to state and even county to county. Remember, be specific, so that your quote is as accurate as possible.
The average cost of mold remediation may be high, but by doing diligent preparation, asking the right questions, and understanding the process, you can keep them as low as possible.
Basement Mold Remediation – Basement Mold Removal Costs
Basement mold is more common than it should be with the common causes being leaky foundations, improper HVAC draining, plumbing leaks, and malfunctioning sump pumps.
If you notice mold growth or smell the musty mold odor, call a mold removal company that specializes in basement mold removal.
Tell them what you have found, where you found it, how bad it is, and the approximate size of the area affected. Some companies will give free estimates so you can help to determine the average cost you can expect.
They will send an investigator to your home to see the extent of the mold growth.
They may sample the air and perform a pre-test in some areas.
This evaluation will help them determine the cost and the amount of time it will take to remove the mold.
Here are a few basic questions to ask of your basement mold specialist. As usual, it is best to get all the information you possibly can to ensure that you know what to expect out of the process. (please see questions worth asking in the attic mold remediation area above, as they will be helpful as well):
- What are your qualifications?
- What kind of quality assurance does your company use?
- Could you tell me about your experience?
- What black mold removal methods do you use?
- Can I stay in my home while you work or do I need to leave?
You can expect the removal process to go a little like this:
- The basement will be partitioned off from the rest of the house to prevent mold spores from spreading and limit your exposure to the mold.
- Any surface molds will be removed. To include the bacteria at its roots.
- Mold and mildew staining will be removed.
- An anti-microbial sealer is applied to areas where mold has been found (as well as any areas suspected of future mold growth development).
- Any mold-infested insulation will need to be removed.
- The work is inspected and a warranty is provided on the work completed – industry averages anywhere from 2-10 years (dependent upon the contract and conditions outlined upon your signature in said agreement)
Basement mold remediation costs can range from $1,000 to $8,000 and upwards based on a national industry average.
The amount of time, method, square footage and the effort expected to go into the mold remediation is what will determine the cost.
So as usual, be sure that you go with a reputable remediation specialist, and be sure to outline your problem clearly so you know as much about the process as possible.
Crawl Space Mold Remediation – Crawl Space Removal Cost
While you may not be too concerned about mold growth in your crawl space area because it technically isn’t inside your house, it can be a problem. It can also be an area that people do not check very often, so it might be a good idea to add a routine crawlspace inspection into your schedule.
The mold in the crawl space can make its way into the living space quickly through the sub-floor, so it is best to deal with this issue before it becomes even more serious (and expensive).
This can, in turn, navigate its way throughout your home and lead to health risks for everyone.
It is very important that crawl space mold is attacked right at the roots or it will continue to grow back.
Unfortunately, most crawl space areas have poor ventilation and too little light to assist in deterring rapid mold growth.
A reputable mold remediation company will have the tools, experience, and manpower to handle these hard to get to areas efficiently.
The process for crawl space remediation can include:
- Setting up negative air pressurization to avoid any cross contamination
- Utilizing a HEPA vacuum on all surfaces, such as the subfloor, framing, and joist areas
- All sub-surfaces, including ductwork, conduit, and framing are wiped down
- Any wood framing may be dry ice blasted, scraped, or sanded
- Sub-Surfaces will be wiped a second time to get rid of any lingering mold spores
- An anti-microbial coating will be applied to the wood surface
As for the cost of mold remediation for your crawl space, the cost could be as little as $500 or as much as $4,000. If air ducts must be cleaned, the cost may increase to as much as $6,000 or more.
However, keep in mind that if the mold spreads into your living area the costs could keep going up, so check out your crawl space to solve this issue before it gets worse.
Types of Black Mold Remediation
There are three primary methods of black mold removal and remediation.
These methods are –Negative Air Pressure, HEPA Vacuuming, and Air Scrubbing.
Two of these mold removal methods were mentioned in the process for removing mold from crawl spaces.
Here is a brief description of each of these methods:
Negative Air Pressure Mold Removal
– Negative air containment is done by strategically positioning blower fans in the area to be remediated.
Clean air is pulled into the area so that contaminated air is blown to the outside of the home.
This prevents the spread of mold to other areas of the home.
HEPA Vacuuming Mold Remediation
A vacuum containing a HEPA filter is used to vacuum the moldy area.
This takes up any of the loose molds with the HEPA filter trapping small particles and mold spores so they do not make their way into the air.
The filter must be disposed of properly by the mold removal company.
They may properly seal the filter before depositing it into the trash or they will destroy the filter.
Air Scrubber Mold Elimination
Air scrubbers clean the air, as mold spores will easily become airborne.
The scrubbers, which look like air purifiers, are outfitted with filters that catch any mold particles or spores.
The end result is much cleaner air.
If an air sample reveals spores in then air, the air scrubbers are almost always used.
There are other tools that may be used, such as anti-microbial sealants that will close off areas where mold growth is prevalent, and dry ice blasters.
If mold is very difficult to remove by vacuum, then scrubbing pads may be used to scrub out the mold.
In this case, air scrubbers and a HEPA vacuum will need to be used to stop airborne spores.
Chemicals approved by the EPA may also be used.
The costs of the mold remediation will depend on the severity of the contamination, the tools that will need to be used, and how long the process will take.
The mold technician will be able to provide an estimate after evaluating the extent of the mold issues at hand.
HVAC Mold Remediation – HVAC Mold Elimination Costs
HVAC mold remediation is very important because HVAC systems are notorious for spreading mold spores. This might be the most important place to identify and eliminate mold, as the HVAC system has the potential to spread mold throughout your home.
Condensation buildup within the HVAC systems attracts these bacteria and provides the perfect recipe for rapid mold growth; moisture and little light.
Mold also grows within the ducts and the duct insulation because of exposure to mold spores traveling from other places in the home.
Some advance warnings may include the sight of mildew or mold growth on the coils or in the air ducts.
Your nose may also be assaulted with musty or moldy odors coming from the air ducts.
Fortunately, mold remediation services specializing in HVAC mold removal can be an integral part of ensuring you and your pets breathe in a safer environment.
The most vulnerable to mold-related illnesses are the elderly, small children and anyone with upper respiratory and/or asthma challenges.
If you decide to take on a mold removal project and remediate on your own, you would need a good mold removal agent and protective gear.
You would have to turn off the HVAC system, scrub and vacuum the moldy areas, properly bag all towels used during the process, and then apply a mold inhibitor.
If not done correctly, you could put yourself at risk and the mold will grow back later. Therefore, this is often a job that is better left to a mold removal professional.
A remediation service will come and use an EPA-registered disinfectant that is specifically for HVAC use.
The surfaces in an HVAC unit are not porous.
The disinfectant is safe to use in HVAC systems and has to thoroughly coat the affected surface to ensure that the mold is stopped.
The process is much like the do-it-yourself process, but with professional tools and safety equipment.
The cost for this can be as little as $500 but could be higher if the mold growth is extensive.
Mold Remediation Services – Mold Removal Companies
So does mold remediation really work? It’s fair to say that it does, and might be a great option to ensure that you are living in a clean and safe home.
The equipment, safety gear, and expertise that is involved are all designed to get rid of mold and keep it away because of the toxicity that can make people sick.
When hiring a company, it is good to look for certain things like experience, online reviews, and testimonials. You also want to ask questions, such as:
- What is the average cost for the type of mold remediation that I need?
- How long have you been specializing in mold removal in the area?
- What is your rating with the BBB (Better Business Bureau)?
- What kind of guarantee do you put on your services?
- Are your remediation methods safe for the people and pets in my household?
- What methods do you use to ensure that mold is not going to spread to other areas as you clean?
- How do I need to prepare before you come?
- What can I expect from this process?
Ask these questions before agreeing to have the company’s mold inspector come to your home. Not only will these questions let you know what to expect, it will help the company prepare properly and serve you better and more efficiently.
When the inspector comes, they will look for mold using a number of techniques.
Their sense of smell is one way while using their eyes is another.
They may also do an air quality test to see if spores are in the air.
Even if you aren’t completely sure there is mold in the house, your allergic reactions going nuts may be telling you otherwise.
If you have mold, then they can remove it and that will make the indoor air cleaner and safer for all.
Clean, indoor air will prevent or stop any health issues that may have reared their ugly heads because of black mold.
REMEMBER: Do your research, be diligent, ask plenty of questions and ask again before signing any contract.
And, always read the fine print.
Better to be a pain in the butt before spending your good money than feeling the pain later! Additionally, if you are prepared and let the company know the full extent of the situation, they can be more prepared to serve you better.
In the event that you decide to go it alone, here is a good resource to get you started.
If you aren’t sure who to call, here are a couple of national companies that specialize in mold remediation. And, one of these should be able to get you going in the right direction.