Updated: April 27, 2020
As the rainy season in California came to an end, we were happy to hear that the state has been declared drought free for the first time in seven years. Drought-free conditions are usually the result of heavy rainfalls, which often lead to leaky roofs and increased indoor moisture. Roofers had their work severely tested during the torrential downpours during the winter rainstorms of 2018-19 in Southern California.
Along with leaks, mold usually develops as warming conditions create a perfect “petri dish”. The mere mention of the word “mold” can fill a homeowner with dread, as horror stories about worsening asthma, autoimmune disorders and other respiratory illnesses have been linked to various types of mold. What should one do?
4 Steps to Remove Mold from Your Home
Here are steps for homeowners to effectively address the removal of mold expediently and cost-effectively.
1. Purchase A Moisture Meter
First and foremost, homeowners and multi-unit property owners should invest in a Moisture Meter (see Related Products below). Prices vary widely from $20 to $500, but all will give you the control you need to detect and assess situations before they become costly. Checking one’s property periodically for water intrusion is a vital part of any responsible maintenance program that could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
We recommend the MMD4E Moisture Meter by General Tools, as it is a great value, highly rated, and easy to use by homeowners. It is important to point out that moisture meters cannot detect mold, but they can provide quick readings that will indicate whether or not you should call in a professional. Moisture meters also have other convenient uses unrelated to mold, such as checking the dryness of firewood, or checking for dampness of surfaces prior to painting.
2. Put In Stop-Gap Measures ASAP
Second, should your moisture meter return a “high” positive reading for the area of concern, it’s time to investigate and rectify the cause. Call your roofer, general contractor, or waterproofing professional immediately to put stop-gap measures into place until a permanent remediation can be applied. Most contractors are usually backed up several weeks during the rainy season, since their work can only be performed with four to five days of no precipitation. If a professional is unavailable to provide immediate assistance, tarp it, tape it, do whatever you need to do, until a full fix can be applied.
3. Contact a Mold Analysis Professional
Third, contact a mold analysis professional to assess any possible mold-related infiltration and damage. We prefer to hire a mold analysis professional who ONLY handles analysis, and refrains from providing remediation and restoration services. It has been our experience that a conflict of interest can arise when a contractor performs all three services. Ideally there will be three independent companies involved: one to conduct the test; one to analyze the test; and one to remediate the mold based on the findings in the analysis.
4. Options to Remediate Mold
Fourth, if you have received a positive indication of a high mold count, you need to eradicate this unwelcomed and unhealthy guest as soon as practicable. There are multiple approaches to remediation, as each carries its own pros and cons.
4.1 Do-It-Yourself (DIY)
a. This is a good and quick option for situations involving moderate to little mold damage, and minimal indications of health issues
b. For further guidance, reference the Mold Clean Up Step by Step Guide written by the CDC
i. Quick Response
ii. Low Cost
iii. Can use readily available products, such as soap, bleach or Concrobium (see Related Products below)
iv. Will not interfere with any necessary follow-up treatment by professionals
i. It’s DIY, so it could take time, depending on the severity of the situation
ii. The total area affected may be difficult to assess accurately and may be larger than anticipated
4.2 Hire a Professional to Conduct Traditional Mold Remediation
a. This is recommended for larger and persistent problem areas.
b. Professional remediation methods typically involve: removal of contents in the affected space; demolition of mold infected areas (walls, ceilings, carpets, etc.); HEPA vacuuming and bio washing; and drying via air scrubbers and dehumidifiers
i. Proven effectiveness
ii. There is no shortage of vendor choice, as this is the common process used by most mold abatement contractors
i. Involves demolition of your property, such as opening up walls, ceilings and/or flooring
ii. Duration of this process is anywhere from 3-7 days, depending on the amount of mold concentration
iii. Personal belongings and items near areas of intrusion must be removed prior to starting work
iv. Selecting and scheduling the best contractors may be challenging, as you will be in competition with many other property owners facing similar situations at the same time. We recommend being patient and flexible when scheduling.
4.3 Dry Fog Technology
a. This is an eco-friendly and cost-effective method that has been in existence since approximately 2008
b. There is no demolition required and contractors prefer that you NOT remove any furniture, clothing, or personal items, so that sanitation includes items that may have been infected in the treatment space
c. This is usually a patented dry fog technology
i. No demolition or removal of personal belongings required
ii. Eco-friendly, with EPA & FDA certification as being non-toxic
iii. Usually completed in just 1 to 2 days
iv. Can eradicate mold in household items and clothing
i. Limited number of vendors available for this process throughout the US (for a DIY fogger option, see Related Products below)
ii. Areas to be treated must be completely dry before treatment can begin
iii. 1-year guarantee provided ONLY if entire house is treated, NOT just the area that has tested positive for mold
Remember after remediation is completed, a second mold analysis will need to be performed to insure complete eradication before the space is safely habitable again. Some vendors will offer this service as proof of their treatments. No matter which course you choose for full remediation, be sure to act quickly to mitigate further infiltration and possible health issues. When selecting professionals, weigh all options and trade-offs. We have found that the best contractors will become obvious when comparing multiple proposals. Now get started!
Products Related to Model Removal and Remediation
MMD4E Moisture Meter
Mold Removal Products
Concrobium Mold Control