When we talk about mold, we’re referring collectively to a range of species of microscopic fungi. There are hundreds of thousands of known mold species.
Mold can be found just about anywhere there is moisture, inside or out, and it can grow on any kind of organic matter.
You can unknowingly track tiny mold spores into your home on shoes, clothing, packages and other items, like wet leaves or firewood. Mold spores can also enter through open doors and windows, vents and heating/air conditioning systems. If they land on a wet surface, they will begin to grow.
Many times you can see an existing mold problem in your home. But in some cases, the mold may be hidden from sight. It can be growing inside your walls, in ceiling tiles, in the ventilation system or underneath your carpet, in the padding.
Sometimes you can smell mold if it’s present in an area with poor ventilation. It has a musty odor.
Getting rid of a mold problem in your home requires more than just cleaning up the mold itself. You also have to eliminate the source of moisture — for example, by addressing a water leak that’s allowing the mold to grow, or improving attic ventilation.
Is Mold Dangerous?
Outside mold generally doesn’t pose a health issue for most people. When mold is growing inside, though, it may cause some issues. For people with allergies or asthma, and possibly for those who are immunocompromised, it can cause symptoms similar to hay fever:
- Red, itchy eyes
- A runny nose
- A skin rash
Research into the association between mold and other potential health problems is ongoing.
Health issues aren’t the only reason for getting rid of mold in your home. Mold damages whatever it is growing on. The longer it’s allowed to grow, the more damage it causes.
Should You Hire a Professional or DIY?
You might be tempted to clean up a mold problem in your home, especially if it looks like the affected area is small. That’s certainly an option. But, as we noted earlier, you’ll also need to eliminate the source of moisture or ventilation that is causing the mold to grow. Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint the cause. It could be as general as the level of humidity in your home, but what is that caused by?
Professional mold remediation may be a much safer and more effective way to go — particularly in cases where there’s water damage or the mold has been growing unchecked for a considerable period of time.
If the mold is growing on a porous surface, it may have already worked its way underneath the visible area. If you can smell the mold but can’t see it, you may be looking at having to cut through drywall or tear up flooring. In this situation, you’ll need to make sure the structural integrity of your home is preserved.
By hiring a professional to handle the mold remediation process, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes from knowing the problem has been taken care of safely and in its entirety.
What Happens During Mold Remediation?
The first step is to have your home assessed/inspected by a certified mold inspector. A complete visual evaluation should cover the whole house, top to bottom, including crawl spaces and attics. A moisture survey will detect any potential dampness in areas that are inaccessible, such as between the walls or in the insulation.
Usually, the next step is the testing process. This is helpful in determining the type of mold present and the extent of the problem.
Once you know more about the problem you’re facing, then you’ll have a better idea of what’s involved in getting rid of mold in your home.
The process of mold remediation — and mold remediation costs — will vary, depending on factors such as:
- Where the mold is growing. Some locations are easier to access than others. You could have mold growing in the basement or attic, air ducts, a bathroom, the drywall in any room or your HVAC system. Sometimes a topical treatment will suffice. Other situations call for some level of demolition.
If drywall needs to be removed, the Department of Environmental Quality requires contractors to have samples tested for asbestos, which the experts at Alpha Environmental Services, Inc. can also provide.
- How much mold there is. The bigger the job, the more labor it will require and the more it will cost.
Although every situation is different, at Alpha Environmental we typically follow these basic steps:
- Isolate the contaminated area to prevent it from spreading to the rest of your home.
- Reduce airborne dust particles to lower the risk of cross-contaminating other areas in your home.
- Carefully remove and safely dispose of porous materials where mold is growing.
- Treat non-porous surfaces with specialized chemicals to kill spore colonies.
- Treat the recently cleaned surfaces with a chemical that will help to keep mold from growing back.
- Clean surrounding surfaces before removing the containment barriers.
Find a Mold Remediation Company in Portland, OR
If you suspect you have a mold problem in your home (or business), it’s important to have the premises checked promptly and thoroughly. Left untreated, mold can grow rapidly, causing damage to whatever it’s growing on and potentially posing a health hazard to sensitive individuals.
Getting rid of a mold problem means cleaning up the existing mold and addressing the conditions that allowed it to grow in the first place. In certain situations, that can entail removing and replacing walls, attics, floors and other structural features. It may also involve repairing faulty plumbing, a leaky roof or cracks in the foundation.
To ensure that the issue is handled safely and to prevent it from recurring, it’s best to hire a professional.
Alpha Environmental can evaluate your home or business, determine the type and amount of mold present, and provide you with a plan to address the problem, along with an estimate of the mold removal cost.