Mold Removal …….How and Who you use is Important

Mold remediation can be costly.  The remediation cost of a crawlspace can really vary. It could average as little as $500 or as much as $4,000. If the attic and wall ducts are involved, the cost for those generally ranges from $2,000 to $6,000. If your home has been flooded and the mold is all throughout it, there is much more that has to be done. This could drive your remediation cost up to $10,000 to $30,000 – and it could even go higher, depending on the size of your home. 

Cost is why How and Who are important. 

WHO……Don’t believe everything you see on TV.  Commercials are paid advertisements. Don’t believe everything your insurance company tells you. Insurance companies have what they call preferred suppliers.  I’m not sure how this works but I have followed a couple preferred suppliers that were recommended by a insurance company to a client…a $20,000 job had to be redone because the preferred supplier DID NOT do the job correctly. This was not the only preferred supplier that I have had issues with.  Check referrences and experience.  Training Certifications are NOT Professional Certifications.  A two day or online class does not make anyone a Mold Inspector.  No requirements in the State of Maine for certifications to be a “Mold Inspector”.   Remediation companies that have not been in business long (less than 5 years) , do their own air quality testing or sampling (to determine if you have a problem) and do their own clearance testing (to determine if the remediation was done properly)…Buyer Beware.   I recommend remediation companies with 10 years experience that utilize third party verification on their work. Ethically remediation companies should not be determining if you have a problem….remediating the problem….then confirming the problem is gone.  There are several good quality companies in the State of Maine contact TP Environmental or my website www.gotbadair.com where I have links to companies I recommend.  The cost to use a environmental company to determine if you have a issue is about 10% of what it costs to remediate it.    If you have a area over 100 sq ft or a possible hidden mold issue call a environmental services company to determine the extent and give you a protocol on how to clean up the issue.  This gives you a tool to use when determining whether to use a remediation company or do it yourself.  It also gives you a guideline on the remediation estimate.  A environmental services company does not profit from finding a issue they just help to correct it. 

HOW…..there are several good methods to eliminate mold in your home.  First it’s important to identify if you even have a issue.  Testing and sampling should be conducted by a professional and NOT a remediation company.  Air sampling is a subjective science and sampling protocol is important. 

There are many methods to remove mold.  New and old….proven and unproven.  No company can guarantee that mold will not come back.  Mold is everywhere in our environment.  What we don’t want is it growing in our homes.  The key is to control moisture and humidity which in turn will reduce your chances of mold growth in your home. 

Dry Ice Blasting is one new method that is being used to clean mold.The primary purpose of dry ice blasting is to physically remove the mold growth by abrasive action, typically on semi-porous surfaces such as wood products (e.g. plywood). Physically removing the mold is the goal of mold remediation (not just killing the mold). Therefore, dry ice blasting can work nicely, assuming the debris that gets generated is adequately removed. The advantage of dry ice blasting over soda blasting is that the dry ice (solid state carbon dioxide) will go from a solid to a gas (sublimation). In layman’s terms, there is no dry ice to clean up afterwards. Again, the debris generated will need to be cleaned up though. The space needs to be well ventilated and oxygen levels monitored. Supplied air respirators may be needed.

The main disadvantage to dry ice blasting is the cost and complexity. Many say it is only cost effective on larger projects. For something small, a wire brush or sandpaper may be a better option for semi-porous surfaces.  Sanding or Blasting creates more particulates than it’s worth trying to clean and protect (workers). There is no contractor yet who can show me they clean up after sanding or blasting as well as they can washing/cleaning. They leave way too much dust behind.

Here are some products that clean up mold effectively – Do Not Use Bleach

White Vinegar –  Vinegar is in virtually every household and is great in fighting against mold and mildew. Its acidic quality makes vinegar an excellent fungicide,and it is known to kill 82 percent of mold and bacteria.Pour vinegar into a spray bottle and it’s ready to use.

Mint Surge –  The Mint Surge (SA-216) is a disinfectant, germicide, and deodorant. It is proven to be effective against bacteria and viruses. This quat disinfectant is a  broad spectrum disinfectant effective against gram positive, gram negative, fungi and selected viruses.  This can be purchased at Penobscot Cleaning in Brewer

Concrobium Mold Control Fungistat/Mildewstat (EPA Reg No. 82552-1)Available at Home Depot

Hydrogen Peroxide   – Fiberlock IAQ 1000 is a hydrogen peroxide-based, biodegradable, chlorine-free cleaner. IAQ 1000 is pH-neutral, and contains an agent that will whiten and brighten while cleaning, but does not contain sodium hypochlorite (bleach).IAQ 1000 is suitable for use in water damage restoration situations to remove odor-causing mold, mildew, bacteria and other microbial growth on porous and semi-porous, and non-porous materials. IAQ 1000 contains no dyes or perfumes, and is not corrosive like many industrial cleaners. IAQ 1000 is specifically designed for cleaning after water damage, sewerbackups and floods. IAQ 1000 is supplied in a powerful, ready-to-use formula that can be applied directly from the container.

Benefect – Typical disinfectants require 10 minutes contact time, which is difficult to achieve on vertical surfaces and materials. New Decon 30 solves this problem by being specially formulated to kill gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria with a more realistic contact time of just 30 seconds!  In addition to being bactericidal against Staphylococcus aureus (Staph), Salmonella enterica, Pseudomonas aeruginosa & Escherichia coli (E-coli), it is also virucidal against Rhinovirus (the common cold virus) and Influenza A including the Pandemic 2009 H1N1 on hard, non-porous, inanimate surfaces.

 

Here are some standard cleaning methods

Mold Remediation Methods

Method Application
Wet Vacuum
  • Use when materials are wet
  • Use where water has accumulated, such as on floors, carpets and hard surfaces
  • Do not use when sufficient liquid is not present
Damp Wipe
  • Wipe or scrub non-porous (hard) surfaces with water and detergent
  • Follow instructions listed on the product label
High Efficiency Particulate (HEPA) Vacuum
  • Final clean-up after thoroughly dry, and contaminated materials are removed
  • Recommended for cleanup of dust outside of the remediation area
  • Properly seal HEPA filter
  • Personal protection equipment (PPE) is highly recommended; filter and contents must be disposed of in well-sealed bags
Discard
  • Building materials and furnishings that cannot be remediated
  • Seal contents in two bags using 6-mil polyethylene sheeting
  • Large items may be covered in polyethylene sheeting and sealed with duct tape
  • Sealing materials must be within containment area to limit further contamination