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Mold Cleanup and Remediation Procedures - Major Clean Up

MOLD CLEAN-UP and REMEDIATION PROCEDURES - Major Clean Up


1.  Resolve Moisture Problem
Most importantly, the source of the water accumulation must be identified and fixed or fungal growth will continue to occur. If you have a high relative humidity in a room or area (55% or higher), then you should strongly consider a dehumidifier.
Contact a local Ventilation Expert to determine if you have sufficient ventilation to remove moisture in your home.
If you experienced severe flooding or a water leak, then you want to remove or pump out the standing water, followed by drying the area. If the area is really wet, you will want to use fans and dehumidifiers. Move wet items away from walls and off floors.
The quicker you address the problem, the less extensive the damage will be since it may only take 24-48 hours for toxic mold to germinate and grow. Prompt remediation of contaminated areas and materials should be the primary response to water intrusion and indoor fungal growth.

2. Containment - Minimize Dust and Seal Off Area (Negative Pressure)
Before you begin cleaning and removing the mold, it is critical to make sure that you take measures to prevent the mold spores from spreading to other areas of the house or building. Since mold spores will likely be stirred, becoming airborne during the cleaning process, you need to properly contain each area being cleaned, while also minimizing dust (a primary means of transportation for mold spores).
Each room or area should be cleaned separately, one at a time. Before cleaning each room or area, you should seal it off as best as you can. This will prevent the mold from disseminating to other areas of the home or building while it is being cleaned, since cleaning can disturb and stir up the mold, causing mold spores to become airborne. 
Once they become airborne, they can spread to other areas to germinate and colonize, unless the area being cleaned is properly sealed. Properly sealing (or containment) of a room or area consists of using plastic sheeting sealed with duct tape to cover doorways, vents, and other openings to occupied areas of the home or building.
If possible, you should place an exhaust fan next to an open (or partially open) door or window that is open to the outdoors. This will create negative air pressure, which will direct air flow outside, and therefore mold spores that have been stirred during cleaning will also be channeled outside. Just make sure the door or window is not near an air exchange that brings outdoor air into the home.

3. Cleaning the Mold
If the surface(s) you are cleaning are dry, or mostly dry, you should lightly mist them with water before cleaning the mold. If the mold is too dry, then the mold spores will have a much better chance of becoming airborne while being disturbed during the cleaning process.
Once the surface is lightly misted (if necessary), then clean the affected area(s) with soap to remove as much of the mold as possible, and then apply a disinfectant to kill mold spores that are left behind. Thoroughly clean all surfaces in the area that contain visible mold, and even surfaces that do not have visible mold, since mold spores are microscopic very durable, and can remain dormant for months or even years.
Once a surface has been cleaned and disinfected, it should be completely dried.

4. Remove and Dispose of Mold Contaminated Materials
This includes drywall, insulation, carpet/carpet pad, ceiling tiles, wood products (other than solid wood) and paper products. Any porous materials that have come into contact with sewage should also be thrown away. Be sure to protect yourself during clean up. Use rubber gloves, eye protection and long sleeve clothing and wash or discard the clothing as soon as possible. In addition, use of a medium efficiency or high efficiency mask is recommended, such as a NIOSH approved N95 air filter mask. These masks are available at most larger hardware stores and are relatively inexpensive. To minimize the spread of mold spores place the moldy materials in plastic bags prior to carrying them through the home. When finished, damp clean the entire work area to pick up settled contaminates in the dust.

5. Sanitize and Disinfect
All surfaces the Mold is found on and suspected areas. Apply biocide, fungicide or ozone treat area.
Repair and Replace
All damaged materials and structures.

6. To Complete:
- Once the repairs are complete and all surfaces are dry to the touch, HEPA Vacuum for at least 1 minute per square foot of affected area. Dead mold and spore bodies can still be highly allergenic to susceptible individuals, so thorough HEPA-vacuuming is necessary to remove all mold fragments. Place HEPA-vacuum bag into a garbage bag (follow manufacturers guidelines for using a HEPA-Vacuum). Thoroughly clean all areas of the house and all surfaces. Wash bedding, drapes, and exposed materials to remove all remaining dead mold spores.
- At this point, you can apply paint or other coating to the surface. You may wish to use a paint/coating that contains a mildew-cide or fungicide to prevent future mold growth. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations when using any mildew resistant paint or paint additive. Remember, these are also pesticides, and may have adverse health effects on some individuals.

REMEMBER MOISTURE WAS THE PROBLEM - MOLD WAS THE RESULT
BUILD TIGHT VENTILATE RIGHT

Mold Cleanup and Remediation - Minor Cleanup

MOLD CLEAN-UP and REMEDIATION SUGGESTIONS

Minor Clean Up - Surface Contamination
These procedures are suggestions to remove small amounts of topical mold where no major damage has been observed. This is usually found on windows and sills, in closets, bathroom walls and ceilings, etc.

1.  Resolve Moisture Problem
Most importantly, the source of the water accumulation must be identified and fixed or fungal growth will continue to occur. If you have a high relative humidity in a room or area (55% or higher), then you should strongly consider additional ventilation and/or a dehumidifier.
Contact a local Ventilation Expert to determine if you have sufficient ventilation to remove moisture in your home. Good ventilation includes bath fans, a kitchen exhaust fan and for best results, a heat Recovery Ventilation System. The bath fans will be more effective if they have timer and/or humidistat switches installed. The kitchen exhaust fan should vent outdoors.
If you experienced severe flooding or a water leak, then you want to remove or pump out the standing water, followed by drying the area. If the area is really wet, you will want to use fans and dehumidifiers. Move wet items away from walls and off floors.
The quicker you address the problem, the less extensive the damage will be since it may only take 24-48 hours for toxic mold to germinate and grow. Prompt remediation of contaminated areas and materials should be the primary response to water intrusion and indoor fungal growth.

2. Cleaning Moldy Area
Dampen the area with mold. This will prevent the mold from sporing off and spreading to other parts of the house. Us a solution of household cleaner with hydrogen peroxide or antifungicidal cleaner added. (No bleach products).
Carefully scrub area and rinse with fresh water. Be careful nor to spread the mold to other areas.
Wipe clean and carefully dispose of all sponges, rags, paper towels etc.
Thoroughly dry and spray with Concrobium Mold Killer. The area may be stained but the mold will be dead and contained.
Dry again and paint if needed.
Proper use of ventilation is critical to the maintenance of a mold free home.

REMEMBER MOISTURE WAS THE PROBLEM - MOLD WAS THE RESULT
BUILD TIGHT VENTILATE RIGHT

Mold Fogging Procedures

Remediation Mold Fogging


Fogging is a way to atomize products registered with the EPA for this application. Fogging allows approved products to be be delivered to every part of the targeted area extremely effectively. Attics, crawl spaces, large rooms or areas, and new construction are ideal for fogging. Fogging can reach distances of 30 feet, and covers every inch of the space being fogged. Use only EPA registered chemicals approved for fogging. Never fog with bleach.
Cold fogging is required for mold remediation. Most foggers on the market use either propane or electric heat to atomize the product. Heating the product in any way will destroy the chemical properties of the product and render it in-effective against mold. Our foggers are air based and do not heat the product.
 

ULV Fogging


Ultra-Low-Volume (ULV) Cold Fog. A ULV Fogger generates atomized fog particles by using a high volume of air at a low pressure. Such a system enables droplets of a more precise size to be generated. The absence of a large number of very small droplets will limit the penetration of the fog into highly obstructed areas. ULV foggers can dispense mold treating chemicals in a more concentrated form since less dilution is required. Also, the ability to be able to calibrate the machine to produce droplets of the optimum size for the type of chemical being used make ULV fogging the method of choice whenever possible.
 The fogger used MUST be a cold fogger. Some pest control foggers use heat which can change the chemical properties of the product. Not all cold foggers on the market are the same. We have dealt with a number of manufacturers and found this product to be the best one for this particular application.

Common Applications for Fogging Are:

Attics with Mold
Crawl Spaces with Mold
Basements with Mold
Large Rooms with Mold
New Construction with Mold (Pre-Drywall)
New Construction Mold Preventative (Pre-Drywall)
Entire Homes with Mold (Used under strict guidelines)
Large Buildings with Mold, Virus Problems (SARS, Anthrax etc.)

What are molds?

What are molds?

Molds are a type of fungi. Mold spores, the reproductive "seeds" of molds, are everywhere. They are in the air and fall on many surfaces. In the outdoors, molds are a necessary part of the environment and help break down organic matter for example, they help leaves to decay, which enriches the soil. Molds are also used in some common foods that we eat, including cheeses, yogurt, beer and wine, sour cream, dried fruits, and salad dressings, to name a few. Unfortunately, molds can also grow on many of the common building materials used in homes when they become damp including wood products, ceiling tiles, cardboard, wallpaper, carpeting, drywall, fabric, and insulation.
How do molds get into my home, and how do I know if I have a mold problem? Mold spores, which are invisible to the naked eye, enter your home through open doorways, windows, heating and air conditioning systems, and are also carried in on human clothing, shoes, and bags, and on pet hair (from pets that spend time outside). Molds grow in areas where there is moisture, such as where leaks have occurred in roofs, pipes, walls; where there has been flooding; and in damp basements or crawl spaces. The common building materials the drywall, wood paneling, cardboard, ceiling tiles, etc found in these damp areas of the home provides the nourishment the molds need to grow. Mold and mildew develop within 24 to 48 hours of water exposure. Mold will continue to grow until steps are taken to eliminate the source of moisture and remove the existing mold problem.
To determine if you have a mold problem in your home, look for these signs:
Look for stains, discoloration, or streaks on your walls, ceilings, or floors. Keep in mind, however, that mold growing between walls; on the backside of wallpaper or paneling; on the underside of carpets and pads; in roof materials above ceiling tiles; or in the air ductwork might not be visible to the naked eye.
Examine window sills and window frames for the presence of mold.
Check all exposed pipes for signs of moisture.
Examine all carpet (especially in basements) and all tack strips under carpet.
Suspect mold wherever there are water stains, standing water, or moist surfaces. Don't forget to check all heating and cooling devices that use drain pans.
Use your nostrils. In the growing stage, mold gives off an odor that ranges from musty to a foul stench.

Concrobium product sheet


concrobium label

Traditionally, homeowners have tackled mold with bleach solutions, essentially poisoning the mold micro-organism. That leaves users and their families exposed to harmful chemicals. And bleach only provides short term relief from mold. When the mold reappears, the toxic cleaning cycle begins again… Concrobium Mold Control® is a revolutionary way to fight mold, with no bleach, ammonia or VOCs. Unlike traditional “wet kill” products, Concrobium works as it dries – hardening over the moldy surface to form an invisible film that physically crushes the mold micro-organism underneath. And Concrobium stays on surfaces to provide continual resistance against mold regrowth.

Professional Ozone Generator Air-Zone XT-14000

XT14000
Rated Ozone Output:  4500, 9000, or 14000 mg/hr
ACTUAL OZONE OUTPUT: 14,500 mg/hr High Voltage Transformer Output: 5000 Volts Ozone Air Flow rate:  180 CFM Built in Timer: From 1 hour to 24 hours plus continuous setting Electrical Source:  AC 115 Volts, 60 Hz 
The ONLY way to truly sterilize an area of mold, bacteria, or serious odors is with these very high levels of ozone.  Sterilizing areas of mold and bacteria can ONLY be accomplished with levels of ozone Far Above that which we could normally stand to breathe. You cannot totally "sterilize" of mold with lower air purification levels of ozone.
Small generators (less than 500mg/hr) cannot possibly sterilize a room of bacteria and mold, and have little or no effect on surface mold and bacteria.
Ozone is a very strong sterilizrer and it is made up completely of simple Oxygen molecules, and completely reverts back to Oxygen in a relatively short time. That's one of the best features of ozone. It can be very toxic at high levels, and yet have the ability to revert completely back to a non toxic state very quickly.
High Ozone Shock Treatments are only to be done in rooms when no people, animals, or plants are present.  This is because a high toxic level of ozone is needed to kill the germs, mold, and viruses present in the room. 
Fungicides are great and do kill mold, however they remain leaving toxic substances around your home.

Daily News Miner article: Mold in Fairbanks - It's a growing problem in homes here , Part 1/2

Mold in Fairbanks
It’s a growing problem in homes here

ONLINE MOLD HELP
• Background: http:// www.epa.gov/mold/intro. html
• Cleaning it up: http://www.epa.gov/mold
• Health effects: http://www.cdc.gov/mold/ basics.htm

By MOLLY RETTIG
mrettig@newsminer.com


Mark Sampson had been renting a house in Fairbanks for about four months when he found black mold creeping up the walls of his 18 month-old daughter’s room. His wife was clearing off a shelf of DVDs and found streaks of black, gooey mold along the wall and rotting the window frame. An environmental lab identified the mold as Penicillium aspergillus, a black mold linked to respiratory problems. Air samples from the room revealed 62 percent humidity and a mold concentration eight times higher than outdoor levels and well above the amount considered safe by the lab.
“That was a big concern, and then it kind of dawned on us why we were getting sick and I said, ‘We’re not staying here.’ So we moved into a motel,” Sampson said.
Sampson is not alone. More residents in Fairbanks are facing mold problems because they are sealing their homes without ventilating properly, and many don’t understand the nature of mold, according to local building experts. And while a small amount of mold around your windows or bathtub isn’t uncommon, a big or exposed colony can cause structural damage and health problems, such as hay fever or respiratory difficulty.

Lisa Del Alba, a family doctor at Holistic Medical Clinic in Fairbanks, said mold can also cause severe anxiety, trouble sleeping, chronic pain and many other neurological symptoms.
“All these things you would never expect from that innocent thing on your window sill,” she said. “It’s a scary thing to hear your house might be making you sick.”

“People are still too often addressing one side of the energy equation ... making walls thicker, increasing R values and tightening homes. They are not addressing ventilation,” said Steve Shuttleworth, building official for the city of Fairbanks.
The health effects of mold are hotly debated because people have different sensitivities to different types. Molds produce allergens, irritants, and sometimes mycotoxins, potentially toxic compounds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A reaction can be triggered by touching or inhaling mold spores.
Even if you’re not allergic, mold can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat and lungs. If you are allergic, mold can cause asthma attacks as well as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes and skin rash. Allergic reactions to mold are common and can be immediate or delayed, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.“Now, with that failure, we are seeing an increasing trend of older building and middle-aged buildings that are developing mold issues and are developing symptoms of lack of ventilation.”
And the trend, he said, is exaggerated in rental units.

Cold climate building


Homes in cold climates are susceptible to mold because of the extreme temperature differential between inside and outside, building scientists say. Mold needs water to grow. Moisture develops in many homes here when water vapor inside hits cold surfaces like windows and outdoor walls and condenses into liquid.
The problem dates back several decades, said Mike Musick, a retired energy auditor.
Many homes built before the 1970s had single-pane windows and no vapor barrier.
Thick layers of ice would form on windows, melt and sometimes cause rot in the structure.
“In the ’70s, when energy conservation became a real serious issue, we started tightening our houses,” he said.
Sealing air leaks saves energy and adds comfort. But it also traps moisture.
“We have a saying, ‘Build it tight and ventilate right.’ We build it tight all right, but we almost never ventilate right,” said Rich Seifert, energy and housing expert at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. “That has led to a huge spectrum of mold problems in this state.”

Moisture and ventilation


You produce moisture every time you cook, shower and breath. Plus, your house constantly sucks in moisture through leaks, windows and crawl spaces to replace warm air that rises naturally and escapes through vents or the roof. You can’t avoid moisture and you could never eliminate all the mold spores in your home.
“If you got rid of eight million spores and you had five left, that’s all it takes — if you have moisture — to get a new colony going,” Seifert said.
The answer? Provide an escape for moisture by ventilating.
Every home needs mechanical ventilation, even if it’s just a bathroom and range hood fan, Musick said.
“If you remove moisture and pollution where it’s most generated, like the bathroom or over the range, immediately, then it doesn’t have a chance to get in and have a deleterious impact on indoor air quality,” he said.

Why the increase now?

High fuel prices and the availability of home-energy rebates have caused a rush to retrofit homes. The state has provided $360 million for weatherization and home-energy efficiency since 2008, allowing homeowners to get an energyaudit, add insulation and seal natural leaks.
But not enough of those dollars have gone toward ventilation, said Seifert.
“The state did a wonderful thing to put $360 million on the table,” he said. “But the justification for what changes are made to improve the house are all based on payback. The things you need to do that are the most crucial to maintaining health offer the least payback, like changing the windows and putting in adequate ventilation.”
Moisture problems will catch up with you eventually, Shuttleworth said.
“They simply can’t add an inch-and-a-half of foam to the exterior of the wall, upgrade the doors and windows and walk away and think things are going to be OK,” he said. “It’s just a matter of time to where too much moisture builds up and then it’s a breeding ground for mold and other problems.”

Air quality


Bill Reynolds has seen the moldiest side of Fairbanks, inspecting more than a thousand homes through his business, Solutions for Healthy Breathing. Most of his clients either discover infestations or are referred by their doctors. Lack of ventilation is almost always the root of the problem, he said. And nearly half of them don’t know it.
He entered Sampson’s apartment armed with a headlamp, swabs and air sampling equipment. The only ventilation came from a rickety, clogged bathroom fan. The range hood fan above the stove only filtered the air; it didn’t send it outside. The heat-recovery ventilator, which exchanges moist
indoor air with fresh air, was broken and unplugged.
Ventilation is a magic bullet for overcoming mold.
New fans make a big difference, Reynolds said. A bathroom fan costs about $150 (or $300 with installation). A bath fan controller, about $60, turns the fan on or off automatically to maintain the right air flow. A dehumistatic controller, about $20, turns the fan on or off automatically based on the humidity. An HRV, a bigger investment, runs between $6,000 and $10,000 but will add the same amount to the value of your house, Seifert said.
You also need to dry up the water penetration and clean surface mold by scrubbing it with soap, water and a sealant.

Rental market


Renters often don’t know about mold when they move in, Reynolds said. He sees mold residue that has been painted over again and again, suggesting some landlords are just cleaning and painting over the problem, not resolving it.
“Lower-income renters are subjected to living in the worst housing with the worst oversight,” Seifert said. “So you have people who can least afford health problems being
subjected to poor living conditions and all the problems mold can lead to.”
There is no mold policy for rental properties, only a line in the Alaska landlord-tenant act requiring landlords to keep all areas “in a fit and habitable ... clean and safe condition” and maintain any existing ventilation system. The act doesn’t require an inspection but says if a tenant requests it, “one should be prepared.”
“The landlord is not required to make a mold disclosure, and a lot of these people don’t have the money to move,” Reynolds said.
Tenants — like homeowners — also contribute to mold, especially if they produce lots of moisture (with children, pets, showers), place things against cold outdoor walls and don’t use fans. Reynolds has seen HRVs that aren’t turned on, exhaust flaps that are frozen shut or fans that aren’t being used because they’re too noisy, he said.
Gary Seaman owns a fourplex downtown. When one of his tenants recently complained about mold, he hired an inspection and found high humidity and mold levels.
But none of the adjacent units had either problem, he said.
“(The tenant) had never turned on the dehumidifier and she takes lots of showers,” Seaman said. “She didn’t run the bathroom fan. That’s when I realized it wasn’t my house; it was her problem.”
Seaman cleaned and sanitized the apartment, upgraded the bathroom fan and installed a new range hood fan; the tenant moved out. Follow-up sampling showed the problem was remediated.

Contact staff writer Molly Rettig at 459-7590.
Published originally in Fairbanks Daily News Miner November 2010.

Daily News Miner article: Mold in Fairbanks, Part 2/2

Pasted Graphic

Air quality consultant Bill Reynolds peels Visqueen sheets to reveal mold-causing moisture and small pools of water in the crawl space below the home of Tanja Glidden on Oct. 29. Expectant mother Glidden purchased the North Pole home without knowing about mold caused by moisture from a leaking bathtub jacuzzi.

Gaps in Alaska law mean ‘buyer beware’when it comes to household mold



By MOLLY RETTIG mrettig@newsminer.com

The new owners of a North Pole home were renovating the guest bedroom when they discovered black mold festering along the base of a wall. Their real estate agent pointed them to someone who could help.
In mid-October, air quality consultant Bill Reynolds peeled a layer of paint that had been applied over the mold. Air samples from the room revealed Stachybotrys (pronounced stacky-bottress) levels of 5,200 spores per cubic meter. The environmental laboratory considers anything more than 600 “of concern,” Reynolds said. The water, which came from a leaky bathtub pipe next door, soaked the trim along the wall and provided both ingredients for growing mold: moisture and cellulose. “We were just really disappointed because it was not disclosed in the papers,” said Tanja Glidden, the new homeowner, who is eight months pregnant. Neither the federal government nor Alaska regulate household mold as they do Gaps in Alaska law mean ‘buyer beware’ when it comes to household mold John Wagner/News-Miner Air quality consultant Bill Reynolds peels Visqueen sheets to reveal mold-causing moisture and small pools of water in the crawl space below the home of Tanja Glidden on Oct. 29. Expectant mother Glidden purchased the North Pole home without knowing about mold caused by moisture from a leaking bathtub jacuzzi.
John Wagner photos/News-Miner
Pasted Graphic 1
Above, Air quality consultant Bill Reynolds sprays aerosolized concrobium, a common anti-mold cleaning agent, around the bathroom of homeowner Tanja Glidden on Oct. 29.

Bellow, black mold is seen at the corner of two adjoining walls in Glidden’s home. Pasted Graphic 2


Published originally in Fairbanks Daily News Miner November 2010.