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Answering your most common mold questions

Mold is a common worry, as excessive exposure can lead to severe health and respiratory problems. As mold is naturally occurring in the outdoor environment, there’s no building that is immune to developing mold. Tioga’s team of inspectors have sampled and found mold in office buildings, residences, industrial facilities and many other locations, and we’re here to help if or when the need arises.

We receive several questions each week from clients about investigating mold and what to do if there’s potential presence. We’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions as they are likely top of mind for you, too. For assistance in investigating a potential mold presence in your commercial or industrial facility, contact our team today for a consultation, and learn more about our work to maximize industrial hygiene and safety.

Q: What are the signs to look for in a facility if there's a potential presence of mold?

A: A musty smell is the biggest indication because the presence of moisture in a building is the main cause of mold. Other things to look for is evidence of moisture intrusion, water staining or damaged building materials.

Q: If I find mold in my house, what should I do?

A: If you see visible mold in an area like your bathroom where there is a lot of moisture, there is probably no reason to worry. However, if you experience a water leak on the roof, walls or floor and water has been inside the home over an extended period of time, that is when you need to check for mold growth in the air. As mold reproduces inside, it can be present in the air at levels that are higher than the naturally occurring outdoor concentration. This is when additional help is needed.

Q: Can't I just remove the mold myself?

A: A 1 to 10 mixture of bleach and water can be used to clean the affected surface to remove any visible mold. However, this does not remove the microscopic mold particles in the air that inhabitants can breathe in. If the problem was large enough, a remediation contractor has special equipment and methods to clean the air.

Q: What's involved in the process for mold remediation or removal?

A: Air scrubbing is used to remove any mold spores from the air. This first requires sealing off and containing the area with polyethylene sheeting to separate the remediation area from the rest of the space. If the mold is present on the walls, damaged sheetrock may need to be removed, along with any underlying paper insulation, fiberboard or other porous material inside wall cavities that exhibit any signs of mold impact or moisture accumulation.

All impacted building materials, like framing elements, behind the removed sheetrock walls should be sanded or scrubbed with an EPA-approved fungicidal agent to remove any visible surface staining and mold growth, followed by a round of vacuuming using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum cleaner. The materials can then be wiped down with an EPA-approved disinfectant. Once they’re dry, the remediation contractor should do a final round of HEPA vacuuming.

The air inside the containment area should be cleaned with an air scrubber during and even for a while after the remediation. Also, if the area is still wet, dehumidifiers may be used to dry out the interior cavities of walls or other moisture impacted materials. 

Once the site is free of airborne mold particles, the sheetrock and other building materials can be replaced.

Q: I see mold on my bedroom wall. Can Tioga come and test it?

A: We can, but there is something you can do before setting an appointment with us. Check to see if you have a leak that could be causing this problem. Chances are, if you stop the moisture from getting inside, you will stop the mold from growing.

If you have experienced water intrusion in your building, try to determine how the water is coming in and stop the leak. Once this has been accomplished, Tioga can sample the air for mold levels and a remediation contractor can make any necessary repairs.

Posted by Christina Babu at 12:45