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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Mold Remediation 101

5/28/2021 (Permalink)

The risk of mold growth, in both commercial businesses and residences alike, is ever-present. In order to prevent mold growth as effectively as possible, it is beneficial to understand the prime conditions for mold growth in addition to preventative measures that you can take to decrease the possibility of such conditions arising. Here at SERVPRO, we offer a plethora of Mold Remediation and Restoration Services. Keep reading to gain a deeper understanding of mold’s spread and as well as what we can do to protect your home or business from its harmful effects.

The Biology of Mold

Mold is scientifically classified as a fungus called saprophyte. Even though it is not clear as to the exact number of mold species, scientists believe that there are over 20,000. Decomposing organic matter serves as the primary food and nutrient source for mold and it can grow on virtually any surface. The spread of mold is made possible by hyphae, which are branches of mold.

Common Types of Mold in Buildings

Five varieties of mold, including penicillium, aspergillus, chaetomium, cladosporium, stachybotrys, are the most common types of mold found in commercial buildings. Blue or green in color, penicillium possesses a texture that mimics velvet. In environments that are rich with oxygen, aspergillus is capable of growing. Chaetomium can be identified by its cotton-like texture. Cladosporium is a frequent concern for mold growth on fabric surfaces. Areas that are high in humidity and moisture are especially vulnerable to stachybotrys.

Containing the Spread of Spores

The concept of eradicating mold from the environment of any home or business is fictitious, as mold is a naturally constant presence in the air as well as on surfaces. Instead, our focus lies in containing mold spread and preventing dangerous possibilities of mold infestation. The structure of mold spores, even though they begin as minuscule spores, can eventually allow for the possession of thousands of spores. Spores can travel to other areas through the process of aerosolization, which facilitates the spread of mold. Therefore, we place special emphasis on the containment of mold, eliminating the possibility for mold to contaminate other, previously unaffected locations of the home or business. Using containment resources like negative air chambers, we craft physical barriers to block off contaminated areas and protect other areas of your home or business.

Why Should We Be So Worried About Mold?

Health Effects

Some types of mold, like Penicillin or bleu cheese, are not a cause for concern. Bad molds, on the other hand, can be harmful. Additionally, while large colonies of mold become visible to the eye, mold is generally an enemy that we cannot see, making it difficult to know if materials in your home or business are contaminated.

Beyond human health effects, mold can negatively affect structures, such as buildings and homes. Mold is an invisible threat until it grows into larger colonies. It is not until this point that one can fully understand the scope of their home or business’ level of mold contamination.

Mold in Buildings

Mold growth in buildings can lead to a phenomenon known as “sick building syndrome,” or SBS. This term is used to describe the health effects on building occupants that are not the result of outside factors. Health consequences can worsen if air circulation is lacking or the building is not being efficiently provided maitenance. HVAC systems serve as the source of mold growth in many buildings. The malfunctioning of drain pans, piping, and filters cause HVAC units to accumulate mold and due to HVAC systems’ function as air circulation systems, mold can easily spread to other areas.

Mold Growth Requirements

Without mold spores, temperatures between 32 and 122 degrees fahrenheit, moisture, as little as 48 hours of time, and organic matter as a food source, mold is incapable of thriving. Food sources of organic matter for mold can range from wood and drywall to painting and insulation.

Preventing Mold Growth

In order to effectively control and contain mold growth in any home or business after it has sustained water damage, it is critical to maintain low moisture levels. In an effort to avoid mold growth, homeowners and business owners can survey ignored areas, such as the connections of ice makers and washing machines, as well as shower doors and the space behind dishwashers. Check these areas frequently and be sure to replace washing machine connections about every five years. Reducing food sources, decreasing moisture, utilizing biocides and fungicides, and increasing air circulation and ventilation are all preventative measures that homeowners and business owners alike can take to protect their respective homes and commercial businesses.

Mold Remediation Basics

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification details their S52O Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation, which directs our own mold remediation services here at SERVPRO. Mold condition levels fall under three categories: Normal Fungal Ecology, Settled Spores, and Actual Growth. Indoor environments that contain mold spores or mere traces of mold characterize a Normal Fungal Ecology. Settled Spores of Condition 2 entails secondary settled mold spore contamination in indoor environments. Finally, an indoor area meets the standards for Condition 3, Actual Growth, when mold contaminates the indoor environment.

Our 5 Principles of Mold Remediation

Our five principles of mold remediation here at SERVPRO center around the objective of containing mold and inhibiting its spread. Tools like negative air chambers help us to create physical barriers that assist us in doing so. Our five mold remediation principles include, in order from first to last, Safety and Health, Documentation, Control Containments, Remove the Contamination, and lastly, Correct the Moisture Problem. After completing all of these steps, we bring in an Indoor Environmental Professional, known as an IEP, to carry out a final clearance test, which assesses our work and ensures that the condition of the affected area has returned to that of Condition 1, according to the IICRC S250’s standards. In this way, we can be certain that it is safe to extract our physical barriers.

Have a Mold Problem? Call SERVPRO

To gain a deeper understanding of our Mold Remediation and Restoration Services, be sure to check out the mold resources on our website, which include our Mold Restoration Process and Commercial Mold Remediation. Call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East right away at (412) 672-5400 in the event that you discover mold growth in your home or commercial business. With SERVPRO’s help, you can make sure that your home or commercial business receives the professional and trustworthy services that will protect against the dangerous growth and spread of mold.

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