Recent Mold Remediation Posts

Mold: Don't Let it Grow!

5/6/2019 (Permalink)

From the Ordinary - Fungi and mold naturally occurs in our environment. In fact, over 100,000 kinds of fungi produce some very useful results. Yeast is a type of fungi used in preparing breads, baked goods, and other food products including some alcoholic beverages. The unique flavor of blue cheese is a result of mold, edible mushroom is simply a type of fungi, and lifesaving penicillin is a product of mold (penicillium chrysogenum).

Even though some forms of mold can add value to our lives, other forms can be harmful. Excessive amounts of mold, different types of mold, and/or exposure to molds may present health concerns for some people. 

To the Unhealthy - Intrusion of water into your home or place of business can result in mold growth. Water intrusions can result from storm damage, plumbing or equipment failures, long-standing leaks and poor humidity control. When water intrusions are not addressed right away, the resulting damage can present increased risk of harmful mold growth. Some amount of mold spores are normally present in most environments. If the humidity and moisture levels in a water-damaged environment are not promptly returned to normal, mold spores may grow and multiply. Organic materials found inside a building, such as wood, paper, drywall and insulation, provide food sources for mold growth can lead to indoor environmental conditions that pose a health threat. 

Take Precautions- SERVPRO Franchise Professionals handle water damages every day and know prompt action is required to prevent mold growth. Mold iis more likely to spread when an environment has been subject to moisture for a long period of time. IF your property has sustained a recent water damage, it is vital to remove excess water and dry the structure promptly. If there is an ongoing moisture problem in the building, it is important to be alert for: 

  • The presence of visible mold. 
  • Strong musty odors which may indicate mold is present. 
  • Any evidence of past moisture problems that might have caused undetected mold growth. 
  • Excessive humidity. 

These Conditions may require the expertise of a qualified Indoor Air Quality/Environmental Professional to inspect the building for mold growth and water damage problems. 

Help is here - If you think you might have a mold problem, call 1-800-SERVPRO. A SERVPRO Franchise Professional trained in mold remediation will examine the structure for any visible signs of mold. In the event mold is found, you will be asked to approve and sign a work authorization form prior to any mold cleanup or related work being performed. The technician may also recommend you leave the affected area while the mold cleanup and associated containment process is being safely completed. 

If extensive mold growth is present, additional assistance may be required. Some situations require the addition of an Indoor Air Quality/Environmental Professional with the specialized equipment and services needed to assess and/or repair property. You may wish to consult your adjuster if needed. 

Mold Prevention Tips

4/5/2019 (Permalink)

  • Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50%–all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
  • Be sure your home has enough ventilation. Use exhaust fans which vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
  • Fix any leaks in your home’s roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.
  • Clean up and dry out your home thoroughly and quickly (within 24–48 hours) after flooding.
  • Add mold inhibitors to paints before painting.
  • Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.
  • Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried promptly. Consider not using carpet in rooms or areas like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture.
  • To learn more about preventing mold in your home, see the Environmental Protection Agency’s publication A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home Cdc-pdf[PDF – 1.38 MB]External.
Content source: National Center for Environmental Health

Can I use bleach to clean mold?

4/2/2019 (Permalink)

What exactly is bleach? Most people have a bottle of bleach as a staple of household cleaning items, which contains 5.0% NaOCl. Bleach is used for whitening and disinfecting. Household bleach is made up of 90% water. As we know, mold LOVES water. This is why you shouldn’t use bleach to clean mold. Also, if you do happen to spray some Clorox on a moldy patch, make sure the surface is a hard, non-porous material such as a tile.

When it comes to porous materials, such as wood, the bleach will actually worsen the situation. It may whiten the outer surface, but the water will soak inside through the pores and actually enable more mold to grow. That is why mold should not be cleaned, but rather removed. If you find you have a bit of mold growing on a surface you should cut that surface out, making sure that there is no more mold remaining. If even a little bit is left over it will start to grow again. Make sure to keep humidity levels low and keep an eye out on the moisture levels.

If you notice mold growing in the bathroom, keep the fan on or a window open while showering as well as whipping down the tiles and ceilings afterwards. This will help prevent mold growth.

If you happen to stumble on mold and not know how to handle it, leave it to the professionals! Our technicians are highly trained and will remove mold quickly and safely. 

So give us a call today at (914) 358-9000!

Beware of Mold

2/20/2019 (Permalink)

Did you know that on January 1, 2016, New York State’s mold law went into effect? According to the law, "mold" means any indoor multicellular fungi growth capable of creating toxins that can cause pulmonary, respiratory, neurological or other major illnesses after minimal exposure.  

Mold is more likely to spread when an environment has been subject to moisture for a long period of time. If your property has sustained a recent water damage, it is vital to remove excess water and dry the structure promptly. If there is an ongoing moisture problem in the building, it is important to be alert for:

  • The presence of visible mold.
  • Strong musty odors which may indicate mold is present.
  • Any evidence of past moisture problems that might have caused undetected mold growth.
  • Excessive humidity.

How does Mold Grow?

1/16/2019 (Permalink)

So how does mold grow? Mold is part of the natural environment. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees; indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores. The spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through the air. Mold may begin growing indoors when spores land on moist surfaces. There are many types of mold, but all require moisture for growth. 

Molds are found everywhere, and can grow on almost any substance when moisture is present. They reproduce by spores, which are carried by air currents. When spores land on a moist surface suitable for life, they begin to grow. Mold is normally found indoors at levels which do not affect most healthy individuals.

Because common building materials are capable of sustaining mold growth and mold spores are ubiquitous, mold growth in an indoor environment is typically related to water or moisture and may be caused by incomplete drying of flooring materials (such as concrete). Flooding, leaky roofs, building-maintenance or indoor-plumbing problems can lead to interior mold growth. Water vapor commonly condenses on surfaces cooler than the moisture-laden air, enabling mold to flourish. This moisture vapor passes through walls and ceilings, typically condensing during the winter in climates with a long heating season. Floors over crawl spaces and basements, without vapor barriers or with dirt floors, are mold-prone.  Some materials, such a polished concrete, do not support mold growth.

Significant mold growth requires moisture and food sources and a substrate capable of sustaining growth. Common building materials, such as plywood, drywall, furring strips, carpets, and carpet padding provide food for mold. In carpet, invisible dust and cellulose are food sources. After water damage to a building, mold grows in walls and then becomes dormant until subsequent high humidity; suitable conditions reactivate mold. Mycotoxin levels are higher in buildings which have had a water incident.

Cohen, Aron. “Indoor Mold.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 26 Dec. 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indoor_mold.

NYS Mold Law

11/30/2018 (Permalink)

Following superstorm Sandy many contractors who were not familiar with mold remediation rushed in to provide service to property owners.  As well-meaning many of those contractors were the service provided by many of them was inappropriate, ineffective, or improperly performed. This resulted in unnecessary or overpriced work, or resulted in secondary damage, and wound up costing property owners and insurance carriers significantly more than it should have in order to achieve successful mold remediation service.  So, the insurance industry lobbied the NYS legislature to pass a law governing mold remediation.

In January 2015 Governor Cuomo signed Senate Bill S3667D requiring all remediation firms and employees performing mold remediation work in NYS to be licensed.  Administrative control was given to the NYS Department of Labor (DOL), Division of Safety and Health, Asbestos Control Board (ACB). Enforcement of the law took effect in January 2016.  With this bill mold became a regulated industry similar to asbestos.

As part of this bill several current industry best practices became law.  One of these best practices is that the Mold Assessor (the person/company performing air and/or surface testing) may not work as the Mold Abater (the person/company performing the abatement) on the same project; basically, they could do one or the other but not both on any single project.  Additionally, the Mold Assessor must provide a written Remediation Plan providing specific information to the client and Mold Abater.  The Mold Abater must than provide the client a written Work Plan providing specific information on how the Remediation Plan will be executed.

The law does provide for specific exemptions.

If this is a single-family residence, or a multi-family residence of four (4) or less apartments, there is an exemption to this law.  This exemption allows the property owner to act as the Mold Assessor and the Mold Abater and perform the work them self.

If this is a commercial property the exemption allows the owner, managing agent, or a full-time employee of either to act as the Mold Assessor and the Mold Abater provided that the owner, managing agent, or full-time employee does not engage in the business of performing mold assessment or abatement for the public.

Unfortunately, even if one of these exemptions apply in your situation, if you want to hire a licensed Mold Abatement contractor to perform service you must first hire a Mold Assessor to provide a Remediation Plan.

We strongly recommend that you not consider performing the mold remediation yourself.  You should bring in a professional Mold Assessor who can perform pre and post remediation testing; post remediation testing is also known as Clearance Testing.  The results of the Clearance Test can be presented to the building occupants or potential buyers in a real estate sale to provide laboratory results confirming the environment has been returned to Condition 1 status (i.e. normal ecological environment) after remediation.

Understanding Mold

11/22/2018 (Permalink)

When water intrudes into your property, mold growth can start in as little as 48 hours. Consider the following mold facts:

  •  Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  •  Mold spores are microscopic, float along in the air, and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
  •  Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce toxins harmful to humans and pets.
  •  Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise the mold may return.
  •  Mold often produces a strong, musty odor, and that odor can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  •  Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

Mold: The First 72 Hours

11/19/2018 (Permalink)

Any home or business can quickly become infested with mold with the introduction of a water source, like a roof or plumbing leak. Mold can spread throughout a property in as little as 48-72 hours, and can produce allergens and irritants. Mold is present in all buildings in some form and quantity. However, certain species of mold spores, in large enough concentrations, can be toxic. Mold needs water or moisture and oxygen to grow. Water does not have to flow into the building for there to be enough moisture to promote the growth of mold. Although one-time leaks or burst water pipes may not be a problem if repaired, even a one-time leak, if not properly addressed, can cause unacceptable mold growth.

If you suspect that your home or business has a mold problem, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can inspect and assess your property. If mold is found, they have the training, equipment, and expertise to handle the situation.

Please refer to our Mold Damage Tips to learn more about mold and what to do until help arrives. 

What is Black Mold?

11/19/2018 (Permalink)

Stachybotrys chartarum is the type of mold often called “black mold” or “toxic mold”. Sensational news reports warn about the dangers of black mold and these stories can be alarming and confusing. Any mold in your home should be treated with caution – stay out of affected areas and don’t touch or disturb the mold.

Please refer to our Mold Damage Tips to learn more about mold and what to do until help arrives. Toxic black mold is a greenish-black gelatinous mold. It is usually slimy because of a wet layer on the top. However, if a toxic black mold colony's water source runs out it can appear dry and powdery.

There are several molds that look similar to toxic black mold. If you find what you think might be Stachybotrys the only way you can tell for sure is to have a mold expert look at a sample under a microscope.