Recent Mold Remediation Posts
How to Keep Mold and Moisture Out of Your HVAC System
Tips and Tricks From SERVPRO to Keeping Mold and Moisture Out Of Your HVAC System
In the warm summer heat, it's easy to build up moisture; especially when it gets sticky, muggy, and humid. When this happens, you naturally crank the A.C., reach for something cold, and kick back in your lazy chair. The problem is, when you're relaxing and enjoying the nice cold breeze, mold is spreading through your ducts, vents, and HVAC system, leaving a nasty haze of mold that you can smell all over the house. If you're running a business, your customers could smell it too- which is why you should always call our service professionals to deal with the problem as soon as possible.
How Does Mold Get in The HVAC System?
Mold damage is no laughing matter. Mold, fungus, and other bacteria are in their perfect environment when they're trapped in your HVAC system. It's dark, warm, moist, closed in, and humid, meaning that spores can grow practically unabated. You'll notice more and more scents as heat and humidity are generated from outside and pulled through your ducts.
When this moist air gets into your air system, it collects within and above your HVAC units. At this point, the spores of mold and other fungi easily rise through the air, setting up colonies as your condenser forces them up through the duct system. These aren't the only cases of mold that we've seen at SERVPRO; we've seen mold stick to people's clothes or shoes, and it's all brought inside by excess humidity caused by rainfall.
Here Are a Few Tips on How to Remove Mold From Your HVAC System
- Continue to clean and maintain your HVAC system, even when you aren't using it. Check the ducts for wet spots, and regularly check and maintain your HVAC filter.
- Double-check the drainage systems on your HVAC for mold. Allow for "dry-out" areas where the drainage comes out to prevent excess moisture.
- Get dehumidifiers for your home. They are ideal for collecting excess humidity, and they help with the temperature inside your house, too.
- Always insulate your pipes, walls, and ceilings. Use caulking for cracks to control cracks and leaks.
- Contrary to common beliefs, keep your windows closed when it's hot outside. Humidity, dust, and dampness easily travel inside.
What Can You Do To Fix Moldy Clothes?
The reason clothing is so susceptible to mold growth is not just because of the mold-inviting circumstances within the laundry room. Generally, when it is worn, clothing collects sweat and skin cells, as well as dirt and other forms of moisture and organic material that mold loves to feast on. Then, it is placed in the laundry hamper and usually sits for days before it it is finally washed. This scenario is typical and may not result in a noticeable mold infestation, but should the soiled laundry be allowed to fester long enough, a mildew smell may be present, as well as visible signs of green, blue, gray, black, or sometimes even white mold on clothes.
Another scenario is becoming more common due to busy lifestyles and poor habits. The quick development of mold on clothes after washing may be surprising to some, but it is quite an ordinary occurrence for those with overwhelmed schedules or those who are vulnerable to procrastination because they often forget to remove clothing from the washing machine once the cycle is finished. As time passes, this leads to the rapid proliferation of mildew and mold on clothes after washing, due to the remaining moisture. Neglecting to put the wet clothes in the dryer for a few hours is not what makes mold grow. Neglecting the clothes in the washer for 6 hours or longer–sometimes a day or even a few days–is the problem. Before too long, a mildew smell will be detected in the washer and clothing. Some assume this is the residue of soap, and while that may be true to some extent, the fact of the matter is that most soaps contain lard and other organic (even synthetic) materials that mold can thrive off of. The smell is not necessarily the residue of soap, but an indication that mold is producing a secondary metabolite–the mildew smell–from consuming that soap.
What is a natural detergent to kill mold? Here is what you will need.
- Two 5 oz. organic castile soap bars (naturally scented with lavender or peppermint is great but non-scented works just the same)
- 3 cups of washing soda (no, it’s not the same as baking soda)
- 2 cups of borax
- 30 drops of certified pure lavender essential oil (optional but highly advisable for a mold killing laundry detergent)
Once you have all the materials, this is what to do.
- Cut the castile soap bars into small pieces or chunks. (This is crucial to avoid damaging the food processor.)
- Place the cut castile soap pieces or chunks in the food processor bowl. Pulse the soap on high until what remains are large crumbs.
- Add the washing soda to the food processor and pulse for 1 minute. (After pulsing, all the ingredients should be in powder form and well-combined. If not, try running the food processor again and then mixing with a spoon.)
- Empty the washing soda and castile soap into the storage container. Add the borax and blend well with a spoon.
- Add the essential oils of choice (optional but beneficial) and be sure to mix well.
Do not place this mixture into the drawer or dispenser, place it directly in with the laundry.
I Have a Musty Smell on my Property – Now What?
Dealing with mold is a frustration. SERVPRO is here to help.
Finding and Solving Mold
Mold growth can hide in places that aren’t always easy to see. Typical examples include an incomplete or late drying of water damage situation, or perhaps a leak that wasn’t caught right away. Your nose can be an excellent indicator of a problem. Said another way, if you smell it – DON’T ignore it. Delays of cleaning up water can turn into mold and delays of cleaning up mold can turn into poor air quality.
Many issues with mold are easier & cheaper if dealt with quickly when the affected area is small. As it grows more severe and affects a larger area, it can require not only the localized cleanup, but cleaning of the air and ductwork system, air quality testing, and can become more complex to remediate, thereby costing more.
Mold problems inside a dwelling or place of business almost never get better on their own. Having said that, mold requires moisture to grow – so it may grow and smell musty until it runs out of water and ends up dormant. Any re-introduction of moisture can cause immediate and accelerated growth and odor.
Can’t I just spray something on it and make it all go away?
The answer to this is: it depends. If we are talking about a little mildew in a shower, that may be an adequate approach for maintaining it. However, if we are talking about any real affected hygroscopic materials (not just your tile or fiberglass sheeted shower walls) then you need an assessment by a professional.
SERVPRO of Harrisonville / Belton / Raymore is here to help. Don’t wait to mitigate when it’s worse, call today at 816-884-2240 or contact us HERE.
Saving Your Belongings From Mold
Furniture with mold
Saving Your Belongings From Mold
A flood in your home can be traumatic, especially as you and your family sort through what’s left and get on with your life. Mold cleaning is just one of the issues you may face in the aftermath of water damage in Harrisonville, MO. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to saving your belongings.
Toss It or Treat It?
When things get wet, they can get moldy. Most people’s first impulse is to throw everything away, but that is not always necessary. Mold remediation may work with some items, such as the following:
- Upholstered items – couches, chairs, ottomans
- Fabrics – draperies, clothing, bedding
- Surfaces – walls, woodwork, bookcases, tables, counters, cupboards
- Sentimental items – books, photographs, paintings, figurines
- Electronics – televisions, audio equipment, computers
What Will the Cleaning Process Involve?
Mold cleaning for hard surfaces usually involves spraying with a disinfectant, wiping the item and leaving it in the sun, if possible. Upholstered furniture is often cleaned with a foaming cleaner that is vacuumed off, depending upon the severity of the mold damage. Items that can be wet or dry cleaned include curtains, clothes, blankets, sheets and pillows.
Cleaning of electronics can be tricky, but the most important thing is to get them out of the damp environment as soon as possible, and to refrain from turning them on. The company you hire can advise you on whether or not the items can be cleaned or should be replaced.
Can It Be Saved?
The most difficult decision in these situations is what to do about keepsakes and items of sentimental value. Mold damage on books and paper items can be very serious, although there are companies that do photo restoration. Paintings can be cleaned if not damaged too badly, and statues and keepsakes with hard surfaces such as vases, dishes or trophies usually clean up well.
Seeing your life in a moldy pile can be heartbreaking. Fortunately, mold remediation specialists can help you make wise decisions about mold cleaning.
How Containment Techniques Prevent Cross Contamination
Equipment needed for containment include disposable protective clothing
When it comes to mold cleanup, one of the main concerns mold remediation experts may have is preventing cross contamination. Cross contamination may occur when spores spread into other areas that did not previously have a mold problem. This often occurs when people turn to DIY techniques that may blow spores around rather than truly clean up the mold growth.
Why Containment Is Important
The EPA recognizes two main reasons for the importance of containment. The first is to prevent mold spores from forming new colonies in other areas of a building, and the second is to minimize the exposure of people to mold. Equipment needed for containment include the following items:
- Exhaust fan linked to the outdoors
- Disposable protective clothing
What Types of Containment
There are two main types of containment: limited and full. The larger the area affected by mold, the greater the risk of mold contamination during mold cleanup. The size of the contamination coupled with how heavy the mold growth is, usually dictates whether or not full or partial containment will be required. Sometimes heavier mold growth may prove to be a higher risk than the size of the problem.
For limited containment, specialists may use polyethylene sheeting to close off the affected area. A slit in the sheeting provides access to the treatment area. Duct tape can be used to secure the sheeting to the floors and ceiling. If there are more than 100 square feet of affected area, then full containment may be required. For this, specialists may need to build a decontamination chamber or airlock.
Mold cleanup requires technical skills and know-how that makes it a bad choice for a DIY job in Belton, MO. It may also require special gear to further decrease the likelihood of cross contamination. By prioritizing the prevention of mold spores from spreading, building experts can save themselves time and money. Otherwise, time would have been spent cleaning various rooms throughout the building that become contaminated in close succession of each other.
3 Things You Should Know About Mold and Your Insurance Policy
Mold damage caused by broken pipe in a Harrisonville, MO home
A Few Important Mold Questions and Their Answers
Mold is a common problem in many buildings. If you have noticed a fungus growth in your Harrisonville, MO home, you may be wondering what you should do about it. Will your insurance cover the costs of removal? The answer to this can vary depending on your circumstances. Here are a few important mold questions and their answers.
1. When Does Insurance Cover Mold?
In many cases, your insurance policy will not include mold, but there are some exceptions. In situations where it is clear that the growth of mold was caused by a covered peril, then the costs to remove the damage will likely be covered. This can include instances when mold is the result of leaks caused by ice buildup, damage from a broken pipe and accidents involving broken appliances. Some companies also offer added mold insurance policies for an additional price.
2. When Is Mold Not Covered?
Unfortunately, your standard homeowners insurance will more than likely exclude most mold coverage. Unless it was caused by a covered peril, you will be required to pay the costs of a mold remediation service on your own. Disasters such as floods are often not included in standard policies, so mold that is the result of a flood will not be covered. It can sometimes be difficult to receive coverage for mold if your home has a history of fungal growth.
3. How Can You Prevent Mold?
Because getting rid of a fungus growth can be costly, it is better to prevent one from occurring. You can do this by limiting the moisture in your home. Make sure to keep appliances and plumbing fixtures dry. You can lower the humidity by using exhaust fans and opening windows in kitchens and bathrooms. Always fix leaks as soon as possible and clean your home regularly.
While it is unlikely that your insurance will cover a fungus growth, this is not always the case. Be sure to read over your policy carefully so you know exactly what is included. Creating an unsuitable environment for mold in your home will help prevent the need for professional cleanup.
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, floating 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 allergens and irritants and have the potential to cause other health effects.
*Before mold remediation can begin, any source of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
*Mold often produces a strong, musty odor, and that odor can lead to possible mold problem areas.
*Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
If you suspect you have any of these issues contace SERVPRO of Harrisonville/Belton/Raymore at (816) 884-2240 we are here for you 24/7/365.
"Mold Removal" vs. Remediation
What's the Difference?
Since microscopic mold spores exist naturally everywhere, indoors and outdoors, removing all mold from a home or business is impossible. Some restoration business advertise "mold removal" and even guarantee to remove all mold. This is a fallacy.
A qualified restoration company understands the science behind mold and mold growth. SERVPRO of Harrisonville/Belton/Raymore have the training and expertise to remediate the mold in your home or business. Mold remediation focuses on getting mold levels back to normal, natural levels.
Every mold damage scenario is different and requires a unique solution, but the general mold remediation process stays the same.
Step 1:Emergency contact (816) 884-2240
Step 2: Inspection and Mold Damage Assessment
Step 3: Mold Containment
Step 4: Air Filtration
Step 5: Removing Mold and Mold-Infested Materials
Step 6: Cleaning Contents and Belongings
Step 7: Restoration
Signs of Mold? Call Today (816) 844-2240
What Is Mold? An Overview
Black mold has long been regarded as the bane of property owners, and with good reason. Mold cleanup is a chore that no one wants to deal with, but of course it must be handled properly for the health of those who occupy the property. A moisture problem in the space doesn’t have to equal a mold problem though, if you understand how mold works.
Time and Space
Mold growth is fast in the right conditions. It only takes 48-72 hours for mold to become a serious problem in a damp and warm space. Standing water isn’t a requirement; mold can flourish in any indoor space with higher-than-usual humidity. For best prevention, keep your indoor humidity below 45 percent.
Signs of Mold Growth
Unseen dangers are often the worst kind. Even if you don’t see evidence of black on your walls, floors, or ceilings, you may smell it if it is present. Mold generally gives off a thick, musty odor that is fairly recognizable to most. If you smell mold but you can’t see it, you may have colonies hidden
behind drywall or under carpeting.
Tips To Handle It
There are a few things you should do immediately upon suspicion of a problem, along with a few things you should not do:
Stay out of any area where you see or smell mold. Mold can travel easily through the air and even hitch a ride on your clothing. Leave the mold cleanup to a professional who is trained in handling it.
Reduce the airflow in your space by turning off the HVAC system and fans. Keeping the mold stationary will help to mitigate the problem.
Don’t attempt to dry out the area on your own. Specialized equipment will alleviate a moisture problem more quickly and safely than you can yourself. Avoid blowing air across any surfaces that you suspect may contain mold.
Avoid touching the mold with anything, even disinfectants. Mold should be handled by a professional in order to eliminate the chance of spreading it further.
Don’t delay in calling a qualified professional to handle the problem.
You can contact SERVPRO of Harrisonville/Belton/Raymore at (816) 884-2240.