Have you recently had a flood due to a broken pipe, a faulty appliance dump water all over, an overflowing toilet, a roof leak, or any other of a number of other things happen that result in a flood in your property? If you have had a flood, you needed water cleanup to be done. Was it done properly? Is all of the moisture gone? If you have mold spores in your property and now you have moisture, you now have mold. We want to make sure you know more about the risks of mold, the evaluation process, and the levels of mold mitigation. You don’t need any more surprises.
What is Mold?
Mold is a fungal growth that develops on wet materials. Mold is a natural part of the environment and plays an important part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees; indoors, mold growth should be avoided.
Mold reproduces by means of tiny spores. The spores are like seeds, but invisible to the naked eye, that float through the air and deposit on surfaces. When the temperature, moisture, and available nutrient conditions are correct, the spores can form into new mold colonies where they are deposited. There are many types of mold, but all require moisture and a food source for growth.
Most molds do not pose a health concern for healthy individuals. People with asthma or allergies can be sensitive to molds and experience an allergic reaction or see the worsening of their asthma. Certain molds produce mycotoxins which, depending on the exposure level, can impact a person’s health.
Mold has a distinctive musty odor, but visually, active and inactive mold can be very different.
- Active mold in the early stages has hair-like filaments in webs, which develop a more bushy appearance as the bloom matures. Inactive mold is often a dry powder-like substance that can be brushed off the surface.
- Inactive mold can easily become active given the right environmental conditions. Mold can also cause staining of materials, which may be permanent even after the mold has been removed. Both active and inactive molds can pose potential health hazards. Health effects from mold can be acute from short-term high exposures or chronic from long-term exposure to lower levels.
Steps to Evaluating the Level of Mold Contamination
- Step 1: When interior mold is found, identify the source of the moisture problem, take action to eliminate it, and determine the extent of the water/mold damage. Note: When water damage occurs, quick action can prevent more extensive damage. Water should be cleaned up, and saturated building materials should be completely dried out within 24-48 hours.
- Step 2: To protect your health and the health of the occupants of the property, certain precautions and procedures must be followed by a water damage restoration and mold mitigation company when remediating mold contaminated areas. The assessment will impact the level of mitigation required to return your property back to a healthy state and it will impact how much your insurance company will pay. Based on the initial assessment, the areas will be classified into these varies levels and mitigated in different ways too:
- Level A: water infiltration pre-mold condition
- Level B: cleaning areas with mold contamination less than 2 square feet
- Level C: cleaning areas with mold contamination of 2-10 square feet or removal of less than 10 square feet building materials
- Level D: cleaning or removal of mold contamination between 10-30 square feet
- Level E: the mold-contaminated area is greater than 30 square feet
We go into greater detail on these levels and the process of cleaning up the mold for each. It will help you be prepared for the level of work needed, why it needs to be done this way, and the costs associated with freeing your property of mold.