Mold can grow for many different reasons, including flood damage, subpar insulation, leaking roofs or windows, and plumbing issues. These can all result in situations that look bad and smell even worse. Serious health complications can also be a result of situations such as these.
When you notice mold happening at home or work, you need to address it promptly. That might mean getting commercial mold remediation involved to remedy the situation. However, before you reach out and call the first available professional, there are certain things you should know.
Can You Clean Up Everything Yourself?
In some cases, you might be able to deal with things on your own. If the moldy area is under 10 square feet in total size, then the appropriate mold remediation is Level 1. That’s something the EPA says you can probably handle as a DIY project.
Fix any water issues first. Then, scrub the mold off of hard surfaces using detergent and water. Be sure you wear appropriate personal protective equipment when cleaning.
Dry the area totally. Remember that some porous materials, including ceiling tiles and carpet, might need removal if they’re moldy. You can eliminate mold from such porous materials, and the CDC has recommendations you can follow for cleaning up mold and doing remediation.
When to Call for Help
There are three situations where hiring a professional can make sense.
- You have a substantial amount of water damage to deal with.
- The mold growth is covering over 10 square feet of total area.
- You suspect there is mold but you can’t see it.
Only professionals should investigate hidden mold. Uncovering a source of mold might lead to mold spores being released that wind up contaminating the rest of your home or building.
Is an Indoor Air Quality Consultant Necessary?
One professional you might turn to in advance of mold remediation is an indoor air quality consultant. Testing isn’t likely to be necessary if you already smell or see mold in your home or building. You know it’s there.
On the other hand, if you struggle with high humidity or stagnant water issues, then an indoor air quality consultant might find specific structural issues that are causing the problem. However, there are two caveats that come with indoor air quality consultants.
First, they only consult. They might identify issues, but they don’t fix them. You’ll still have to find contractors for the repairs and cleanup.
Second, there might be conflicts of interest. Be sure there are no financial connections between consultants and contractors. Technically speaking, any consultant should disclose financial ties to contractors whom they suggest, but it’s really your responsibility as a property owner or occupant to ask about this.
Finding Qualified Mold Remediation Professionals
Don’t automatically believe that anyone claiming to be qualified is. The federal government doesn’t have certification for mold removal. Some states do, but you need to verify that.
Get a handful of estimates to start with. Have a walkthrough with each contractor so they can look things over before they give you an explanation and an estimate. Shopping around at least three contractors will help you avoid being overcharged. Ideally, you’ll get a competitive quote that isn’t disturbingly low.
Watch out for anyone who claims they can make your home or building “mold-free”. Technicians who know what they’re doing know they can’t make this claim.
Also be mindful of scare tactics, unsolicited offers, and storm chasers that show up after natural disasters. Always look for customer complaints only, and look for reported scams or unresolved complaints.
Communication Is Crucial
Once you select a particular contractor, schedule a time for their work. Ask them in advance what you should do to prepare your home or business. It usually goes best if pets and people are kept out of the way. So you know the name and appearance of your contractor, so you don’t open your door to strangers.
Ask all the questions you might have, especially about what you need to do after the remediation. See what steps you might take to avoid having this same problem again in the future, so you don’t have to go through all of this again.
Many mold situations inevitably wind up being dealt with via commercial mold remediation. However, there are steps you should take in between detecting mold and actually having a remediation professional come out to take care of things.