Recent Mold Remediation Posts

Top Mistakes To Avoid When Cleaning Mold and Mildew

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

Proud homeowners who find that they have a mold problem on their hands might be gung-ho about getting rid of the problem on a Do It Yourself (DIY) basis, primarily to save cost. If you happen to fall under this category, do take note that other homeowners in the past who felt the same way have gone through the motions and made the following mistakes to avoid when it comes to removing mold around the home.

Gotta Catch Them All! One of the most common mistakes in cleaning up mold is figuring out that you have gotten rid of the problem for good. After all, for visible mold that you have just wiped clean with a tea tree oil solution, there is probably more from where it came from which remains hidden from your view. After all, mold spores are very small and extremely light in its makeup. This makes it very easy to spread from one particular area of the home to another. A single patch of mold growing in one area of the home is enough signal to perform a thorough inspection of the rest of the house in order to make sure that not a single nook and cranny remains unlooked at.

Bleach is Not the Answer Most people think that bleach, with its cleaning power, is able to do wonders when it comes to getting rid of mold. While bleach is rather effective when it comes to killing and removing mold from hard and non-porous surfaces, it does not get to the root of the problem. In order to make a bleach solution more effective, you should perform a mop up operation using an antimicrobial cleanser.

My Clothes Were Damaged By Mold in a Rarely Used Closet…Can We Save Them? Mold Remediation Approved

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

Those of us who live in Central Florida and surrounding areas like Winter Garden, Windermere, Apopka, and Lake Buena Vista know that moisture in our homes is a common issue. We try to maintain a temperature with our AC units that we can live with, that our power bill can sustain (and therefore our pocket), and that will keep that moisture down. We might find some mildew from time to time and take care of it ourselves. Or perhaps you’ve had a mold issue and have called in a professional company to take care of it for you.

What about those closets that we don’t open often? Perhaps you open the closet door looking for those golf clubs that you are finally getting around to using. Or maybe you finally have an opportunity to wear that dress that you got on clearance. Unfortunately as soon as you open the door you notice that everything in the closet seems to be discolored. Upon closer inspection you notice that it smells musty and looks like it might be mold. What can you do?

On its web site, IICRC.org, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, Restoration, and Certification states the following:

Foremost, any garment or fabric that has not suffered physical deterioration or discoloration as a result of mold growing on it, and that is washable (typically, a minimum of 130ºF for at least 10 minutes), can be restored completely. That goes for bacterial contamination as well, as evidenced by hospitals daily as they wash linens, gowns, surgical drapes, etc.

Dry cleaning also does a good job when evaluated and cleaned - often twice - by a qualified professional. Again, this assumes no deterioration or discoloration of the garment. Ultimately, sampling and evaluation by a qualified environmental professional can be used to confirm remediation of the garment.

Our team of certified professionals here at SERVPRO are available to help you with this process anytime. Please give us a call and we would be happy to walk you through the process.

Lot's of Rain Can Lead to Mold

9/26/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Lot's of Rain Can Lead to Mold Mold can be lurking in hard to notice places. If you have a mold issue, SERVPRO will find it and resolve it.

We continue to have a lot of rain, with no end in sight! We hope all of you are doing well despite all of this water.  This is great for our lawns and for helping recover from our recent drought, but water is one of Mother Nature's most destructive forces!

While you may not see any signs of water damage at your home or office, you may still have water or mold issues that you cannot see.  Often times, mold and water damage can be hidden in places that are hard to see.

For example, a roof leak may only show a few drops on your ceiling, but it is actually spreading water around your attic or causing mold on your roof trusses.  A little bit of water that seeps under the garage door can seem like no big deal, but the water has actually gotten into the walls, soaked into the sheet rock, and/or damaged your baseboards.

These and other water related issues can lead to mold.  Sometimes you can see it, and sometimes you can't.  Either way, it is still a problem that needs to be dealt with.

If you, your co-workers or loved ones start having headaches, stuffed/runny noses or symptoms that feel like allergies but you haven't had allergies in the past then you may have water or mold issues.

The professionals at SERVPRO are thoroughly trained on mold remediation and removal.  We use state-of-the-art methods and machinery that is environmentally friendly and pet safe.  Regardless of the type of mold you encounter or the size of your mold problem, our team will handle it quickly and effectively.

Remember, our team of mold remediation professionals is available 24/7 365 to help. Why not get some piece of mind and let our team do a free visual mold inspection at your home or office?

Call today and get the peace of mind you deserve.

Mold is Everywhere, Even in the Cleanest Home or Office

9/26/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Mold is Everywhere, Even in the Cleanest Home or Office Got Mold? You may not be sure, but our team of professionals will be! Call SERVPRO for a free visual mold inspection today!

It's that time of year, when it rains everyday!  Sometimes it is just passing showers and sometimes it is a tropical storm or hurricane!  There is still plenty of nice weather to enjoy, but as is typical in Central Florida, there will be quite a bit of rain mixed in!  

All that rain can lead to mold. Remember, mold needs moisture to grow and as long as that moisture is present mold will continue to grow.  That's why it is important to stop any water or mold you find as quickly as possible, before it spreads.

We often hear from customers that they did not think they had mold in their home of office since they keep their property clean.  While we highly recommend keeping your home or office clean, even the cleanest home or office can have a mold problem.

There are over 100,000 types of mold, most of which are harmless.  These mold spores are in the air, love humidity and water and are able to grow quite well in our local environment.  No matter how mush cleaning you do, mold is always around, and it is usually harmless.   

So, how do you tell if you have a mold issue and if the mold you see is harmless?  Simple, call the team at SERVPRO and let our trained professionals stop by and give you a free visual mold inspection?  It is a quick, easy, and FREE service that can help detect any issues you may have.

You may not have anything to worry about, and we hope you don't, but wouldn't it be nice to know?

Removing The Lingering Odor From Mold Growth In Your Apopka / Wekiva House

7/3/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Removing The Lingering Odor From Mold Growth In Your Apopka / Wekiva House The Mold Life Cycle During Remediation in Apopka / Wekiva Properties

Most homeowners aren't prepared to find mold in their home. With the high humidity throughout the most of the year in the Central Florida area, this is a constant threat to those who do not treat and condition the air inside their homes and in some cases, to those who do as well.


One of the most significant hurdles that homeowners find they have to overcome is the bold scent that comes along with the presence of microbial growth. It is often described as a pungent musty odor that is challenging to live around, so that's why it is a priority of our SERVPRO technicians to take care of this lingering effect from your home during the remediation process. 

From the moment that our team arrives at your home, we work quickly to set up the appropriate preventative measures to stop the spread of the colony elsewhere. While removal is underway, dehumidification equipment works to resolve the moisture and dampness which fed the spores and allowed them to seat in the first place. 

Once nearly all of the components of remediation have finished, our SERVPRO technicians are ready to take on the lingering foul odor that makes comfortable living challenging for you and your family. The process typically utilizes extensive cleaning of the affected areas and then the use of a thermal fogging machine. The equipment releases a chemical compound that can break odor molecules apart on contact and neutralize them. This process is safe for open areas as well as fabrics, carpets, and furniture in your home. 

Now that you can appreciate the kind of resolve that our technicians have with something as fundamental as a lingering odor, you can see how this same dedication is present in every facet of our remediation efforts. You can trust our SERVPRO of Apopka / Wekiva mold remediation technicians to help you overcome every effect from this unfortunate occurrence and restore your home to its former condition. "Like it never even happened." Give us a call anytime at (407) 788-3124.

Humidity and Mold Problems in Multi-Story Condominiums

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Contributed by Scott Tracy, owner

In my many travels and inspections around Central Florida, I have come across a unique problem associated with multi-story condominium buildings. This problem seems to be somewhat pervasive in the Winter Garden area.

Unfortunately I have found that there is a lot of myth’s or disinformation out there as to why this problem is occurring. In many cases Tenants/Condo Owners are being blamed for causing mold growth in their units by either being negligent or not using their HVAC systems properly. As a result there are many Tenants/Owners being driven to distraction with guilt and stress as well as suffering property damage that they cannot control.

As I mentioned above, I have inspected many of these cases (some in the same complex), and since I cannot review each and every one of them, I found one inspection that encapsulates all of the units that I inspected. The reader needs to know that there is some common denominators to be found in these situations:

1.     Sometimes dehumidifiers are found installed in the same closet as the AC Air Handler.

2.     Sometimes a Humidistat Controller will also be installed on the wall near to the AC Air Handler Closet.

3.     Normally there will be a “fresh-air” supply duct coming out of the wall in the AC Air Handler Closet.

Pictures showing AC Air Handler Closet with permanently installed dehumidifier.

This is a copy of an email I sent to a client that I worked for last year. In this case I was hired by a Tenant who was experiencing mold problems in his unit.The reader will find the information about “Aircycler” below pretty interesting. While many of these affected units do not have this type of controller installed in their units, the notes that I highlighted in red infer that these fresh air ports can be a big problem in humid climates.

I have deleted the names for obvious reasons.

I have found that a lot of these complexes, many built by the same builder, have similar issues. It is also obvious to me that in the past there were actions taken by both the Condominium Associations and the Condominium Owners to address this problem. The evidence is after-construction, retro-fitted dehumidifiers that are now installed in a lot of the Condominiums.

Here is the email:

From: Scott Tracy [mailto:stracy@SERVPROaw-wo.com] 
Sent: Thursday
To: XXXXXXXXXXXX
Subject: Mold problem in Condominium

Mr. XXX,

Per your request, I returned to your unit today to further investigate the source of the high humidity problem. This high humidity caused the mold contamination to both the walls of the Condominium and to your contents in the unit.

1.     Obviously this Condominium has a fresh air supply duct opening located in the Air Handler closet to the left of the air handler (see below). This allows unconditioned fresh air to be mixed into the Condominiums interior air periodically to help dilute indoor air pollution. Since we are in Florida, during certain times of the year, this unconditioned air can be severely elevated with high humidity.

2.       This unconditioned air is drawn from the fresh air supply into the Condominium in 2 ways:

One way is part of the original design. When the Air Handler is running, the air returning to the Air Handler causes a low pressure environment in front of the fresh air supply duct opening which pulls air from the exterior to the interior (see pictures below).

The second is not part of the intended design. When bathroom exhaust fans are engaged or the Clothes Dryer is working, these appliances pushes air out of the Condominium. Replacement air then needs to be sought. This replacement air would also come from this fresh air supply duct opening.

3.       To counter elevated humidity in the Condominiums air, both the Air Handler and the installed dehumidifier work together, and are designed to condense and remove this excess moisture.

4.       If either one or both of these fail, elevated humidity will permeate the unit and cause mold. Both point 5 & 6 below show a failure with both units.

5.       I inspected the installed dehumidifier. The unit is not working properly. The unit is running, but my hygrometer shows that the exiting air shows no drop in relative humidity. The drain bucket was also inspected, and it revealed no evidence of any water or moisture. This indicates the dehumidifier is basically using electricity, but not doing its job

6.       You also mentioned to me that there was a problem with the Air Handler in the past. You indicated there was an extended period of time where the Air Handler never shut off. In spite of your efforts to use your thermostat to shut the unit off, this was not successful. You called the units owner and an HVAC Contractor came to the Condominium to correct the problem. I will tell you that there were two consequences that occurred when this happened. Both of these consequences resulted in additional elevated humidity in the home.

a.       If the Air Handler blower never turned off, any water condensate that might have accumulated in the AC pan below the cooling coils (that normally would drain down the pvc drain line), would have just been evaporated back into the Air Handler air flow, and therefore back into the Condominium.

b.      Additionally, if the Air Handler blower never turned off, this in turn continually pulled additional humid air from the above mentioned fresh air supply duct opening. This compounded the problem and caused uncontrolled humidity in the Condominium, which in turn allowed for mold growth.

7.       Furthermore, the AirCycler Programmable Ventilation Controller was found to be disconnected in the Air Handler closet. This is part of the fresh air supply’s design. Since this may have been disconnected by the visiting HVAC Contractor, the presumption is that this controller may have been interfering with the HVAC thermostat, which in turn may have been the reason why you could not get your Air Handler to shut off in the past.

8.       Please see the information I have cut and pasted into this email below. This comes from the Controller Manufacturer that is installed in the Condominiums Air Handler closet. Please note the text I highlighted in red. This page mentions the danger of continuously running the “central system fan” (or Air Handler blower I mention above), no less than 4 times.

9.       The only good news about this is that now that the source of the problem has been identified (equipment failure), the owner of this Condominium has the ability to mold remediate his unit and there may be coverage under Homeowners Insurance. It would normally be considered a “covered” loss. Unfortunately, the Condominium Owner’s Insurance will not extend any coverage for your contents as they are not part of their coverage.

mMAirCycler

AirCycler

The AirCycler is a programmable ventilation controller for Central Fan Supply Ventilation designs. When you are providing fresh air for a house through a fresh air supply duct connected from the outside to the return plenum of the HVAC system it is essential to have the air handler operate on a scheduled cycle to provide fresh air for the house. This programmable timer is connected to the thermostat connection of the air handlerto monitor the run time of the air handler and when needed turn on the air handler to meet the fresh air requirements of the house. The timer will take advantage of free distribution of ventilation air during thermostat driven heating or cooling operation and provides periodic whole house mixing and ventilation air distribution during periods when thermostat driven heating or cooling operation does not meet the programmed fresh air demand.

Applications

Ventilation Systems

 

Air Cycler FR

Outside Air Duct Into The Central System Air Handler Return Plenum

Ventilation systems that provide ventilation air through a duct that extends from outdoors to the return plenum of a central air handler only supply ventilation air when the fan is operating. Rather than operating the central system fan continuously, which can waste energy and can also lead to moisture related problems in humid climates, the recycling control can be set to periodically distribute ventilation air during stagnant periods when there is no call to circulate air for purposes of heating or cooling.

An economical and effective ventilation system, using the AirCycler, would be a 6" to an 8" diameter insulated duct (depending on the house size) from outdoors to the return of the central air distribution fan (see diagram below). This outside air should be filtered before it enters the central return duct, and a balancing damper is advisable to give additional field control of the delivered outside air volume. The AirCycler control would be installed at the central fan cabinet, connecting to the thermostat wiring terminals. It functions to guarantee that fresh air will be periodically distributed throughout the house when there is no call for heating or cooling, but it is energy efficient since it only does this if the central fan has not operated for a preset time. A very important added benefit, is that builder call-backs due to thermal comfort or air quality problems may be greatly reduced because the AirCycler will even-out temperature, humidity and stuffiness conditions between rooms and the main body.

For single-point exhaust or single-point supply ventilation systems, the supply or exhaust point is usually located in the main body of the house. In this case, closed rooms, such as bedrooms, will not receive adequate ventilation air unless the central system fan operates to mix air between the main body and the closed rooms. Rather than operating the central system fan continuously, which can waste energy and can also lead to moisture related problems in humid climates, the AirCycler control can be set to periodically distribute ventilation air throughout the house during stagnant periods when there is no call to circulate air for purposes of heating or cooling.

Enhanced Humidity Control Systems

In humid climates, dehumidification, separate from the central cooling system, may be usedto maintain comfort in seasons where there may be long periods of high humidity while indoor temperatures are within personal comfort ranges. In order to reduce system cost, it may be practical to locate a single dehumidifier in the main body of the house. In this case, closed rooms, such as bedrooms, will not receive the dehumidification benefit unless the central system fan operates to mix air between the main body and the closed rooms. Rather than operating the central system fan continuously, which can waste energy and can also lead to moisture related problems in humid climates, the AirCycler control can be set to periodically distribute dehumidified air throughout the house during stagnant periods when there is no call to circulate air for purposes of heating or cooling. For either dehumidifiers that are connected to the central air distribution system ducts, or for dehumidifiers that are stand-alone, humidistats are usually located in a central area and are expected to serve an entire zone that usually includes closed rooms, and often, more than one floor level. Humidity conditions can vary widely between the humidistat location and extremities of the space the humidistat serves. A practical solution to this problem could be to utilize the central system fan to average the overall space conditions by mixing. Rather than operating the central system fan continuously, which can waste energy and can also lead to moisture related problems in humid climates, the AirCycler control can be set to periodically mix house air during stagnant periods when there is no call to circulate air for purposes of heating or cooling.

I hope this helps somewhat.

Needless to say, the above diagnosis helped this particular customer avoid being blamed for causing the high humidity and mold in the condominium. Even though the condominium owner used this information to find a fix to his problem, the Tenant (my customer) was able to move out without and penalty.

For those readers that live in similar multi-story complexes (be they apartments or condominiums), if any of the above information sounds similar to what you are experiencing, please contact a professional to come out and help you figure out why this is happening.

What Steps Are Involved In Mold Remediation?

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Have you ever wondered what happens when a mold removal specialist gets called to a mold-damaged facility?

Here are five steps that a mold removal specialist takes when conducting mold remediation: 

1. Determine the degree of contamination. To do so, a mold remediation specialist may need to bring in an Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) to determine the extent of the mold damage and test for contamination within the facility. Because mold spores and other microscopic contaminants can travel easily throughout a building, the IEP may collect and analyze samples from affected and unaffected areas of the building. Once the IEP has finished the inspection, they will develop a remediation plan for the mold removal specialist with steps to return the home to its preloss condition. 

2. Set up and verify containment. To make sure mold contamination does not spread to other areas of a facility, the mold remediation specialist will set up containment by creating isolation barriers. Once the barriers are established, the specialist will verify containment with a lower partial pressure differential (negative pressure) to ensure there is no air leakage between containment zones. Exit chambers are used to serve as a transition between the containment and the unaffected area of the building. Once the containment is verified and the correct amount of pressure is achieved, the removal process can begin. 

3. Remove unsalvageable materials. Porous materials and items that cannot be restored or cleaned effectively must be carefully discarded. Unsalvageable items include, but are not limited to, drywall, insulation and other items with visible mold growth. It is important for the specialist to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment which may include a full face respirator equipped with a P100/OV cartridge, disposable coveralls and nitrile gloves.

4. Clean surfaces with a high-attention to detail. A mold remediation specialist will likely begin the cleaning process by thoroughly vacuuming the contaminated areas using a HEPA vacuum with a high-efficiency filter to catch mold spores. He or she will then begin a detailed cleaning process involving mold removal tools such as a HEPA filtered sander, followed by the damp wiping of surfaces with an effective cleaning solution.

5. Verify remediation. Once cleaning is complete, the IEP will return to verify the remediation was successful. The area must be returned to the dry standard and should be visually dust free with no malodors. In addition, an IEP may perform surface or air sampling as part of the verification that the area is back to normal fungal ecology.  

 “Mold remediation requires mold removal specialists to perform techniques that promote source removal rather than relying on chemicals, paints and coatings as a replacement,” said Rachel Adams, President of Indoor Environmental Management, Inc. “Understanding and managing air flow is also critical to the success of a mold remediation project. Working with qualified IEP can also help to reduce the liability for the technician as well as provide a final determination if the remediation was successful.”

Steps Involved in Removing Mold

2/20/2018 (Permalink)

Have you ever wondered what happens when a mold removal specialist gets called to a mold-damaged facility?

Here are five steps that a mold removal specialist takes when conducting mold remediation:

1. Determine the degree of contamination. To do so, a mold remediation specialist may need to bring in an Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) to determine the extent of the mold damage and test for contamination within the facility. Because mold spores and other microscopic contaminants can travel easily throughout a building, the IEP may collect and analyze samples from affected and unaffected areas of the building. Once the IEP has finished the inspection, they will develop a remediation plan for the mold removal specialist with steps to return the home and/or business to its preloss condition.

2. Set up and verify containment. To make sure mold contamination does not spread to other areas of a facility, the mold remediation specialist will set up containment by creating isolation barriers. Once the barriers are established, the specialist will verify containment with a lower partial pressure differential (negative pressure) to ensure there is no air leakage between containment zones. Exit chambers are used to serve as a transition between the containment and the unaffected area of the building. Once the containment is verified and the correct amount of pressure is achieved, the removal process can begin.

3. Remove unsalvageable materials. Porous materials and items that cannot be restored or cleaned effectively must be carefully discarded. Unsalvageable items include, but are not limited to, drywall, insulation and other items with visible mold growth. It is important for the specialist to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment which may include a full face respirator equipped with a P100/OV cartridge, disposable coveralls and nitrile gloves.

4. Clean surfaces with a high-attention to detail. A mold remediation specialist will likely begin the cleaning process by thoroughly vacuuming the contaminated areas using a HEPA vacuum with a high-efficiency filter to catch mold spores. He or she will then begin a detailed cleaning process involving mold removal tools such as a HEPA filtered sander, followed by the damp wiping of surfaces with an effective cleaning solution. 5. Verify remediation. Once cleaning is complete, the IEP will return to verify the remediation was successful. The area must be returned to the dry standard and should be visually dust free with no malodors. In addition, an IEP may perform surface or air sampling as part of the verification that the area is back to normal fungal ecology.  

 “Mold remediation requires mold removal specialists to perform techniques that promote source removal rather than relying on chemicals, paints and coatings as a replacement,” said Rachel Adams, President of Indoor Environmental Management, Inc. “Understanding and managing air flow is also critical to the success of a mold remediation project. Working with qualified IEP can also help to reduce the liability for the technician as well as provide a final determination if the remediation was successful.”