10 • SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 29, 2020 • HOUSE TO HOME
Why most mold remediation jobs fail
The sad truth about mold is
that many remediation jobs fail
and leave customers with empty
wallets and homes that are still
Mold has often grown back
within weeks or months of a
It is shocking to find that after
thousands of dollars of treatment,
many homes still have
mold visible behind baseboards,
behind walls, in ductwork and on
contents that were not treated.
Those remediators are counting
on the customer not recognizing
the remaining mold.
We all pretty much trust the
claims on the label of Lysol
disinfectant spray that it has a
99.9 percent kill rate for germs,
bacteria and mold.
Imagine that we go into a dirty,
dusty room and spray everything
with a mist of Lysol. Fast
forward two weeks. The dust, dirt
and other debris is still there.
Maybe we even add a little food
debris on the kitchen counter
Do you believe that any home
will be germ free three weeks
after being sprayed?
Simply spraying or fogging
with a mold product is not
enough to bring a home or any
other building to an acceptable
level of mold for more than a few
days or weeks.
The most economical and
healthy approach to mold
remediation in a building is to
complete remediation of all mold
contaminated areas and sources
of contamination in the initial
An independent expert in the
building science of mold should
do an assessment for two reasons.
One reason is the added expertise
in finding mold and creating the
plan to keep it from coming back.
The other is that it will provide
a customer the information to
know which mold remediator’s
proposal is right for the property.
You want enough work done to
make sure the property stays
mold free but not more work or
expense than is necessary.
Selecting a remediator and
Identifying and removing
materials and contents that can’t
be cleaned is the first step. Deep
cleaning of organic debris and
dust is critical to success. HEPA
cleaning, wiping and disinfection
of surfaces is required for most
remediations to be successful and
Do not settle for spraying or
fogging without preparation.
There are numerous mold
treatment systems available
that encompass a wide range of
chemicals of varying toxicity.
Some chemicals that have superb
effectiveness are very dangerous
to health and safety.
The goal is selecting a treatment
system that can fully kill
mold but be safe for residents and
The additional important criteria
are that the residual chemical
should have a degree of continued
effectiveness but be safe for
occupant and pet exposure.
Make sure that product label instructions
are followed. The use
of an enzyme-based treatment
system is often a great choice.
In any instance, the chosen
treatment system should be applied
according to directions by
technicians utilizing proper procedures
and personal protective
equipment. All systems of mold
treatment include application of
chemical products that should be
done by trained professionals to
assure both safety and effectiveness.
Indoor air humidity should be
less than 40-50 percent, and all
cavities and surfaces should be
free of moisture. All water leaks
and events need to be corrected.
The conditions that allow mold
growth must be avoided.
What to watch for in a
Depending upon the level, location,
use and extent of remediation
required, the remediation
needs to be done with appropriate
levels of protection. Persons
handling materials, contents and
debris from a mold remediation
are exposed to elevated mold
Mold can spread easily when
airborne. PPE or “Personal
Protective Equipment” needs
to be worn by those exposed to
airborne mold during work.
At a minimum, workers need
to wear masks. In higher mold
conditions or closed areas, gloves
and suits might also be crucial
and necessary protective equipment.
If an area of remediation has
disturbed materials, the area
being cleaned needs to be contained
from spreading disturbed
mold through other areas of the
Contaminated materials need
to be wrapped and carried out of
the building while enclosed.
In areas of significant disturbed
materials, the area of work might
need to be protected with an
airlock. This is usually simple,
overlapping plastic doors that
appear like the scene you might
remember from the movie “ET:
The Extraterrestrial.” This is
In situations where there is
concern and risk that disturbed
mold might be drawn from the
disturbed area into the other
areas of the building, the work
area needs placed under negative
air pressure. That means the air
is drawn from that area and sent
to the exterior.
Forced-air heating systems are
another place that needs to be
professionally cleaned to avoid
moving mold through the rest
of the building. Ductwork might
need to be sealed within work
areas to avoid the furnace or AC
blower pushing mold through the
building while the unit is operating.
Another aspect of the professional
mold remediation job is air
scrubbing. Mold spores go into
the air. That process is accelerated
when mold is disturbed during
work. As that mold is floating in
the work area, it can be collected
on a filter in the piece of equipment
called an air scrubber. This
is a highly efficient air filter designed
to capture small particles
such as mold.
When the job is completed, you
should have proof that the work
was effective in removing the
mold. This is done by conducting
a “clearance test” also known as
a PRV, short for “Post-Remediation
Accepted procedure is that
clearance testing should not be
done by the remediator.
Selecting the right professional
for your project can be a scary
challenge. It is an important task
with the health of occupants
of the contaminated building
depending upon the work of possibly
For links and additional
information about finding help
for mold remediation, go to:
Dan Howard is the owner of
Envirospect. For environmental
consultation, call 724-443-6653.
For more information, visit their
website at EnviroSpect.com.
Email your questions to
by Dan HowarD
FOR TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
Protective gear needs to be worn by those exposed to airborne mold
during remediation work.