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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

The 411 on Mold

5/28/2021 (Permalink)

In both homes and businesses, mold is a common concern. Therefore, understanding how and why mold grows, as well as how it can be prevented, is crucial to protecting against the harmful consequences of mold growth. What can SERVPRO do to help? Keep reading to learn more about our mold remediation process and services.

The Biology of Mold

Saprophyte, a type of fungus, is the scientific classification of mold. Scientists have concluded that they are unsure as to exactly how many species of mold are out there, but we do know that there are at least 20,000. Mold grows on a variety of surfaces and obtains nutrients by feeding on decomposed organic matter. Branches of mold, called hyphae, facilitate mold’s spread.

Common Types of Mold in Buildings

In buildings such as commercial businesses, five mold varieties are common. First, there is penicillium, a type of mold that is usually blue-ish green in color and its texture resembles that of velvet. Second, aspergillus often grows in environments rich with oxygen. Third is chaetomium, a variety whose texture is cotton-like. A fourth variety, cladosporium, commonly grows on fabric surfaces. Lastly, stachybotrys is most common in humid and damp areas of buildings.

Containing the Spread of Spores

Because there has always been mold on surfaces and in the air, there’s no such thing as completely eradicating mold. The objective of mold remediation, therefore, is to contain the spread of mold and in effect avoid severe situations of mold infestation. Beginning as just tiny spores, mold can eventually hold thousands of spores due to its structure. The process of air blowing mold spores, known as aerosolization, opens the door to the possibility for mold to spread. Containing mold, therefore, is key in preventing mold from spreading to other previously unaffected areas of the home or business. In order to achieve this, our SERVPRO team puts advanced containment materials and resources, including negative air chambers that create physical barriers, into place.

Why Should We Be So Worried About Mold?

Health Effects

There are certain types of mold, including those that make Penicillin or bleu cheese, that do not negatively affect the body. All the while, there are many other types of mold that can be harmful, as they contain mycotoxins. 

In addition to health effects, buildings and homes can also unknowingly suffer from mold growth, as mold is often invisible to the eye until it grows into dangerous colonies. As a result, it can be difficult to tell whether or not items in your home or business have been subject to mold contamination.

Mold in Buildings

“Sick building syndrome” (SBS), which involves a building’s occupants complaining of minor health effects that cannot be explained by any other factors, is common when mold grows in buildings. If air circulation or maintenance are lacking, these health effects can persist. A common catalyst of mold growth in buildings is the HVAC system, as filters, drain pans, and piping that are not working properly can facilitate the spread of mold. Because HVAC systems circulate air throughout buildings, any mold growth inside of the unit can be easily delivered throughout the building, resulting in a wide-spread mold problem. You can read more about SERVPRO’s mold remediation services for commercial buildings here.

Mold Growth Requirements

Mold cannot thrive without the presence of the following factors: Mold spores, a food source of organic matter, a climate with a temperature of 32 to 122 degrees fahrenheit, moisture or water, and just 48 hours of time. Mold can feed on many different types of organic matter, including paints, insulation, wood, drywall, paper, caulk, and the starch in wallpaper paste.

Preventing Mold Growth

Getting moisture levels under control is key in preventing mold growth after your home or business has experienced water damage. Additionally, mitigating mold-infected areas has more benefits than remediation. The owners and occupants of businesses and homes can take several different steps in order to avoid mold growth. First and foremost, be sure to inspect areas that tend to be overlooked, including space behind dishwashers, ice maker connections, shower doors, and washing machine connections. It is important to note that it is a good idea to replace washing machine connections on a five-year basis. Above all else, taking preventative measures, such as maintaining sufficient ventilation, limiting moisture, decreasing food sources for mold, and putting fungicides and biocides to use, is helpful when seeking to prevent mold growth.

Mold Remediation Basics

Our mold remediation services adhere to the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification’s S520 Standards and Professional Mold Remediation Reference Guide. Mold remediation follows three condition levels: Normal Fungal Ecology, Settled Spores, and Actual Growth. In a Normal Fungal Ecology, mold spores or traces of mold growth may be present in an indoor environment. Condition 2, Settled Spores, occurs when indoor areas have become secondarily contaminated with settled mold spores. When an indoor environment becomes contaminated with mold growth, the area meets the requirements for Condition 3, Actual Growth.

Our 5 Principles of Mold Remediation

Here at SERVPRO, our focus is on mold containment and preventing the spread of mold. We utilize tools such as negative air chambers in order to contain areas of mold growth with negative air pressure and physical barriers while we clean.

When combating mold growth, our team focuses on 5 mold remediation principles, which include

  • Safety and Health,
  • Documentation,
  • Control Containments,
  • Remove the Contamination,
  • and Correct the Moisture Problem, respectively.

In order to make certain that our work has efficiently contained the mold issue, our team brings in an Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) to perform a final clearance test. In this test, areas that were previously labeled as Condition 3 or Condition 2 are tested against the IICRC S250 Standards, making sure that they have returned to Condition 1. It is only after the affected area meets Condition 1 standards that we remove our containment devices. To learn more about our mold remediation protocol, check out our Mold Restoration Process.

Have a Mold Problem? Call SERVPRO

Visit our website in order to learn more about SERVPRO’s Mold Remediation and Restoration Services. If you discover mold growth of any size in your home or commercial business, be sure to call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West immediately at (717) 510-6779. By calling SERVPRO, you can be sure that your home or business will receive professional and dependable mold services.

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