An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Remediation

Let’s face it; mold remediation can be compared to things like going to the dentist to get a cavity fixed. In some cases, it can be closer to getting a root canal. It is just not one of those things most people plan on or look forward to doing.

Just as important as maintaining proper dental hygiene, it’s a great idea to prevent mold growth from developing.Preventive measures indoors can help avoid the need for mold removal in the future.

Since moisture is the number one supporter of mold growth, we need to ensure the basics are covered, as well as some things that might not be so obvious.

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Ounces of Prevention

  • Pay close attention to plumbing leaks. Have them repaired as quickly as possible.
  • In basements, perform waterproofing to repair any moisture producing wall or floor cracks.
  • Chimneys, vents, or other items protruding through the roof need to be sealed to prevent moisture from entering the home.
  • Keep gutters clean and make sure downspouts are connected, routing rainwater away from the home.
  • If you have a sump pump, you might consider a backup system that will operate during a power failure.
  • Watch for old, cracked, or missing exterior caulking around windows and doors. Maintenance is king!

Although mold loves liquid water, it can also get the water it needs to grow simply from damp, humid environments without the presence of an obvious leak or other water source.

This is where ventilation comes into the picture.

  • First and foremost, watch indoor humidity levels. It is a good idea to maintain a relative humidity level of 65% or less.
  • Operate dehumidifiers when necessary.
  • Be sure bathroom fans and clothes dryer vents are properly vented to the outdoors.
  • Maintain good HVAC system operation and repair – especially units with humidifying equipment.
  • Some crawl spaces are damp and can be sources of moisture if not properly sealed with a liner system. Some may even require a drainage system which ejects groundwater to the outside.
  • Attics should be appropriately vented. Soffit vents should be clear of insulation or other obstructions.

The way houses are built, combined with how we live, moisture often occurs naturally inside the home.  Proper ventilation is essential in order to route the humid air outside.

If you’re like me, you might remember Mom saying “If you eat too many sweets, you’re going to get cavities”. Well, water is to mold, like too many sweets can be to cavities!

The “IICRC S520 Standard for Professional Mold Remediation”: Why It’s Important

Whether you are a contractor or a customer, everyone can benefit from the guidance provided by the S520 Standard because it is based upon the experience of people working in actual indoor environments with real mold problems. The Standard utilizes this real world experience and provides us with a guideline to follow that ensures the best possible outcome for mold remediation projects.

Without this Standard, it could be particularly difficult for a customer unfamiliar with the trade to effectively choose a quality contractor for their remediation project. If you solicit three bids all from different contractors, it is highly likely significant differences will exist amongst them. Most people with a mold issue requiring professional remediation are not educated or experienced in the field and have little to no way of determining which contractor to choose or why.  The S520 Standard helps keep things in balance by providing effective methodologies for contractors to utilize and enables customers a greater opportunity for an “Apples to Apples” comparison.

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The Standard for Professional Mold Remediation

To sum it up very briefly, the standard firstly describes mold remediation procedures and techniques that should be followed by remediators, and secondly describes the methodology and criteria for remediators to use while inspecting mold contaminated structures and developing remediation plans.

While the Standard discusses many topics, some of the items addressed include: inspections, project documentation, contaminant control, contaminant removal, and prevention.

 

Who Develops the Standard?

The content of the Standard is created from the combined voluntary effort of industry experts and other organizations such as the Indoor Environmental Institute (IEI), the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), and the Society of Cleaning and Restoration Technicians (SCRT).

 

Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC)

The IICRC is a nonprofit certification and standard setting organization for the inspection, cleaning and restoration industries. Its mission is to identify and promote an international standard of care that establishes and maintains the health, safety and welfare of the built environment.

 

Let the Standard work for you!

If you have a situation involving mold, make sure that any contractor you do business with follows the S520 Standard for Professional Mold Remediation. This will go a long way to protect your investment and ensure the problem is dealt with properly.

If you would like to learn more about the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification or the S520 Standard, please visit: http://iicrc.org/

Considering a Sealed Crawl Space? Here are reasons you should…

Sealing a crawl space properly will increase your environmental health and save you money.  The sealing process is simple, resulting in cleaner, healthier living along with many economic benefits.  Crawl space sealing systems can be installed in less than a day.  These systems often transform a musty, unsightly space into a dry and visually pleasing addition to your home or office.

Damp, Musty Odors

Dirt or gravel crawl spaces can retain moisture thus increasing the amount of humidity in your home. These damp areas are often the source of mold and soil gases.  Eliminating mold and soil gas will help remove unpleasant odors emanating throughout living areas.

Destructive Moisture

Moisture produced from an unsealed crawl space can condense on and damage plumbing, air conditioning/heating equipment and ductwork. High moisture levels typically result in warping of and damage to  wood floors found in the surrounding areas.  The building structure itself may also be affected.

Radon

Not all homes are subject to radon gas.  However, if radon is present, a sealed crawl space can help prevent entry into the home.

Energy Costs

Heating and air conditioning equipment work harder as humidity levels increase. A sealed crawl space system provides a vapor barrier which helps prevent moisture from entering living space.

Unsightly

Unfinished crawl spaces are unsightly, not inviting, and result in wasted space. A sealed crawl space system leaves the area clean and usable for storage.

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Properly sealed crawl spaces are easy, economical home improvements that will bring many benefits to your home:

  • Improved air quality.
  • Clean, inviting space usable for storage.
  • Increased resale value.
  • Energy savings.
  • Protection from moisture, insects, soil gases and odors.

Click here to learn more about the Sealed Crawl Space systems provided by Alliance Restoration, Inc.

10 Tips for Selecting a Great Mold Remediator!

Most people looking to hire a mold remediation contractor for the first time typically don’t know what to look for.  Mold can affect not only the quality of a home, but more importantly, the health of its occupants. Therefore, when selecting a contractor, it is essential you find one who can provide the best possible service!  The following list may help you weed out sub-par contractors.

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1.      Experience

Let “new remediators” learn lessons of the trade at someone else’s expense. Don’t be afraid to ask a potential contractor how much experience they have. Their answer should leave you with the confidence that this is not their first rodeo.

2.      Certification

Although experience is important, having the right kind of training is invaluable. Make sure the mold remediator is serious enough to become certified in the field of mold remediation.

3.      Licensing

Most states do not issue a license for mold remediation services.  A call to your local government can verify contractor legitimacy and whether or not they hold a current business license.

4.      Insurance

A tragic fact is there are uninsured contractors performing work all the time.  Don’t be fooled.  An uninsured contractor puts the homeowner at risk! Do not hesitate to ask for a copy of a contractor’s insurance certificate. A remediation contractor should have insurance coverage that includes General Liability, Pollution Liability, and Workmen’s Compensation.

5.      References

An experienced mold remediator who takes good care of their customers and does great work should be able to provide references or statements of recommendation from their prior customers.

6.      Methods of Remediation

You don’t have to be an expert in mold remediation to ask a potential contractor what methods of remediation they use. Be wary of “quick fixes”.  Although spays or coatings may play a part in a mold remediation project, removal of the mold should always be the primary means of remediation where possible.

7.      Trade Organizations

A contractor involved with relevant trade organizations suggests they are interested in staying up to date with industry advancements and continuing education.  Ask what involvement the remediator has with organizations such as:

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification

Indoor Air Quality Association

8.      Better Business Bureau

Is the contractor an accredited business? What is their rating? Have they had any consumer complaints, and if so were the issues resolved?  These questions are easily answered by checking with the Better Business Bureau.

9.      Specialization

Some contractors provide mold remediation services secondary to their primary business. While there are benefits to hiring a contractor capable of providing multiple services, make sure your mold remediator’s primary focus is on mold remediation.

10.   Trust & Comfort

Whether discussing matters on the phone or during an on-site visit, a contractor should not be impatient or hurried. A good remediator will display a genuine concern for your situation and will invest the time to answer questions.  These simple character traits will help earn your confidence!

These tips should help get you on the right path of finding an excellent mold remediation company. Remember, the lowest cost solution is not necessarily the best solution. Rectifying the situation right the first time, in a safe & efficient manner and at a fair price should be the ultimate goal.