Recent Mold Remediation Posts
Are You Ready to Remediate or Should You Test for Mold First?
With protocol in hand, we can begin remediation, starting with containment as necessary.
You walk downstairs to do laundry. It’s been a while since you’ve been down here. Oh no, what is that odor? It smells like your grandparents’ garage: musty. Does this mean you have mold? Should you call SERVPRO, whom you’ve heard so much about? While we love that instinct and we are happy to help with any of your mold remediation needs. You might want to personally evaluate the situation first.
If you do call us in this situation, we will ask you a few questions. Can you see any growth? About how many square feet of growth is visible? Have you removed and stopped the moisture that instigated this growth? While these questions can be frustrating when you are panicked about possible mold in your home, they are important for us to provide you with the best and the correct care. Some situations, including mold over 10 square feet, suspect growth that isn’t visible and any questions about type of mold or health effects need to be answered by an industrial hygienist. As specialists in mold remediation, we do not currently have a certified Industrial Hygienist on staff to complete these types to mold testing.
We strive to operate with our customers honestly and fairly. One of the ways we try to uphold this fairness, as well as avoiding any appearance of underhandedness, is in our partnership with a third-party industrial hygienist. We often refer customers to Star Environmental, they are a local company with environmental hygienists on staff. With this certification, Star Environmental can confirm the type and presence of mold growth in a structure as well as create a protocol for its remediation.
With this protocol in hand, our technicians can safely and efficiently remediate the growth that may be present. This process streamlines identification and allows us to better focus on remediating the mold growth. Of course, as always, if you have any questions about our process or to set up an assessment, give us a call at 434-977-5850.
Equipment Spotlight: Using Air Scrubbers to Restore the Indoor Air Quality of Homes and Businesses in Charlottesville
Our equipment is just part of what helps us make it “Like it never even happened.”
One of the ways that we strive to offer the best service to our customers is through our equipment. We work to maintain, continually update, and replace equipment that is worn out or aging. We recently received new air scrubbers. Unlike a dehumidifier or an extractor— whose names are also their function— the air scrubber is more industry specific and we would love to share a little bit about what we use it for.
How Does It Work?
In many loss situations, whether it be water, fire, or mold damages, there are contaminants left behind in the air. While our technicians are working to remove and restore the damage on material pieces of a home or business, we can not forget about restoring the air as well. This is when we place an air scrubber. This piece of equipment works by passing the air inside a room through three filters to remove contaminants and small particles.
For What is it Used?
During a water damage, especially one caused by a storm where the water could possibly be filled with dangerous materials, we might employ an air scrubber. As we dry the structure and affected items in this situation, we would use air movers and dehumidifiers to help dry out the structure more quickly. While in use, these machines can also stir up dust and particulates. In this situation, an air scrubber can be employed to keep these contaminants to a minimum and return the affected area to its preloss condition more quickly.
Especially in situations where damage has been caused by sewage or a sewer line back up, air scrubbers are essential to help remove left over contaminants from the air. Any sort of movement or disturbance can kick up particles into the air. We use these air scrubbers to make sure that as we are cleaning the surfaces, the air isn’t retaining any particulates that could leave behind germs or odors.
While restoring an area that has been affected by mold, we will also place air scrubbers. Mold spores are always present in the air. In an area with visible mold growth, a higher mold spore count is also present in the air. As such, while we work to remove the visible mold and prevent more growth, we also remove these spores from the air.
Overall, an air scrubber assists in the restoration process and provides a cleaner, healthier environment in an area affected by a disaster.
Storm Damage in a Charlottesville Garage Turns Fuzzy
Heavy rains can leave behind more than moisture if left untended.
After an especially rainy season, many homes in Charlottesville and the surrounding areas experienced flooding in their garages, basements, and even main living spaces in their homes. When the rain stopped, most of the flood water receded. However, the moisture that remained was the tricky, unseen kind. Water can stay under belongings and flooring as well as behind and in drywall. In itself, this moisture would probably dry out over time. However, because mold spores are in the air everywhere, usually this excess moisture is exactly the instigation needed for mold to grow.
This Charlottesville garage flooded during a rainstorm. The family tried to dry things as best they could and hoped that was the end of it. Unfortunately, a few weeks later they began to see what the water had left behind. That’s why they called us.
When we get a call like this, our first step is to schedule an assessment. Mold growth is complex, with multiple factors at play, and is almost impossible to assess from a verbal description. A situation that seems dire is sometimes a very simple remediation, and sometimes a small amount of noticeable growth is an indicator that a larger amount of growth is present. During the assessment, our production manager is able to take moisture readings as well as investigate the growth to see how far it has spread. After the initial assessment of this job, we can began remediating the mold.
This process started with an air scrubber. This is similar to a dehumidifier, but in addition to removing moisture from the air it also filters out mold spores and other contaminants. We could then remove items and building materials that were too far gone to save. With those out of the way, we used a HEPA vacuum to remove growth. Then we wiped down building materials and belongings with an anti-microbial to prevent future growth.
Once we were through, it was amazing to see the transformed garage, with clean flooring, doors and studs. We loved being able to restore this affected part of the home back to the family. It’s like returning something that was lost. If you would like to see how this garage ended up, take a look at our before and after photos.
Smelling Something Musty but Don’t See any Mold? Could it be Hiding?
Here you can see the drip pattern in the mold.
Something could be spreading and growing in the walls and floors of your home without your knowledge. Cue tension creating music. It sounds like an intro to a cheesy horror film. But this is no movie, lots of families have gone through the struggle of dealing with a mold problem. It’s not cheesy or funny but if you can recognize the situation early, the damage will be less extensive and the remediation process can be shorter as well.
Let’s return to the situation we discussed last week. There was moisture left over from not completely cleaning up a water related incident. This water may now have created mold growth that is not visible upon initial inspection. Especially if a building smells musty, but there is no visible mold growth, this could be an indicator that mold is present but hidden. Mold can hide on the backside of drywall, wallpaper, or wall paneling. It could also be on the top of ceiling tiles, under carpet or other flooring, inside walls around pipes, or inside ductwork. These places are not easily visible for inspection. At least, I’m not usually checking out the underside of my carpet. But that doesn’t mean that this mold is any less dangerous or that these locations don’t need to be cleaned.
If you do suspect growth, don’t go peeling back wallpaper or ripping holes in the wall to check the pipes as possibly disturbing mold can be dangerous to your health. If you suspect that you are sharing your home with an unwelcome moldy visitor, it’s time to call in the professionals!
Water Incidents can Seem Small and Insignificant: Mold is Also Small but not Insignificant
What may have been a small water damage was left untreated and created extensive mold growth. See the full story in our Before and After Photos.
After the heavy storm system this past month, we’ve helped multiple businesses and homes recover from water damage. However, I know that sometimes water damage doesn’t seem serious enough to call in the professionals. I’m sure that during the storms last month a few of you just soaked up the water with a towel. Maybe it wasn’t even from the storm system. Maybe you had a pipe burst and you just put a bucket under it and called a plumber. If this is the case, you sound like a do-it-yourself kind of person and that’s a commendable characteristic to have. However, if you’re wiping up water from your hardwood floor with a rag, let’s do a little digging into the consequences of possibly missing some of that moisture.
When a home suffers water damage, this damage can have lasting impacts on more areas and items than those that obviously got wet. The incoming water can create extra moisture in the air and environment that can affect walls, ceilings and items other than what would be obvious to the eye. And even after the puddle is cleaned up the moisture that is still lingering in the walls and other locations can create problems in surprisingly short amounts of time. Do you see where this is going? Mold.
Mold is always around us, but not all types of mold are harmful. Though the word mold can be scary, often visible mold isn’t dangerous. But the mold you see can be an indicator that higher levels of mold spores are present. These spores are often the cause of negative health effects. Mold spores come in from the outside and— at some level— are always present; we cannot prevent them from getting into our homes and businesses. Which means that yes, even clean water, when not properly dried and cleaned can lead to mold growth. We can, however, prevent this growth by depriving them of the moisture that is needed.
Charlottesville Residence: Home Selling/ Mold Remediation
If the house you are trying to sell has mold, call SERVPRO of Charlottesville to Remediate! 434-977-5850
Are you trying to sell your house this spring? We receive numerous calls this time of year from people who are trying to sell their house but need to have mold remediation done before the interested buyer will sign the contract. SERVPRO of Charlottesville is HERE TO HELP!
Here are some things you need to know when it comes to mold remediation on the house you are trying to sell:
- Address the Source - If the mold is coming from a leaking hot water heater, no matter how many times we come out to remediate, if the leaking hot water heater does not get fixed, the mold will keep returning.
- Depending on the severity of the mold that is present, it may be necessary to have an Industrial Hygienist come in to test for the types of mold present as well as how high of a count of mold spores are present. Our general rule of thumb is if you have a span of more than 10 square feet of mold, you probably need to have mold testing done. Having this information will allow us as mold remediators to take the necessary steps to get your home back to preloss condition. The final step is to have the Industrial Hygienist come back out and test again to ensure that we have brought the mold spore count back down to an acceptable level.
- Fun Fact: Mold is Everywhere. Click here to learn why we do not claim to be a Mold Removal Company but rather a Mold Remediation Company.
- We do not test for mold. As a professional mold remediation company, it would present a conflict of interest if we were also the Industrial Hygienist that came in behind ourselves to test the site and claim it as being cleared. We want to avoid any appearance of false test results in order to clear our own work.
Taking the 3 points listed above into consideration, please be sure to allow for enough time to: Address the Source, Have both Pre and Post Mold Testing done, as well as the Mold Remediation Process. We know a quick sell is important to you and your satisfaction in our mold remediation service is important to us.
If Your Sub Floor Looks Like This Call SERVPRO!
Does your sub floor have mold growing on it?
Indeed what you see on this sub floor is that thing that no one wants to talk about....that's right, it's mold.
So what caused this mold to begin producing on the sub floor like this? Well, ultimately it was caused by a lot of moisture being present as with all mold but in this particular situation it was a water leak that started within the wall cavity from the level above and due to the fact that the home owners hardly ever went into the basement, it remained unnoticed for quite some time. Eventually the leak worsened and became visible on the main level which prompted the home owners to give us a call and during our crew's initial investigation of the affected area, they discovered that there was more damage than originally thought.
If you are a home owner, be sure to inspect all areas of your home on a routine basis to help prevent unwanted mold damage.
Tiny Nail In A Pipe Equals Big Mess
Even the smallest puncture in a water pipe can lead to a sizable mold damage if left unnoticed.
In this picture is the source of a rather sizable residential mold loss. That's right, this tiny little nail that accidentally punctured a water pipe in the bathroom wall cavity caused excessive mold growth throughout several rooms in a house. So how did it go unnoticed for so long? Two reasons:
One - The source remained unnoticed for a while because it started inside of a call cavity and the water managed to stay within the wall cavity on the main level of the home.
Two - After flowing through the wall cavity on the main level, the water eventually made its way out of the wall cavity and into visible space inside of the home. This space being the basement. However, in this scenario, it was an unfinished basement that the homeowners rarely walked through.
Eventually the water made its way through the wall of the bathroom making it's presence known to the homeowners. Unfortunately by that point it was no longer just a water damage as they had thought but a mold damage as well.
Check out our Before & After Photos Page as well as our Photo Gallery for more photos from this mold remediation and be sure to give us a call if you are in need of our Mold Remediation and Restoration Services.
Here To Help - 434-977-5850
Mold Remediation in Somerset VA
Mold/ Water Damaged hardwood floors. Check out our photo gallery as well as our Before & After Photos to see more.
On Sunday September 5th, 2017 our on call crew responded to what sounded like a typical a residential water damage of which had just recently been caused. However, upon their arrival, the crew began to see signs indicating that the damage had been taking place over a longer period of time. Not only were the hardwood floors buckling but they were also discolored and had suspect growth along the edges of each plank of wood. When going down to inspect the unfinished basement, there was a puddle of sludge. This was another indication that the water had been dripping for a while and the water that puddled on the basement floor became stagnant and eventually turned into sludge.
So what was the cause of all of this?
The cause was a pipe in the bathroom wall cavity that had been punctured with a nail, most likely when drywall was being installed.
Why We Do Not Test For Mold – We Only Remediate
You would think a company that remediates mold would also do the testing of mold right? Well we do not and here are our reasons why.
Given that we are a Cleaning and Remediation Company, we have determined that being certified to be an Industrial Hygienist(IH) is veering too far from our profession. Mold remediation and mold testing require different sets of training, certifications, and professional equipment. For remediation purposes, the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) offers a course called, Applied Microbial Remediation Technician (AMRT). In this course technicians learn how to properly remediate mold, but not test for it. For testing purposes, you must have a 4 year bachelor’s degree in the particular field as well as specific IH courses. Click here for more about becoming an Industrial Hygienist.
In addition, a company that does both testing and remediation of mold could potentially appear to be skewing test results in order for their remediation to pass. To avoid this, we not only have another company do the testing but we also have the customer call in the IH rather than bringing them in ourselves as a subcontractor of our services. This ensures that the IH is working for the customer’s best interest.
So where do you start?
If you believe that you have a mold problem your first step is to find the source and stop it. Next, we would recommend that you call in an Industrial Hygienist to come out and test the area. A protocol will be written based off of the testing and if you do indeed have a substantial amount of mold present that needs to be remediated that is where SERVPRO of Charlottesville comes in. With the protocol in hand we are able to properly assess the area and determine the extent as well as type of cleaning that will be needed to get your home or business back to preloss condition.
If you have more questions give us a call 434-977-5850