This is one of the most case specific questions that gets asked by many people. Many companies always respond that you need to call a professional. But what many people do not realize is that most of the time a professional is not needed. I prefer to say, when in doubt call a professional. Why would I say that? My company operates on the principle that we work for you, the customer.
We do estimates for free and will be very up front about the extent of our service that you need, however I want to give you a general idea here of when you need to call us out for an estimate. Here are some common scenarios and situations:
Small area of mold:
If you find a small spot of mold somewhere that is logical and it is obvious where it is coming from you probably do not need to call. Less than 10 square feet or so, that is where OSHA draws the line between an employee or building manager handling it and the need to hire a professional.
Say you grab a piece of forgotten fruit in the kitchen that was leaning up against the wall and there is a green or black patch on the paint where the fruit was touching the wall. This is a pretty cut and dry situation, throw the piece of fruit away and clean the patch off the wall.
Let’s say you know the kitchen sink leaks out of the drain when too much water is run and you find a little mold in the cabinet, again this is just a clean it up and dry it out kind of situation.
Little spots of mold appear on the ceiling and walls of your bathroom, this is as simple as wiping them off and using the fan or window during and after showers to bring the humidity down.
Illogical spot of mold:
Why do I say illogical? Because the cause is unknown. Fuzzy dark spots start appearing in a bedroom on the wall where there are no pipes or signs of leaks. There is no reason for this, it doesn’t look wet, there is not a bathroom above it, there isn’t a lot of moisture in the air and it just appears. Time to call us. Anyone we have come and do an estimate or inspection knows enough about building construction, air flow and moisture to be able to either determine the cause or determine that we need to start an invasive inspection.
When I say invasive inspection I mean that a contract is signed and then we seal the area up and begin removing elements of the building that might be hiding the cause. In the bedroom with mystery growth on the wall once we have air scrubbers running and the area blocked off we would begin by looking behind baseboards, pulling carpets back and cutting holes in the walls where there is growth and looking behind it. Once the cause is determined the technician running the job will be able to give you a more firm estimate of how much the cleanup will be.
Why call us at this point? If the cause is on the outside of the wall what you see is what you have. If it is inside the wall the area you can see is going to have a lot more mold than the outside and opening it yourself without air filters and a HEPA vacuum will contaminate the rest of the house.
Large amount of mold:
If there is a lot of mold, more than a 30 square feet, definitely give us a call. Trying to clean this up yourself, spraying it with chemicals, painting over it, etc. can lead to extensive contamination of your home and makes a lot more work for us. If you have 20 square feet of moldy drywall in the basement and you cut and carry it out yourself you may think you are saving a little money, but the entire path you took with that drywall and all areas connected to it will have to be cleaned to remove the excessive spores. If you spray a mildew or mold resistant primer over moldy joists in your basement we will have to use enough chemicals to kill the mold through the layer of paint.
If there is a lot of mold, materials will need to be removed or there is someone with a compromised immune system such as babies or the elderly that use or might use the building it is vital that you call a mold cleanup company.
If there is someone in the home with a new or compromised immune system such as infants, elderly or those with an immunodeficiency it is vital you call a company out to inspect it. If someone in your home has become ill and you believe it was caused by mold this is very important for the estimator to know beforehand. If you have any health problems you suspect may have been caused or aggravated by mold our technicians will need to know about this. Depending on the degree of risks and health problems that are suspected the technician may recommend a simple visual inspection, air testing or even an Indoor Environmental Professional inspect to ensure that we service you properly and the situation is fully resolved.
In handling any mold yourself make sure you take steps to protect your health too. When you disturb the mold colony the response of the mold is to eject spores into the air which can get on your cloths, in your lungs and on everything nearby.
Attics sometime mold but what to do about mold in the attic is a debated subject. What most people don’t realize is that most of the time it does not affect the occupants of the home. This is more of an indicator that something is wrong rather than a cause for concern. It could be that there is a leak in the roof that needs to be addressed, or that there is a pinhole leak in a pipe shooting water at a spot that starts to dry rot. It could even indicate something as simple as a lack of ventilation to the outside.
Should you handle it? There is a simple way to figure this out. Ask, “Is it getting into the house?” This is simple to figure out, have an air test done which will show the concentration of spores in your home. We do this service and will give you an honest evaluation of the results and what should be done.
The second question you should ask that trumps if it gets into the house or not is will the home ever be listed on the market? A potential buyer can be scared off by mold even if it is in the attic and never gets into the living area. A family with two infants will be looking for everything that could possibly cause problems with their babies and mold may just stop the sale in its tracks.
Mold in Real Estate:
If the home is on the market and an inspector finds mold it is an automatic call to a certified remediation company. If you have the building tested or treated before it goes on the market it will save some money and hassle, but once it is on the market if one square inch of mold is found a professional has to deal with it. It is not a bad idea to get an inspection and air test done prior to listing the home as the seller. If you need our help with a property about to be listed or on the market let the technician scheduling the inspection know and he will make sure to give you what you need.
How do I kill a little mold in my home:
For the homeowner who has just a little mold in their home and wants to handle it themselves there are a few methods to handle it I will cover in a separate article. Many DIY mold handlings I have heard of are either ineffective, introduce unneeded toxins into one’s home or even feed the mold making it worse. For now you can call Fast Help and we will go over the best ways of getting it handled.