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Last blog, we talked about why you should be concerned about mold, including some of the health effects some people suffer as a result of mold contamination in their homes or businesses.
When you spot or smell mold growth inside your property, you might investigate it yourself and try to determine the extent of the problem. For most owners, that makes sense as a first response, especially if a very small area is affected. But you may also want someone with experience to inspect the area and help you determine the cause. It will do no good whatsoever to remove mold growth if the problem isn’t rectified. It’ll grow back. And that problem usually points to some sort of moisture problem, whether it’s caused from an overhead leak, from a plumbing issue, from condensation or from groundwater seepage.
Who is qualified to assist you in an initial inspection? Realize first that the cause will determine if any insurance coverage will help cover the cost. Most mold damage will not be covered by standard property coverage, as it’s more likely determined to be caused by a lack of maintenance. You should contact a contractor who has experience with mold remediation as well as one who has microbial remediation certification from an independent organization. Search for a contractor who is certified by the American Council for Accredited Certification, the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) or the American Industrial Hygiene Association.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, if you have visible mold that appears to be isolated, testing itself is not required. Removing the mold would be the same no matter what the test results in that case. Note, if you do feel testing is required, don’t go it alone. Home improvement centers or internet providers who sell mold test kits will gain your dollars spent, but you truly won’t gain anything by trying to sample or test mold yourself. Cross contamination, incorrect sampling and incorrect analysis of findings that easily occur with do-it-yourself test kits make them a bad idea. However, if you have any allergies or sensitivities to molds, suspect further mold contamination, or you can’t see where the mold is, you should definitely employ a qualified professional.
The contractor you initially contact should be able to recommend a qualified Indoor Environmental Professional. Per the EPA, sample analysis should follow analytical methods recommended by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), or another qualified professional organization.
Important note: you should make sure that the professional doing the testing and determining the proper protocol for the remediation work is not the same as the mold remediation contractor. Having the contractor perform the testing presents a conflict of interest at best, and you want to be assured of accurate results both before and after the work is performed. While there are contractors who do the sampling themselves, they should disclose to you that doing such is outside the standard accepted practice. And you should be sure the samples are sent to an independent lab for testing, regardless.
Once the test results are available, a qualified indoor environmental professional should create a protocol for the work to be performed, based on the extent and the type of mold found.
Our next blog in the series will discuss mold test results, and what they mean (or don’t mean) for building inhabitants. Meanwhile, should you need more information about mold removal, you can go to our website page for more information: https://www.catcoinc.com/services/cleaning-division/mold-removal .