Why use a mold removal service?
If you have a large mold removal project exceeding 10 square feet (3 ft by 3 ft) or an area affected by flood or sewer damage it is usually best to consult a professional mold remediation service because it is safer. A good mold removal service will have the equipment and expertise to address your mold problem safely. Professional water removal services may also be necessary if you have had flooding to prevent future mold growth.
Do you have Black Mold?
Step 1: The Mold Inspection: There are several ways to detect mold but probably the cheapest is to buy a do-it-yourself mold detection kit. Some will require you to mail your mold sample off to a lab for analysis.
Another option for mold detection is to hire a mold remediation contractor because they can usually provide a wide range of mold detection services. Whether you choose an inexpensive mold detection test or hire a contractor may depend on your budget and the severity of the mold problem you suspect you have. The purpose of the mold inspection is to find out if there is mold, how much mold there is, and whether the type of mold you have is a health risk. If you have black mold, additional mold remediation services may be required.
The Advantage of using a 3rd Party Mold Remediation Service
Mold remediation services are often performed by a third party, rather than a mold inspector just as a precaution to ensure your mold inspector does not have a stake in the outcome of these mold detection tests.
Non-Invasive Mold Inspection
The purpose of the mold inspection is generally to visually assess only, which is non-invasive, and therefore should not cause property damage. Sometimes mold removal contractors use equipment to assist in mold detection such as infrared cameras and moisture detection devices. A mold inspection helps to determine if you have conditions favorable to mold growth because if you do, you may already have a mold problem or could develop one in the future without some form of intervention
Viable and Non-Viable Mold Detection Kits
You can detect mold using viable or non-viable mold samples, infrared cameras, or even mold detection dogs. These options will be discussed below.
There are several different types of mold tests. Remember, the goal of these tests are to determine what type of mold you have (Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Stachybotrys, etc), and the extent of the mold present which will give you some indication of the associated health risks.
An infrared camera works on the principle that an area with mold will be cooler in temperature, because of increased moisture, than an area without mold. Of course this is no guarantee for accurate mold detection if inadequate insulation is the issue.
Buying a Home?
Non-Viable Air Samples are one of the most common tests and is one of the best ways to figure out if there is a mold problem. It will indicate the quantity of mold spores present in the air. This is the type that home-buyers usually prefer because the results are quick and convenient.
Is Someone Sick?
If someone in your household is at high risk or already experiencing health problems that cannot be explained, it may be a good idea to have a viable mold test done.
A Viable Test will tell you the Species of Mold
A Surface, or viable mold test, is less common as it requires more expertise than a non-viable test, and may require being sent to a lab for interpretation of the results. However, a viable mold test is useful because it can help you figure out if a substance is really mold and what species of mold it is. It is particularly important when someone in your household is experiencing health issues which may be related to certain species of mold.
Different species of mold are attracted to different food sources. Having some background experience in microbiology and research methods can help prevent false positives if you are doing the tests yourself. Some viable mold tests are designed to test the air in your heating and air conditioning systems.
Mold Detection dogs: these dogs are specially trained to detect the scent of certain types of mold, even when the mold itself is not visible or hidden behind walls and floorboards.
Step 2: What to Do When You have a Mold Problem
How do you locate a mold removal company? Keywords like “Mold Remediation Services” and “your location” will help you find a remediation service in your area.
Because extensive mold removal can get expensive you should always check for reviews. The BBB can offer a glimpse into the history of companies that offer mold remediation services and you can find out how long they have been in business. Also, most reputable mold removal contractors will be able to provide references.
There is an obvious correlation between humidity levels and mold, therefore the following cities may also be some of the moldiest. These U.S. cities have average humidity levels often exceeding 70 percent:
Los Angeles, CA
San Francisco, CA
New Orleans, LA