If you have even a small amount of mold growing in your home or business, you need to act quickly to have it taken care of. There are two approaches to taking care of a mold issue: removal and remediation. The difference here is that mold remediation is far more comprehensive and addresses the root issue of the growth.
Some important mold remediation guidelines must be followed to ensure a successful result. The more that you know about what to expect as well as the process of mold remediation, the better.
Here at GreenWorks, we believe that client involvement and support are truly critical to successful project completion. While we endeavor for a project to run as smoothly as possible, it’s important to understand that the process can be complicated. Depending on the severity of the mold growth, remediation may be wrought with many intricate steps and hidden hurdles where any of the following issues may come upon a project.
Our highly knowledgeable remediation team is always available to answer questions you have – but here are some of the most important guidelines and processes to know before the project begins.
1. Client Responsibilities
Since high amounts of mold in the home can lead to a laundry list of health concerns, clients need to be cautious during the remediation process. Your assistance and compliance will also help our remediation team do an even better job.
Before Remediation Begins
First, let’s talk about what clients should do before the remediation process begins:
Health Information: Inform GreenWorks about any health concerns from any person living in the home or who will be present during the process. This includes any illnesses, allergies, chemical sensitivities, or immune-compromised individuals before the onset of work.
Any changes in your family’s health could result from exposure to toxic mold. Be sure to notify us immediately if anything changes, as it may be related to the cleaning products used to kill the mold spores.
- Leave Room Contents: Do not move any contents in the contaminated area, including furniture, clothing, décor, or carpets. Mold spores can attach to these fabrics, so they will only continue spreading throughout the home.
- Project Documents: Please provide copies of all mold and other reports or lab tests that have been conducted. You can also schedule a mold inspection and testing through GreenWorks.
- Home Owners Insurance: In some cases, mold remediation may be covered by your home insurance company. Be sure to file a claim before the remediation process begins.
- Legal: Homeowners should also notify GreenWorks if an attorney has been retained for the project.
Once the remediation process starts, there are a few ways that clients can help to ensure the project goes as planned.
- Utilities: Provide the remediation team access to water, electricity, security, and the breaker panel for the affected areas.
- Air Circulation: Limit air movement in the affected area(s). Shut off your HVAC system or close the vents to these rooms. This will also help to diminish mold growth.
- Avoid Contaminated Area(s): Any rooms where mold is present should be off-limits and avoided unless supervised by a GreenWorks mold remediation specialist.
2. Mold Remediation Assessments
The first step in the mold remediation process is fully assessing the infested areas. Several types of specialists will need to work together to ensure that the mold is fully eradicated.
Moisture Intrusion Assessment
All sources of moisture intrusion (liquid and gas) are normally identified in the Mold Assessment Report and corrected before performing the mold remediation. It’s important to determine the source of the moisture, as this is what feeds mold growth. The mold will soon grow back after remediation if this issue is not addressed.
The moisture intrusion assessment may require the services of a hydrologist, drainage specialist, or an engineer to correct as elevated humidity is the “water trigger” to recurring mold growth.
Moisture intrusion can occur both inside and outside of the structure. In some cases, it may not be able to be corrected. But all moisture intrusion can be managed with institutional controls like drainage systems, pumps, mechanical ventilators, and dehumidifiers.
Note: If moisture intrusion / elevated humidity is not adequately addressed, no remediator can be held responsible for the recurrence of the mold.
A thorough inspection of the property and structure to identify the suspected and visible mold growth. Technicians will likely gather test samples from the area or the air in the room to determine moisture levels, infestation areas, and mold species.
The mold assessment report is used as the basis for preparing a mold remediation proposal.
3. Industry Accepted Mold Remediation Protocol
No set mold remediation standard can be relied upon for all structures. However, here at GreenWorks, we enforce specific mold remediation guidelines that are based on standards set by trusted organizations, including:
- IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification)
- EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)
- NYCDOH (New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene)
- OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
In addition, professional judgment and experience coupled with the client’s sensitivities ultimately tailor the mold remediation protocol used on any site. The following are considerations considered during every project:
- Remediation Plan: After the mold and moisture assessments are completed, we will create a custom “remediation plan” for the specific project. This clearly defines the scope of work to be completed, the moisture source to be corrected, acceptable mold levels, what is included, and not included in the overall scope of work of the project.
- Permits: It is the client’s responsibility to apply for the required permits unless this is included in the proposal.
- Containment / Site Bio-Security: Bio-security containments will likely need to be erected to control contaminated area(s) and inhibit cross-contamination. This typically consists of a plastic barrier equipped with a negative air machine and/or air scrubbers/fans. Note: Containment must not be broken by anyone other than GREENWORKS personnel without authorization from GREENWORKS at any time for any reason.
Note: We are “Building Biologists” and perform all aspects of environmental investigations, in particular mold illness investigations, mold assessments, mold testing (non-viable, DNA & VOC), mold remediation, and clearance testing. Our experience has been that the complex and hidden nature of molds (and the hydrologic conditions that trigger their growth) often eludes (or is excluded) by most mold inspection firms.
- Demolition: Mold damaged contents often need to be removed or disposed of, including sheetrock, carpet, plywood, insulation, wood floors, cardboard, furniture, ceiling tiles, or other porous materials. Note: Micro-organisms are very sensitive to disturbances and will react if they feel threatened by increasing spore/mycotoxin production.
- Structure Protection: Room structures like floors, carpeting, walls, and doors will be covered and protected to reduce any damage during the remediation process. This is done with Ram Boards (or similar material), padding, plastic, or adhesive floor coverings.
- Content Management: The remediation team will wipe down all non-porous and semi-porous materials with industry-standard cleaning materials. Any affected materials that cannot be properly cleaned will be carefully discarded. Contents not addressed may be boxed and sealed for professional cleansing. Any additional cleaning fees will be clearly outlined in the proposal.
- Debris Disposal Area: The remediation team will need to set up a dedicated staging area that is established where debris containers, storage boxes, etc., are set up. This may be in another room or a semi-exposed area like a garage or porch.
- Mold Remediation Chemicals: Depending on the type and size of the project, traditional and modern techniques may be employed on mold remediation. As previously mentioned, client health issues and medical suggestions are always taken into consideration.
Traditional methods often involve a combination of area wipe downs, wet mopping with an antimicrobial solution (chemical biocide) of hydrogen peroxide, ammonia, and vinegar. Stubborn areas will be scrubbed with a wire brush with HEPA vacuuming. Modern techniques may involve: chemicals (sodium hypochlorite), blasting (Dry Ice, sand, or water), ozone, UV Light, structural pasteurization (Heat), enzymes, or fogs.
- Biocides: GreenWorks regularly uses EPA endorsed Biocides and Fungicides such as RMR (Sodium Hypochlorite), Shockwave, Concrobium, etc. Should chemical sensitivity be an issue, other non-chemical Biocides will be used.
- Fogging: Mechanical fogging with Natural based mold inhibitors such as Thymeoil is often employed after the bulk of intensive remediation has been completed. This applies an antimicrobial pesticide that kills mold spores.
- Encapsulant: Sometimes, the use of a mold inhibiting paint (encapsulant) may be applied to the walls and ceiling. If this is needed, the client would be advised in advance.
- HVAC System: Since the HVAC supply lines/registers/returns in the affected area must be sealed, it is recommended that ducts be cleaned after the project is complete. We recommend ducts be remediated per National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) standards. This is not included in the remediation proposal.
- Site Manager: GreenWorks will assign a Project Manager (PM) who is the primary point of contact for all remediation questions. The PM will contact the client for daily processes, keeping occupants informed were major changes to the protocol in writing.
- Adaptive Protocols: Every project has different and unique needs. GreenWorks strives to ensure the remediation plan enacted is the best plan for your situation. Last-minute changes and field adjustments are expected, but they will always be fully communicated to the client.
4. Post-Remediation Guidelines
There are some mold remediation guidelines that occupants should follow once the project has been completed. This will ensure that the property is completely cleaned and sterilized to reduce mold’s chances of regrowing.
Typical measures include:
Air Cleansing / Dewatering
After remediation is completed, the area should be left with air scrubbers/fans and dehumidifiers for a minimum of three (3) days. This ensures that the site has adequately dried and airborne particulates and mold spores have been cleansed from the air. In addition, the project manager will periodically visit the site to check moisture levels and adjust duration as needed.
Note: An alternative drying measure is via the use of Hydroxyl Generators which convert High Humidity and H2O reactive oxygenated (-OH) species. During this time, no one may enter the contained area.
Clearance Testing & Guarantee
Post-remediation verification involves an inspection and assessment, which will include: visual inspection, odor detection, analytical testing, or environmental sampling methodologies.
This report will verify that the structure, system, and contents have been returned to Condition 1 (normal fungal ecology). GreenWorks guarantees that the work area remediated will pass clearance.
Containment and equipment will be removed entirely after successful clearance has been obtained. Should additional remediation be needed, there will be no charge to the client. GreenWorks will not be accountable for additional clearance testing (if needed).
Note: If an outside agency / third party firm is to perform “clearance”, GreenWorks reserves the right to have a protocol for successful remediation clearly defined and agreed upon in writing before the start of the project. Any inspections/sampling will be performed in the presence of the GREENWORKS PM before containment is taken down. Once containment is removed, GREENWORKS cannot control the work area and will not be held accountable for clearance testing that was taken after the containment was removed.
For properties with severe mold damage, restoration may be needed to rebuild damaged structural elements. This is a separate work request and not included in mold remediation.
Mold guarantees can be tricky as there are often exclusions tied to the underlying source of moisture. Correcting moisture intrusion is often the most challenging part of a mold remediation project. Be wary of firms that exclude addressing it as it is the most critical part of remediation. Managed Moisture = Normal Mold Ecology.
GreenWorks guarantees that molds within the remediated area will remain within Normal Fungal Ecology (NFE) for one (1) year from the date the remediation is performed.
Take a look at our Mold Guarantee here:
Do You Have More Questions About Mold Remediation?
Mold remediation is a serious project that you’ll want to be done correctly the first time. Therefore, it pays to do your homework regarding the firm you hire.
Here at GreenWorks, we’ve helped thousands of homeowners in the Wall Township, NJ area address their mold issues. We offer mold testing, inspection, removal, and remediation services to tackle even severe mold damage.
If you’d like to learn more about the mold remediation guidelines we follow or want to schedule a service, please contact us today!
Published on: Aug 24, 2020
Updated on: Dec 10, 2021