How to Remediate Mold
Mold Remediation Steps for the D.I.Y Homeowner
Mold is becoming a big concern in homes today. With the ever improving energy efficiencies that drop your monthly electric bill, it also has caused homes to be so airtight that it can cause rapid changes in the indoor air quality. There is over 100,000 different species of mold and none have been proven to be life threatening, but because studies are limited, remediation contractors have to follow a simple process to remove the mold safely.
Home Angels follows this same process whether the job is big or small, the only major change is the containment that is applied. Since setting up containment can become a very complex engineering control using negative pressure, this “How To” will outline the steps necessary to remove areas of visible mold under ten continuous square feet. This information will save a willing and meticulous homeowner thousands and it is a same process we use in hundreds of homes a year.
Materials and Equipment:
- Dehumidifier that removes 70 pints per day or greater for 3 Days
- Air Scrubber (HEPA) that processes 500 cubic feet per minute or greater for 3 Days
- 6 mil Poly Plastic
- Duct Tape
- 6 mil Trash Bags
- Wire Brush
- Wet/Dry Vacuum with a HEPA Air Filter
- Dawn Dish Detergent
- Small Bucket
- Box Cutter
- Small Crowbar
- N95 Respirator
- Latex Gloves
- Eye Protection
- Rag towels
Step 1: Stop the Source of Moisture
Mold cannot start or continue to grow without the presence of water, so the first step is to eliminate the water or moisture source. Sometimes the leaks can be elusive and hard to pinpoint so try to test different areas using water to determine the source or call your local leak detection company to help you track down the problem. Then take the appropriate steps to repair the leak.
Step 2: Set up equipment
There are going to be two main pieces of equipment that you will need which can be rented from a local tool rental company or Home Depot. The first is a dehumidifier, which will bring down the humidity levels in the area you are working in, and the wet building material that has not yet started to grow mold. The second piece, and most important piece of equipment, called a HEPA Air Scrubber which filters out any mold spores as the affected building material is removed. Place both pieces within 5 feet of the affected area making sure that the air blowing out of the machines is not directly facing the visible mold growth. You are going to let these machines run for 24 hours for the next three days.
Step 3: Mold Removal
Now it’s time to put on our safety gear, latex gloves, respirator, safety glasses, and dive right in. Measure the length and width of the visible mold, and cut a piece of the 6 millimeter poly sheeting two feet longer and wider on each side. Cut four small pieces of your duct tape and tack up the plastic going two feet beyond on each side. Then tape the entire perimeter of the plastic, in effect sealing the mold underneath the plastic. Take your box cutter and cut along the perimeter of the tape. Have your 6 mil plastic trash bags ready because once you cut out the section you’ll want to immediately place it into the plastic bag and seal it shut with duct tape. Remove and discard the bag from inside the home.
Step 4: Micro Clean
This step involves being extremely detailed in cleaning the area. First you’re going to start by taking your HEPA vacuum and vacuum down the area where the material was removed, and the floor around the area. If there is wood framing then you will have to take your wire brush and mix up your dish soap with some water. Wet the wire brush with the soapy solution and use heavy abrasion on all the wood studs behind the removed area. If there is insulation and/or furring strips in the wall you will have to remove, bag, and discard those items. If there are metal studs then take the same soap solution and heavily wipe down all the metal framing. HEPA vacuum all the same areas again, and then take your rag towels and get them damp with your soapy solution. Wipe down the remaining building materials and floors again, but this time wipe everything five feet beyond the removed area in each direction. If there are any areas that you don’t feel that you could get adequately cleaned then you can paint on a strong primer like Kilz to act as an encapsulate to any unremoved spores.
Filter & Post Test:
After the final wipe down let the equipment run for the rest of day one and all of day two. On day two also schedule a company to come and take a post remediation swab sample of the previously affected area. This will ensure the area was properly remediated, and you’re done.