Thousands of homeowners are faced with deciding the best method to perform a mold treatment each and every year. There does however seem to be much confusion as to the best solution to choose when faced with this tough decision. Many ask themselves, “Could I clean it up myself? Should I bring in a professional? Will it affect my health?”
There are three primary determining factors which should be considered before deciding how to proceed.
- What is the size of the mold contamination? The mere size of a mold cleanup and treatment project can determine whether or not it becomes a do-it-yourself procedure. A 3 by 3 foot area (9 square feet) is a consideration for making such a decision. Usually if the areas exceeds 9 square feet, it just becomes too big of a task to tackle for the average homeowner.
- What type of mold is it? The type of mold species can also be a major determining factor and can require time-consuming laboratory results from 3 to 10 days. This can be a dilemma since nobody would wish to wait that long to clean up the mold if the structure is occupied. This can be a judgment call since the mold can be cleaned up days before receiving lab results.
- Who lives in the home environment? The health and well-being of household members should always be a primary concern before making a decision. Are there persons living there who have a compromised immune system? Are there small children in the home? Are there severe allergy and asthma sufferers in the home? These are all important questions to ask before attempting to perform a do-it-yourself mold cleanup.
Mold treatment plans can include spraying and wiping with a bleach solution to remove a few spots of mold on a wall to a full-blown isolation of a mold-contaminated area with the full removal of contaminated wall board. The 9 square foot rule has been used by many homeowners with little negative consequences but should only be attempted if the three questions listed above in, “Who lives in the home environment?” are answered fully.
However, any mold remediation contractor or consultant, including myself, would always be inclined to recommend that a mold removal professional be contracted for any size mold clean-up procedure. Removing mold from an indoor environment can be a much larger task than just cleaning visual mold from a surface. There will always be dead (non-viable) mold particles present which should be removed following a cleanup procedure. The problem lies with the fact that mold particles like many indoor air pollutants cannot be seen with the naked eye. Proper removal requires a specific cleaning protocol with specific equipment by an experienced professional.
Follow these guidelines once an area has been determined to be contaminated with mold of any size and type.
- Limit the area of mold contamination by shutting or locking doors.
- Tape off all ventilation return air and supply air diffusers.
- Wear a disposable N95 mask when entering the contaminated area.
- Operate a H.E.P.A. (High Efficient Particulate Air) air purifier and vacuum cleaner in adjacent areas to limit the spreading of mold particles until a cleanup procedure has been performed.