Household mold is capable of causing tremendous harm to homes, and it is costly to repair the damage; the average bill for residential mold remediation in the United States is around four thousand dollars. Costs can go much higher as the damage grows. To make things worse, many homeowners insurance policies often don't pay the full cost. In fact, some policies may not pay anything at all. The good news is you may be able to perform mold removal yourself. That can save you thousands of dollars in the process. But, doing it right requires you use the proper equipment and procedures.
Below are a few things you should do when repairing mold damage as a do-it-yourselfer:
Don't spread the mold
One of the most important things you can do if you perform your own mold remediation is prevent spreading it further throughout your home. Carelessness could very well end up making the problem worse than it was before. Below are a few guidelines that can help you keep the mold confined during the clean-up process:
Set-aside clothing and shoes for the mold removal process – select a few clothing items you are willing to throw away after the job is completed. Keep these clothes and shoes inside the mold treatment area at all times, or remove them in a safe outdoor location. Throw them away in an exterior trash receptacle once you are finished. If you prefer, purchase disposable coveralls that can be worn several times before tossing them in the garbage.
Cordon off the area – to help prevent mold spores from leaving the clean-up area, you should place plastic sheets over doorways, hallways, foyers, windows, and any heating or air conditioning vents. Leave only one entry and exit point to the room, and build a "safe room" immediately outside the exit. Erecting plastic sheets to create a small chamber outside the area will allow you to transition from one space to the other without undue contamination.
Use negative pressure ventilation – negative pressure ventilation is simply the removal of air from a defined space by creating an inflow. In the case of mold remediation, you will need to create such a negative pressure space by pulling the air out of the area and safely discharging it into the atmosphere away from the home. This can be accomplished by using fans and blowers, and you can also rent specialized equipment designed for that purpose. The important thing to remember is to be sure all of the air from the contaminated space is led outside and not permitted to leak back into your home.
Protect your health
While the negative health effects of mold on humans are variable depending upon the individual, there is a possibility that can cause significant health problems for some people. Mycotoxins, the toxic byproducts produced by mold growth, can be a source of immune-related dysfunction and other illnesses.
Fortunately, protecting yourself during clean-up is not difficult. You should always wear long sleeves with gloves fastened around your wrists with rubber bands or elastic. Don't wear shorts, and be sure to wear sturdy work shoes or boots.
In addition, a respirator or face mask will keep you from inhaling mold spores. When performing tasks that create a significant amount of airborne debris contaminated with mold, wear full eye protection to keep the particles from settling in your eyes and possibly causing an infection.
Throw away contaminated items
A mistake made by some individuals when removing mold is the failure to throw away contaminated items. It can be difficult to dispose of some items, particularly if they have sentimental or monetary value. However, contaminated papers, books, photographs, and bedding can re-infest your home with mold if allowed to remain.
Fortunately, modern technology enables you to make reproductions of photographs and written materials; just be sure to perform this operation inside the contaminated area or in a location where you won't risk spreading the mold spores. If you have highly valuable and irreplaceable documents, contact a local museum for their input into preserving damaged items.