Mold in the house is a hot topic at Gilbert’s Hardware because homes are much tighter nowadays. Fortunately one of my customers is a specialist in mold remediation, Joe Gimpert. He says to eliminate mold in homes, you must eliminate the moisture. Mildew in bathroom
According to Joe Gimpert from Concraft Inc., experts in mold eradication, “One reason for the increase in molds in the home can be attributed to the energy crunch. Homeowners, in an effort to lower heating costs, added insulation and tightened up their dwelling.”
“The only way to control mold is to control moisture,” says Gimpert, “Just about any surface can be a food source for mold. Improper ventilation traps moisture and provides the medium for mold growth.”
Older homes would breathe through walls and ceilings with minimal insulation, windows and doors with poor weather stripping. Higher gas prices have forced homeowners to insulate and replace windows and doors with tighter seals. These improvements save energy but create a tighter environment trapping moisture that is giving a rise to mold problems.
Molds flourish in damp poorly ventilated areas. Molds reproduce when dry spores float through air, settle on damp organic material and grow into new clusters.
Moisture is the key, without it molds cannot get started, much less spread. When an area is wet for even 24 hours, common molds can take hold. If an area is continuously damp a more lethal mold, such as Stachybotrys, can proliferate.
Drain or roof leaks must be repaired before cleaning up the mold. The same is true if the moisture is from lack of ventilation. An improperly vented attic or a busy bathroom without an exhaust fan will need to be addressed before expecting the mold cleanup to last.
A homeowner should not tackle cleanups where the mold-covered area is larger than a couple of square feet. Large areas of mold need to be cleaned by professionals with respirators, gloves and protective clothing. Children, the elderly and anyone with respiratory and or health issues should be evacuated when large areas of mold are discovered.
Visible mold may be scrubbed with detergent and thoroughly ventilated until it is dried. Detergent, Lysol, or a bleach solution may be used for cleaning smooth hard surfaces.
There are many opinions about what is best to kill a mold. Ozone generators are good, so is household bleach and oxygen bleach. Professionals use benzalkonium chloride to do the job, (big word for a hardware guy).
If the surface is porous like drywall or ceiling tiles, it must be removed and replaced.
Once an area (with a small area of mold) is cleaned, paint with anti-microbial paint like Zinsser’s Perma-White mildew proof paint. Add some ventilation and you should be free of mold once and for all.
For more facts, check out the New York City Guidelines on mold remediation at www.ihst.com/New York City Guidelines.htm