Ricardo Chavez & Klaus Herring, co-owners
If you don’t get rid of the fungus (mold), all you’re doing is providing it with lunch.
– Dr. Cynthia Carey
The quote above is from Dr. Cynthia Carey at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The word in parentheses was added by us, as mold, in its infinite number of species, is also a fungus.
IF YOU HAVE MOLD, HOW DO YOU GET RID OF IT?
The IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) publishes the ANSI approved Standard for Mold Remediation. Dozens of experts in the field review this publication and all are in agreement with Dr. Carey, but getting rid of mold is easier said than done.
With all the roof leaks and various other forms of water damage occurring in many New Mexico homes, mold is having a field day. Plenty of moisture (all that water getting into your house from that leaking roof you didn’t fix before winter started), a nice dark space (the space between plaster or drywall and the stucco on the outside of your house), plenty of organic food (all that tasty wood or the scrumptious cellulose on the back of the sheetrock) and really comfy temperatures (right around 68 degrees Fahrenheit) make a perfect home for your newest house guests (Mr. Penicillium, Mrs. Aspergillus, Aunt Cladosporium and Uncle Stachybotrus, just to name a few).
Once they’ve moved into your home, getting rid of these house guests is a daunting task. Some folks will lead you to believe that simply wiping the offending fungus away with bleach will do the task. Others swear by any number of magic cures, potions and assorted other hocus pocus that’s to be sprayed over or painted on. The fact of the matter is that nothing works as well as physical removal of the offending house guests. Before you serve eviction papers, there are some critical preparations that need to be made.
First: Protect yourself at all times. Wearing proper personal protection equipment, including eye and respiratory protection, will keep you from getting into a knock-down, drag-out with these house guests. They’ve been known to invade your personal space and cause all sorts of illness and disease.
Second: Build a protective containment. Keep in mind that mold spores are microscopic in size and adept at avoiding attacks directed against them by launching themselves into the air and floating throughout your living space. Picture blowing directly onto a dandelion… the seeds all float in the air. This is similar to what mold does when disturbed, except billions of microscopic mold spores float in the air. To trap them, you will need a HEPA-filter equipped device that scrubs the air clean of the offending escapees (a negative air machine or air scrubber).
Third: Evict the mold. This requires some actual elbow grease as the plaster or sheetrock on your walls and ceilings will need to be removed (along with all the mold attached to the back of it). The moist insulation needs to be pulled out and discarded and then you’re finally left with all the mold attached to the framing and plywood. This needs to be wire brushed, sanded or scraped off.
Wait! You’re not done yet. There are still spores hiding in all sorts of nooks and crannies. These need to be removed by using a HEPA vacuum, and every millimeter of walls, floors and ceiling inside your enclosure needs to be carefully vacuumed. Finally, the last step of the eviction process is the detailed wipe down of the walls, floors and ceilings to make sure you got every last spore.
Fourth: Verify, verify, verify. Hire a qualified, professional third-party testing company. These folks perform a post-remediation verification test and provide you with written test results. These are pass-or-fail results. ARCS guarantees to pass such a test the first time. In the event we do not pass we will return and re-clean any areas in question at no additional charge. This document proves the remediation efforts have been successful and should be kept with other important papers (like your insurance policy).
There are still some insurance companies who do provide limited coverage for mold remediation. Check your policy to determine if you have such coverage.
Once you have passed the clearance test, ARCS’ restoration technicians make sure any damaged areas in your home are restored to match your existing finishes as close as possible.
To help our customers, ARCS has a 24-hour emergency response line, always answered by one of our on-call staff.
Alpha Restoration & Construction Services, Inc.
6820 Cerrillos Road #8 Klaus.H@ARCS247.com