Major mold infestations are prevalent in homes and buildings in San Diego, largely due to our high humidity levels and condensation caused by the marine layer. Since mold can damage both your home and your health, it is important to take steps to remove mold as soon as you identify it.
…but how do you prevent mold infestations from coming back?
Although there are no guarantees that your mold infestation is gone for good, there are steps you can take in order to minimize the likelihood of its return. Below, we’ve compiled a list of helpful tips that may help you minimize the recurrence of your mold infestation and more importantly, protect your health and damage to your home.
Step 1: Identifying a mold infestation in San Diego
Mold is a type of fungus that grows from tiny spores that float in the air. It can grow almost anywhere that spores land, find moisture and a comfortable temperature (generally between 40 and 100 degrees). This generally includes just about every damp surface in your home.
The most visible type of mold infestation in San Diego is mildew. Mildew is easy to spot and typically begins as tiny, usually black spots. Unfortunately, these black spots can oftentimes grow into larger colonies. Most commonly, mold can be identified as the black spots you see in the grout lines of your shower, on damp walls, and outdoors on the surfaces of deck boards and painted sidings, especially in areas that are damp and shady. To test for the presence of mildew, all you need to do is add a few drops of bleach onto the blackened area. If the area you’ve tested becomes lighter in color after one to two minutes, you have mildew. If the test area remains dark, you most likely have dirt.
You may also be able to identify mold in San Diego by its smell. If you detect musty odors, check for damp carpets, walls, and crawlspaces. Other common places for mold include wet roof sheathing and wet wood underneath your floorboards. If mold is detected on these surfaces, it is absolutely critical to start removing the mold immediately in order to prevent further damage to your home and eliminate potential risks to your health.
Step 2: Preparing to remove a mold infestation in San Diego
Once you’ve identified your mold infestation, you need to create a plan for the removal of mold. When assembling your mold removal plan, it’s important to take measures to ensure you don’t contaminate the rest of your house and protect yourself from breathing in high concentrations of mold spores and VOCs.
- Wear old clothes and shoes that you can launder or throw away after the cleanup work,
- Wear a respirator, goggles, and gloves,
- Place a fan in the window of your work area for ventilation. When you’re done cleaning, throw the fan away because mold spores are impossible to clean off. You should also tape plywood or cardboard around the window openings so spores don’t blow back in.
- If you have moldy carpeting, make sure you’re disposing of it properly. Wrap and tape it in 6-mil plastic, and double bag mold-infested debris in garbage bags.
- You may be able to control, or limit, airborne spores by moistening moldy areas with a garden sprayer while you work.
- Make sure you’ve turned off your furnace and air conditioner. You should also cover ducts and doors to contain spores.
- Keep your wet/dry vacuum outside when you vacuum.
Now that you’ve assembled your mold removal plan and have created a safe work area, it’s time to get started.
- Start with the carpet: cut stained or musty carpet and pads into 6 x 8-ft. sections. Use a pump sprayer to mist the surfaces and control the spread of pores. Once you’ve done this, roll up the section and double-wrap them in 6-mil plastic. Tape them with duct tape to prepare them for disposal.
- Open up moldy walls: Mold is notorious for growing in areas like crawlspaces, basements in walls and beneath floorboards. Knowing as much, we may need to open up walls in order to assess whether or not the mold infestation has spread beyond the surface level. You’ll want to pry off baseboards and probe any heavily-stained or moisture-swollen walls with a screw driver to identify any moisture damage and hidden mold in insulation and wall framing. Again, you’ll want to moisten and bag up any moldy materials before disposing them.
Step 3: Clean up and repair
The first step is vacuum up any debris. Once you’ve done this, make sure to thoroughly clean your wet/dry vac, dispose of the filter and wash out the tank, hose and attachments with a bleach-and-water solution. You’ll also want to scrub any mold stains from walls and surfaces using a bleach-and-water mixture until the signs of mold disappear. Once these areas have dried, you’ll want to seal these surfaces to prevent your mold infestation from coming back.
As we’ve detailed above, proper mold removal in San Diego is no easy undertaking. If you believe your home or building is infested with mold, you should seriously consider contacting an experienced and licensed mold professional to test for mold. Nevertheless, if you think you have the skills and expertise necessary to remove your mold infestation alone, you may still want a post-mold remediation site assessment. The experienced and professional technicians at Rarefied Air Environmental can assess whether mold has been removed properly and re-test environmental levels to make sure mold is no longer posing a risk to your health or your building. Contact us today for a quote!