Friday, August 24, 2007

Do it Yourself Mold Remediation?

Well, there is a lot of talk out there, in DIY forums and even websites that (for a fee) will give you the steps on how to remediate your household mold. Let's look at the positive and negative aspects of DIY mold removal and the vultures that prey on the DIY'ers that want to save money and bypass professional services. These vultures do not care about you, your health or the health of your family. Nor do they care about protecting your investment.

If someone tells you to use bleach to kill the mold, ask them if they also still believe in the Easter Bunny.

I know most people that are reading this will think that since I am in the "mold" business, my blog will be biased.....well, I guess it is. My experience in the industry has actually prompted me to start this blog. Over the years I have experienced many scenarios involving DIY'ers and would like to share them with you.

I do NOT believe in using scare tactics as a way to inform the public about mold/mould. Let me state this now and let it be known that MOLD CAN BE DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH! I know of many homeowners, contractors, real estate agents, home inspectors and maintenance personal that have exposed themselves to mold and suffer health related problems. So, before you read any further I do not condone DIY mold remediation in 90% of the cases, and I'll tell you why.
Let's get to the meat of the matter.
I will try to state everything in the most simplest of terms and not bog you down with terminology or blather.
Why I do not condone DIY mold remediation.
Mold is not a stain, it's not a plant. Mold is a fungus, which falls under it's own catatgory. Unless you know it is dead, it is alive, even if it is dormant, it's alive! So, I could spew out 10 pages in order to educate you on fungi, but again...let's keep it simple. Like other living organisms, mold wants to survive and thrive. It does this by producing spores and it produces as many spores as it can before it dies. These microscopic spores float around in the air you breath and hope they land on a spot that will allow them to mature. An ideal spot would be on something organic and something wet.
Why am I telling you this? Well, most people do not consider the spores when they have mold.
Example: So, a DIY'er finds mold on the sheetrock in their basement. They decide to cut that section off and throw it away thinking that is the end of the mold. Ooops, they notice the mold was also growing on the inside surface of the sheetrock and on the concrete. Dang, now they just exposed that mold and released millions of more spores into the air. And since air in the basement is typically stagnant, the DIY'er just got a nice lung full of spores....the spores that love organic, wet places.
Cross Contamination
Well, just like seeds of a plant, those spores are out there looking for a new home. These millions of spores will stick to items like cardboard, leather and wood. Do you have any wood in your basement? the framing of your house and the floor joists and sub floor...hmmmm.
Now cross contamination can occure when you pull something out of your basement and put it in an upstairs closet, or track it upstairs on your shoes. Your dog or cat can bring it upstairs.
Here is another example I would like to share. A real estate agent that often refers me to clients called me one day and stated the trunk of her car smelled musty. Well, sure enough mold was detected. Here is the kicker, she often kept her dress shoes and boots in the trunk of her car. These are the same shoes that she uses when she shows property. Unfortunately, the average real estate agent exposes themselves to mold more often than they would like to think. They are always in basements of houses the buildings that are often times infected. Not to say she could not have picked up leaf or dirt particles from the outside and put them away wet in her trunk...either way, it is an example of cross contamination.
DIY Vultures
There are websites out there that will charge you money to "teach" you how to remediate your mold. I will tell you with complete honesty, they will steal your money and you will be left no better off. Are you going to buy $20,000 worth of equipment to do it your self? Do you know how to properly protect yourself? Do you have a license to use biocides? How are you going to address the spores in the air? Let me tell you, Lysol is not the answer.
Unless you are cleaning mold in your shower, leave mold remediation to a biosafety professional.