Florida’s high heat and humidity create the right conditions for mold. When it happens outdoors, that’s one thing. But when mold takes up residence in your home, it can create a dangerous situation for you and your pets.
If mold isn’t cleaned up and removed, it leads to health hazards like breathing problems and dizziness. Besides harming your health, mold growth can damage your home and belongings. Many Florida residents call in the professionals to remove mold and prevent it from coming back.
But once the pros remediate the mold in your home, you might be wondering what you should do. Below are some tips and things to watch out for.
What Are the Issues?
The extent of the remediation process and issues will depend on what caused the mold in the first place. How much mold exists, where it’s grown and spread, and any damage will also impact remediation. For instance, leaking pipes can lead to mold behind drywall and sheetrock.
You’ll need a plumber to fix or replace that leaking pipe. Otherwise, cleaning up the mold once won’t correct the problem. It’ll just come back as water continues to escape and damage the interior of your home.
On the other hand, sometimes mold growth is relatively isolated due to excess moisture buildup. Bathrooms without proper ventilation are a common culprit. A contractor might be able to seal off a single area of your home to contain and correct the issue.
However, belongings within the home and major parts of the residence can sustain extensive damage. You may need pros who specialize in restoration. Or you might need to completely replace items like carpet and furniture.
Solutions That Address the Issues
Before you hire a contractor to remediate mold, the EPA recommends making sure they have experience in mold cleanup. You should also ensure you’re hiring the right contractor for the job. For example, mold that exists in your HVAC system requires a different specialist than mold from a water problem.
After remediation occurred, you need a post-inspection. The inspection should include a visual check and moisture level and air sample tests. A visual inspection looks at the condition of the materials where the mold was removed. An inspector will note if any traces of mold remain, any water or mold damage that exists, and whether there are lingering smells and moisture.
A visual inspection can identify the need for further repairs or work, such as drywall or wood replacement. Elevated moisture levels could also indicate a need for improved ventilation. Depending on where the mold grew, you may need to make repairs before using appliances or specific areas of your home.
If mold exists in your HVAC system, you shouldn’t run it until you verify the ducts and system are clear. You might also need to replace some of those ducts, the furnace, or the AC. Until then, your home may be inhabitable.
Moisture level measurements will come from the general and hard-to-reach areas of your home. Air samples, on the other hand, will originate from different levels and rooms. Moisture levels in the air can vary between first and second levels and living rooms and bathrooms.
When to Test Your Home Again
While a post-mold remediation inspection occurs shortly after cleanup, you should wait at least 24 hours. It’s also a good idea to get a different contractor to test your home. To be on the safe side, you can wait a few days or up to a week before retesting.
If your home fails its post-mold remediation test, you can go back to the contractor that removed the growth. Typically, contractors will guarantee their work for a specified amount of time. These details are usually spelled out in the service contract and workmanship guarantees should not cost any extra.
However, some homeowners choose to hire another contractor if a post-test turns up more mold. They may have lost faith in the original company and want a second opinion. That said, you will have to pay the second contractor to come back in and remove any remaining problems.
What to Keep and What to Throw Away
What you end up keeping or throwing away will depend on the damage that’s occurred. That said, certain items that sustain damage should go. These include things like carpet and fabrics that the pros can’t restore.
Think sofas and loveseats that may have extensive mold and water damage. Also, wood can rot out because of water damage. Concrete and foundations with gaps/leaks and rusted rebar will also need replacing.
And obviously, you’ll need to replace any major parts of your home that contractors need to knock down or remove. Wood trim on baseboards and windowsills may also be good to replace. This is because you usually can’t restore the look of wood with mold damage.
However, if the damage to clothes and other fabrics is light enough you can keep them. You may need to hire a restoration specialist for curtains, sofas, and clothes. Placing them in the washer and dryer or trying to remove the mold yourself isn’t enough.
While a contractor’s fixing your home’s mold problems, you’ll be better off staying somewhere else. The one exception is if the problem is isolated to a room that a contractor can seal off. And it has to be a room you don’t need to use.
Consider staying with family or friends. If this isn’t an option, budget for an affordable hotel room or Airbnb.
If you’re moving to Florida, there are certain things you need to prepare for: sinkholes, sunny summers, and mold remediation.
Fixing a mold problem in your home takes the expertise and work of professionals. But it’s what happens after remediation that can impact your lifestyle and present inconveniences. At the very least, be sure to have a post-remediation inspection.
From there, you’ll know which steps you need to take to ensure the problem doesn’t happen again. You might need to part ways with some belongings and fixtures. But it’s your health and safety that matter most.