If you suspect that you have mold in your home or business, have no fear! DryHero is trained and certified in mold remediation and can provide you with an honest, common sense assessment of the severity.  We offer precise inspection techniques and mold testing to help identify and locate mold contamination.  Call 402-438-2379 in Lincoln for your no risk professional consultation!

Mold contamination can often be identified during a simple inspection of your property. However, it’s possible to have elevated levels of airborne mold in your home or business that is not visually detectable.  The best way to evaluate your air quality or mold problem is to simply give us a call.  We can answer many of your questions by phone and will give you candid, professional advice regarding your specific situation.  We even offer free on-site mold assessments during normal business hours to further address your air quality and mold concerns.

MOLD OVERVIEW

Mold growth awareness in buildings has risen greatly in recent years. Factors that have contributed to this heightened awareness include energy conservation measures, modifications in building materials, fast-track construction techniques, failure of occupants to properly manage moisture intrusion and humidity and an increased reliance on mechanical heating and cooling for comfort. Furthermore, significant media focus and litigation have fueled increased air quality concerns. DryHero.com site is not intended to replace professional examination and evaluation of your specific mold situation. It is however intended to provide honest, objective information from various sources throughout the mold remediation industry for eastern Nebraskans.

Since professional indoor air quality (IAQ) organizations, state governments and the US EPA have not agreed upon threshold exposure limits or levels of visible mold growth that constitute a concern for occupant and worker safety, assessing individual mold and air quality concerns can be quite challenging. Quantifying visible levels of mold growth alone has obvious limitations as an action level decision criterion, because it does not take into consideration hidden or concealed mold growth, and it does not take into consideration contamination resulting from settled spores (not visible) that were dispersed from areas of actual growth. The IAQ and mold remediation industry is constantly evolving and as more information regarding mold contamination and remediation becomes available and as advancements are made in mold remediation science, abatement protocols will change.

MOLD IS NORMAL

Mold spores are naturally occurring and ubiquitous in the environment with the reality being that it is not feasible or even possible to keep a structure “mold free”.  Therefore, all structures contain some level of settled and aerosolized mold spores.  If you have dust, you have mold spores.  This is perfectly normal and these mold spores pose no real threat to indoor air quality for most occupants as long as the building materials are kept dry. When materials are wet for a prolonged period of time, it then becomes possible for mold growth to occur.  Mold growth is not normal and should be promptly addressed whenever it’s discovered in the home.

HOW MOLD GROWS

Example of mold growing on bottom of floor joist.

Example of mold growing on bottom of floor joist.

Generally speaking, all mold needs to grow is:1) food source – virtually any organic material2) temperature – any temperature humans can survive in3) moisture – generally at and above 16% wood moisture (or equivalent*)4) time – given the proper conditions, mold will eventually grow5) actual mold spores must be present to seed colonization

INDOOR MOLD ENVIRONMENT CONDITIONS

Condition 1 (normal fungal ecology): an indoor environment that may have settled spores, fungal fragments or traces of actual growth whose identity, location and quantity are reflective of a normal fungal ecology for a similar indoor environment.

Condition 2 (settled spores): an indoor environment which is primarily contaminated with settled spores that were dispersed directly or indirectly from a Condition 3 area, and which may have traces of actual growth.

Condition 3 (actual growth): an indoor environment contaminated with the presence of actual mold growth and associated spores. Actual growth includes growth that is active or dormant, visible or hidden.

PRINCIPLES OF MOLD REMEDIATION

1.     Provide for the Safety and Health of Workers and Occupants When it’s been determined that an indoor environment is contaminated with mold, remediation workers must be protected from mold exposure. Engineering controls and work practices are the primary means for preventing exposure. Appropriate respiratory protection or other personal protective equipment (PPE) are also used to protect workers. Reasonable efforts should be made to inform occupants of and protect them from mold exposure as a result of inspection and remediation activities.

2.     Document the Conditions and Work Processes When a preliminary inspection indicates that mold contamination exists or is likely to exist, an assessment should be performed prior to beginning remediation. In circumstances where an entire building or system is fully involved as a result of Condition 3 mold contamination or when the scope of work can be determined without sampling or independent IEP inspection and assessment, engagement of an IEP for assessment may not be necessary. Furthermore, some mitigation services may be initiated before or during assessment of conditions or performance of remediation processes. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if health issues are discovered or apparent that seem to be related to the actual or suspected mold contamination, an IEP or other appropriate professional should be engaged by the property owner and the extent and Condition (1, 2 or 3) to which areas of the structure, systems and contents are potentially mold-contaminated should be assessed, documented, and reported to the client. The conditions and work processes should be documented on an on-going basis during remediation work. The return of the remediated portion of the structure and salvable contents to Condition 1 should be documented before the structure is rebuilt or the contents reused.

3.     Contamination Control The spread of mold contamination should be controlled as close as practical to its source. Initial moisture mitigation services may be performed to control mold growth, while ensuring that mold contamination does not spread from more-contaminated to less or non-contaminated areas.

4.     Contamination Removal Physically removing mold contamination is the primary means of remediation. Mold contamination should be physically removed from the structure, systems and contents to return them to Condition 1. Attempts to kill, encapsulate or inhibit mold instead of proper source removal generally are not adequate. Remediated structures, systems and contents can be considered clean (post-remediation evaluation) when contamination, un-restoreable contaminated materials and debris have been removed, and surfaces are visibly free of dust. The term “visibly” can include direct and indirect observation (e.g., using a white or black towel to wipe a surface to observe for cleanliness). Also, remediated areas should be free of malodors associated with microorganisms. At that point, it is probable that the structure, systems and contents have been returned to Condition 1. After a post-remediation evaluation, the remediated structures, systems and contents are ready for post remediation verification. When verification that the structure, systems and contents have been returned to Condition 1 and when it is requested or required, a post-remediation verification should be performed by an independent IEP.

5.     Contamination Prevention To prevent recontamination or future contamination, the moisture problem that contributed to the mold growth shall be identified and corrected or controlled as soon as practical . Affected salvable materials should be dried to acceptable moisture content following the current ANSI/IICRC S500 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration (S500). 

ENGINEERING CONTROLS

Mold remediators should prevent cross-contamination and use engineering controls to help ensure worker and occupant safety. Generally accepted mold remediation principles and Occupational Safety and Health Act “OSHA” regulations and standards, engineering controls are the first line of defense for ensuring healthy air quality. Engineering controls may include, but are not limited to: source containment, isolation barriers, pressure differentials, dust suppression, and high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration and vacuuming.

DEVIATING FROM MOLD REMEDIATION INDUSTRY PROTOCOLS

The Principles of Mold Remediation state that mold contamination should be controlled as close to its source as practical. Mold should be physically removed during remediation. Attempts to kill, encapsulate or inhibit mold instead of proper source removal generally are not adequate. Every mold remediation project is unique, and that in certain circumstances, common sense, experience and professional judgment may justify deviation from industry standards. It is the responsibility of mold remediation firms to determine and verify on a case-by-case basis that following the standard is appropriate. When Condition 3 mold situations exist that cannot be physically removed using reasonable measures, or when ongoing moisture intrusion cannot be resolved, it may be necessary to manage a Condition 3 area for extended periods by using long-term engineering controls, encapsulants, sealants or other methods.

Allowing mold or moisture conditions to remain is strongly discouraged, since it can compromise the health of occupants, further damage building materials, and expose remediators to liability and other consequences. However, when deviations from this Standard are considered, it is recommended that mold remediators advise customers in writing that controlling mold or moisture condition in place can 1) have limited effectiveness, 2) result in a release of contaminants, 3) result in additional structural deterioration, 4) require long-term management, or 5) result in additional remediation work being necessary.  

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