fbpx
Category

Mold

How To Keep Kids Safe From Mold

By | Mold | No Comments

How To Keep Kids Safe From MoldFor most people, buying a home of your own is an essential step towards creating that dream family life. However, along with getting that home comes the responsibility of maintaining it. There are a lot of different elements that come into maintaining a home, but one that often gets missed is mold, at least, until it’s too late. Not only does letting mold get out of control lead to expensive remediation and repair, but it can also cause health issues. In some cases, children can feel these effects more than others.

Mold And Child Health

Statistically speaking, roughly 10 percent of all children have some sort of sensitivity to mold. How exactly that sensitivity manifests can vary. In some cases, it’s similar to your typical allergies. When kids breathe in the mold spores, it causes the immune system to overreact, leading to symptoms like sneezing, irritation, and coughing. However, there can be other concerns. For example, children who are already struggling with asthma can be particularly at risk when exposed to mold. As a result, not only should you try to minimize mold in your home, but also avoid areas likely to have mold outside, like vegetable gardens or freshly-mowed grass.

One of the biggest panics people have when thinking about mold and children is “toxic mold.” We should clear the air on this concept a little bit. Out of the over 100,000 types of mold out there, only around 50 qualify as toxic. Technically, the molds themselves aren’t even toxic, but their spores give off something called mycotoxins. These can be a concern for children, though. Even adults exposed to some of these species of mold can develop respiratory infections, depression, and general lethargy.

Avoiding Mold Problems

As you can see, prolonged exposure to mold can cause medical issues for even the healthiest children, the last thing you want to see as a parent or property owner. The best thing you can do here is try to eliminate mold’s chances to grow. The main way to do this is through keeping a wary eye on sources of excess moisture. For example, bathrooms can maintain a lot of moisture through poor ventilation, leading to mold. Make sure that you inspect these areas daily or consider installing a fan to help keep things dry.

Equally important is tracking leaks. In areas like the basement or attic, which may not be visited often, it’s very easy for mold to grow quickly and lead to problems. After heavy storms or damage to the home, make sure that you have an inspection done. Even smaller leaks can lead to mold and water damage, and they’re only going to grow given time.

Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, there’s no guarantee that you will eliminate mold entirely. For example, in some cases, like heavy water damage or a flood, you may not have enough time to react and get help before mold begins to grow. In these situations, it’s essential to section off the affected area and dispose of contaminated items to prevent any spread. In other cases, mold may develop in an area that’s difficult for you to detect without specialized equipment. In these situations, it’s essential that you look into mold remediation as soon as possible. Getting help here can keep the mold from spreading and make your home safe again for the whole family.

If you’re looking for mold remediation in Miami and South Florida, one of your best options is working with Total Care Restoration. We are IICRC-certified, have a 5-star rating on Yelp and an A+ rating with the BBB.

The Expert’s Guide To Mold Removal Services [A Must Read!]

By | Mold | No Comments
Experts Guide To Mold Removal Services

Experts Guide To Mold Removal Services

First Off, When Should You Be Concerned About Mold??

According to national knowledge, mold removal isn’t the type of situation that is limited to homes in certain climates or that have dealt with major issues like floods or burst pipes. In fact, experts mention that nearly 50% of all U.S. homes are dealing with some sort of mold issue. Part of the reason for this is that people don’t fully understand what mold removal services entail. For example, a lot of store-bought cleaners may recommend applying them to the affected part of your home and being done with this. But what does this do about dead spores? Mold in unreachable parts of the home? Nascent mold that isn’t grown enough to be detected? Here is some expert advice in order to handle proper mold removal.

Mold Removal Services Explained

For a start, let’s reiterate some of the consequences of ignoring mold removal services. While health issues are one of the biggest reasons that people invest in mold removal services, it’s important to note that not everyone has the same degrees of reactions. This is due to the different types of mold out there, as well as individual variations of symptoms for different people. Those who are most likely to see a severe impact are those with sensitivities to mold or a history of respiratory issues. Some suggest a link between mold and other health problems, like lethargy or even mental health, but the evidence here is not as strong.

In some cases, the consequences associated with mold don’t necessarily stem from the mold itself but the moisture it comes from. For example, a mold smell in a basement may stem from a cracked foundation allowing moisture to leak in. However, you may not be aware that this is the source of the problem unless you get a mold removal or mold inspection. Leaking pipes and roofs are similar examples of smaller issues that can become bigger ones if left unchecked. Mold may be the warning sign you need.

As a final point, we should cover one question that a lot of homeowners have when dealing with mold removal services: what is mold removal vs. mold remediation?  Some will tell you that these are interchangable, others will tell you that mold remediation is superior to mold removal as a service. In a way, they are both right. What you need to understand is that mold is a key component of the natural world, helping break down plant matter like logs or leaves. As a result, you are never going to fully exterminate mold around your home. What you want to do is minimize the ways that mold spores enter your home and clear out areas of your environment that allow them to grow.

What does this mean for mold removal services vs. mold remediation services? Technically, mold remediation services may be a more accurate label. You can’t fully eliminate mold, but you can lower it down to levels so small that you won’t see any visible effects or health symptoms. In addition, if mold spores enter a home with minimal added moisture that is regularly cleaned, it’s unlikely they will ever grow to those levels. However, there is still a component of mold removal if you have a lot of mold that has grown in your home. Therefore, you may want to emphasize that you need mold removal if you have existing mold, then combine that with mold remediation to better prepare your house to deal with future mold.

Reacting To Mold In Your Home


Mold tends to run on a far more accelerated timeline than you think. In fact, if you can actually see mold somewhere in your home, then it’s likely already been growing in that spot for a week or longer. The initial growing stages of mold take only 24 to 48 hours, during which it is impossible to see with the naked eye. Because of the quick speed that mold can take hold, it’s important for you to have a plan in place if you happen upon mold. This will help your budget and your health, if you have a mold sensitivity. Here is the game plan to start with.

Step 1: Treat excess moisture. In some case, like if you had a minor flood, pipe burst, or leak, it may be obvious where the source of your mold is. The first thing you want to do is get rid of any extra moisture, but if you’re outside that 24- to 48-hour window, mold may already be present. This is why it’s essential to make sure that you invest in safety equipment and clothing. True toxic mold is extremely rare, but carrying it on your clothes could potentially spread mold to different areas.

Step 2: Try and find the source/additional sources. The last thing that you want to do is think that you’ve cleared up all the mold yourself, only to get a rude awakening later. Take advantage of this time to find any other places that mold may have sprouted. Some surprising hidden areas of the home that can become mold homes include the chimney, wallpaper, and appliances like the refrigerator and air conditioners. If you need some help in this area, Step 3 may be what you need.

Step 3: Consider a mold inspection. Some people try to sub out using a store-bought test here, but the results these offer are unreliable at best. Some mold removal services, like TCR Restoration, include free inspections as a part of their service package. If you are still debating about what service you want, you can also pay an independent mold inspector to understand what you are dealing with quicker.

Step 4: Check your insurance. Most homeowner’s insurance policies only cover mold removal under specific circumstances. Take pictures of the mold and related damage if you plan on filing a claim.

After these key steps, you’ll have some knowledge about the nature of your mold and where it is growing and have hopefully slowed the process a bit by cleaning up extra moisture. Next up is looking for the ideal mold removal services.

What To Look For In Mold Removal Services

At this point, it’s important to make a decision about who is going to handle your mold removal services. For mold removal/mold remediation, you’re not just paying to get mold out of your home, but also remove any trace remnants that could lead to growth in the future. This means you want to get the best quality possible. A good place to start is making sure that your mold removal services have certifications with bodies like the IICRC. This ensures that the technicians working on your home are properly qualified to do so.

Another key stage that goes with finding the right mold removal services is the “interview” stage. While technically not an interview, there’s generally going to be a consultation or talk with someone from the service before you formally commit. This is the moment to ask essential questions like how exactly they will contain the area they are working on/disposing of contaminated materials. Other things you want to ask about including liability insurance on the contractor’s part, as well as how you can get documentation on the work that they’ve done for your records.

Let’s close this conversation with a part of the conversation that everyone is probably concerned about: the price. There’s a lot of variances when it comes to these types of jobs but, on average, you can expect to pay a couple of thousand dollars for remediation. We’ll get into exactly what that entails in a little bit, but the majority of professionals out there will charge between $10 and $25 per square foot, to help your estimation and budgeting a little bit. The location of the mold will also play a role here. For example, a crawlspace is less expensive than the attic. Additional costs may be present if you need to address the initial cause of the moisture, like foundation repair or fixing a leak.

While this may seem daunting, the last thing you want to do is find a bargain alternative for mold removal services. The main reason is that these simply don’t work. For example, if you use a DIY cleaner and home testing kit, you may clear off a portion of mold, but the test you use may be ignoring mold in another section of your home. At the same time, there may be dead spores that won’t grow but can still linger and cause reactions in people with mold sensitivities. Professional mold removal services encompass practices like these to make sure you are satisfied and safe.

What Goes Into The Mold Removal Process

Part of pursuing mold removal services is using the expertise, tools, and experience of professionals to help your home. With this said, it’s always a good idea to take a closer look at what exactly mold removal services do as a part of their job. This may help you prevent future mold problems and will also give you more of a leg to stand on if you’re not happy with the job your contractor does. While mold removal services take different forms based on the needs of the customers, here’s a general look at what you can expect.

Isolation: When the mold has been pinned down to a certain area, mold removal services will try to quarantine it as much as possible while they work. This will keep the spores from spreading anywhere else and causing further contamination.

Disposal: Right along with this will be testing different objects/materials in the affected area to see if they are contaminated beyond repair. If this is the case, the mold removal services will need to dispose of them to ensure mold doesn’t go to other parts of the home. Getting rid of contaminated parts of the home can drive a lot of the expense of mold removal, especially if the professionals need to do something like get to the drywall to do it.

Drying: Once the area is isolated and things that can’t be restored are removed, it’s time to get rid of any excess moisture. You may have already done this before, but mold removal services have access to far more powerful equipment to remove the moisture that mold needs to grow rather than just lowering it to slow the growth down.

Cleaning: This step can vary a lot depending on the nature of the mold, but there will always be some sort of cleaning component to mold removal. This may also include HVAC cleaning if there is a risk of mold spores getting into those systems.

Repair/Reconstruction: In some cases, an element of demolition is needed to get to the areas where the mold is in a home. Most mold removal services will be able to include restoring the impacted area as a part of their service package.

Consultation: Ideally, mold restoration will talk to the homeowner after their job is done to explain what they’ve done and provide advice to avoid mold problems in the future.

Using TCR For Mold Removal Services

No matter what type of advice you implement for mold removal/prevention, there is only so much that can be accomplished on your own. For example, after heavy water damage or similar situations, the volume of mold may be too much to deal with. There’s also the issue of mold starting to grow in areas where it isn’t easily accessible. To handle this issue, you need professional mold removal services like Total Care Restoration. Not only do we believe in doing the most for our customers in the Miami area, but we’re also:

  • 5 Star Rated on Yelp
  • IICRC Certified
  • BBB A+ Rated

These credentials mean that we have the expertise and experience to help our customers tackle any situation and get their homes comfortable and safe once again. Reach out to us today for a free inspection.

The Need To Know Guide For Mold Remediation Services [Special Edition]

By | Mold | No Comments
Close-up Of A Shocked Woman Looking at moldy room

Close-up Of A Shocked Woman Looking at moldy room

Household mold isn’t something that should be taken lightly, and part of this is due to the sheer variety of different ways that it can impact health when people are exposed to it for a long period of time. In some cases, it may be mild discomfort, indistinguishable from some common allergies. In other situations, it may present a more serious health issue.

No matter how your body reacts to mold, no one wants to take a chance, especially with the different species of mold that can grow in your house if left unchecked. Because of this, it’s essential that you take the time to consider mold remediation services as a solution to your greater issues.

The #1 Question Everybody Asks??

How Do You Know It’s Time For Mold Remediation Services?


Some sources would have you believe that if you see a small patch of mold in your home, that you’re in good shape to deal with it yourself via a few DIY treatments or cleaning products that you can buy over the counter. Not necessarily, and here are a few reasons why.

  1. Store-bought “test kits” aren’t always reliable, and if you try to apply a specific treatment to the wrong species of mold, you may not get the results you want.
  2. This approach only works for mold that is easily visible or detectable. As we will mention later, there’s a variety of ways mold gets into areas that are much harder to see.
  3. There are other elements that you need to keep in mind, including the presence of dead spores and comparing levels before or after your “remediation” process.

With this said, how can you determine the difference between a smaller mold issue and something that requires full-scale remediation? The truth is, it can be difficult to detect the difference. Mold can grow in any situation where there is humidity or moisture. A lot of the horror stories you hear about mold involve flooding or another water intrusion because it adds a lot of moisture at once, but some summers in certain climates should always be accompanied by a mold inspection. If your home is flooded, though, you should include mold remediation as part of your recovery, no questions asked.

Aside from that, the biggest signs that you should look for mold remediation versus smaller-scale efforts is if you see prolonged signs of mold exposure. For example, mold has a distinct smell, and if you apply some DIY methods and see little results, this may mean that you have it in more areas than anticipated. In addition, if you see a prolonged health impact related to mold, it’s better to be safe than sorry and get mold remediation services before these issues go any further.

Finally, there’s the simple matter of confidence. If you can smell or detect mold in a certain area and aren’t confident about your ability to properly remove it or if there may be mold in other places, you’re better off looking into mold remediation services. Even if you save money upfront with a DIY method, if it doesn’t work, you may have to do it again and again, with no guarantee that you will remove all mold. This will erode the price advantage pretty quickly.

One reason why profession mold remediation services are preferable to DIY options is the timeline that you have to work with when it comes to mold. In optimal conditions (dark, damp, humid) mold can grow in as little as 24 to 48 hours. Note that this is the initial germination. It can take up to a week or longer until the mold is actually visible, which could mean a week of potential health symptoms and issues before you have an idea of what you are dealing with. Going the professional route saves you from dealing with this for even longer.

Sources Of Mold In The Home (and how mold remediation services target them)

One thing you want to do yourself before calling mold remediation services is to get a basic idea of where mold is growing in your home. The biggest reason for this is for your personal and financial benefit. Mold remediation is an essential process but can get expensive if there needs to be additional steps taken to get to the mold, like tearing down drywall or other similar procedures. By knowing how and where mold has gotten into your home, you can budget accordingly.

The easiest way to break this down is by explaining the different components any mold species needs to grow. If any one part of the following list is missing, mold won’t be able to grow.

  1. A food source: In nature, mold will grow on fallen trees or other plant matter. In the home, wood and drywall are some of the most common sources they turn to.
  2. Darkness: Ultraviolet light is harmful for mold, so there needs to be some degree of darkness or cover present.
  3. Oxygen: Although mold can grow without light, it cannot grow without sufficient oxygen.
  4. Warmth: Freezing temperatures and below make it impossible for mold to grow. This is why people in year-round warm climates need to pay special attention to mold.
  5. Moisture: As mentioned before, doesn’t need to be standing water in order for mold to grow. Any moisture can provide a home for mold.

In your typical home setting, there are a variety of different situations that can lead to mold growing. The bathroom and kitchen are always good places to look because certain appliances can lead to more humidity. Combine these with forgotten areas that have shade and aren’t cleaned often, and you have an ideal home for mold.

Aside from these, water leaks of any size are also a prime candidate for mold. For example, if you have a leaky pipe, the dripping water from here provides a constant source of moisture for mold to grow. The same situation applies to moisture from outdoors that comes in through a leak in the roof or attic. In general, on top of acting quickly if you smell mold or have any sudden symptoms that could reflect growing mold, a good practice is to check your roof, attic, and other areas after any rough storm, even if it doesn’t seem like there was major damage. Even a small leak can provide enough moisture for mold to grow, leading to larger issues in the future.

Staging Your Home For Mold Remediation Services

At this point, you’ve established, or at least have an idea, of what is causing your mold and are ready to call in professional help. There are a few steps you can take as a caring homeowner in order to slow the growth and make the work a little easier for your mold remediation professionals when they come.

  1. Take Care of Water: While it may not halt the growth of mold, you can prevent things from getting too out of hand by taking the initiative for outstanding water. In fact, it’s generally recommended that you wear some sort of protective clothing, including a N-95 respirator, protective gloves, and some sort of apron. Most homeowners don’t have these, so you’re probably better off calling a plumber to handle any leaks, as many mold remediation services can’t start until those leaks are fixed.
  2. Be Ready To Fix Adjacent Issues: As we alluded to before, mold growth can also be a symptom of another problem in your house, like a leak. Depending on what contractors you use, you may be able to get mold remediation services and the necessary other repairs done at once, but it’s good to start budgeting for both now.
  3. Check With Your Insurance Company: In general, insurance companies only cover mold remediation costs if the mold issue stems from what is called a “covered peril.” Generally, this includes sudden, accidental situations, like an ice dam in your gutters causing a roof leak and sudden mold. By comparison, mold that slowly grows in your shower likely won’t be covered. Situations like natural disasters generally require their own insurance.
  4. Test For Mold?: The question mark may surprise you, but remember, we mentioned how unreliable home mold tests can be. You’re better off paying the extra money and bringing in a professional before getting your mold remediation services done. This helps you know exactly what type and how much mold you are dealing with. It’s possible that mold remediation services offer these tests as a part of their package. Choosing the right contractor means one less piece of work for you.

As a final side note, we’ve mentioned how mold leads to different medical issues for different people. Once you’re set with the staging process, it may not be a bad idea to talk to your doctor and mention that you’ve found mold in your home. This can give them additional insight to provide treatment.

The Process of Selecting Mold Remediation Services

After staging your home for mold remediation services, the time has come to choose your ideal contractor. You have a lot of different options as far as this is concerned, so it’s important to know what separates the best from the rest of the pack.

For starters, in the world of mold remediation, you need to take a close look at certifications when looking for who is qualified. Unfortunately, there are a lot of certifications out there that may sound official but carry little actual weight when it comes to showing how skilled an organization is. There are a few standing exceptions, though. For example, at Total Care Restoration, we are fully certified by the IICRC, a long-standing organization that requires in-person training.

Another important thing to keep in mind when it comes to mold remediation services is that racing to the bottom in terms of price rarely works out well for you. The reason for this is that mold remediation can be a prolonged and sometimes expensive process. For example, if it’s just about removing some carpet, it may take a few days, while it can take far longer if mold needs to be cleared from attics or if demolition and rebuilding is involved. Make sure that you are working with professionals who will follow all the steps needed to remove both living and dead mold from your home, as both can cause issues.

When it comes to online reviews, it’s always a good idea to practice some caution. Because of the nature of mold remediation services, there may not be a lot of reviews for a given contractor, which means you need to weigh each one carefully. Look at trends across multiple reviews rather than single responses.

After things are done, it may be a good idea to hire an outside mold inspector to test how well the remediators did their job. Remember, mold remediation services are more about cleaning things up and replacing areas damaged by mold. It’s also about removing mold spores from the environment to make sure that they don’t start growing again the next time there is a little moisture present. Of course, it falls on you to make sure you are hiring a qualified mold inspector.

Why TCR Stands Above Other Mold Remediation Services

There are a variety of mold remediation services out there, so you want to make sure that you are not only picking the right type of services, but also working with a company with a proven track record of not only helping minimize mold, but also properly staging a home to ensure that mold doesn’t get to unsafe levels in the future. For help in the Miami area, be sure to contact professionals like Total Care Restoration. On top of doing the most to help our customers, we are also:

  • 5 Star Rated on Yelp
  • IICRC Certified
  • BBB A+ Rated

This means that we have the skills and expertise to help you with mold remediation, no matter the stage of growth, type, or cause of mold that you are dealing with. Our customers also trust us to diagnose different issues and create a remediation solution that matches their needs. Reach out to us today for a free inspection.

10 Questions For Your To Ask Mold Remediation Professionals

By | Mold | No Comments

 

Ask Picture

Ask Picture

If you find yourself in a major water damage situation or are beginning to deal with health issues as a result of the presence of mold, you want to get a mold remediation professional at your home as soon as possible. Part of the issue with this, though, is that you want to make sure you have the best option, even if you are in a rush. The nature of mold means that if your professionals miss even one area, you could have mold spread around your house once again before you even know it. Because of this, you want to cut the wheat from the chaff right away, and this list of questions will help you do just that when looking for mold remediation professionals. If you have questions of your own about mold remediation, be sure to look at our all-purpose guide on the subject (Think You Need Home Mold Remediation? )

  1. What Do You Do About Repairs?

Depending on the extent of mold contamination, you may incur some serious damage to your home that is necessary for remediation. For example, mold behind the drywall will require said drywall to be removed to handle the mold. Ask ahead of time whether your remediation company will be able to handle repairs or if you need to find another contractor for this process.

  1. How Do You Isolate Rooms?

One of the most important steps when it comes to mold remediation is isolating the impacted area to avoid any spread during the remediation process. Make sure that your provider has a set standard on how to tackle this important step.

  1. How Long Have You Been In Business?

As is the case with any sort of contractors, unfortunately, there are a lot of fly-by-night operations that offer mold remediation services, especially after hurricanes or flooding where a lot of people need these services right away. You want to work with established companies, not only because they have more experience to do the job properly, but also because it will be easier to follow up with them in case you have issues in the future.

  1. Are You Licensed?

Every state has its own set of rules and regulations to perform mold remediation. You want to make sure that your company of choice has the proper experience and expertise to perform the necessary job, and licensing is a major part of this.

  1. Are You Insured?

You want to make sure that any company that you work with has both worker’s compensation insurance to protect the employees who are working with the mold in your home as well as liability insurance to protect your home and property if something happens during the remediation process.

  1. How Do You Handle Waste Material?

Technically, there aren’t any regulations to dispose of mold-contaminated material, but your mold remediation company should still have some in place. The reason for this is that due to the nature of how mold spores spread, it’s very easy for materials disposed of in the trash to end up spreading spores back in and around the home. Double-bagging contaminated materials and cleaning the bags can do the job in a pinch—just make sure a set plan is in place.

  1. What Is The Cost Structure Of Your Contract?

Depending on the nature of your remediation needs, the process can get expensive. Make sure you know the exact financial breakdown so you don’t end up paying more than you can afford.

  1. Have You Worked In This Type Of House Before?

Different homes have different structures, which means different areas where mold may appear. Ideally, you want a company that has experience with exactly the type of job your remediation will require.

  1. Do You Have A Guarantee Policy?

In general, you want to use a mold remediation company that stands behind their work with some sort of guarantee. Find out exactly what their policy is if you are not happy with how they handle the mold or if some other issue arises during the process. The last thing you want is to go through the entire search process again.

  1. Can You Provide A Post-Remediation Report?

The last thing you want to do is pay for a second remediation before you are ready. A post-remediation report can minimize the chance of this happening by providing information and guidance on what you need to do next to deal with mold before it gets out of control.

A lot of the time, you’re going to need to go through this process to narrow down the different mold remediation professionals to find the best match for your budget and situation. If you want a company that is versatile, make sure to contact professionals like Total Care Restoration. Not only do we believe in doing the most for our customers in the Miami area, but we’re also IICRC-certified. This means that we have the skills and experience to help in a variety of mold remediation scenarios.

Why A DIY Mold Remediation Doesn’t Work

By | Mold | No Comments
Caution Picture

Caution Picture

Mold remediation costs can vary wildly, mainly because, depending on the spread of the mold, you may be trying to either clear out a few affected areas or trying to remediate several large rooms in your home. Because of this, you may end up paying anywhere from $500 to $15,000 for remediation, and it’s difficult to narrow down that range until the extent of contamination is discovered.

Because of this problem, a lot of people may be tempted to try and get rid of mold themselves. The presence of DIY mold remediation tutorials online tends to make the idea even more appealing. However, for the most part, trying to get rid of mold yourself is a big mistake. Here are some key reasons why.

Misconceptions: There’s a lot of false knowledge that gets handed out in the DIY world, and with something that has health impacts like mold remediation, you want to make sure that this isn’t the case for you.

For example, a lot of people may suggest that bleach is the  proper way to kill mold, but this isn’t the case at all. To truly get rid of mold, you will need a proper biocide, and while you can purchase these yourself, you may not understand which product to buy based on what type of mold is in your home.

Cross-Contamination: If you see professional mold remediation in action, you’re going to see professionals wearing protective gear as well as taking the time to isolate the affected area before the remediation process starts. This is an area where a lot of DIY approaches don’t take the time to prepare. The result could mean putting yourself at risk as well as giving the mold a chance to spread to other areas of the home.

Hidden Mold: This is probably the biggest place where DIY Mold Remediation falls short. Generally, what people do to get rid of mold themselves is seek it out based on sight and smell, but this isn’t always going to help you find all the mold in your home. Mold in the foundation, attic, or behind the walls won’t be detected in such a way, meaning that it can spread further. In addition, in some cases, you may need to remove parts of the home to get to the mold, and you may not be comfortable doing that.

With this said, there are a few active roles that people can have when it comes to dealing with mold in their home. For example, while waiting for mold remediation professionals to do their work, you can use humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and other tools to maintain a proper humidity level in your home. This can help curb mold from appearing in other areas.

However, your best asset is being an alert homeowner and doing regular checks around your home for mold. This means you can pay a lot less for remediation when you need it. If you have more questions about mold remediation, be sure to look at our all-purpose guide on the subject  (Think You Need Mold Remediation In Your Home?).

There’s nothing wrong with the DIY impulse, but as a homeowner, you need to understand that there are situations where this just doesn’t apply, and mold remediation is one of them.  A major reason for this is that mold and water damage are not the type of situations that you want to let progress because you either missed a location or didn’t do something properly. This could lead to permanent damage to your furniture or even the foundation of your home, and you want to make sure that you solve the problem by bringing on professional help.

If you are looking for a place to start, contact professionals like Total Care Restoration. Not only do we believe in doing the most for our customers in the Miami area, but we’re also IICRC-certified. This means that we have the skills and experience to properly see your mold remediation to its conclusion.

Knowing Your Mold Types

By | Mold | No Comments
Mold Growing

Mold Growing

Technically, we don’t have complete knowledge about all the different types of mold and fungi out there in the world, though there are believed to be roughly 100,000 types of mold, many of which have a decent chance of appearing in your home. The good news is that there are a few specific species that are a lot more likely to appear in a home, whether they’re stemming from humid conditions, excess water damage, or flooding. Here are some of the key examples.

Aspergillus mold: This very common type of mold can be found just about anywhere and is known to cause allergic aspergillosis when its spores are inhaled. This generally causes minor allergic symptoms for healthy adults, but can lead to more pronounced issues in children, the elderly, or those recovering from surgery and serious illnesses.

Cladosporium mold: Another of the more common types of mold you can encounter in your home, Cladosporium is a black or green “pepper like” substance that is often seen on the back of toilets, as well as fiberglass air ducts and painted surfaces. This mold is non-toxic, but it can cause allergic reactions like a sore throat and rashes.

Fusarium: This mold is similar to Cladosporium and can survive in both warm and cold conditions. Generally, it is found in carpeting, wallpaper, and other types of fabric. The major difference is that in time, Fusarium can become toxic. This means that its impact is far more severe, including bone infections and even internal bleeding.

Aureobasidium mold: This allergenic mold is generally found behind wallpaper or on painted surfaces, which can make it hard to locate. When you do see this, it has a pink, brown, or black color that gets darker as it ages. It can lead to eye, skin, and nail infections.

We should take some time to discuss the concept of “toxic mold” as part of this conversation. To be clear, mold can be hazardous to your health, but there are a lot of misconceptions. For example, only 50 species of mold out there truly have components that can be considered to be “toxic.” Toxic, in this case, doesn’t necessarily mean that the mold is toxic, but that it creates toxic compounds known as mycotoxins.

The most prominent example of this is Stachybotrys chartarum, also known as black mold. Black mold is commonly seen in flood-damaged buildings and areas. While some non-toxic molds can trigger allergic reactions, common symptoms of toxic molds include wheezing, chronic sneezing, coughing, eye irritation, and even regular serious headaches. Left unchecked, it can also cause issues like fatigue, depression, and breathing problems. Black mold is generally found in air conditioning pipes and ducts.

It can be difficult to identify different types of mold, and if you want to get technical, mold doesn’t have to be “toxic mold” to cause discomfort for any occupants. This is why, no matter what type of mold you are dealing with, it’s best for you to start mold remediation as soon as possible to avoid any health issues in your household. In addition, the quicker you act, the less expensive your remediation project could be.

If you have more questions about mold remediation, be sure to look at our all-purpose guide on the subject (Think You Need Home Mold Remediation?).  The best way to start the remediation process is by using professionals like Total Care Restoration. Not only do we believe in doing the most for our customers in the Miami area, but we’re also IICRC-certified. We have the experience and expertise to figure out what type of mold you are dealing with and help bring it down from potentially dangerous levels.

Think You Need Home Mold Remediation? Read This…

By | Mold | No Comments
Man shocked to mold in kitchen cabinet.

Man shocked to mold in kitchen cabinet.

 

Chances are, you could have some form of mold in your home without even knowing it. Experts suggest that roughly half of the homes in the U.S. have some form of mold problem. Compounding the issue is that 28% of the population has some sort of genetic factor that could leave them at risk for mold-related health issues. In addition, people in certain regions of the country may be at greater risk of mold in their homes, generally in areas with high humidity. In these situations, you need to make sure that you are ready to utilize mold remediation.

Mold Remediation vs. Mold Removal


At first, you may be confused about exactly why the term is called mold remediation vs. mold removal. Part of the reason for this is that mold remediation is a more accurate label. Mold, to some degree, is going to occur wherever there is any sort of water or moisture, including heavy humidity. As a result, you’re never going to technically remove every single iota of mold in a home, and even if you could, it would come back pretty quickly. This is where the legal definition of mold remediation makes a lot of sense—being: “the removal, cleaning, sanitizing, demolition, or other treatment, including preventive activities, of mold or mold-contaminated matter that was not purposely grown at that location.”

Mold remediation does not completely remove mold forever, but it brings it back to healthy levels. So, with this in mind, what exactly leads to mold in the first place? In nature, mold has a very important use—to break down organic matter like dead trees and fallen leaves, but indoors, it can lead to issues.

Mold grows in areas where there is moisture, and it continues to grow and reproduce by expelling spores that are invisible to the naked eye. There are a variety of different types of mold out there, and all of these require moisture to function. This is part of the reason why so many companies that help with water damage also offer mold remediation services—because the two go hand-in-hand. Water damage scenarios, like flooding, hurricanes, or burst pipes, are some of the areas where mold remediation is often needed most because the sudden influx of moisture leads to the greatest risk of mold causing health issues.

When You Need Mold Remediation?


To be clear, we should address the commonly held concept of “toxic mold” in the home. A lot of restoration services may use this in their marketing, but it’s a bit of a misnomer. Very few molds actually produce true toxins. However, those same spores that we mentioned earlier can cause health issues if they are ingested, and this applies to a variety of different species of mold. However, only roughly 50 species out of the 100,000 types of mold out there truly qualify as toxic (Knowing Your Mold Types).

Woman Sneezing

Woman Sneezing

Just because exposure to mold isn’t poisonous doesn’t mean that it can’t be serious, though. One of the most common negative health reactions to mold is mold allergies. These, like other allergies, are caused due to an overreaction of the immune system when someone inhales mold spores. This can happen even with some of the milder mold species out there. Typical signs of mold allergies include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny/stuffy nose
  • Cough/postnasal drip
  • Itching in the eyes, nose, and throat
  • Watery eyes
  • Dried skin

Like other allergies, there can be a lot of variance in the severity of different reactions, as well as the duration of said allergies. For example, your mold allergies may only happen at certain times of the year or occur year-round. For the most part, mold allergies will make you extremely uncomfortable but don’t necessarily threaten your health. However, the issue may be further compounded for people who are dealing with asthma. Asthmatic people with mold allergies can easily have an asthma attack if they end up being exposed to mold that triggers an allergy.

While mold allergies are the most common health issue that will require mold remediation, there are some other more dangerous health conditions that can occur. These can include respiratory infections and conditions like bronchitis, especially among people who have compromised immune systems.  In some cases, post-flooding mold can be especially dangerous due to the other contaminants that are often brought in by floodwater.

With this said, even if mold is rarely life-threatening, constant allergic reactions can cause a serious impact on your quality of life. Because of this issue, it’s essential that homeowners have the means to detect mold as soon as they suspect that it’s present. There are a few ways that you can do this:

Check by sight: While you don’t want to use just this option, certain types of mold are more visible than others, like the infamous Stachybotrys chartarum, known as black mold, which has a distinct greenish black appearance.

Check by smell: One of the most common ways people first detect mold in their home is by the very distinct damp, musty smell that stems from substances naturally produced by mold as they grow.

Health issues: Because mold allergy symptoms can resemble other allergies, it may be difficult to pin health issues on mold at first. However, if you recently had a flood or humid season and are experiencing issues out of the blue, mold may be the culprit.

Technically, there are mold kits out there, but most of the time, you don’t really need those. If you have even a suspicion that there is mold in your home, the best course of action is to prep for mold remediation rather than delay the process. The longer it takes for you to get started, the more time the mold has to grow and spread.

If you’re struggling to find a place to start looking, remember that mold is naturally drawn to places where moisture is present (Common Household Mold Areas). This means that bathrooms and the kitchen are a good place to start, but you may want to also look in areas that may have come into contact with heavy rain or leaks. Windows, air conditioning vents, humidifiers, and even indoor plants can become a home to mold. This is part of why pipe bursts and floods can be so dangerous when it comes to mold, as water and moisture can get into areas that are difficult or impossible to see or check. This is why you want to start looking for mold remediation professionals who can get the job done shortly after returning to your home after these issues take place.

Mold Remediation – Step By Step


The beginning of the mold remediation process, no matter what the size of the project or the location in the home, is going to be attending to the underlying water issue. Because the water is the root of all the major problems, it’s essential to clear out any excess moisture to avoid mold growth. At this point, you’re typically going to use the following steps:

  • Isolating the area. If the mold is limited to one area, mold remediation professionals are going to close all windows and doors to try to stop the spread of mold, and they should also be protecting themselves by wearing protective gear. Depending on the size of the remediation, they may also have to cover the doors and openings with sheeting to ensure there is no additional spread.
  • Removing wet/damaged items. Many areas that have been contaminated by mold or soaked by water damage will need to be disposed of. However, your mold remediation company should be following best practices to dispose of these items. Generally, this includes using double-bagged thick plastic bags. After the exterior of the bags are cleaned, these can be treated as regular trash.  
  • Cleaning the affected area. Different professionals will use different tools, but the basic concept stays the same. All affected areas need to be brushed and scrubbed using a cleaning solution until all mold has been removed. At this point, the cleaning materials need to be disposed of and the surfaces need to be rinsed with clean water.
  • Drying the affected area. The cleaning process will generally lead to some leftover moisture, and many mold restoration professionals will speed up the drying process by using dehumidifiers and fans, as well as raising the air temperature in the home. After things are dried, the homeowner can begin replacing anything that was discarded during the remediation process.

Depending on the location of the mold and the nature of your home, the exact process of remediation will vary, but this list gives you a basic principles behind remediation—isolating the affected area, clearing out any water, disposing of contaminated material, and then an effective clean and dry.  It may be worth it for you to ask the mold remediation company exactly what type of biocide/fungicide/moldicide solutions they use to kill any remaining mold during this process.

The Ideal Path Towards Mold Remediation


With all these steps in mind, is there anything that you can do as a homeowner to stage your home before your mold remediation starts? In general, it’s not a good idea to start your own DIY mold remediation because there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about clearing out mold that may cause issues. However, there are a few things that you can do, like turning down the humidity in your home. In general, you want indoor humidity at approximately 55%.

In addition, while you may not be able to eliminate mold completely, there are certain best practices you can put in place to avoid issues in the future. For example, get in the habit of looking for cracks in the foundation or leaky gutters at the start of each major rainy season. A lot of the time, areas that are difficult to detect can suddenly become havens for mold due to rain seeping into the home.  In general, if you live in a humid area or one with a lot of moisture, the best thing you can do is get into the habit of checking common areas of the home for mold. By acting quickly, you may only need remediation for a small space as opposed to a large swath of your home. Another good practice is to make sure that your home is properly ventilated and insulated to avoid mold in unexpected areas like the attic. However, your own efforts can only go so far (Why DIY Mold Remediation Doesn’t Work).

When the time comes to find a mold remediation professional, the best course of action is to be an attentive consumer (10 Questions To Ask  Mold Remediation Professionals). Take some time to look at the online reviews and look over the company website to make sure that they are properly licensed. Ideally, you’re going to want a company that is not only experienced in mold remediation, but also going through the process in your region, and even in your type of home, if possible. You can always ask the potential company for clarification about these details outright.

Using TCR For Mold Remediation

At this point, we’ve established that it’s essential for you to act quickly when it comes to mold remediation and that half-measures won’t work when it comes to keeping your family safe. This is why it’s important to recruit professional help for mold remediation rather than trying a DIY solution. For the right company, contact professionals like Total Care Restoration. Not only do we believe in doing the most for our customers in the Miami area, but we’re also:

  • 5 Star Rated on Yelp
  • IICRC Certified
  • BBB A+ Rated

This means that we have the skills and expertise to help you with mold remediation, no matter where the mold is in your home or how much has grown. Our customers also trust us to diagnose different issues and create a removal solution that matches their needs. Reach out to us today for a free inspection.

Mold In Your Home [The Health Hazard Edition]

By | Mold | No Comments
Mold In Your Home

Mold In Your Home

Mold in your home is a natural occurrence around the world, but one case where it is decidedly unnatural is in your home.

One of the major reasons that homeowners are concerned about mold during your home is indirect—the fact that it is an indicator of unwanted moisture somewhere in the structure or another part of your home.

Another issue is the fact that active mold damages any structure that it grows on, potentially impacting the integrity of your home if left unchecked.

The final, and most frightening impact of mold in your home is the fact that it can potentially lead to health issues for you and your family. Science is still unraveling the exact relationship between these, but the correlation is clear.

Be Informed

While mold can be hazardous, there’s also a bit of misinformation going on about it. For example, you may hear a lot of talk about “toxic mold” in the home, sometimes using this as a universal label. This isn’t true, as not all mold produce toxins.

The Real Name For Black Mold Is?

There are a few species can cause severe health issues if their spores are ingested. The most well-known variant of this is  Stachybotrys chartarum, also known as black mold. Black mold is especially problematic because it is most commonly seen in flood-damaged buildings.

As a result, families who are already dealing with severe water damage may come home to a place that is uninhabitable until the mold is removed. To put things in perspective, around 50 species out of the 100,000 types of mold out there truly have the “toxic” label.

The Physical Symptoms of Black Mold

Generally, basic indicators that you may be dealing with black mold and similar toxic molds in your home include respiratory responses from mold spores entering the sinuses and lungs. For example, you may encounter chronic sneezing and coughing, as well as irritation of the mucus membranes of the nose and throat. Other symptoms include:

  • Rashes
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Eye irritation
  • Recurring serious headaches

The symptoms can become even more serious if left unchecked, ranging from nausea and vomiting to bleeding in the lungs and nose. While this is the extreme end of the spectrum, mold doesn’t have to be toxic in order to cause health issues for you. Mold, all types of mold, is a common allergen for many people, and exposure to it can lead to allergic reactions that range from:

  • Chest tightness
  • Coughing
  • Congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Breathing difficulty

None of these issues may be particularly life-threatening, but ask anyone with serious allergies what it’s like to try and get through your day while dealing with these symptoms. Compound this with having to deal with it every day in your home, with no relief in sight for your issues.

Mold And Asthma Doesn’t Mix

Special attention should also be given to people with asthma. If an asthmatic person has a mold allergy and is exposed to it, they could easily have an asthma attack.

Moist Areas Are Usually The Problem

Mold, by nature, requires moisture to survive. This can make it difficult to pinpoint because there are many different areas that moisture can develop in the house.

We already mentioned floods and water damage, but anywhere, from naturally moist areas like bathrooms to common leak areas like foundation cracks and leaky gutters, can be a potential haven for mold.

The issues with dealing with mold in your home are twofold. Not only are there the many different ways that mold can impact your health as we’ve mentioned, but there’s also the fact that it can be very difficult to determine where exactly mold is in your home, especially if your home is recovering from water damage.

IICRC Certified

These two reasons are why you don’t want to take a chance when it comes to locating mold in your home, and why you’ll want to bring on professionals to both target and get rid of it as soon as you believe it may be present. This means working with professionals like Total Care Restoration.

Not only do we believe in doing the most for our customers in the Miami area, but we’re also IICRC-certified. This means that we have the knowledge to know where mold may grow in your home without you noticing it. In addition, we can get rid of it to create a happier and healthier home for you and your family.

 

How To Tell When Mold Is Behind Your Walls

By | Mold | No Comments
Mold behind walls

Mold behind walls

Mold behind your walls may be a part of nature, but it’s one natural thing that you never want to see in your home. Even the most minor examples of mold can be visually unappealing and potentially cause issues for people who are allergic.

Never Leave Black Mold Unchecked!

Some types of mold, specifically black mold, can be dangerous if left unchecked. In some cases, mold can be easy to visually identify and take care of, but in many cases, it’s the mold you can’t see that is the biggest problem.

This is especially the case in flood/water damage scenarios, where water and moisture tend to get into all different parts of a home or building, creating a perfect environment for mold to grow.

One common issue people with water damage have to deal with is mold behind their walls. Here are some signs that there may be some mold growing out of sight in your home. Interested in learning what causes mold and how to prevent it, click here.

First Off!

For one thing, even if you can’t actually see the mold behind your walls, there are still some tangible indicator that it may be present. As we mentioned before, some people tend to have allergic reactions to even non-toxic mold. These tend to manifest with the following:

  • Runny noses
  • Skin rashes
  • Red eyes
  • Excessive sneezing

If you start noticing this out of the blue, it could be a potential clue, especially if there was recent flooding or heavy rains. In addition, mold, even behind the walls, still leaves a trademark odor.

If you can smell it, but can’t see it, there’s a chance that it may be growing behind the walls!

Have The Eye For Visual Signs

In some cases, there may even be visual signs on the walls itself, if not of the mold, there are clues that you’re at potential risk of mold.

For example, water stains on drywall aren’t 100% indicator that you have mold, but there’s clearly water getting there from some sort of source. With this in mind, chances are that you’re going to get mold in time if you don’t find and address the source. This is part of the reason why many experts recommend doing home examinations during periods of the year where there’s a lot of humidity or rain.

The Screwdriver Test

Other visual indicators of moisture include peeling wallpaper or condensation on the wall or ceiling. Be careful if you think there’s mold under your wallpaper, though. Peeling it off yourself to see may end up exposing you to a cloud of spores.

If you’re willing to do a more intensive test, consider trying to probe the wall in question with a screwdriver. If things are soft or crumbling, you may already have rot taking hold from mold.

How Can You Curb Mold’s Growth?

If you find that there’s mold behind the walls or have a suspicion that this is the case, there are a few things you can do right away to try to at least curb its growth.

One example of this is using any means necessary to try and tune down the humidity in your home. In general, you want to try to shoot for indoor humidity at 55% or less. There are detectors you can buy to chart this, but if you live in a naturally humid area, you may need to buy dehumidifiers to try and keep things down.

Something else worth looking at is potential areas where excess moisture may get into your home. Cracks in the foundation or leaky gutters are common sources for extra moisture that could make the mold behind your walls grow faster.

When you initially discover that there’s mold behind your walls, some of the things we just mentioned are good ways to minimize the initial spread.

These Are More Of A Stopgap Solution Rather Than A Final Fix

Because of the potential danger that unchecked mold can cause, if you see evidence of it behind your walls or anywhere else in your home, make sure you reach out to professionals like Total Care Restoration.   Not only do we believe in doing the most for our customers in the Miami area, but we’re also IICRC-certified.

This means we use the best cleaning and restoration tactics to help target mold and other remnants of water damage, and fix them so you can come back to your home or business with peace of mind.

 

Call Now