Black Mold… the term strikes fear in most people. When people see black or dark mold in their home they tend to jump to the conclusion that it is “The Black Mold”; Stachybotrys Chartarum. In fact there are many different strains of mold that are black or dark in color. Most of them are generally harmless. The only way to know for sure what strain of mold it is would be to have it tested in a laboratory and identified under a microscope. This site has a good description of the various mold types.The circumstances causing the mold can provide a hint as to the type. Most common strains of mold will start to colonize in one or two days but Stachybotrys requires eight to ten days. The longer an area has been wet and the more likely we will see Stachybotrys. As a result when we find Stachybotrys it is evidence of a water problem left unattended. Stachybotrys Chartarum, or black mold, likes an environment with high moisture and high cellulose content. Food sources like paper, wood and other materials with a high cellulose content, sounds like the materials we use to build walls. The houses and apartments we build along Colorado’s front range today are tight, allowing very little air flow. That means that water leaks won’t dry out very quickly on their own. Unattended water damage in a home provides the perfect environment for the emergence of Stachybotrys.
Most of the mold we encounter nowhere near as severe as that example in the picture but we do see mold issues in Boulder, Longmont, Broomfield, all over our northern Colorado service area; in new houses, old houses and apartments. It can colonize anywhere given the right conditions. For a general understanding take a look at the mold summary we have on our web site. Cleaning up mold is relatively straightforward if, you know what you are doing. If the area of infestation is large and you don’t know how to proceed you could make the situation much worse. Scrubbing and using household vacuums can actually spread the spores farther around the house. If you are faced with a large problem or are unsure how to proceed call us at 720 773 3400 or email us and we’ll help out.
Before we start cleaning up any mold we will make sure that any water leaks have been stopped and that the surrounding area is dry. For a safe mold removal process our techs will wear full personal protective equipment, tyvek suits, booties, full face respirators and rubber gloves.
Step one in the mold removal process is to establish a containment area. We erect plastic walls around the entire area. This has the effect of sealing contaminated area, keeping the rest of the house safe from contamination. Once the barriers are up we will create negative air pressure in the space. This will ensure that any airborne mold or spores will be contained in the area and not spread further through the home. We use HEPA grade air scrubbers to create that negative pressure and to capture any spores that are in the air. The mold itself will be treated, removed, scrubbed then vacuumed with HEPA grade vacuum cleaners and then the area treated again.
All rubbish; wall scraps, wood, carpet etc. that cannot be cleaned will be sealed in double bags then disposed of properly. If testing was done initially we recommend another test by the same laboratory after remediation to verify success. We like to prove our work and provide that assurance and peace of mind to our customers. We clean small areas and large areas. For the average homeowner cleaning a small area of mold is no problem, check out the guidelines cleaning mold here.
Mold isn’t rare it’s part of daily life but you can take positive actions to avoid mold in your home. This link provides some simple easy to follow advice.