People often ask how they can detect mold in their homes when it normally grows in places where it can’t be seen. “Mold Detectors” don’t exist as a household tool, but if moisture is present you can be almost certain mold is growing somewhere out of sight.
In the photo above, a small bit of mold was showing at the edge of the bathroom vanity. Removing the vanity revealed the full extent of the mold growth.
Mold requires three things to grow: food, water, and the correct environmental conditions. Kauai provides the perfect temperature and humidity, and the construction materials in your home provide the food, so the best way to prevent mold is by removing any water source. Small leaks provide enough moisture to begin and sustain growth, while large leaks which have not been properly dried can cause mold to quickly take over entire sections of drywall or carpeting.
Rescue Services uses infrared cameras to detect moisture under carpeting and in drywall. What is undetectable to sight or touch will show up as temperature gradients on an infrared display. The following picture shows a hallway thought to be dried completely after a water pipe leak.
This picture clearly shows that the water was not sufficiently removed and has begun to wick up the drywall. These are the perfect conditions for mold growth.
What do you do if you find mold in your home? It needs to be removed before it begins to affect your health, and the first step in the process is eliminating the water source. Rescue Services offers free consultations by a qualified technician to detect water. After pinpointing the most heavily damaged section, the dark purple in the infrared picture above, the source can usually be found and assessed. Removing mold before moisture is removed will only lead to further growth.
When the water source is gone, the mold needs to be removed, and this is best done by a professional as well. Rescue Services uses the Five Principles of Mold Remediation from The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), an organization that sets industry standards for water damage recovery.
1. All mold remediation workers and any others who enter the structure must follow proper practices to avoid inhalation and/or unprotected physical contact with toxic mold.
2. Before remediation begins, an assessment of the extent of damage in the structure should be made by a qualified expert. A written plan outlining each step of the proposed remediation should be provided to the homeowner or property owner.
3. Control is the first priority. Before mold removal, steps should be directed toward preventing further spread through the air or by other means of active mold that is already growing.
4. Growing mold must be completely physically removed. Isolating mold or cosmetic removal of surface growth alone is inadequate. “Household” methods of mold removal such as simply applying common chlorine bleach are not effective.
5. Preventive measures to prevent re-contamination should be encouraged post-remediation. Sources of chronic indoor moisture must be identified and remedied.
Rescue Services uses negative pressure to contain any mold spores, preventing contamination to any other parts of the home. Most homeowners do not have the means to provide a negative pressure environment, and by using bleach or other chemicals to wipe away mold, spores are disturbed and will float undetected to other rooms. In other situations, drywall or other materials will need to be removed, and Rescue Services provides safe removal and disposal.
If you’ve thoroughly read your homeowners insurance policy, you probably noticed it covers water damage, but in many cases it does not cover mold remediation. Preventing mold by drying all water damage is the best prevention, and normally will be covered by insurance.
The Professionals – Rescue Services is here to help you in any emergency – from hurricane cleanup to a wet floor from a broken water line to smoke mitigation from a fire, and so much more. If you encounter any situation that calls for non-medical emergency service and don’t know who to call – call us at 808-246-0405 – 24/7. We are here to help the entire island of Kauai.