How to Tackle a Mold Problem
If you’re doing a home improvement project, there are many hazards to be aware of before you start—from lead in paint to radon in your basement. So it’s a good idea to always test before you start the work. Once you get into things, if your project reveals hidden mold problems inside walls, you’ll need to fix them. Here’s how:
· Find the source of the problem. Is it a leak? Condensation? Something else? If you can’t find it, consult an expert.
· Assess the scope of the damage. If the affected area is greater than 10 square feet, you’ll probably need professional help.
· For small areas, dry thoroughly using heaters and dehumidifiers if necessary.
· For smaller problems, scrub the mold off hard surfaces. The EPA says soap and water will do the trick. A very weak bleach and water solution is also known to kill spores. If you’re someone who doesn’t normally use chlorine bleach, this may be a time to compromise. Dry everything completely. (Also see: 3 Ways to Kill Mold Naturally)
· Throw away any contaminated porous items like carpets and ceiling tile. They’re virtually impossible to clean. If you need to save something or are unsure how to clean it, consult a restoration specialist.
· If you choose to do the work yourself, keep the kids away, ventilate the area, and wear an N-95 respirator while you work, a common type of face mask engineered to prevent particles like mold spores from being inhaled. Since mold exposure is linked to respiratory issues, you want to minimize inhalation of spores. These are available at hardware stores as well as big box home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s.
If the damage is minimal, the mold is removed, and its cause is halted, your problems may be over. But if you continue to see mold or signs of moisture, smell mold, or have family members with symptoms of mold exposure, seek outside help.