We were referred by one of the local indoor environmental specialists (IEP) that we’ve worked with in the past to a customer who had suffered a water loss that he didn’t feel was mitigated properly. He had an independent test performed showing higher than normal levels of molds that are common after water losses. Tests found mold spores in the area around the water loss as well as the master bedroom on the other side of the home. This meant that the entire home was assumed to be condition 2 – contaminated with settled spores.
We were then hired to follow the IEP’s protocol of cleaning all surfaces and all contents in the home to remove the settled spores. After cleaning, another sample was collected and analyzed at the lab to determine if the area had been cleaned thoroughly.
As we began, we removed the insulation from the crawl space and discovered that the water mitigators had indeed missed some moisture in the crawl space and just as importantly we found an area from an old water loss in the master bathroom that had blossomed into a large amount of mold in the crawl space and in the wall of the master bathroom and laundry. This may have been a major contributing factor in our customer’s health concerns and may not have ever been caught without the independent testing performed by the IEP.
Cleaning mold is a methodical process and because the spores are microscopic there is no room for error. We employ protocol for our worker’s safety as well as cleaning protocol with multiple passes designed especially for confined environments like crawl spaces where it is easy to miss sections and potentially mold spores.
We removed all insulation and then cleaned all the joists and subfloor from inside the crawl space under negative pressure. Once that area was thoroughly cleaned our attention was turned to the living area of the home and all our customer’s contents, furniture, dishes, books, pictures…everything inside the home.
The entire home was placed under negative pressure while we cleaned all items with an anti-fungal cleanser and/or hepa vacuum then followed that by fogging the home using an anti-fungal fog and re-hepa vacuuming. After an area was cleaned it was sealed to prevent re-contamination as other items were moved and cleaned.
At STOP Restoration, we guarantee passing the independent testing. If the area is deemed a failure by the independent indoor environmental professional, we will re-clean the area and pay for further testing by the same IEP until the area receives a passing clearance at no additional charge.
Written by: Ben McDonald, Triad STOP Restoration – Winston-Salem, NC