Is It Safe To Stay In Your Home During Mold Remediation?

Is It Safe To Stay In Your Home
During Mold Remediation?

It Depends On Your
Mold Contractor

If it were financially feasible, there probably isn’t a single DC area homeowner who would stay in their home while work was being done. After all, who wants to deal with all the noise, distractions, and strangers that come with any type of home service?

But, life being what it is, and finances being what they are, all but the most wealthy of us bite the bullet and tell ourselves it will all be over soon. There’s no real danger, right? Just a whole lot of noise and dust.

But when it comes to mold remediation, it can be a very different story. It doesn’t need to be, but if you hire the wrong company, the danger is suddenly very real.

When Mold Remediation Is
Dangerous For Your Family

The first thing you need to know about mold remediation is that the act of cleaning up or removing mold can increase the spore count in that area by several factors of ten. That’s why true mold professionals wear protection from head to toe. They work daily in air that is up to 1,000 times more dangerous than the air that brought them to your home.

Because of this simple truth, containment is the first and most important job of any mold technician, and if they don’t get it right, it becomes a problem for everyone involved.

All those stirred-up mold spores will flow through your home and make your problem ten times worse than it was when you called for help. There’s a saying in our industry that “bad remediation is worse than no remediation.”

With that in mind, you should always keep a sharp eye on the containment process your mold remediator is using.

Proper Work Space Containment

The first thing to know here is that there isn’t a single element in the above diagram that is optional – down to the space between tension poles and the thickness of the plastic.

Well, you can use a different colored tape, but the only tape we’ve found that is sticky enough to trust and gentle enough not to ruin your walls is blue painter’s tape. So, to us, there is no option there, either.

You’ll note that not only are we using a Negative Air Machine (NAM), but we are also using a Manometer to constantly monitor the negative air pressure within the containment space.

In fact, that’s the point of the NAM. That zippered entry point will get used throughout the day, and the make-up window is necessarily unsealed to give the NAM “make-up” air to help replace the air it’s pushing outside. Many times we’ll leave the zipper unzipped a little bit and mark a line on the plastic, so we know where the zipper must be to have proper negative pressure.

So, without negative air pressure, mold spores would leave through any or all openings. But with it, those spores don’t have a prayer of leaving the containment, and that’s the way we like it.

And that’s why if the Manometer isn’t showing an acceptable reading, we stop working until we find and fix the problem.

The issue is that not every mold remediation contractor uses a NAM and, of those that do, many don’t monitor the pressure with a Manometer.

So When Is It Safe
To Stay Home?

Deciding whether to keep your family home during remediation is about more than safety. There are comfort issues to consider as well. For one, on some projects, your HVAC system has to be turned off, which can get rather unpleasant.

Two, the NAM is pushing your conditioned house air outside. So if it’s the dead of summer or winter, negative air pressure will make the house hotter or colder, respectively.

Another issue is noise. You will have multiple air moving devices running in your home, likely for days, and those things are LOUD.

Not loud like a jet engine (most are about 65 decibels, so similar to the loudness of laughter or a refrigerator running) but not something I’d recommend you sleep in the bedroom next to all night.

If your family can deal with those inconveniences, then you need to ask your mold remediator about their containment process.

If their process deviates in any way from the above illustration, then no, it probably isn’t safe to stay in your home during the process. We’ve even seen homes that were made worse through the remediation process because of sloppy containment practices, which spread spores by the millions all through the home.

Don’t These Mold Remediation Companies
Care About Their Customers?

You might wonder if these companies don’t care about their work, and nine times out of ten, they do. The problem is that they just don’t know any better.

They get their standards and practices off the web instead of attending classes. Or by reading any book other than the mold remediator’s bible, the ANSI/IICRC S520 Standard for Professional Mold Remediation or S520,” because it costs $125 for the book and requires another $125 on the Reference Guide that makes it understandable to non-scientists.

While that doesn’t seem like much money, most companies doing mold remediation do it as one of many services they offer, so spending 250 bucks and a solid week translating between the two books isn’t a worthwhile investment.

And since they don’t bother to do the research, they never realize how wrong they are.

Mold Nerds

We exist on the other end of that spectrum. Mold is all we do, so every bit of available information and the time required to take it in are more than worth the effort. We make sure that we are always up to date on the latest techniques, own and use the best equipment, and take every possible step to protect ourselves and the families we serve.

We do everything right because we do know better.

If you fear that you have a mold problem in your DC area home, contact us at Valor Mold Removal for a free estimate.