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Free Encyclopedia of Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, Repair
MOLD: A COMPLETE GUIDE to TEST CLEAN PREVENT
AIR CLEANER PURIFIER TYPES
AIR FILTERS for HVAC SYSTEMS
AIR POLLUTANTS, COMMON INDOOR
AIR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT STRATEGIES
ALLERGEN TESTS for BUILDINGS
ANIMAL ALLERGENS / PET DANDER
ANIMAL or URINE ODOR SOURCE DETECTION S
ATTORNEYS and EXPERT WITNESSES
BIBLIOGAPHY ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH, MOLD, IAQ
CAR MOLD CONTAMINATION
CARPET DUST IDENTIFICATION
CARPET MOLD CONTAMINATION
CAT DANDER in BUILDINGS
COMBUSTION GASES & PARTICLE HAZARDS
CONDENSATION or SWEATING PIPES, TANKS
CPSC Indoor Air Pollution Book Online Copy
DUCT SYSTEM & DUCT DEFECTS
EMERGENCY RESPONSE, IAQ, GAS, MOLD
FLOOD DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, SAFETY & CLEANUP
FLOODS IN BUILDINGS-mold
GAS EXPOSURE EFFECTS, TOXIC
HUMIDITY CONTROL & TARGETS INDOORS
HOUSE DUST ANALYSIS
HOUSE DUST COMPONENTS
INDOOR AIR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT GUIDE
MILDEW REMOVAL & PREVENTION
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
MOLD GROWTH on SURFACES, TABLE OF
MYCOPHOBIA, STAINS MISTAKEN for MOLD
NOISE / SOUND DIAGNOSIS & CURE
ODORS GASES SMELLS, DIAGNOSIS & CURES
OZONE for MOLD OR ODORS
RADON HAZARD TESTS & MITIGATION
SAFETY HAZARDS GUIDE
SICK HOUSE IAQ QUESTIONNAIRE
SMELL PATCH TEST to Track Down Odors
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING INTERIORS
VENTILATION in BUILDINGS
Mold remediation mistakes: should we use ozone to kill mold? Here we explain how relying just on "ozone mold killing machines" and failure to take the necessary steps to prevent new mold growth after a mold cleanup project can end up costing a lot of extra money. This section of our "How to Clean Mold" article describes common mistakes people make when attempting to clean up mold. Avoiding these mold cleanup errors can save you money and may also avoid dangerous side effects of bleach, mold chemicals, or ozone when improperly applied.
We also discuss common errors made when cleaning wood surfaces, such as relying on bleach or performing expensive and unnecessary cleaning on cosmetic black mold on wood surfaces.
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Ozone Generators are another futile attempt to "kill" mold instead of cleaning it up. This "magic bullet" approach does not work and can destroy some building materials as well as the health of building occupants. Because of the trouble and cost of performing an effective mold cleanup in buildings, some vendors offer what sounds like an attractive alternative, offering to "kill all building mold" using ozone. One Midwest company offers to tent the building and follow a mold extermination procedure.
It would be silly to leave Aspergillus sp., a problematic and easily-airborne mold, in place on this subfloor, trying to "kill it" with a sterilizing gas or spray.
Killing mold is not the same as "removing" problem mold: As with the "bleach" and other "kill the mold" approaches we described above, this process fails to remove the problem reservoir from the building, leaving toxic or allergenic particles, even if they are no longer viable.
Trying to kill mold with ozone risks oxidizing other building materials: One of our clients, in an effort to remove odor and mold problems from their building, rented a commercial ozone generator ran it aggressively in closed rooms in their home.
The ensuing odors, which we tested and traced to oxidized carpet padding, were so severe that the building was no longer habitable. Carpeting had to be removed as well as other oxidized rubber and foam products which had been "ozone treated."
Worse, the underlying cause of the original complaint, which we traced to a history of flooding basement and wet building materials there, had gone unrecognized and still needed to be addressed.
There are valid applications of ozone as a disinfectant but it is not a valid treatment for mold in buildings.
See The Use of Ozone Generators Indoors for Control of Odors and Mold Removal in Buildings: A Summary of Hazards and False Claims
Find and fix the cause of mold: A really troubling mistake that we find on occasion is that someone has spent a lot on mold cleanup but no one bothered to identify the reason why mold grew in the building in the first place.
It is not possible to successfully complete a mold remediation project if the causes of mold growth have not been found and corrected. Otherwise, in as little as 24-48 hours mold may appear all over again.
The downspout spilling roof runoff right by the crawl space behind the wood framed plywood crawlspace skirt in this photo is likely to create new wet conditions in the crawl space that had just been cleaned and sealed - shown in our photos at INCOMPLETE CLEANUP where we illustrated a good job of moldy crawl space cleanup.
Key Steps in Preventing a Return of Mold Problems After a Mold Cleanup Project
Prevention of water leaks or excess humidity in building interiors, including wall and floor cavities, is critical if you want to avoid a mold growth problem in a building. Even following the most thorough mold remediation, future roof, plumbing, or cooling condensate leaks or any other source of water entry all risk future mold growth and related cosmetic, structural, health problems and economic costs.
CRAWL SPACE DRYOUT - home - how to get a wet crawl space dry and how to keep it dry
COSMETIC MOLDS - Avoid unnecessary & expensive "black mold" cleanup projects for cosmetic molds and stains
It's important to distinguish cosmetic Ceratocystis, blue stain mold, blue rot, from other problem molds which in fact might be "toxic black mold" such as Stachybotrys chartarum or harder to spot but often more problematic molds in buildings such as the Penicillium sp. and Aspergillus sp. families of molds. One of our clients had begun a $600,000. "mold remediation" project on their home.
A careful investigation of the property found that all of the "black mold" which had frightened the owners and which had resulted in this expensive cleaning contract, was cosmetic "blue stain" mold which had been present on the lumber since the day of construction of the building. The mold was of no concern other than a cosmetic one. Other clients occasionally send "not mold" samples to our laboratory.
To be sure you're not incurring a big and unnecessary expense, be sure that the "mold" to be addressed is really mold, and further, that it's not just a cosmetic mold, read the articles below before undertaking a costly mold remediation project.
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Technical Reviewers & References
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Mold Contamination Testing, Cleanup, Prevention: references & products
OTHER IAQ ISSUES: How To Find and Address Other Indoor Air or Indoor Environment Contaminants Besides Mold
Mold or allergens may not be the only or even the main indoor environmental contaminant. Don't let media attention to mold cause so much enviro-scare fear that other, possibly more urgent hazards go un-addressed.