Black Mold Removal: DIY or Hire a Pro?
Several species of mold thrive in the environment. One especially harmful type of mold is black mold, formally known in the scientific community as Stacybotrys chartarum or Stachybotrys chlorohalonata. Black mold is not as common as these indoor molds: Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Alternaria; but it is hardly rare.
When a mold infestation has found its way into the dark and damp recesses of your home, do you remove it yourself or hire a mold remediation company to do the hard work? The most appropriate action depends on the severity of the mold invasion. If the toxic mold spores have clung to an area over ten square feet, then a mold remediation company is best suited to tackle the task. However, small mold growth can be handled with a little elbow grease and determination.
Before you call a professional or grab the nearest sponge, there are a few things to know about the nature of mold. Essentially, indoor mold only grows where a constant supply of moisture is present—indoors, this is called water damage. Mold spores feed on porous surfaces, like drywall or fiberboard, when a water source is abundant. Mold ceases to exist when moisture, and its nourishment, becomes nonexistent.
Mold is found throughout nature, in both the great outdoors and the cozy indoors. It’s only when spores float through the air and land onto a moisture-rich area inside a home, through open windows, for instance, or heating or ventilation systems, outdoor air intakes or air conditioning units, that mold poses as a health hazard to humans.
Occupants who live in a home where mold spores have flourished are likely to experience ill health, including runny nose and eyes, coughs, itchy skin and respiratory conditions, like asthma. Fungal infections are also common in people with existing lung diseases or weakened immune systems.
Identify Black Mold
So how do you know if your home is affected by the unwanted houseguest known as black mold? The fungus is easily spotted—and smelled. Black mold is rarely disguised. Rather, large greenish-black splotches indicate the presence of black mold. A strong, musty odor is also a dead giveaway of black mold. Plus, if allergy symptoms worsen only when inside your home, mold may be the culprit.
However, sometimes mold can thrive in spaces most homeowners may not often frequent. A crawl space, attic or basement often harbors mold, especially when water damage is present. Black mold may even invade spaces behind wallpaper or underneath damp carpeting, places a typical homeowner may not suspect.
Danger of DIY Black Mold Removal
As mentioned above, you should only consider DIY mold removal if the mold covers an area that is smaller than 10 square feet. If the mold in question is black mold, then it is best to avoid DIY mold removal methods and contact a professional. All mold types can lead to the health issues discussed above, but black mold is more dangerous and aggressive. Trying to remove black mold yourself puts you and others in your home in danger of serious health effects.
In addition to the health risks, you should avoid DIY mold removal because DIY methods are not nearly as effective as professional mold remediation methods. Mold removal professionals have experience dealing with mold issues, and they use proper equipment and proven methods to ensure that the mold is completely removed.
The following scenarios are difficult and dangerous for DIY mold removal, especially if the mold is black mold:
- Large Mold Infestations: If the mold growth in your home covers a large area, it will more than likely require complex mold remediation. Removing large amounts of mold while preventing it from spreading is difficult without the proper equipment, and mold covering a large area may also be in hard to clean places like behind walls. Even cleaning a small mold outbreak can do more harm than good by causing the mold to disperse its spores. A mold remediation professional can effectively handle complex mold removal, including in hidden areas, and keep the mold growth contained.
- Mold from Flooding: In home flooding often leads to mold due to the excess moisture. Cleaning up the water does not mean that you are safe from mold. Mold growth can easily develop later and if the mold, or the cause of the flooding, is not addressed, the problem will persist.
- Mold in HVAC System: Mold growth in your air ducts can be especially dangerous because it will spread the spores throughout your home, increasing the risk of negative health effects and the spread of the growth. You must call a professional that can effectively locate and remove mold from the HVAC system.
- Mold Growth on Wood: Mold commonly affects wooden surfaces and objects because wood is porous. It is possible to salvage wood affected by mold, but it takes advanced techniques to do it. A mold removal professional has the equipment to salvage wood surfaces and they can also tell if the mold growth has penetrated these surfaces into spaces such as attics and crawlspaces.
Professional Mold Remediation from ServiceMaster NCR
Calling a professional mold remediation company is the best and safest alternative to a DIY project. You avoid any chance of contaminating other areas of the home (which is likely to occur during a DIY cleanup process) when a professional is called in to tackle the challenge. Another advantage of contacting a professional is that mold coverage may be included in your home insurance policy.
When you elect to hire a professional, ServiceMaster NCR can be relied upon for a swift response to mold growth. Our team at ServiceMaster NCR utilizes our proven method of mold removal known as Trifect, which removes mold spores with proprietary formulas and new technology. ServiceMaster NCR also employs Instascope in our pre- and post-testing procedures. Instascope is a cutting-edge instrument that assesses the mold content in a home and immediately delivers scientifically accurate results onsite.
ServiceMaster NCR is a widely respected name in the restoration industry. We staff highly skilled technicians who are adept at identifying mold spores and removing the infestation with specialized mold remediation equipment. Plus, the team responds to emergency calls 24 hours a day. ServiceMaster NCR performs mold remediation services for both residential homes and businesses in the Alexandria, VA, and Washington, DC, communities.