FAQs

Q?

I was told by a remediation company that their employees are certified or licensed. Can that be true?

A.

There are some states that require mold inspector and remediator certifications. Also, there are several private companies that provide what are not governmental certifications but certifications from that company that one can attain by taking their courses. However, neither the agencies that regulate professional certification in Virginia or at the federal level have such requirements for workers in these fields.

Q?

Then how can I be sure that the remediation company can do a proper cleanup?

A.

Before signing a contract, as when purchasing any service, it is a good idea to get some verification of the expertise, the experience at doing mold work, and the professionalism of the group who will be working for you. I have worked with several remediation companies in the greater Central Virginia area over the 11 years that I have been involved with mold issues. Those with whom I have worked were professional and knowledgeable about their craft and their goal was to provide a legitimate service to their clients.

Q?

Must mold inspectors and remediators be certified or licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia or the federal government?

A.

That was true from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012, that was the case in Virginia. That program was dropped at the end of that time. Most of the local remediation companies have employees who were licensed at that time. So the answer to the question currently is that there is no Commonwealth of Virginia or federal agency requirement for mold inspectors or remediators to be able to ply their trade.

Q?

My friend cleaned her own basement of mold and it looks clean. Could there still be a problem with mold growth?

A.

It could be. Was a post-mitigation survey and sampling performed after she though she was finished? Did she know of the proper techniques to use? If the answer to either of these is no, then yes, there could still be a problem. My experience is that when home owners try to do the mitigation work themselves, often it must be re-done and sometimes only a professional mold mitigation company can then do it properly. The job can become more expensive than it would have been if a professional mitigation company had done the work in the first place.

Q?

Something that could be mold is growing on the wall in the finished part of my basement. Do I need to call a mold professional to come and remove it?

A.

The USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) suggests the following. If the area of mold growth is less than 10 ft 2 , with proper precautions you can probably remove it yourself. If the area is between 10 and 100 ft 2 you should consider contacting a mold professional to look at it and decide whether to call a professional remediation company. If the area of the contamination is more than 100 ft 2 , it would be best to call in a mold professional. Keep in mind that to properly remove a contaminated area 10 ft 2 or larger, one needs to have access to special equipment and a written protocol may be necessary to do the cleanup properly.

Q?

I had a plumbing leak from pipes that run above the ceiling wallboard and some of my clothes got wet and now have mold on them. What can I do?

A.

The general rule-of- thumb is that anything that can be washed and will fit into a washing or dry cleaning appliance, can usually be cleaned of the mold. However some mold stains will not be removed. My advice is that you try cleaning the items. If it doesn't work, well, then you may be the owner of some new clothes. If it does work, then great.

Q?

I have a carpet that was wet for more than 72 hours before it was dried. Can I reuse it?

A.

As that may be long enough for mold spores to germinate, even if the carpet is now dry, spores could have germinated before the drying process was completed. My recommendation is that all carpets that have been wet for more than one day be discarded.

Q?

How do I prevent the growth of indoor mold?

A.

The easiest way to prevent mold from growing indoors in the first place is to prevent the availability of water. Basic Guidelines are: Keep the relative humidity in the indoor spaces below 55%, some say 50%. Prevent condensation from occurring on cool surfaces in moist areas such as some basements, bathrooms, laundry rooms, cooking areas. Repair plumbing, window, door, roof, basement and any other leaks as soon as discovered. Make whatever outdoor changes so that water from the yard and roof flows away from the basement or crawlspace walls, not toward them. Remember, mold spores are everywhere and if water is present for 48 to 72 hours, those spores that are present will germinate and molds can began to grow.

Q?

What do molds require in order to grow?

A.

Molds, as is true of all living things, require three basic things in order to grow: a food source, an appropriate temperature and most importantly, a moisture source. Depending on the mold type, the water can be provided as liquid water and/or high humidity.

Q?

If mold is growing indoors, where have they come from?

A.

Mold spores are found in the air everywhere and one can argue that they are found on all surfaces as well. We are constantly breathing them in. Most spore types can be moved by air currents and can get into indoor environments through open windows, doors, on our clothing, by pets and by anything that is brought indoors. Thus, molds that are growing indoors have come from the outdoor environment.

Q?

How do molds reproduce?

A.

Molds produce microscopic cells called spores. When a spore lands on a surface that is a food source, if the conditions are right, they will germinate and begin to grow as mold.

Q?

Where do molds that are found indoors actually come from?

A.

All molds that are found indoors have initially come from molds found growing outdoors.

Q?

How many different types of molds are there?

A.

We really don't know how many mold species there are, but the best guess is that there are thousands of mold species, most of which probably have not yet been discovered.

Q?

What are molds?

A.

The word MOLD is a common term for several types of fungal organisms. Other types of fungiare mushrooms, yeasts, puffballs and bracket and shelf fungi as well as several other types.