The best way to avoid health issues from mold and expensive repairs is prevention. If you notice black spots on you walls, ceiling, bathroom, utility room or have a musty odor this should alert you to the possibly of mold.
It is recommended that you hire a professional who will conduct a personal interview with you to see if you had any recent water leaks, or recent flooding. Locating the moisture is the key to preventing the mold from becoming worse. The two best ways of locating moisture is with a moisture meter and infrared camera. The handheld moisture meter is great for locating wet surfaces in carpet, sheetrock but it has limitations. It is not ideal in ceilings, floor joist or hidden out of the way areas. The Infrared Thermal Camera is used for those hard to get areas like ceiling and checking for mold behind sheet rook. Many time mold can be in those areas that you cannot see without special equipment. The infrared thermal camera can detect moisture just by looking at a surface which can save money and save time when you are looking for the moisture culprit. By using the camera you can see through the walls and other out of sight areas. The areas that have moisture will appear dark on the camera.
Once you have determined you have a moisture problem the next step is to conduct a mold test. Mold testing will identify the type and the quantity or amount of spores you have for each type of mold found. Testing will identify the mold that is harmful to you and how it will impact the air we breathe. Identifying and correcting the cause of the moisture is a critical is a successful remediation. De-humidifiers are often times used to dry out all the wet and moist areas.
If you have toxic mold you will need to have the mold removed by a process call remediation. You should do your homework and interview several mold remediation companies, checking references, certifications, and asking questions on the type of remediation they recommend.
The areas where the mold is to be removed should be prepped with polyethylene sheeting and HEPPA air scrubbers. Negative air machines with the HEPPA filters are uses to capture the dust, mold spores and other hazardous materials. This process is done to keep the mold contained and for the safety of all involved. Only after the area to be remediated has appropriate containment can the remediation began. Depending on the magnitude of the project you may not be able to reside in the residence during the remediation.
During remediation only authorized personnel should be in the area. Special protocol must be followed regarding disposal of mold. The contamination should be bagged and sealed in the work area before it is removed. Mold can be taken to only EPA approved location. Using this as a guide for testing and removing mold will help keep your family safe and yield a successful remediation.