Having to deal with mold contaminating your home is stressful enough, but it’s even more difficult to figure out what to do about it and who to call. There are five levels of mold remediation; this guide to each level will help you with the process of removing the mold from your home.
Level I (10 square feet or less): This level of infestation is typically found on ceilings or baseboards. It can be cleaned without hiring a mold remediator, but there are some safety precautions that you should know:
1. Don’t try cleaning mold if you have asthma, allergies, or an immune disorder.
2. Wear gloves, eye protection, and an N95 disposable respirator while you clean the mold.
3. Keep infants less than 12 months old, individuals recovering from recent surgery, anyone with a suppressed immune system, or people with chronic lung diseases such as asthma, sever allergies, emphysema, etc. away from the area.
4. Contaminated materials that can’t be cleaned should be removed from your home in a sealed plastic bag so that you don’t spread the infestation.
5. Clean the area when you’re done with a damp cloth.
6. Be sure all areas are left dry and free of mold contamination.
Level II (10-30 square feet): For this level of mold contamination, you should follow the same precautions for level one, plus the following:
1. Cover moldy materials with plastic sheets and sealed with tape before you handle or remove anything. You may even want to double wrap the materials, just in case.
2. After removing the mold, vacuum the area with a HEPA vacuum, and then clean the area with a damp cloth.
Level III (30-100 square feet): For a mold contamination of this size, you should follow the same precautions as level II, as well as the following measures:
1. Seal ventilation ducts/grills in the work area and areas near the plastic sheeting.
2. Keep everyone away from your work area until your work is done.
Level IV (greater than 100 square feet): You may need the assistance of a mold remediator if your home is experiencing a mold infestation of this level. Otherwise, the same steps should be taken as a level III contamination, along with the following:
1. Every worker should be trained in handling hazardous materials and have full face respirators with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cartridges, with disposable protective clothing that covers both head and feet.
2. Workers should isolate their work area from the rest of your home with sheeting sealed with duct tape, including ventilation ducts/grills, fixtures, and any other openings there may be.
3. Workers should have a “decontamination room,” or a chamber taped off with plastic sheeting set up. Any sealed bags that contain hazardous materials should be wiped down with a damp cloth or HEPA vacuumed in the decontamination chamber before they are removed.
4. You should have your air monitored before you move back into your home to make sure it’s safe.
Level V (Air Conditioners and HVAC Systems): If there is mold growth under your air conditioning system, you should have the professionals take over. Procedures for level V remediation need the same precautions as the other levels, but with the following measures as well:
1. Shut down the HVAC system before remediation.
2. Contaminated growth-supporting materials, such as the paper on the insulation of interior lined ducts and filters, should be taken away and placed in a sealed plastic bag.