How Envirotex Maintains Mold Prevention in Virginia Beach, VA

Mold Prevention in Virginia Beach, VA

How Mold Prevention Helps Prevent Damage to Homes in Virginia Beach, VA

Maintaining mold prevention in Virginia Beach, VA homes is the ideal situation, but it is not always possible. When mold becomes a problem in an area home, it is up to a professional restoration service like Envirotex to determine the extent of the mold growth, the best way to clean and remove the growth, and remediate the harmful effects that mold can have on the personal and structural property.

Our restoration teams develop a set of protocols for each home. They design them around cleaning the residence to its original condition and returning it to the owner as quickly as we can safely do it. Envirotex bases our protocols on industry resources such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Mold Remediation Guidelines and the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC) S520 – Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation.

The EPA guidelines were originally designed for schools and commercial facilities, but they also provide a framework that our teams use in single family homes, duplexes, and apartment buildings to hang the IICRC standards, Envirotex training, and our company’s 18 years of experience. Their key points include:

  • Clean and dry all personal and structural property with mold as quickly as possible without causing any additional damage.
  • Dispose of property which cannot be cleaned by EPA and local regulations.
  • Dry non-moldy property within 48 hours if it is soaked from a flooding problem.

The IICRC S520, the first published standard for mold remediation, was created by our fellow professionals in restoration and indoor air quality. Within it are the five principles every professional agency uses for every mold cleaning, prevention, and remediation task for homes and businesses in Virginia Beach, VA.

  • Ensure the health and safety of employees and owners. Although mold primarily affects the property, it can cause health problems in some people, especially those with already impaired or compromised respiratory systems. Once on-site, our technicians first take steps to ensure their health and to prevent the mold from spreading to other parts of the structure.
  • Document the Conditions of the Structure and Processes used to clean it. From the initial inspection, our remediation teams record not only the extent of the mold growth but the level of moisture and the problem (leaky pipe for example) that led to the inert spores expanding and growing through the building. Once they finish cleaning and remediation, a second party can use the record to confirm it is clean, and mold levels are now at normal, safe levels.
  • Contain and control the mold at the source. After the inspection, we isolate the contaminated area to prevent accidentally spreading the mold as we clean it. That includes sealing off all exits and entrances with heavy plastic sheeting and then using negative air machines to draw mold spores out of the air near points of demolition such as drywall removal. The action cleans the air and reduces the number of spores our specialists later have to clean off surfaces.
  • Remove and dispose of the contamination. Restoration teams begin this step by cleaning mold spores off surfaces. They start with wiping down surfaces using sponges, sloths, and water or cleaning agents, depending on how thick the mold growth is on a wall or table. For carpets, our technicians use vacuums with special HEPA filters designed to capture and hold the almost microscopic mold spores.
  • Correct the situation that caused the moisture problem. At Envirotex, we are not a plumbing service, but we can shut-off water and perform temporary repairs that allow us to clean up any standing water. Removing the source of moisture halts mold growth. The same action also ensures mold prevention in Virginia Beach, VA homes since spores cannot expand and grow from their usual inert state without a moisture source.

That is how the life of mold begins and continues. An individual spore is similar to seed but is smaller than the eye can see and can grow without soil. Even a solid mass of thousands of them is smaller than an eraser on a pencil and easily goes unseen.

Initial growth is slow, but when the mass grows large enough, even a minor disturbance like shifting airflow can break off pieces containing hundreds of spores. When that happens, each piece acts similar to a chunk blown off a dandelion head; it floats to a new location, releasing spores in every direction.

Most of the spores do not land where there is enough moisture along with a food source, such as drywall, wood framing, and other building materials. They quickly go inert and remain harmless to people and property. For spores that do, they immediately expand and put out root-like structures called hyphae. Some of these extensions crawl across most surfaces, searching for more moisture. Others grow into the building materials, feeding on them to grow more spores on the surface.

Any surface can host mold spores if there is enough air, moisture and the temperature is between 68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. There are a few types that can even grow at 122 degrees, or as low as freezing. Besides building materials, spores can also grow and feed on cotton, rayon, and wool; making carpets an excellent host for mold.

Property damage is by far the larger threat, but mold can also be a health threat. Some types of mold generate chemical compounds called mycotoxins. The mold growth produces them as a method to prevent other mold strains from expanding into the same area. If the home or business is heavily damaged from water, the risk from them increases.

The first notice of the presence of mycotoxins is the same as the first notice of the mold itself; the musty odor. Since not all molds produce the odor, it is not a perfect means of finding mold. Most people do not suffer from ill effects after casual exposure to mycotoxins, but those who inhale or ingest them can have a physical reaction, just like they would to any other toxic substance.

If your Virginia Beach, VA home or business has suffered any water damage, the best mold prevention step is to have one of our Envirotex inspectors examine the structure as soon as possible. No matter which agency you use, the person performing the check must have experience with mycotoxins to understand what they are looking for behind walls, in crawlspaces, and other locations.

Our inspectors start with a thorough check of the HVAC system along with the building’s interior. If they find any amount of mold, technicians take samples from the air and all nearby surfaces. We send all of them to an independent laboratory for analysis. The results inform us which anti-microbial agents, tools, and methods are the best options for cleaning, removal, and remediation of the structure.

Excess humidity can keep mold and mycotoxins alive even after we remove standing water. When needed, our remediation teams remove all wet items from the affected area for drying elsewhere. Once we empty the area, team members inspect the rooms again and take action to lower the humidity and dry any structural property worth saving.

Along with a visual inspection, we also use a new method called thermal imaging. Envirotex inspectors utilize an infrared camera to determine the amount of water absorbed by material and property. Often, teams can reduce the water levels by increasing air circulation within the structure. For higher levels, they can deploy dehumidifiers to draw water from the air.

The drier air allows for faster evaporation, so items like drywall and wood furniture can quickly recover without the threat of secondary damage. Rapid evaporation also dries the entire area more quickly, which forces mold back into its harmless, inert state.

All of these actions to remove mold and remediate its effects also helps our remediation teams to reduce the risk of contamination in the future. When it comes to the cost and labor hours needed to clear a structure in Virginia Beach, VA again, conducting mold prevention is much more cost-effective.

That is our end-goal at Envirotex; to reduce the possibility of mold growth in your home or business to prevent both property damage and health threats. If you have or suspect mold in your building, call us today at (757) 918-0639 to schedule an inspection.

About Envriotex Environmental Services

Established in Northern Virginia in 2000, Envirotex Environmental Services was founded on military service. While serving his country, the company's owner Mr. Freeman gained vast knowledge and experience in the environmental services field. His expertise in air monitoring and hazardous materials testing prepared him for his post-military career.

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