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Moulds are simple, microscopic organisms, present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
Moulds break down organic material and recycle nutrients in the environment.
They need a food source to grow, which can be any organic material, such as leaves, wood, paper, or dirt, plus oxygen — and moisture.
Moulds digest organic material and gradually destroy whatever they grow on.
When the conditions suit, moulds grow on surfaces with visible discoloration – green, grey, brown, or black, even white and other colours.
Moulds release tiny spores and fragments, which become airborne.
Often attached to these are mycotoxins and allergens all of which cannot be seen with the naked eye.
When damp conditions occur indoors, such as after a flood, roof leak, excessive condensation or any other reason, and wet conditions persist for more than 48-72 hours, mould growth begins and continues for as long as moist conditions are present.
Building materials such as wood products and plasterboard and composite materials such as MDF absorb moisture and become the food for filamentous moulds to germinate and grow.
As they grow, they release massive quantities of fungal particulate, spores, and spore fragments, all of which cannot be seen with the naked eye.
Microbes can release organic compounds into the air when there is adequate food supply for production.
These volatile compounds, called MVOCs, are recognisable by their distinctive musty odour and can activate innate immune responses in susceptible people.
It is the inhalation of these toxins and allergens, which are the main ways that mould affects humans.
Common sources of moisture that contribute to mould growth include;
Exposure to mould can occur when airborne mould cells; mostly spores or hyphal fragments are inhaled.
We breathe in this fungal particulate every day, indoors and out.
Usually these exposures do not present a health risk but when exposure levels become elevated, some individuals can experience illness that can range from mild to serious or anywhere in between.
Medical researchers have associated indoor dampness and mould with cough, wheeze, nasal and throat symptoms, and respiratory infections, initiation of asthma, bronchitis, allergic rhinitis, and exacerbation of allergies, upper and lower respiratory disease, and eczema.
Persons exposed in this way can become sensitised and develop allergies to the mould, or other serious health problems.
Certain moulds, whether inhaled, ingested or contacted through the skin can result in poisoning from fungal mycotoxins.
Some mould species can cause respiratory infection when the live mould invades the tissues of the lungs or respiratory tract, this can be dangerous for individuals with severely weakened immune systems.
Many of these dangers are worsened when mould is disturbed and particles are released into the indoor air.
This can happen when inexperienced people attempt mould removal without the proper safety equipment and controls in place.
Mould can also damage property.
There are a number of well documented ways to remove small areas of mould at your property or on your home contents, but it is important to know when to engage a professional.
The goal of mould remediation is to remove mould rather than kill mould, therefore we do not recommend the use of biocides such as fogging, ozone, bleach, or even essential oils or water and vinegar as the first line for treating mould.
A good guide is that areas of surface mould greater than 1m² should be removed by a professional mould remediator, particularly when sensitive persons are involved (this includes the pregnant, the elderly, the young and those suffering from chronic health issues).
If mould has appeared as a result of a leak or a flood, then it is always important that a professional remediator is engaged.
Before professional remediation is engaged it is essential that all sources of moisture ingress have been identified and rectified, otherwise the mould is likely to return.
As part of a professional mould removal and remediation it is essential that any ventilation issues are also addressed otherwise the mould is likely to return.
Ventilation issues may include:
There are many different ways you can detect mould growth at home or at work.
Mould grows quickly when conditions are right, and can cause damage within a property and can cause harm to your health, so it is vital that you remove the mould as quickly as possible.
If you think there are conditions within your property that might lead to mould growth, or if you think the mould growth is small and localised, less than one square metre is usually the guide, then you may be able to deal with it yourself.
However, if you think the mould may already have spread, or if you are in any doubt whatsoever, it’s time to call a professional.
So, what happens next?
Well, you need to make sure that these professionals are up to the job.
There are mould removal products out there on the market. These are products that can be purchased from supermarkets such as Coles or Woolworths, some of these products are effective and do work to kill and remove small patches of mould.
However, you cannot rely upon these products as an effective and long-term solution to a mould problem.
While it is not advised to treat mould by yourself, there are still things you can do to reduce the chances of mould spreading around the property.
You should work proactively to keep your home safe from mould, preventing the growth before it begins.
You can do this in the following ways:
These are all very useful preventative methods, but you may still need to call in the experts if you suspect a mould problem.
While you may be able to manage small sections of mould yourself, however our advice is to be cautious.
It is far better to get the professionals involved early than to let the problem grow beyond your control.
Here’s when you should consider calling in the professionals.
A professional should be able to give you the peace of mind and understanding you need.
If you are in any doubt about the safety of your property, or if you have any concerns about the possibility of mould growth, a professional will be able to put your mind at ease.
What’s more, if mould is detected, these professionals have the skill, experience, and equipment required to deal with it.
There are many professionals out there who can handle a mould problem for you.
The issue is, how do you know which professional is the best?
And which team of professionals should you choose to take care of the problem in your property?
Follow this checklist and gain the insight you need.
Then, you will be able to choose a team that is up to the job.
The professional should be able to offer in-depth consultation and inspection.
A professional contractor team can only provide professional results if they understand the situation at your property.
They should not merely provide a service with a single solution or method to remediate. They should be willing to meet with you for an initial consultation and inspection before work any begins.
The professional should have testing equipment that is fit for purpose
Ask the mould removal professional to tell you about how they plan to test and inspect your property.
They should be able to collect samples of the air to check for spores, carry out readings of moisture levels, and test various substrates and surfaces for the presence of mould.
They must be able to manage the mould removal and repair.
Mould doesn’t just cause unpleasant odours and unsightly mark; it can also severely damage materials and surfaces.
A professional contractor should be able to take care of the repair and recovery of these damaged materials, as well as simply removing the mould from your property.
They must have good reviews and testimonies.
You should be able to find reviews and testimonies online that tell you about the results the team is able to achieve.
If there are no such reviews to be found, or if the organisation is reluctant to release testimonies, it may be difficult to find out if they can really do what they say they can.
They must be able to provide assurance that their services have been effective.
A responsible mould removal firm should be able to provide you with some sort of validation that their services have been effective at removing the mould and moisture problem, offering additional peace of mind that the job is being handled in the right way.
They should be focused on preventative measures as well as mould removal.
Work with a professional that can make sure your home or commercial premises remain free from mould in the future.
This includes putting measures in place to counteract damp, moisture or standing water, as well as offering you advice on how to keep the property mould-free.
The professional should have certifications and qualifications in their field
Ask about the different qualifications the team has achieved and about any certifications they have gained in your area.
A professional team will be able to provide these.
Crucial certifications include the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC).
This institute is a non-profit organisation that seeks to uphold the best possible standards in the inspection, cleaning, and restoration industry, as well as to protect public safety and property.
The professional needs to be certified to carry out any building works or renovations.
In cases where mould is hidden away, such as below floors or in wall cavities, the team must be licensed to carry out the necessary building work.
Each state has its own licensing processes, so you need to make sure that the mould removal expert is licensed for work in your area.
If the team is not licensed, you may end up with substandard or even dangerous results on your mould removal project.
After you have made your decision and selected a professional team to handle mould removal at your commercial premises or at your home, what comes next?
Well, the first stage of the process is the property assessment.
Take a look at what you can expect during this assessment.
To learn more about our mould removal and cleaning services, and to discover how these services benefit you and your property, reach out today for an inspection or consultation.
Call to discuss options to remove mould from your home or business