Get Clear Of Mold
Remediate Or Leave Your Sick Building & Belongings
Option 1 — Remediate
Remediation can be a daunting, imperfect process. There is a high rate of failure to truly improve the health of a building.
When done wisely, remediation can be successful.
Option 2 — Leave Everything
To leave everything behind is sometimes easier, and if done wisely, leaving can be much more effective.
Remediate… or move?
Two Options, One Choice
You’ll make a decision at some point. It may be an easy one. But it could be one of the more difficult choices you ever make.
You don’t need to make the decision right away — and certainly not within the first week or month of learning you’ve got a mold problem.
Howver, at some point, you’ll need to decide just how clear you want to be… and formulate a plan to achieve it.
First: Educate, Clean, and Minimize
Make this decision after you’ve educated yourself, begun cleaning and purging.
Then you will able to (more) clearly see what the ramifications and challenges will be of both remediating or moving.
Keep in mind that moving is not just moving. It’s moving and potentially saying goodbye to lots of your stuff.
Remediation Has Extremely Hit-or-Miss Results
- The conditions that allowed mold to grow (humidity, water leaks, moldy materials) must be changed and often aren’t.
- Hundreds of millions of invisible spores must be mostly removed — and that’s incredibly difficult to do.
This is why so many people find themselves purging their belongings and moving — even after multiple “remediations” and entire fortunes spent.
Obviously this is situational; if a problem is small and contained, remediation is more likely to be successful than a large problem that invades larger spaces. The quality of a remediator’s assessment and work will also vary. Trust yourself first and a skilled Building Biologist.
Remediation Companies Aren’t Perfect
Mold Remediators should not be implicitly trusted.
While it’s possible for remediation companies to be fantastic, it’s also common for them to be deeply ignorant about the health ramifications of mold exposure, ignorant or unwilling to remediate properly and safely, or even have an agenda (driven by finances/profit) that doesn’t match yours.
Watch for a quote that’s too low for what you suspect is a big problem. It’s possible they think you’ll balk at a higher price (many people would), and they’re giving you a more desirable quote that would entail much less work than is needed to truly address your health.
Remediators will often recommend simple procedures that are superficial or even purely cosmetic. Simply spraying chemicals on plywood or removing the sections of visible growth doesn’t address the fact that mold spores are possibly all over the area (and your house) and more mold could be hidden and unaddressed. These spores just need more condensation or humidity to put you back where you started.
HVAC Systems Are Ignored
An HVAC system that has been running in a moldy situation will still harbor its dust/mold/spore/mycotoxin collection after remediation, unless the system is replaced.
Many, many people have placed all their eggs in a remediator’s basket, spent lots of money, and have been left holding the bag when they still feel awful in their home.
…Don’t Just Enrich Somebody Else
Empower yourself and understand the ramifications of any decision. If you need help, get in touch with a well-trained, intelligent, and thoughtful Building Biologist.
Either way, stay on top of the process. YOU are in charge, nobody else.
Ask Endless Questions
If the company (or worker) is of good repute, lots and lots of questions will not be a problem for them.
If your questions bother the representative, don’t go with the company. If they don’t like questions BEFORE they have your business, they’ll loathe them AFTER they’ve got your business.
Don’t Forget About It
Because HVAC systems can harbor and spread mold, it is essential that its health is specifically addressed. If you’ve had mold in your home, there are extremely high odds that spores are in the HVAC system.
Have the evaporator coils fully cleaned (with foam) and your ducts cleaned (this is not a precise task and results may be questionable).
Be sure to clean the drain pan and drain.
Here are ways to upgrade your HVAC system:
- Install UV light.
- Install air-purifying additions to the HVAC system.
- Install a dehumidifier to HVAC system.
- Replace ducts.
If the system is over 7-8 years old — and has been exposed to mold — you’re hitting a threshold where a full replacement might be a better option.
Ductless mini splits are used throughout the world. HVAC Systems are mostly an American way of doing things, and they’re wasteful and unhealthy. Mini-splits can be installed in existing buildings.
Just like any other system that handles air, it is critical that the entire unit be fully cleaned every six months. UVC Lights can be installed in Mini-Splits, as well.
Moving To A Different Home
More Common Than You’d Think
If you decide it’s easier or wiser to move than to try fixing your old home, you’re not alone. Many have spent multiple tens of thousands on remediation and still had to leave — getting none of their investment back.
By all means, reduce your risk of cross-contamination:
- Minimize possessions
- Develop good cleaning and decontamination habits
- Be aware of humidity, moisture and dust — in your home, in your car, in your HVAC.
Keep Purging Risky Belongings
Your Perspective Changes
Once you get in a clear place, it’s almost certain that you will realize you kept items you should have thrown out. It happened to me.
Remember, the risk of cross-contamination may be high. It is unwise to keep items that are easily infested or could easily transport spores.
Cross-Contamination Does Happen
After I moved out of my moldy house, my next two apartments began sprouting mold — both within a few months of arriving.
About two months after moving some of my things to a downtown apartment, mold began to sprout on the walls. It grew fairly rapidly, and even started growing out of the air ducts.
I moved to a 2nd “new construction” apartment (the building was only 2 weeks old!), and mold developed heavily in the shower by month four.
I thought I had purged enough belongings, but I hadn’t.
The less you own, the freer you are to:
1) Keep things clean
2) Stay aware of the status of your environment
3) Move homes if that time arrives
Purging possessions significantly reduces likelihood of
cross-contamination in a new space.
…and it’s INFINITELY more effective than cleaning bad possessions.
The Two-Step Move
Your Next Perfect Home?
It might be hard to find your next “forever-home.” Especially if you’ve become sensitive to mold and chemicals (or EMF).
Your best bet may be to build. And that will take some time — and lots of learning on your part about healthy materials and designs.
There’s also the real risk of cross-contamination. Your new home might receive some spores from the old house.
Find a nice middle spot.
It doesn’t have to be perfect, just a place you can recover for a while. Keep purging your possessions.
- Clean a lot.
- Sell your car.
Be looking for a great landing spot — in a better environment — and on your time table.
Lower your stress with a two-step move.
You’re Finally Clear!
Welcome To Your New Space
When you’re finally clear, you’ve truly mitigated the risk of mold coming back. You’ve found a solid new spot to live — or remediated your old one.
The Work Isn’t Done
Unfortunately, the work is not over. But, it gets much, much easier. Now, protect your new space!