Mold Damage Restoration In Dale City VA Basement

Mold Damage Restoration In Dale City VA Basement

Elmira Court; Dale City, VA 22193 is a cul-de-sac of “split level houses” built in the early 1970’s.  Whenever you are working on a site built prior to 1985, always proceed with caution knowing dangerous contaminates such as lead and or asbestos may be present in addition to the water damage or mold.  Fortunately, this project did not involve any such mitigation complications, but the following story does outline the drama involved and how Choosing Mold Metrix over the Matter was the best solution for this mitigation problem.

The property in question is currently being rented by a group of siblings living together in the pursuit of life, liberty, justice & a mold free living environment in Dale City, VA.  Living in a split-level house, of the second level bathrooms is built above a main level bedroom.  According to the plumbers report there was a drainpipe failure which produced a “slow water loss.”  However, the plumber was not the first person to notice the problem, it was the tenant living on the main level.

            Mold Remediation & Water Damage Restoration is the Responsibility of the Homeowner.  Many property owners who rent property plan to manage maintenance themselves to maximize profitability.  However; mold removal & water damage mitigation is a highly skilled, highly hazardous, highly specialized and scientific process.  The general public has been “generally” briefed on the hazards of mold in the home or office.  Anyone living with asthma or allergies is subtly conscious of this in every breath.  Needless to say, the overwhelming majority of renters in Dale City, VA will object to a “do it yourself fix” or a service provided by a “non-mold removal/ water damage restoration specialist.

            When the tenant started noticing sings of water damage in the ceiling of her basement studio apartment she consulted with her siblings and decided it was time to contact their Dale City, VA landlord.  Once the report of suspected water damage called in, the homeowner scheduled a time to come and take a look at the issue.  Having no training in water damage mitigation, mold removal, indoor air quality control, psychrometry, or structural drying, he decided the problem was not a big deal.

He thought “I’ll just call a plumber, fix the leak and that will be that” only it wasn’t.

            When the plumber came to inspect, he came with plumbers’ tools, not water damage or mold inspection tools.  He removed a section of wet effected drywall in the ceiling corner to reveal what appeared to be mold on the drywall and wood frame, according to the tenant, but not to the Dale City, VA landlord.  The disagreement led to dissatisfaction on the tenants’ part, so they decided to have the area tested for mold.

            When the results came back the renters forwarded the results to their Dale City, VA landlord.  This is when Mold Metrix became involved because at this point the homeowner was forced to find a mold mitigation contractor.  My first step was to review the lab report, because this would help me to better understand the mold damage.  However, when I read the report I immediately notice a huge error, air samples were taken, but only two air samples.  Whenever you are taking air samples for mold testing you must take a minimum of three samples.  Now there were a total of three samples taken, but one was a swab sample.  Therefore, results for air born mold contamination were classified “inconclusive,” but did show signs of contamination.

Mold Metrix was contracted to provided mold remediation services for the property located in Dale City, VA 22193.  We were told that the effected drywall had already been removed, but this was not the case.  From one look I knew there was mold behind that wall, and a moisture map analysis confirmed additional drywall needed to be removed. 

Sometimes you can have visible mold contamination present in a “dormant state” even when moisture content levels are dry, as was the case with this Dale City, VA mold removal project.  We removed approximately 16 square feet of drywall on one side of a corner to find it was completely moldy, as was expected, we could also see that the damage continued farther than we could detect with the current state of mold remediation technology, due to moisture reading being “within range” in that area.  This means there was consistently a high enough relative humidity in the effected area for mold to grow on the surface of cellulose-based material.

The nature of water damage mitigation and mold remediation requires that the customer be educated on the nature of water damage and other emergency services contractors. 

“It is common to discover mold growth in areas outside of your original work scope that could not be detected until an area is exposed”

This “fear of the unknown” involving mold remediation produces the same kinds of hesitation in humanity as it would in any other aspect of life.  Unfortunately, the longer we wait to mitigate mold, the bigger the problem becomes because mold spreads and replicates itself.  This is why we can only provide offers according to the “contracted service scope” which may not include additional damages discovered in Dale City, VA.

Mold removal is only covered by insurance if the property owner has an additional “mold coverage” added to their policy or if preexisting mold must be removed for water mitigation.  Here is where it can get tricky.  Mold remediation is classified as secondary damage caused by water damage.  If you have a water damage emergency and have a pre-existing mold problem and your water damage claim is handled by an insurance program vendor, they will be instructed to mitigate with water extraction, dehumidifiers and HEAT.  The purpose of these instructions is to hold the homeowner responsible for their portion of liability.  A good homeowners insurance company such as USAA or CHUB is important if you don’t want to have these coverage issues.

 

At Mold Metrix we understand how this can cause stress and as part of our mission to move you from stress to satisfaction we have created a “Points and Rewards” program. The purpose of this program is to educate customers in an entertaining way about water damage mitigation, mold removal, carpet cleaning, annual home maintenance and more.  Customers are encouraged to create an account at https://floodmetrix.com/my-account to create a referral code and to track points earned.  Mold Metrix customers can earn credit redeemable for cash and service just by educating themselves about home maintenance in Dale City, VA 22193.  Simply follow Flood Metrix on all social media @metrixoverthematter and paste your referral code in the comments section of each video you watch to earn points.  Track your points earned through you customer portal.  Visit https://floodmetrix.com/why-metrix to learn more.

“Thank you for Choosing Metrix over the Matter, Because the Power to Change the Matter is in the Metrix”

Water Damage Mitigation, Mold Removal, Carpet Restoration

           

Mold and Fungus Explained

Mold and Fungus Explained

FUNGI DEFINED

Fungi share some basic similarities with plants and bacteria but are neither. All 1 million to 1.5 million species of true fungi are in their own kingdom, the Fungi Kingdom. Many persons inaccurately use the term mildew to describe fungal growths that they feel are not harmful to human health. The powdery green or white growth in humid closets is sometimes considered by homeowners as “just mildew”.

Ironically this growth is almost always penicillium / aspergillious mold. Many species of pen / asp produce offensive smelling volatile organic compounds and may be toxigenic or allergenic when present at the correct levels. According to more reliable definitions, mildew is a powdery or downy parasitic fungal growth that attacks and grows on living plants, while molds are often fuzzy and grow on all sorts of moist surfaces. Molds, mildews, and other fungi usually reproduce by forming and releasing spores into the air. Typical indoor spores are around 3 to 15 microns across. For reference the period at the end of this sentence is 500 microns.

TOXIGENIC MOLDS

Mycotoxins are chemicals that are sometimes produced by various species of molds. These toxins are real and are powerful weapons used by molds in a sort of microbial warfare to help them compete against bacteria and other molds. Mold spores in residential settings, even if they are potentially toxin producing types and are at high levels, do not necessarily result in toxic effects on humans via inhalation. It takes a lot of inhaled spores to poison a person.

 Currently, disagreement exists as to if residential mold spore exposures levels are ever high enough to result in toxic effect on humans. However, toxic effects of mold mycotoxins in humans and farm animals leading to serious illness and even death via accidental ingestion of toxic mold, have been well documented in scientific literature.

INFECTIOUS MOLDS

 According to a Mayo clinic study, sinusitis caused by growth of fungus fibers or balls of fungus fibers in the sinus cavities is not unusual. This is typically caused by common Aspergillus, Fusarium, and Curvularia species. Aspergillosis caused by the growth of aspergillus species in the lungs most commonly A. fumigatus, A. flavus, A. Niger and A. territus species typically occurs in persons with compromised immune systems or a history of lung disease that resulted in past lung damage. Common Candida albicans that causes yeast infections is a major cause of serious nosocomial (hospital acquired) fungal infections. Histoplasma capsulatium and Cryptococcus neoformans are very dangerous yeast like molds that should be assumed to be present in any bird droppings but are primarily a concern when spread to humans via inhalation of particles from accumulations of pigeon, starling, and bat droppings. Coccidioides immitis mold spores are spread from dusty soil in the southwestern United States, it sometimes causes valley fever but at other times the same fungus can be deadly. Nearly any fungi can cause infections in persons with severely compromised immune systems. Detection of infectious fungi such as but not limited to the above listed ones and identification of fungi to determine the species is not part of most mold inspections.

Mold Sickness

ALLERGY ASTHMA AND HYPERSENSITIVITY DISEASES

An allergic reaction occurs when your body’s immune system mistakes harmless proteins in mold spores or other allergens as if these proteins were harmful microbes trying to infect your body. Your body’s immune system, feeling threatened releases histamines into the blood stream and these histamines are what actually causes coughing, sneeze, and watering of the eyes. Other persons immune systems will not mistake proteins in mold spores as a microbial threat, and thus not develop allergic reactions.

Asthma is a condition where the smooth involuntary muscles lining the airways contract but do not properly relax to allow the lungs to bring in new air. Mold, other bio-allergens, and gases such as nitrogen dioxide and ozone, and even stress are common triggers of asthma. Many people die every year from asthma. Mold- related allergenic and asthmatic conditions in homes are quite common and very serious and should be addressed and not ignored. Many serious hypersensitivity diseases in humans, such as baker’s lung, wood workers lung and others are the result of exposures to molds by persons working in industries that result in long term exposure to elevated spore levels.

Hypersensitivity diseases have long been well documented in science and the medical field. According to Bioaerosols assessment and control hypersensitivity pneumonitis is a hypersensitivity disease that results from the long-term repeated exposure to elevated mold spore levels or other antigens. This condition can occur at in industry or agriculture where spore levels are high. It may also occur in moldy offices or homes, it produces pneumonia like symptoms with fever, cough, tightness of chest, lung infiltrates, and difficulty breathing.

Once sensitized, individuals may react to extremely low, often unmeasurable, concentrations of antigenic materials. Organic dust toxic syndrome is a flu like illness that results from a short-term exposure to very high levels of spores, such as the levels that may be encountered by workers doing large mold remediation jobs without wearing protective respirators. Symptoms show up several hours or a day or so after exposure and symptoms go away after a day or a few days.

What Does Mold Remediation Include?

What Does Mold Remediation Include?

Step 1. Initial Mold Inspection

One hundred percent of mold remediation projects begin with the initial inspection.  This step cannot be skipped as the initial mold inspection is what provides the mold removal expert with details needed to begin.  Critical information about areas effected is gathered during the initial mold inspection such as: primary and secondary mold contamination.  Primary areas affected are often visible & are what prompt a customer to call for a mold inspection; however, secondary areas & or items effected are usually not discovered until a professional mold inspection is conducted. 

Sometimes mold testing is conducted to identify secondary areas or items with mold contamination.  Industry standards do not require mold testing when mold or what appears to be mold is present.  Two examples of when testing before the removal of visible mold may be used are cases of high health risk and disputes between tenants and property owners.

Step 2. Create Mold Remediation Protocol

During the initial mold inspection measurements, and a minimum of ten photos will be taken, but is more common for a mold expert to capture 20-30 photos, plus 1-2 videos of the area effected.  These photos and video are used both as evidence to support mold remediation recommendations and as notes used to create a mold removal protocol.  Pictures of what is affected and what is not affected will be taken, both inside and outside the home or office.  The main reason for these types of photos is damage liability. 

Measurements, photos & videos are used primarily to reconstruct the effected zones.  Sketches of the contaminated areas are computer drafted and included with the estimate.  Organizing this information allows the mold inspector to present it to a customer in the easiest to understand way.  Communication with a customer is key and helps to establish expectations for the completion of a mold remediation project.

Step 3. Containment

Taking the time to apply floor protection, move the customers’ belonging to safety and setup mold containment measures is key.  In fact, no mold remediation project should begin unless these preliminary actions have been taken.  Not only does this make the mold remediation safe as possible, it also puts the customers’ mind at rest.

Step 4. Air Quality Control

Air quality control is the number one safety concern of all mold remediation projects.  For example, there are two mold concern classifications: structural & health.  Until air born mold levels become elevated above 10% of the air born mold outside, the mold concern is structural damage.  This remains true, unless the customer falls into a high-risk group.  Spreading mold contamination to non-effected areas is the majority of mold remediation liability.   Therefore proper air quality control measures must always be used in mold remediation.

Step 5. Demolition

Demolition is the mold removal aspect of mold remediation.  This involves surgical removal finishing construction such as drywall, cabinets, and shelves.  Content manipulation can also be itemized as part of demolition is mold removal projects.  Examples of this would be removing and discarding moldy books, furniture, or other related items.

Step 6. Decontamination

After moldy materials have been safely removed from the work zone, structural decontamination can begin.  Simply “fogging” the air with a mold killer is a violation of industry standard.  Surfaces must be wiped down and HEPA vacuumed, wooden surfaces must be exfoliated, mold staining addressed, all while maintaining air quality standards under negative pressure.

Step 7. Structural Drying

Structural drying is half the battle of mold remediation quality assurance and is where many mistakes are made.  After all the moldy material have been removed and the area has been decontaminated, the area must then be dried.  If this important step is skipped or done improperly, the mold infestation will continue, and the mold remediation will fail.

Step 8. Post Remediation Inspection and Testing

A mold remediation project manager should always thoroughly inspect a project upon completion for quality assurance.  All dry goals such as moisture content levels and relative humidity should be met.  In certain cases, post mold remediation clearance testing is conducted and can be covered by most insurance carriers.

In mold removal projects where post remediation testing is requested, testing must be conducted while containment remains in place.  Air samples taken after containment has been broken down can not reflect the true microbial levels within the remediation zone.  Samples may be collected by the hired remediation company but should be tested by an independent laboratory. 

Step 9. Final Mold Cleanup

The final mold cleanup is not a “white glove maids cleaning”, it is a final “construction cleanup”.  IICRC standard S520 states that the goal of this step is to achieve a clean dust free environment.

After the last cleanup is finished, the area can once again be inspected, and a certificate of mold remediation completion can be issued.

What to expect from a mold inspection in 2022

What to expect from a mold inspection in 2022

What To Expect From A Mold Inspection in 2022?

Much has changed in the service industry since 2020 when the Covid 19 pandemic first began.  Now on top of the pandemic, we have the Russia vs Ukraine war and skyrocketing gas prices.

Video conferencing has become a working standard since the beginning of this decade.  In 2022, people are not only more “germ conscious” but are also more “shopping conscious” as prices for goods and services continue to rise.

Video chat will continue to be integrated into the service industry business model.  In 2022, customers should expect to receive an initial mold estimate via video chat.  This way customers and contractors can gain more insight to their projects with less risk of exposer.  Both contractors and customers are also able to save valuable time and money by connecting first via video chat.  This in turn, helps businesses keep costs low allowing customers to save more money.

Metrix Inspection Standards

Metrix mold inspections are conducted per acceptable environmental hygiene recommendations as defined by The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), the New York City Department of Mental Health & Hygiene, Bureau of Environmental & Occupational Disease Epidemiology, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, National Air Duct Cleaners Association, and other remediation techniques that are acceptable and used by professionals in the industry.

Further analytical testing may be required to find additional hidden mold infestations in areas not sampled or inspected; testing may be required for asbestos, lead paint, and other environmental hazards prior to remediation. The presence of such materials take precedence over mold remediation and removal of such regulated materials must be conducted in accordance with federal, state, provincial and local laws and regulations and require specific remediation protocols. The results of this analysis represent conditions only at the exact time and locations from where samples were taken. Thus, the report should not be relied on to represent conditions at any other location or date and does not imply that this property is free of contaminants in other areas.

Mold Inspections and Testing Disclaimer:

Do not depend on your mold inspector for any medical advice; that is the job of a medical specialist. If any illness is experienced that may be related to mold or other indoor environmental factors, a family doctor should be consulted regarding health complaints. In addition, the unhealthy person should obtain a referral to the appropriate medical professionals specializing in allergies, environmental medicine, or occupational health, as prescribed by the physician.

 If building related symptoms, such as allergy or asthma-like symptoms or other similar symptoms are experienced, then mold inspection & testing is often the logical starting point in an effort to locate, define and control the problem, as mold is often the culprit. One must keep in mind that occasionally other bioaerosols can result in symptoms or illness as well. Your inspector is unlikely to sample for, or locate mold which may be hidden inside walls, behind wallpaper, appliances, furniture or other inaccessible areas without conducting an invasive inspection.

Mold inspection and mold testing service is not intended to sample or report on what the inspector considers to be typical tiny amounts of expected mold. A mold test is not an environmental investigation for conditions, such as dust mite, roach, and pet allergens, virus, bacteria, lead-based paint, asbestos, radon, voc’s or any other environmental conditions. Mold testing is not meant to detect wood destroying organisms or termite inspection report for dry rot fungus or other fungus that causes wood decay.

Mold Metrix does not offer an opinion as to the advisability of the purchase or sale of property. Unless customer requests and purchases invasive mold inspection with sampling in every room, inner wall stud bay, AC duct, carpet, and all other surfaces in all areas, items or areas inspected and sampled will be chosen based on the inspectors’ judgement. Mold Metrix is not responsible or liable for the non-discovery of any water damage, mold contamination, or “problem conditions” of the inspected property in which Metrix has not been contracted to inspect. Mold Metrix is not responsible or liable for the non-discovery of any water damage, mold contamination, or any other problems that were not discovered due to inadequate sampling in specific areas where sampling was not requested and paid for.

INTERIOR INSPECTION

No destructive or disruptive testing or assessment will be performed unless contracted by client. Opening of walls, lifting of carpets, removal of ceiling panels, insulation, and vapor barriers will not be conducted unless contracted by client. The inspector will not check any area that poses a safety threat to the inspector such as walking on roofs. A roof inspector should be consulted in regard to any roof concerns. Attics and crawl spaces with low clearance may not be entered.  Client understands and agrees that inspection and testing can report only on problems that were present at the time of testing and inspection. The inspector cannot report on areas or locations in the building that have not been specifically inspected and tested. Appliances, furniture, office equipment, and other personal items are not moved during a non-invasive inspection.

AIR QUALITY SAMPLES

Though spore sampling and lab report analysis are common and are often an extremely helpful tool, there is always some degree of uncertainty regarding analysis of samples and the conclusions we draw from them. Non-viable samples only allow for spore identification to the genus and not the species level; thus, comparison of levels of similar types of indoor and outdoor spore types is not exact. Some spores that are reported to be similar are not at always from the same species of mold, they may just look similar under the microscope. This is especially true for some small, round spores, such as aspergillus and penicillium spores. Viable sampling only allows for identification and enumeration of molds that germinated from live spores. Thus, many dead yet still allergenic spores may be missed in the lab results when using this methodology, resulting in low estimations of the number of actual spores present.

INNER WALL SPORE SAMPLES

Your inspector cannot guarantee that hidden mold in a wall can be found even with the aid of inner wall spore sampling as hidden mold may not be producing large numbers of spores during sampling or the spores, if produced, may not have access to the spore trap because insulation or wall studs may block the pathway between spores and spore trap. Even if inner wall spore levels are elevated, it does not guarantee that the mold producing it in the wall will be excessive enough to be visible when or if the wall is opened.                                                                                                              

Such sampling is often a very helpful tool because mold hidden inside walls sometimes produce elevated spore levels that often show up during inner wall sampling. Mold levels in a wall may be high enough to produce mold odors, or may be implemented in health complaints, or may result in lab results showing elevated spore levels.  On the other hand, mold in that same wall may not have yet grown to levels where they would be visible to the unaided eye during remediation.

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