Attic Mold Removal – 6 Things You Should Know
Chances are if you’re looking into ‘attic mold removal’ you already have mold. You may be wondering, how did the mold get here, and how do I stop it?! Do I need a professional or can I do it myself? We answer all your questions and more.
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Attics have all the things mold needs to grow: food (drywall, cardboard boxes, leather goods, etc.), oxygen, the right temperature, and moisture. Humidity higher than 60% gives mold a perfect environment in which to grow. The good news is you can prevent attic mold from causing problems. Controlling moisture levels stops mold growth in its tracks.
Where Did the Attic Mold Come from?
Molds grow from microscopic spores that are everywhere in the air. Molds are found everywhere in nature, including your attic, and are important for recycling organic matter (such as leaves). The recycling process they perform returns nutrients to the soil and is important for plants to grow. Molds need four things to grow: oxygen, moisture, a food source, and the right temperature range.
Molds grow inside of their food sources. They penetrate deeply into wood, insulation, drywall, carpets, underneath kitchen and bathroom sinks, etc. Anything with carbohydrates in it could be considered a food source for molds.
Moisture is the one thing you can reasonably control when it comes to mold. A dry home equals a home with less mold growth. Keeping areas dry, especially areas that use water frequently (like bathrooms), is important to prevent mold growth.
How Fast Do Molds Grow?
Once enough moisture is present, molds can begin to grow in less than 48 hours! Water from leaks, condensation, and poor ventilation can cause a ticking mold time bomb.
To learn more about our inspection process and why it’s important to pay for a mold and air quality inspection check out our post: Do You Have Mold? How to Choose Between a Paid or Free Mold Inspection.
How Do You Know if You Have Attic Mold?
Have you been up in your attic lately? Most people never venture into this part of their homes. Attics can easily be infested with mold for 2 primary reasons – poor ventilation and roof leaks.
One of the most common causes of mold in the attic is a leaking roof. To check for possible roof leaks, look for discoloration of insulation and wood including: the rafters, sheathing, joists, fascia boards, roof valleys, skylights, chimneys, windows, flashings, and the like. While you’re up there, make sure there are no leaks around attic plumbing stacks or air conditioners. If you have a vapor barrier, check for condensation.
Roof penetrations are one of the most likely places to find leaks. At least twice a year, roofs should be checked for leaks. Attic mold is often caused by the buildup of moisture that can not escape. One easy way to tell if you have excessive moisture in the attic is to look at the nails. If they are rusted, you most likely have moisture and ventilation problems. Black spots and discoloration can also signify a leak and means trouble.
Check that caulking and flashing are secure and in good shape. Repair missing or loose shingles, damage from limbs and remove any moss. While you are on the roof (or your chosen repair technician is), be sure to inspect the chimney for loose bricks, or boards. Also, check that the flashing is secure, and that no water is passing through it. Be sure a chimney cap is installed and working properly.
Because air travels upward toward the attic, household activities such as cooking, bathing and showering will produce moisture that can make its way to the attic and become trapped. Rusted nails and discoloration of wood are clues that there is too much moisture in the attic.
For more information about water damage check out our post: Top 10 Ways to Prevent Water Damage.
Why Proper Attic Ventilation is Important
Proper roof ventilation is very important in keeping your attic dry and mold free. Most homes have a passive system to circulate air through the attic. Around the ridge of your roof are soffit or eave vents that allow external air to enter the attic. This air then warms up in the attic, and leaves through can or ridge vents because heat rises. The process of air moving through the attic creates a well ventilated space, and prevents moisture and heat from being trapped.
However, when air is unable to enter or leave the attic, moisture and heat build up and encourage mold growth. If the soffit or eave vents are blocked (by paint for example), fresh air cannot enter the space. If the ridge vents or can vents are blocked (or not present), moisture and heat can build up in the space with nowhere to go. We have visited homes with mold and moisture problems where there were no ridge or can vents and others where there were soffit or eave vents were blocked. Never assume these things are in place and working properly! Be sure to include checking these vents as part of your home maintenance routine.
Other Types of Improper Ventilation
Other types of improper ventilation can also cause moisture problems. Improper ventilation of bathroom fans or dryer vents into the attic space can increase moisture and heat in the attic. Yes, we have seen these problems in real customer’s homes, and we have helped fix them! Our customers know we go above and beyond to find the problem and be sure it is corrected.
To learn more about one of our customer’s real homes, and how we helped solve their attic moisture problem check out our post: How Does Mold Affect Your Health?
Does Attic Mold Affect Your Health?
In one word…Yes.
Mold is an insidious, invisible predator in your home. It hides in places no one ever thinks to look like under cabinets, in crawl spaces, attics, and behind furniture. People may spend weeks, months, and even years fighting illness, and never know what they are really fighting…mold. Many of our customers find us after a recommendation from their doctor, that they may in fact have a mold problem, and not just an illness.
Mold is most often associated with allergies, but mold is much more menacing than people know. While all molds have the potential to cause irritation and allergy symptoms, molds can also cause much more dangerous health problems including: fungal poisoning and mental health problems. You can learn more about mycotoxin poisoning in our article: When Mold Is Worse Than Allergies.
To learn more about how mold can affect mental health check out our articles: Mold and Mycotoxins: Effects on the Brain and Nervous System in Adults and Effects of Mold on Children’s Health.
What Are The Steps Of Attic Mold Removal?
When you have a mold remediation company come to your home, you need to know just what to expect. There are 5 steps to attic mold removal or remediation.
Define The Scope
This begins with an Indoor Air Quality Assessment. Your inspector will define the extent of the necessary work and what may or may not need to be done. The inspector should talk you through all your options and tailor a plan that fits your needs and your budget.
Protect The People
Keeping your family and the work crews safe is top priority. This means preparing your home for the work that needs to be done. Branch Environmental uses methods such as containment walls and negative air to keep your home safe, and we’ll let you know if you can or cannot be in the home during the work. Check out our post Branch Environmental Keeping You Safe to learn more.
Correct Moisture Problems
Removing or correcting the source of moisture is a vital part of the remediation process to ensure mold does not return. This may be handled by a contractor outside the scope of the mold remediation. Once walls or floors are opened up, now is the time to address plumbing issues and other leaks. Leaks are problems that can be remedied quickly if routine maintenance checks are performed on your home. The longer a leak is present, the more mold will grow. Prevention is worth nine tenths of the cure they say!
To learn how to prevent water leaks and where the most likely spots for leaks in your home are, check out our post: Top 6 Types of Water Damage and How to Avoid Them.
Remove The Mold
The work will start by removing and discarding non-salvageable material. Next, the materials that can be saved are cleaned. At Branch Environmental, we always use safe and environmentally friendly products. There is no reason to replace one environmental toxin with another, such as bleach. Be sure to ask your mold remediation contractor questions about the chemicals they use to remove mold and if they are environmentally friendly.
If walls, floors, or ceilings were removed during the remediation, the final step will be reinstalling what was taken out. Drywall, carpet, and other soft materials are the most likely materials that will have to be replaced. However, even framing or complete ceilings may have to be replaced depending on the level of damage.
This Sounds Expensive!
Most people rarely plan for the expense of mold removal, so here at Branch Environmental, we are careful to help control costs and manage your expectations from the beginning. With a clear understanding of the problem, we can work with you to create a remediation protocol that fits your needs.
The best place to start is with a paid Indoor Air Quality Assessment. This step will give you all the information you need to move forward. You will discover exactly how extensive your problem is, and what is necessary to solve it.
When To Clean / When To Call
If you’re familiar with our blog, you know that the first thing to do when cleaning mold is to fix the moisture problem that led to the mold growth. Until you fix the moisture problem, mold will continue to grow and spread.
Customers often ask, “Can I clean the mold myself or do I need a professional?” Our answer depends several factors including:
- how extensive the mold problem is
- what building materials, furnishings, and belongings are affected
- where the mold is located
- whether or not you mind being in confined spaces such as your crawlspace, basement, or attic
To get all the details check out our post: Cleaning Mold: DIY vs. Professional.
Especially if you don’t live in our service area, you should check out our post: How to Choose a Mold Removal Company. We answer every question you should ask a mold removal company, and give you the details you need to know.
We’re Here When You Need Us
Call Branch Environmental. We’re experts not only at mold removal, but at determining and remediating the underlying causes. From hidden mold sources to major contaminants, we can identify exactly what is going on in your home and rid it of environmental toxins, often for good.
Branch Environmental – Because nobody should live or work in a building that makes them sick.
For More Information Go To:
- How to Protect Your Home from Attic Mold and Destructive Critters – Branch Environmental
- Attic Mold – Branch Environmental
- What Causes Attic Mold & How to Remove it – Moldman
- How Much Does Mold Removal Cost – Branch Environmental
- Top 10 Ways to Prevent Water Damage – Branch Environmental
- Mold and Mildew Removal Near Me, 14 Things To Know – Branch Environmental
- How to Prevent Bathroom Mold – Branch Environmental
- Do You Have Mold? How to Choose Between a Paid or Free Mold Inspection – Branch Environmental
- Branch Environmental How Does Mold Affect Your Health? – Branch Environmental
- How Your Home Can Affect Your Allergies – Branch Environmental
- When Mold Is Worse Than Allergies – Branch Environmental
- Mold and Mycotoxins: Effects on the Brain and Nervous System in Adults – Branch Environmental
- Effects of Mold on Children’s Health – Branch Environmental
- Beyond Mold Inspections, Branch Delivers Mold Investigations
- Branch Environmental Keeping You Safe
- Home of 10,000 Leaks: Why Water Damage Leads To Mold – Branch Environmental
- Top 6 Types of Water Damage and How to Avoid Them – Branch Environmental
- Spotlight on Mold Removal – Branch Environmental
- 5 Expectations about Mold vs. Eye-Opening Reality – Branch Environmental
- Home Mold Remediation – Branch Environmental
- Cleaning Mold: DIY vs. Professional – Branch Environmental
- How to Choose a Mold Removal Company – Branch Environmental