How to Choose the ‘Best’ Black Mold Removal Company
Are you searching for the ‘best’ black mold removal company? Anyone can say they are the best but how do you know? What should you know when hiring a mold removal company? What questions should you ask before hiring them? Can you do the job yourself? Come read and learn everything you need to know.
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What Should You Expect When Hiring a Black Mold Removal Company?
Have you ever had mold removed from your home? Do you know what to ask mold removal companies? What do they really do?
As a mold removal company, we know what you should expect and what the industry standards should be. If the company you interview doesn’t know the answer to the questions in this article, you probably don’t want to hire them!
Whether you are located in our service area (Oconee, Clarke, Barrow, Walton, Green, Morgan, Jackson, Oglethorpe, and Madison County, Georgia) or not, we want everyone to know what mold removal should look like.
Black Mold – Something of a Misnomer
Before we go any further, we need to address a common misconception about mold. While all molds have the potential to cause irritation and allergy symptoms, some molds can also cause much more dangerous health problems. Some molds, but not all, produce toxins. Toxic molds can cause health problems ranging from poisoning to cancer. Not all molds are toxic, but many are. The thing is… dangerous and toxic mold is not just black, it can be many different colors. Toxic molds can appear to be gray, green, yellow, brown, and black.
So, where is the line between an allergic mold and a toxic mold? That line is defined by something called a mycotoxin, and is NOT defined by color.
Mycotoxins, literally ‘fungus poison’ in Latin, are secondary metabolites that can be produced by molds, and are not living organisms.2 Mycotoxins are a byproduct of mold. Not all mold spores produce mycotoxins, but some do. So the molds that produce mycotoxins are the ones that could be categorized as toxic or poisonous.2,8
Mycotoxins are chemical substances that can cause many health problems ranging from mild to severe.2,8 Even if you are not allergic to mold, you can be affected by mycotoxins.8
To learn even more about the health effects of mold check out our posts: Effects of Mold on Children’s Health and Mold and Mycotoxins: Effects on the Brain and Nervous System in Adults.
Questions Should You Ask A Mold Removal Company Before Hiring Them
Not all mold removal and remediation companies are created equal! Before hiring anyone you should ask questions, a lot of questions. If the company can’t answer these questions or answer them to your satisfaction… Don’t hire them!
What is Mold Removal or Mold Remediation?
Mold remediation is the technical term for mold removal. Here at Branch Environmental, we know mold remediation can be overwhelming, we are here to walk you through it. Though every home and circumstance is unique, we follow a proven process to not only remove mold contaminants, but keep them from returning.
Do you consider mold a health hazard?
The answer should always be yes! Mold is definitely a health hazard. 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.
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 is a mycotoxin?
Every mold remediation company should be able to answer this question. As we mentioned earlier, mycotoxins are a byproduct of mold. Not all mold spores produce mycotoxins, but some do. So the molds that produce mycotoxins are the ones that could be categorized as toxic or poisonous. 17,21
Even if you are not allergic to mold, you can be affected by mycotoxins.21 You can learn more about mycotoxin poisoning in our article: When Mold Is Worse Than Allergies.
Do you perform an inspection first?
The company you choose should offer a comprehensive mold and indoor air quality inspection that you pay for, not hand over a price without truly investigating the problem.
The primary reason you want to pay for a comprehensive mold inspection is the time and resources that go into the inspection. Some of our competitors offer “free” inspections, which basically means that the inspector shows up and hands over a price to fix a symptom, without truly knowing the nature of the problem.
The inspection should include all parts of your home, especially the parts that are hard to reach such as crawlspaces and attics. Those are the places where mold loves to hide. To learn more about our inspection process check out our post: Beyond Mold Inspections, Branch Delivers Mold Investigations.
Do I receive a mold inspection report?
Absolutely! For every mold inspection we perform, we write a comprehensive inspection report. Each report contains all our findings, photographs, and our recommendations. We make sure you see everything we saw in your home, whether you have mold or not. The comprehensive inspection report should help you understand what work needs to be done. If the mold is just a small area (less than 10 square feet), we may suggest that you (the homeowner) can clean the mold yourself. If the mold damage is extensive, we will explain exactly what needs to be done.
If your mold removal company doesn’t offer you a comprehensive inspection report, they probably aren’t the company you want.
How do you contain the work area?
To begin environmental remediation (for mold, asbestos, or lead), the area to be cleaned and repaired is isolated from the rest of the home or business. Plastic barrier walls and negative air flow contain the work area.1 To create negative air flow, air enters a room and is pulled through the room, but does not re-enter the building.1 Clean air is pulled into the room, and is then expelled to the outdoors.1 This is important to keep contaminants like mold spores, viruses (like COVID-19), volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), microbial volatile organic compounds (mvoc’s), dust, and other small particles from entering your home during the work.2,3
Hospitals use negative air pressure in the exact same way to keep patients with COVID-19 isolated from other patients.1 Air enters the area for COVID-19 patients, and the air is expelled to the outside. The air does NOT return to the building and reduces cross contamination.1
Do you clean your equipment before each new project?
Of course! We disinfect surfaces daily , and routinely use ozone disinfection. Ozone is an extremely effective odor neutralizer and disinfectant killing bacteria, fungi, and viruses.5 Using negative air flow at low rates, ozone is used at the end of the day when the work area is empty. Negative Air Flow expels the ozone safely to the outdoors. Ozone disinfection with negative air flow is the same type of disinfection hospitals use when cleaning rooms that were used by patients with COVID-19. 1, 5
Are you insured?
It goes without saying that anyone working on your home should be insured.
What happens to the wet moldy material you remove from my home?
The wet moldy material gets bagged and taken off site for disposal. No moldy material should be left for you to dispose.
What is the Step By Step Process for Mold Removal?
1.Define The Scope
The company you choose should offer a comprehensive mold and indoor air quality inspection that you pay for, not hand over a price without truly investigating the problem. Your inspector should 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.
2.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.
Routine maintenance checks, performed on your home, can prevent leaks. The smaller the leak and longer the 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 located, check out our posts: Top 6 Types of Water Damage and How to Avoid Them.
3.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.
4.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 or floors 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 floors may have to be replaced depending on the level of damage.
Is there Anything that Mold Removal does NOT Include?
Yes, mold removal does not include fixing leaks in your home. Leaks need to be fixed before the mold remediation takes place. You may have to replace items such as drywall, carpet, wood, etc. once the mold is removed. A licensed contractor preforms this service not necessarily the mold removal company.
Here at Branch Environmental, we also have a licensed contracting division that can replace items removed. It can save you money to use the same company for both mold removal and repair. Check out our post Mold Remediation and Reconstruction Together Saves Time and Money or call us to learn more.
How much does mold removal cost?
That’s what most people ask, but the answer is not that simple. Costs for mold removal depend on the extent of the damage and what underlying problems caused the damage in the first place. Any company who gives you numbers before they inspect your home has a preconceived idea of what they ‘think’ the problem is. What you really need is a comprehensive mold and indoor air quality inspection.
A comprehensive mold and indoor air quality inspection (like ours) is very different from simply handing over a price. Imagine if your mechanic told you how much it would cost to fix your car without looking under the hood? Would you trust him (or her)? Getting a price for mold remediation without paying for a comprehensive mold inspection is a lot like that. Spending a few hundred dollars on a comprehensive mold inspection is money well spent, since a few hundred now could save you thousands in the long run. To learn even more about mold removal costs check out our post: Mold Removal Costs – Branch Tells You the Truth in 5 Minutes.
Can you DIY Mold Removal?
Yes, mold removal can be a DIY project, but it’s a good idea to know when to call the pros. If the area of mold is smaller than 10 square feet you can probably clean the area yourself. If the area is larger than 10 square feet, or you don’t want to tackle the job yourself, hiring a professional mold remediation company is the best idea.
You must wear proper protective equipment when cleaning. Mold is a health hazard! To learn all the details on how to keep yourself safe: A Simple Guide To Cleaning Mold. To learn about cleaners that are safe to use check out our post: How to Choose the Best Mold Removal Products.
The Branch Difference
At Branch Environmental, we analyze the symptoms to determine the root cause of your problem. We see each mold inspection as an in-depth investigation, not an opportunity to hand over a guess-based estimate of work. If you think you may need a mold inspection, get in touch with us, and we’ll get down to the source.
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:
- COVID-19 and Negative Pressure Rooms in Hospitals – CHT Healthcare
- Volatile Organic Compounds’ Impact on Indoor Air Quality | US EPA
- What’s that musty smell? MVOC’s – Branch Environmental
- How to Disinfect Properly – Branch Environmental
- COVID-19 & DISINFECTION WITH OZONE – Prime Facility Solutions and Services
- Mold Removal Costs – Branch Tells You The Truth In 5 minutes
- Branch Environmental Keeping You Safe
- Spotlight on Mold Removal – Branch Environmental
- Mold Removal Costs – Branch Tells You The Truth In 5 minutes
- Beyond Mold Inspections, Branch Delivers Mold Investigations
- Top 6 Types of Water Damage and How to Avoid Them – Branch Environmental
- Top 10 Ways to Prevent Water Damage – Branch Environmental
- Mold Remediation and Reconstruction Together Saves Time and Money – 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
- Do You Have Mold? How to Choose Between a Paid or Free Mold Inspection – Branch Environmental
- A Simple Guide To Cleaning Mold – Branch Environmental
- Mycotoxins – World Health Organization (WHO)