We’ve all dealt with mold at one time or another in our personal lives. However, identifying the causes of mold and ways to remediate it in industrial environments such office buildings, schools, and factories can be tricky. In this post, we identify the common causes of mold at industrial sites and outline the steps you should take to remediate the mold.
Water Intrusion’s Common Forms
The intrusion of water into an indoor facility comes in many ways, and you need to act quickly if you suspect any form of water intrusion is occurring. That’s because indoor mold problems can start to develop as quickly as one to two days after an intrusion event. The three most common forms of water intrusion are floods, poor HVAC balancing, and leaking pipes.
When a flood occurs, building managers must try to beat the two-day window for drying out all water and restoring the building to its pre-flood condition. Otherwise, mold will appear in multiple locations inside the building, causing immediate breathing problems and other health risks to people and spreading at a rapid rate.
Slower forms of intrusion (but equally hazardous to health) include unbalanced HVAC and leaking pipes. In the case of unbalanced HVAC, the most frequent mold occurrences arise from excessive cooling to a specific zone. Frozen coils eventually thaw out and release moisture that causes mold to form. Leaking pipes are always a threat, and the only way to avoid them is through consistent checks.
Who Should Clean the Mold?
Many building owners who experience a mold event would like to save money and perform their own mold remediation. This is rarely the right path to take and normally leads to long-term costs that multiply as the mold problem multiplies. Moreover, if people become affected by airborne mold, they can experience allergic reactions and cold-like symptoms. People with compromised breathing, such as the elderly or asthma sufferers, could face worse complications. For this reason, you need to be 100% certain that your mold is completely remediated. Of course, building owners don’t always have a choice – in some states, professional mold remediation is required once an area as small as 100 square feet is affected.
Whichever way you choose to remove the mold, you must first identify the mold’s source. Otherwise, you are likely to have reoccurring mold even after you perform all restorations.
The Value of Hiring a Qualified Indoor Air/Mold Specialist
The most critical aspect to ridding your building of mold is identifying and quantifying the problem. Without knowing the exact cause(s) and breadth of it, you risk taking costly measures that fail to remove the mold. Mold assessment is a complex process that includes the following steps:
- Visual assessment
- Air and surface sampling
- Moisture measurements
When it comes to mold, you don’t want to perform all these steps on your own. Your results will lack the context that a trained specialist brings. Additionally, the air/mold specialist will know what to do once mold is identified. He/she will prescribe a proper mitigation plan to a mold removal contractor based on the data obtained from the investigation. Again, the specialist’s experience is invaluable, as he or she can evaluate contractors and oversee the work they perform. Otherwise, you will spend long hours familiarizing yourself with applicable standards from sources such as the EPA and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH).
When it comes to mold, acting swiftly and decisively is crucial to capping costs and returning to business as usual. The best way to achieve this is to leverage the services of an air/mold specialist to obtain critical data, develop an abatement plan, and ensure its proper execution.
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