Enviro-Clean, New England’s Mold and Indoor Air Quality Specialist, is one of the most experienced and highly-respected mold remediation and consulting firms in New England. We’ll give you an accurate assessment of the situation and recommend the most cost-effective method of returning your home or building to a healthy and safe condition.
Enviro-Clean project managers have been thoroughly trained and certified and meet all the standards of the leading industry associations including theIICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification), RIA (Restoration Industry Association), and IAQA (Indoor Air Quality Association).
Enviro-Clean project managers are available for inspection and consultation by appointment through our website or by calling our office to schedule 888-231-3130.
Using the latest technology in diagnostic tools, they are able to develop an accurate remediation plan as well as help identify the cause and origin of the mold and recommend preventive measures.
After the inspection is complete, they will review their findings and provide a written report and, in certain cases, a written proposal for professional remediation. Scopes of work can vary significantly depending on the size of the affected space, cause of the mold and moisture and others.
The Truth about Testing/Sampling
Sampling is often misunderstood and is only sometimes part of the inspection process. In general, we like to compare the indoor air quality to the outdoor air. This technique, however, is flawed. Depending on the time of year, weather conditions, and location of property, the outside levels of mold can vary significantly. But, as a general rule of thumb, an outdoor sample gives a good control basis.
The important part comes from the indoor samples. Comparing the indoor samples to one another as well as the outdoor sample. Most important, however, is looking at specific species for similarities or discrepancies.
For example only:
If one just looks at the total mold spores, it will show that we have more mold found outdoors than indoors and at first glance that might tell someone that the air indoors is cleaner than outside. But look at Mold C. The basement reads 6000 mold spores where outside it is only 100. Depending on the type of mold, say mold C is Stachybotris, that would tell us that there is likely a mold concern in the basement that requires some level of remediation.
This is just one example of how interpreting data is important and can be easily misinterpreted.
Commercial Mold Remediation
Mold within a commercial building presents problems that can affect employee health and productivity. Employees suffering from asthma or other respiratory ailments due to poor indoor air quality incur more sick time than healthy employees. If “sick building syndrome” is effecting your workplace, call the mold experts at Enviro-Clean.
In addition to conventional mold remediation techniques, our mold experts are trained in the use of baking soda blasting and dry ice blasting.
We will recommend the most cost-effective solutions to your particular problems.
What is Mold?
Mold is a fungus that can be found both indoors and outdoors. No one knows how many species of mold exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand different kinds of mold. Mold grows best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by making mold spores. Mold spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, that do not support normal mold growth. Some of the common forms of indoor mold species are Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria and Aspergillus.
What causes mold to grow?
Mold occurs naturally, and is found everywhere. When abnormally high concentrations of mold are found indoors, problems result. There are four major elements that contribute to indoor mold growth:
Food Source - mold feeds on all sorts of cellulose materials such as wood, fabrics, wall paper, and other materials commonly found in the home.
Temperature - mold thrives in temperatures between 40 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
Oxygen - Although mold needs air, it grows best in areas of poor ventilation.
Water - mold needs water, moisture or high humidity in order to grow. This is the most critical element to control to prevent mold contamination.
How does mold travel?
Mold spores can migrate through the air, through water, and can hitch a ride on a host, such as humans and their clothing. Airborne mold spores will follow air currents created by normal movements of family members from one room to another, and up and down stairs.
Is mold dangerous?
Mold spores release “mycotoxins” into the air, which are inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Some people are particularly sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal congestion, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. People with severe allergies, or those exposed to large amounts of mold, may have more severe reactions. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Some people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs.
Where are molds found?
Molds are found in virtually every environment and can be detected, both indoors and outdoors, year round. Mold growth is encouraged by warm and humid conditions. Outdoors they can be found in shady, damp areas or places where leaves or other vegetation is decomposing. Indoors they can be found where humidity levels are high. Places where mold exposures are usually high include unvented bathrooms, saunas, antique shops, florist shops, greenhouses, farms, summer cottages, mills, etc.
Why do we charge for inspections?
When we come to your home or business, our technician will perform a comprehensive inspection, not just a cursory look. You will get a thorough and honest assessment of what we find (or don’t find). What you won’t get is a sales pitch. Many times there is no need for professional mold remediation, and in those cases we will show you how you can clean the mold yourself. The inspection fee merely covers our cost of providing that service to you. However, when professional remediation is recommended, the cost of the inspection will be deducted from our written proposal and estimate.
Why do we charge for estimates?
We feel our customers should receive a real consultation, not a sales pitch, which is why we charge for our time. There are many instances where an estimate may not be warranted and because our customers have paid for our time onsite, there is no pressure – just a thorough and honest assessment of what we find (or don’t find).
However, in a case when our project manager does recommend professional remediation, we will provide a written proposal and estimate. And in this scenario, we will credit the inspection fee into the estimate should the customer choose to hire us to perform the mold remediation.
Parent concerned about mold in school
If you believe your children are ill because of exposure to mold in their school, first consult their health care provider to determine the appropriate medical action to take. Contact the school’s administration to express your concern and to ask that they remove the mold and prevent future mold growth. If needed, you could also contact the local school board. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is not a regulatory agency and does not have enforcement authority in local matters. Your local health department may also have information on mold, and you may want to get in touch with your state Indoor Air Quality office.
Work is making me sick.
If you believe you are ill because of exposure to mold in the building where you work, you should first consult your health care provider to determine the appropriate action to take to protect your health. Notify your employer and, if applicable, your union representative about your concern so that your employer can take action to clean up and prevent mold growth. To find out more about mold, remediation of mold, or workplace safety and health guidelines and regulations, you may also want to contact your local (city, county, or state) health department.
You should also read the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Guidelines, Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, at http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.html
Is your landlord responsible for mold?
If you feel your property owner, landlord, or builder has not been responsive to concerns you’ve expressed regarding mold exposure, you can contact your local board of health or housing authority. Applicable codes, insurance, inspection, legal, and similar issues about mold generally fall under state and local (not federal) jurisdiction. You could also review your lease and contact local or state government authorities, your insurance company, or an attorney to learn more about local codes and regulations and your legal rights.
Medical Help for Mold Exposure
You should first consult a family or general health care provider who will decide whether you need referral to a specialist. Such specialists might include an allergist who treats patients with mold allergies or an infectious disease physician who treats mold infections. If an infection is in the lungs, a pulmonary physician might be recommended. Patients who have been exposed to molds in their workplace may be referred to an occupational physician.
Does bleach kill mold?
Biocides are substances that can destroy living organisms. The use of a chemical or biocide that kills organisms such as mold (chlorine bleach, for example) is not recommended as a routine practice during mold cleanup. There may be instances, however, when professional judgment may indicate its use (for example, when immune-compromised individuals are present). In most cases, it is not possible or desirable to sterilize an area; a background level of mold spores will remain - these spores will not grow if the moisture problem has been resolved.
If you choose to use disinfectants or biocides, always ventilate the area and exhaust the air to the outdoors. Never mix chlorine bleach solution with other cleaning solutions or detergents that contain ammonia because toxic fumes could be produced.
Please note: Dead mold may still cause allergic reactions in some people, so it is not enough to simply kill the mold, it must also be removed.
How can I decrease my exposure to mold?
Sensitive individuals should avoid areas that are likely to have mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas. Inside homes, mold growth can be slowed by keeping humidity levels between 40% and 60%, and ventilating showers and cooking areas. If there is mold growth in your home, you should clean up the mold and fix the water or humidity problem. Mold growth can often be removed from hard surfaces with commercial products or even soap and water.
Keep the humidity level in the house between 40% and 60%.
Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months.
Be sure the home has adequate ventilation, including exhaust fans.
Add mold inhibitors to paints before application.
Clean bathrooms with mold cleaning products.
Do not carpet bathrooms and basements.
Remove or replace previously soaked carpets and upholstery.
Handle water damage immediately - refer to a professional mitigation company.
I think I have a mold problem. What should I do?
If you see mold in your home or workplace, call a Mold Remediation Specialist to evaluate the extent of the problem and to offer a course of action. If you are experiencing a musty odor accompanied by dampness in your basement, you may have mold. To be sure, call a Mold Remediation Specialist, a Certified Industrial Hygienist or an Indoor Air Quality Consultant to perform air tests for mold. Remember, if you have had a flooding situation which has not be properly or thoroughly dried, you can expect a mold problem within 48 hours of the event.
Mold Case Studies
Residential Mold Problem
Enviro-Clean received a call from a homeowner who had discovered a mold problem in her house. Upon inspecting the home, Eric Anderson found extensive mold growth throughout the kitchen and dining area, bathroom, and the stairwell leading to the second floor. Upon further examination he found black mold growing behind vinyl wallpaper in the finished basement, as well as in the children’s toy closet. It was apparent that the mold had migrated from the basement area to other parts of the house following primary traffic patterns.
In conversations with the homeowner he learned that there had been a flood in the basement approximately 1 ½ to 2 years earlier. The homeowner submitted a claim to her insurance carrier, and received a $2,000 settlement. However, she opted to dry the wet area herself with a wet vac rather than hire a professional cleaning company.
Eric suggested that the homeowner call her insurance carrier regarding the mold problem, which she did. The insurance carrier brought in an environmental engineer who, after inspecting the premises, confirmed Enviro-Clean’s findings.
Enviro-Clean was hired to remove the mold from the house which was done successfully for a total cost of $32,455. Additionally, the insurance company paid the homeowner’s contractor $107,000 for follow-up repairs.
The moral of the story? Proper and thorough drying at the time of the flood would have saved the homeowner a great deal of anxiety and inconvenience, and would have saved the insurance carrier almost $140,000.
Residential Fungus Problem
A fuel oil spill in a Centerville, MA residence required that utilities be shut off, including the climate control utility. As a result, fungus spread throughout the entire house. Mold became visible on the bedding, kitchen cabinets, ceilings, floors, even on the children’s toys.
Enviro-Clean was contracted by Vertex Engineering to remediate the residence. Vertex is known for their intense scrutiny in post-testing procedures and will not hesitate to order a re-clean. Enviro-Clean cleaned everything from the ceilings to pins inside baseboard heating. Enviro-Clean even used toothbrushes to deep-clean the louvers on the closet doors.
Enviro-Clean was onsite for the post test performed by Vertex. Vertex walked through the residence with an industrial Halogen Lamp and several pairs of white gloves. They also performed air sampling. Before the conclusion of the post-test, the Vertex engineer examined the stove, and to his surprise, Enviro-Clean had even cleaned underneath the stove, in the stove and every other appliance in the home. Without a doubt, Enviro-Clean passed the post-test with flying colors.
Severe Mold Problem
A general contractor called Enviro-Clean for help with a severe mold problem in a 10-bedroom estate in Exeter, Rhode Island. The home, a 1930’s era fieldstone and frame structure had been closed up for 10 months of the year. High humidity during the previous summer created an ideal environment for mold spores to multiply.
Upon arrival, Enviro-Clean’s technicians found visible mold growing on walls and other surfaces in nearly every room in the house. Air currents helped billions of airborne mold spores travel freely throughout the structure, creating fast-growing colonies wherever it found moisture and a food source — wood, fabrics, and even dust.
After the air quality was tested by a microbiologist, the process of removing the mold from the contaminated areas of the home was started immediately. As the technicians, outfitted with OSHA-required protective suits and respirators, worked in the sealed-off areas of contamination, negative air units were used to prevent the spread of mold into non-contaminated areas, while HEPA vacuums and air scrubbers ensured that the clean areas would remain clean while the work progressed.
When the mold removal process was complete, there was no sign of mold anywhere in the house. A post-remediation air quality test by the microbiologist showed that the house was, indeed, clean and free of mold and microtoxins. The project was a complete success, extending Enviro-Clean’s 100% success rate.
The owners were thrilled with the speed, thoroughness and professionalism of the Enviro-Clean crew.