Inspect and Remove Mold from the attic

Removing mold from your attic can be done via several methods. Please keep in mind that I do not advocate you do this by yourself ie: DIY.
Not because I want you to call me so my company can make money, but due to the fact that this work is very dangerous. So dangerous, it can kill you if you aren’t careful. More on that later in the article…
With that important safety disclaimer out of the way and before I discuss the different mold removal methods, I want to go over the “proper protocol” you should follow if you want to do this right.
How to identify the cause of the mold growth
If you have a leak, then it is kind of fruitless to try to remove the mold because it will just quickly grow again. So the first goal is to identify the cause and fix it.
Mold is normally caused by one or more of the following symptoms:
Poor ventilation
High humidity
Roof Leaks
Plumbing leaks
The most common cause of mold in the attic is poor ventilation which then leads to excess humidity. What happens is the heat from your home naturally rises into your attic throughout the day, and when this warm air collides with the cold air of the attic space, it creates moisture and humidity which if left unchecked, leads to mold growth.
You can check your attic space for excess moisture visually by looking at the walls and beams to see if there is any water drops/sweating occurring and if some of the nails look like they have excessive rust. You can also use a handheld humidity sensor device.
If you have excess humidity, you may also have ventilation problem caused by improper venting from your kitchen, and bathroom fans or due to faulty and or inadequate venting to the outside of the structure.
Roof leaks and plumbing leaks may also be the cause. This is much easier to spot.  You are going to be looking for obvious signs of past and or current water leaks, stains, and areas where there is excessive mold growth.
What you need to safely check your attic
In order to locate the problem, you will need to first see inside your attic. If you have adequate access in your attic to walk around, I recommend you do just that.
But please be careful!
You do not want to go up there without a good mold mask, safety goggles, boots, and a high powered flashlight. You can easily fall through the ceiling if you take a wrong step or if you are simply not in great physical shape or have good balance.
A fall from this height can result in serious injury and even death so it is not something you want to take lightly. Every year, hundreds of people die in the U.S. from similar falls.
When in doubt, call a professional like me who can do an inspection or your attic for you.
What are the different mold removal methods?
There are several ways to remove mold from your attic. Some are in my opinion better than other methods and some cheaper and or more expensive. Just remember that cheaper and expensive does not always mean better and safer.
Here are the top methods I recommend in order.
* Spraying with an antimicrobial
* Fogging with an antimicrobial
* HEPA Vacuuming
* HEPA Filtering
* Wire brushing
* Power Sanding
* Soda blasting
* Dry ice and walnut shell
* Removing the infected wood
In a perfect world, removing the wood would be my #1 choice but the reality is that it becomes just too expensive and dangerous to accomplish do this in a cost-effective manner. That is why I first advocate using a combination of methods for killing and remediating the mold.
You can do this by either spraying or fogging with a safe and all natural antimicrobial like we use at Mold Safe Solutions and also using a wire brush, sanding, encapsulating and a commercial HEPA filter.
How much does it cost to remove mold from the attic?
Estimates can range anywhere from $500 on the extremely low end to as high as $5,000-$50,000 depending on the type and size of the property and also the scope of the problem and company you use.
For example, if you have a smaller suburban 3 bedroom – 1600 square foot home, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 on the low end to $5,000 on the higher end depending on how bad the problem is. If you have a larger 4-5 bedroom – 2,500-3,500 square foot home, you can expect to pay a minimum $3,000 on the low end to $10,000 or higher.
Naturally, if you have a larger commercial property with a lot of square footage and mold, then these price estimate ranges will be on the high end.

Black Mold on your HVAC? Read this article

The presence of mold in an HVAC system is a common complaint. Mold is a sneaky little bugger. It can grow and proliferate and make building occupants sick without ever being seen. And the fastest way to spread mold through a building is through a forced-air HVAC system.
The reason this complaint is so common is that mold is always present in your buildings and your HVAC system to the extent that it is present in your building’s environment. There will be more mold in humid weather and less in dry weather. You will never get rid of it completely, but you can control it. All it needs to grow is moisture and food. Take those away and the mold goes away.
According to the U.S. EPA, you should routinely inspect your HVAC systems, not just for mold, but for moisture. Look at drain and condensate pans to make sure they are draining properly. If they are plugged, the moisture that accumulates will become a mold factory. Also make sure that all HVAC ducts and system components such as air handlers, blowers, plenums and the like are free of any moisture.
If, despite regularly inspecting your system, you are still getting complaints about it (mold starts to grow in as little as 48 hours), here are some tips you can share with your HVAC contractor for cleaning it up:
1.) Turn off your HVAC system.
2.) Everyone involved in this cleaning should wear at least an N-95 respirator
3.) Replace anything porous, such as filters or insulation that has become wet. Double-bag the waste using at 6-mil or thicker plastic bags.
4.) Use wet vacuums to clean out any standing water.
5.) Use an EPA registered disinfectant labeled for HVAC use to clean nonporous surfaces (Ductwork, coils, plenums, pans, etc) of mold, mildew and other dirt. BBJ MMR-II ready-to-use disinfectant and mold cleaner will kill and remove mold, mildew and odor-causing bacteria.
6.) As an added measure, isolate each section of ductwork you clean with bladders so the spores you stir up during cleaning don’t spread to other parts of the system or the building. Fog the area with an EPA registered disinfectant.
7.) Apply a mold and mildew inhibitor to all components of the HVAC systems. Again, this must be EPA registered and specifically labeled for use in HVAC systems to limit risks associated with using the wrong chemicals and cleaners in HVAC systems. Goodway’s CoilShine-BC is EPA registered for use in HVAC systems to control mold growth for up to 2 years.
8.) As a final step, HEPA vacuum anything that you cleaned up.
If you have mold, can it be cleaned safely?
If it is confirmed that you have a problem, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests, “Do not run the HVAC system if you know or suspect that it is contaminated with mold – it could spread mold throughout the building.”
This is what the Center’s for Disease Control (CDC) advises if you have suspect that you have mold in your HVAC:
You may need to hire a professional to inspect your system. Any needed repairs or cleaning of vents and air ducts should be performed before restarting the system.
Throw away wet or water damaged filters.
Do not run your HVAC system if you know or think that it is contaminated with mold — it could spread mold throughout your home.
Turn off your HVAC system and cover vents and ducts during cleaning to prevent contaminating it.(3)
Of course, if it is the dead of winter in the cold states or high noon in the summer, it can be dangerous to not have heating or cooling running. With that said, you are going to have to get to work to handle this ASAP.
The first step is to determine if it can be cleaned properly and safely or if you have to replace the ducts in your home. If you are renting and there is no way to clean the system or replace it, then you will have to consider moving to a safe place.
In order to figure out the next step, you need to find out what materials your ducts are made of. This is crucial!
Many modern duct systems are made entirely of sheet metal. Others either have sheet metal with insulation on the exterior or with internal insulation and some are made entirely of fibrous glass insulation.
If you have a duct system that is made entirely of bare sheet metal or sheet metal with exterior insulation, you are most likely in luck. More often than not, they can be cleaned properly and safely if you hire a professional HVAC cleaner who has extensive experience with cleaning mold.
Please keep in mind that you do not want to hire amateurs to do this. Your health and life may be on the line here.
Sheet metal duct systems with an internal glass insulation or made entirely of insulation will have to be removed and replaced if they have water damage and or mold. There is no safe way around this fact and it can be very expensive. Here is what the EPA says, “If you have insulated air ducts and the insulation gets wet or moldy it cannot be effectively cleaned and should be removed and replaced.”