Discovering a thriving mold colony in your home presents a host of complex, potentially expensive problems – none of which should be addressed by any less than certified professionals. You may wonder how your property became infested in the first place and just how extensively the spores may have spread and multiplied beyond the first spot of growth you see. Likewise, it’s understandable to fret the potential health risks that accompany a mold invasion and just how costly remediation can become when compared to the estimated dollar amount of damage mold can do to your property.

The best mold remediation companies in any market will address your infestation in as thorough and timely a manner as possible while clearly answering any questions you may have and minimizing costs to the greatest degree possible. As with the process of comparison-shopping contractors for any professional service, you owe it to yourself to ask a battery of probing questions and gather several estimates before making a choice.

How experienced are the employees who will be working in my home?

First off, rule out any and every contractor with no proof of up-to-date insurance. Yes, they may have the edge in price, but the risks in the event of a catastrophe are not remotely worth it.

When you think about a problem that could jeopardize the structural integrity of your home and the health of its occupants and guests, do you really want to entrust its solution to remediators who have never barely dealt with mold personally?

Make certification by organizations such as the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors, the Mold Inspection Consulting and Remediation Organization (MICRO), the Professional Mold Inspection Institute (PMII), and the Environmental Solutions Association (ESA)-affiliated organization RespirNet a deal-breaker and familiarize yourself with each body’s approval criteria. Always ask for a free in-home consultation and names and contact information for several prior customers ready and willing to attest to the contractor’s work. Of course, there’s also no understating the value of a written guarantee behind the company’s work delivered with a detailed estimate, along with provisions in the event you have your home tested for mold after the finished remediation and still uncover growth.

How familiar are your employees with the inherent environmental hazards of mold?

A quality mold remediator doesn’t have to be a medical expert or experienced health practitioner to grasp indoor water damage’s potential toxic risks. Your contractor should concisely explain the difference between symptoms of a minor mold allergy and a serious toxic reaction and what makes mycotoxins potentially lethal, especially to individuals with compromised immune systems.

If the contractor doesn’t consider independent third-party environmental testing a necessity regardless of your case’s exact circumstances, move on down your list. Allowing a remediation company to also confirm the presence of mold before and after its work creates a conflict of interest that should cast at least a seed of doubt on any findings. Insist on testing prior to remediation in order to assess the progression of mold development and afterward to verify the project’s success.

What safety precautions do you take before, during and after mold remediation

To avoid cross-contamination, the contractor should lay down plastic sheeting and additional protection at all containment site entrances. Only HEPA-filtered negative air machines (NAMs) should be used during mold remediation, all of them exhausted outside the home. Scratch off any contractor who attempts to negate or minimize the importance of containment measures to avoiding the creation of additional hazards during the project.

Every remediation process employs air scrubbers and HEPA vacuums to maintain a breathable environment and both should be freshly wrapped prior to being introduced to the site. This is crucial to ensuring contaminants hitching a ride from previous sites don’t find their way into your home and worsen conditions. Just the same, it should be an unconditional given that workers wear properly maintained respirators, safety glasses, and hazmat suits. Since foot traffic can cross-contaminate a site quickly and inconspicuously, all workers should also wear disposable shoe covers at all times.

Finally, workers should bag and immediately dispose of waste material following removal via the shortest route possible, in order to keep windows for potential container leakage or breakage as small as possible. Items should never be stored on the premises and always doubled-bagged to guard against possible cross-contamination from the first bag.

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Last, but not least, insist that your contractor keep digital photos documenting every phase of work. This is never more important than when remediation requires extracting mold-infested building materials such as drywall.

The contractor should waste no time delivering the photos to you immediately after completing remediation. If you should plan to file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance company to recoup the cost of services, your mold remediation professional’s cooperation and thorough documentation may prove instrumental. Be sure and check with your provider to determine whether your policy’s coverage is contingent on contracting with a particular mold removal service with which the insurer has some sort of partnership.