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Old 09-28-2008, 04:44 AM   #1
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


Please bare with my many words here. I'm at the end of my rope and desperation spawns emotion. I feel my family is in a situation critical and I seek any help towards resolution in combating mold and mildew. I speak from the point of view of a man balancing on his last straw in a mortal way.

I have researched, and learned from work/life experiances... that in mold remediation one must remove the source of moisture and then work from there. I can see and understand and have acquired skills to work towards resolution from that. I currently work towards it right now while preparing a demo of my parents basement to locate and erradicate the seepage. But as I work on the logistics to allow for that I discover that even the stuff sitting for a couple years in the sepertate garage has mildew on it. This garage has no water seepage problem and shares no air with the basement. There is nothing I can do to alter enviromental conditions there.

I live in Washington Sate on the west side of the Cascade mountains.... a very wet region indeed. And with recent weather trends, and global warming in general, I can trust that wetness will likely grow worse not less. I can't assume that the last couple years were just unusually wet.

I feel my family is in situation critical and their lives, and mine (I currently live in that basement), are being shortened by heavy exposure to mold and mildew. And there was a black mold in one area but I sealed it off and stagnated the air there and removed it as best I could, then evacuacted the air through a contained path. Couldn't afford the time and cost of testing let alone the consequence of it really was the infamous stuff. Just like we couldn't afford the costs and time of having the 50 yr old paint and linoleum to be professionally tested and dealt with. Either one of the three had high potential to break us and put us homeless living on the street. But all three hold mortal consequence to exposure. Arghhhhh.... (edit: the consequences of lead and absetos in manufacturing to foster profit despite having awarness to correct the manufacturing of it is for another topic)

If it were my stuff and my property I am at the point to dispose/burn it all and start thrift store fresh living under a tarp, while I re-build from pallets and builders waste. But that is no option for my parents. My hands are tied and I can't walk away... to quote Eddie Brickell "It is suicide to stay but murder to leave". My family is relative poor in our options here. And my parents cannot labor for what needs be done so it is for me to do this for them. I am at the end of my rope in knwoing how to combat this!

If even the stuff in the seperate garage (with no liquid water exposure ~ just the dampness of the climate) gets mildewed and molded then how can I possiby defeat it? The mildew and mold spores are on everything it appears... and I feel justified in assuming so. Even in the upstairs house I see visible progression of it from up the basement steps. I assume the progression is far further than what is evident even by carefull inspection. It grows in places and in buildings, and cars where there is nothing I can correct. I had once assumed that just fixing a water seepage problem would end it. But I now see that this is not the case. Even if our vehicals sit for a week + unused they accumalate visible growth.

If every space can foster the spores, despite correcting humidty levels, then it is a lost cause isn't it? Or is it? What can I do besides bleaching the billions of surfaces of every single thousands of items twice or more a year (which is pratically impossible and carries its own overall risks despite respirator etc)? We can't install dehumidifying devices or pay for their continued operating expenses for all these spaces. And even if we could, how do I de-spore the billions of collective llineal surfaces already exposed to the spore?

Does anyone one living in wet regions with climate like Western Washington have advice for me before I nut up and do something irreversably stupid?


Last edited by White Elk; 09-30-2008 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 09-28-2008, 07:01 AM   #2
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


Personally, I think you are reading far too much into the existence and lethality of mould; moulds are everywhere and most of them are good and beneficial to life. I think you are going to have to stop worrying that you will lose all to mould as I sincerely doubt whatever mould infestation you have has reached a dangerous stage that all would be lost.

But if it reassures you, there are ozone generating machines that, after a one-shot use, will remove the mould from all surfaces in the room where applied. But it will harm plants and pets, so look into that as a possibility to make you sleep easier.

Good luck

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Old 09-28-2008, 07:32 AM   #3
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


To assist in treating large areas, you might try an inexpensive fogger like the Fogmaster Jr to spread a disinfectant (This stuff is relatively benign but use a respirator and remove or protect people, pets and food) Most mold can be killed with just soap and water but it's not enough to just kill it, you have to remove it. Remove any belongings that can't be cleaned, and add proper ventilation to your garage and basement.

Good luck with it!
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Old 09-28-2008, 08:39 AM   #4
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


After that, get a dehumidifier running in there and keep it running permanently.

Agreed, mold sucks. But, I also agree that people make an unnecessarily big deal about how sick they think it makes them. People have been living around mold since the dawn of time, and only in recent years has it been made an issue. Of course the companies that remove mold and sell products to remove mold want you to think your life is getting shorter.
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Old 09-28-2008, 08:40 AM   #5
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


And by the way, please refrain from further quoting of Edie Brickell lyrics for goodness sake. Yuck.
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Old 09-28-2008, 10:05 AM   #6
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


White Elk,

I am from NE FL, we too have high humidity conditions. I have dealt successfully with many mold & mildew issues over many years while performing water event restorations for others.

You are wise to learn from others and read-up on the problem, but do not let the hype (fear generating propaganda) cause anxiety.

An old old FL saying (first coined, I'm sure by native Americans)
when your up to your "neck" in alligators....it is hard to remember your goal was to drain the swamp.

Any large project can appear overwhelming...until you break it down into manageable parts.

Isolate and work on one area at a time..think about cross contamination, but do not be overly fixated on this aspect.

Your low cost weapons are 10% solution of bleach ($.99) and pump sprayers.
Visit a local janitorial supply house... ask what they have for mold & mildew...go for the hospital grade (CONCENTRATED) disinfectant..non staining and kills other even nastier stuff ($ 25 RANGE).

As well advised in the posts above you can upgrade your weapons to Ozone generators and foggers. CFL O*zone lamps are available http://www.ozonelite.com/faq-TiO2-technology.shtml Shop for prices.

Check in near by larger cities for Companies the specialize in mold remediation. They may have older equipment to sell cheap &/ or, be willing to trade for your good ol hard labor.

Every journey starts with one step.

good luck.. and let us know....
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Old 09-28-2008, 04:49 PM   #7
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


The health effects of mold are greatly exaggerated, and the entire issue was brought to prominence by one case here in Austin in which a hyper-sensitive person had an unlucky chain of events turn a minor issue into a major problem.
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:20 PM   #8
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Bob View Post
White Elk,

I am from NE FL, we too have high humidity conditions. I have dealt successfully with many mold & mildew issues over many years while performing water event restorations for others.

You are wise to learn from others and read-up on the problem, but do not let the hype (fear generating propaganda) cause anxiety.

An old old FL saying (first coined, I'm sure by native Americans)
when your up to your "neck" in alligators....it is hard to remember your goal was to drain the swamp.

Any large project can appear overwhelming...until you break it down into manageable parts.

Isolate and work on one area at a time..think about cross contamination, but do not be overly fixated on this aspect.

Your low cost weapons are 10% solution of bleach ($.99) and pump sprayers.
Visit a local janitorial supply house... ask what they have for mold & mildew...go for the hospital grade (CONCENTRATED) disinfectant..non staining and kills other even nastier stuff ($ 25 RANGE).

As well advised in the posts above you can upgrade your weapons to Ozone generators and foggers. CFL O*zone lamps are available http://www.ozonelite.com/faq-TiO2-technology.shtml Shop for prices.

Check in near by larger cities for Companies the specialize in mold remediation. They may have older equipment to sell cheap &/ or, be willing to trade for your good ol hard labor.

Every journey starts with one step.

good luck.. and let us know....
One thing that is bunk is the ozone push on this forum. Not bashing this poster -- there've been many pushing O3. Follow his comments on bleach... much more effective.

Read this BEFORE you buy or use ozone 'solutions':

http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/ozonegen.html

Last edited by afterhours; 09-28-2008 at 11:23 PM.
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Old 09-29-2008, 12:59 AM   #9
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


Afterhours,

I don't feel bashed. I thank you for posting the precautionary info on Ozone.. I don't use Ozone for mold, but know others that swear by it.
I prefer hands on removal, cleaning, sealing,containment for cross contamination prevention, Hepa filters and vacuums.

I have used Ozone for (Fire Restoration) smoke odor removal for many years with great success. Proper precautions are taken and civilians never exposed. The only thing Ozone in the CF lamp is it's name. ( new tech from UNF).

3 micron Hepa filters work great during containment efforts, but the surface mold still needs to be eliminated.
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Old 09-29-2008, 06:37 AM   #10
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


We do water damage restoration (not fire) and as such have to be certified to use ozone generators where they are called for. Ozone is just one weapon in our arsenal and the units we use are the professional units capable of generating levels of ozone that can eliminate mould and stuffy air smells. And smoke. And dead body odours. And skunk...etc

These units can kill.

As a chemist, I have a healthy respect for ozone; I know what it can and cannot do from a chemical perspective. I also know what it is capable of professionally but still I only use our unit perhaps every other month, or about 7% of the odour situations we are involved in. The next one I am doing is in October, a 6-room upstairs apartment where the previous tenants harboured 17 cats and two dogs - none of which went 'outside' for months on end.

It was hard to breathe in there.

Tenant has left, all furniture removed, plants and upholstery thrown out. The place will be vacant for at least a week, while we use ozone to remove the smoke and animal urine smells.

So we don't use the type of consumer units that either do not generate ozone at all or are ionizers. We charge close to $1000 to clean units like the one I mentioned and therefore are able to equip ourselves with suitable equipment. We are not trained in fire damage restoration but I often rent out our unt to friends that do this type of work.

Thus we are not typically susceptible consumers looking for the latest 'gadget' or who are influenced by either by your EPA or WalMart or Consumers Digest-type of magazines, nor do we base our business and our reputation on late-night TV commericals from Oreck. And whereas the article the poster linked contains some accurate information, it's aim was towards the consumer of low-level machines that only take your money and glosses over the industrial use of ozoe by professionals. I quote:
"High concentrations of ozone in air, when people are not present, are sometimes used to help decontaminate an unoccupied space from certain chemical or biological contaminants or odors (e.g., fire restoration). However, little is known about the chemical by-products left behind by these processes (Dunston and Spivak, 1997). While high concentrations of ozone in air may sometimes be appropriate in these circumstances, conditions should be sufficiently controlled to insure that no person or pet becomes exposed. Ozone can adversely affect indoor plants, and damage materials such as rubber, electrical wire coatings, and fabrics and art work containing susceptible dyes and pigments (U.S. EPA, 1996a)."

So the link has little to do with this situation nor the recommendations of the people who advocate using ozone in certain situations, both of which should involve people who know what they're talking about.




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Old 09-29-2008, 08:07 AM   #11
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


Quote:
Originally Posted by ccarlisle View Post
Thus we are not typically susceptible consumers looking for the latest 'gadget' or who are influenced by either by your EPA or WalMart or Consumers Digest-type of magazines, nor do we base our business and our reputation on late-night TV commericals from Oreck. And whereas the article the poster linked contains some accurate information, it's aim was towards the consumer of low-level machines that only take your money and glosses over the industrial use of ozoe by professionals.So the link has little to do with this situation nor the recommendations of the people who advocate using ozone in certain situations, both of which should involve people who know what they're talking about. ]
Stand down, Carlisle. I'm also a Chemist. My post was short, not wanting to spend an hour typing one-handed while my baby slept in my arm.

The EPA link is intended to educate the lay public, to which this forum is mostly useful, about the BS that such products as the home 'ozone' generators or this light bulb peddle. That bulb cannot clear a room of mold. It should not be recommended as part of a solution here. The part of your post I quote indicates that you understand this, as well. TiO2 is also what makes Pensacola beaches so white -- it's not some magical compound as purported by the peddler. Reminds me of the old joke about DiHydrogen Monoxide -- dhmo is clearly a dangerous compound.

Just be sure to be explicit about how Ozone is used, and how it cannot be used, when you are talking about mold, or when someone posts a product here.

Last edited by afterhours; 09-29-2008 at 01:57 PM.
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Old 09-29-2008, 08:40 AM   #12
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


"One thing that is bunk is the ozone push on this forum"...

OK I'll 'stand down'...

Then, afterhours, as a chemist you ought to know all about the dangers of generalisations plus, if you had a baby in your arms, then you ought to know all about the proverb about throwing out the baby with the bathwater...

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Old 09-29-2008, 01:55 PM   #13
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


Quote:
Originally Posted by ccarlisle View Post
"One thing that is bunk is the ozone push on this forum"...

OK I'll 'stand down'...

Then, afterhours, as a chemist you ought to know all about the dangers of generalisations plus, if you had a baby in your arms, then you ought to know all about the proverb about throwing out the baby with the bathwater...

Nitpicking isn't going to get either of us very far. Generalizations are based on lowest-common-denominator behavior. One cannot assume anything here -- and the audience overall is not made up of degree-wielding chemists or mold abatement specialists. My post of that link was in direct response to the dopey light bulb. The OP and the poster of the bulb now have additional information that helps us all. The rest of this discussion is devolving into less-than-useful. You're right -- Ozone has its place in the hands of a professional. It is also quite hazardous if used incorrectly.

BTW, B.S., Biochem, Virginia Tech '86 and a decade of teaching in the Chemistry and Forest Products departments there. Where'd you go?

Last edited by afterhours; 09-29-2008 at 01:58 PM.
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Old 09-29-2008, 03:09 PM   #14
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


Well... with my unfocused post influenced by being physically fatigued, emotionally drained, and mentally used up; I took the wrong approach here. I should open new focused and specific posts for certain questions regarding remediation strategy, sourch elimination, and tools and devices used to combat it.


I am a worker who is able enough minded, physically armed, and relatively experienced enough to tackle my own remodeling and building challenges. And I have learned (and re-learned) that if you want something done right, then ya gotta do it yourself!!! However there is sooooo much knowledge I lack. And unfortunately much of what I've learned from employers are improper, cheesy, half-arsed methods used to make money not produce quality. So I search the net looking to fill in the blanks between doing it right vs just doing it to get it done. I want to invest time in fixes, not stop gate measures which potentially create further problems in short order!

Unfortunately I find the same paradigm here on the net as I do in real life.... And that is a variety of money making, half arsed, insincere words which create such thick muck to wade through, that it is difficult and time consuming to locate useful, realistic, and proper advice. Even the well intentioned helpers speaking from broad opinion rather than specialized experience, tend to hurt not help (I point at no posters with any of this, just making a point).

Add to all that... my thinking that I can trust no manufacturers claims until well proven... well, here I am needing to research as deep as I can into all the methods suggested. I'm time challenged already and all this muck just makes it worse! I find these methods debated all over the net. Oy!!!! I wish I could efficiently "cull the herd" and only invest time in those with an established history of specific experience. (once again I speak of no specific posters or posts, just sharing my thinking on all this)


Ozone light bulbs 'smell' to me like another marketing scheme. But I don't really know, just wondering and looking to learn more. Our house is full of ozone air filtering devices. I see no change. Moms bought rat and mice deterrents to chase the rodents away using 'eletrical currents' via a device plugged into sockets... I see no change (the dogs, Cat, and my feet and fists work far better for that!). etc etc etc Its like Kraft Foods labeling something 'Homestyle' or Quality Foods calling something 'Authentic Mexican'. They say what they say to sell units, not to properly describe functionality or reality. Bah! Sometimes unusual, yet real, solutions are pre-judged by me after being burned so often. Once bitten twice shy I am on all this. But I know that my ignorance and pre-judgement may lead to erroneous conclusions. So I struggle to find that balance between it all/


Anyway.... I might post some specific posts in the future to help me wade through all the muck. I first came here last year researching a topic, then I bookmarked and have returned because I see professionals taking time to share the wealth of their knowledge. I finally registered just to share an experience to a posters question. I have sooooo many questions for many projects I seek help with (kitchen remodeling, electrical wiring, HVAC in wet environments, and much more...). I appreciate everyones input and I apologize for opening this thread in the unfocused way I did.

Last edited by White Elk; 09-29-2008 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 09-29-2008, 03:33 PM   #15
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


As to the dangers of mold....

Mold/mildew does indeed present health concerns. Yet it is also true that the media, and our fellow citizens take it too far. It all depends on the species of mold, the circumstances of it (including volume), and the individuals exposed to it... and more.

In my situation my Father has emphysema. And as a child I was diagnosed with asthma and an allergy to molds. Asthma I out grew, it appears, for I work full-tilt boogey and do not suffer for it. My allergy has been minor and is something I live with like my sore back and aching joints. Its just a part of life I pay no mind to. I am no hypochondriac and see doctors only for severe laceration and broken bone. All other aches and ills are no concern to me that way... (hehe couldn't afford a doctor even if I wanted)...

...However, I feel my heavy lungs and my irritated eyes. I feel my clogged nose and I suffer minor headaches. I can see how these things appeared as the molds did. When exposure is light, the symptoms are light and are 'nothing but a thing'. Exposure is high now and my symptoms have increased. And I know that my suffering for it impacts my overall health. But even more it is obvious that it actually threatens my Fathers life, in even the short term!!!

Mold is something to take serious! Even those with no respiratory ailments or allergies suffer consequences of it. Some molds release spores containg toxins which harm human organs. But in the very least mold spores by the millions affect lung function. It might not be an immediate mortal threat, but it is something which will affect everyones health to varying degrees. Mold is something for everyone to take serious, regardless of how overplayed it has been in the media!!! Anything in excess is a problem. Even medicine in excess becomes a poison. And even a medicine meant to heal can kill when allergy or other unknown situation exists. Take mold serious. Google mold through the US gov's CDC and EPA; then research from there. Manage your situational priorities and strategies from all that.


Last edited by White Elk; 09-29-2008 at 04:50 PM.
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