The Mold Solutions team was sent to a Cape May home. The home was originally built with a crawl space, but at some point, the homeowner had converted the crawl space into a livable basement. Crawl space conversions to basements are a significant construction project that involves heavy equipment to excavate the soil under the home, and construct new footings and foundation walls. While this was an impressive home renovation project, both crawl spaces and basements have something important in common: both of these subterranean areas are prone to mold growth because of high indoor relative humidity levels, much more than in the homes living spaces that are air-conditioned when we deal with our hot, humid weather here in New Jersey. In addition to humidity problems, mold can surface in basement and crawlspaces because of flooding or groundwater intrusion through the smallest cracks in a home’s foundation as well as leaky pipes. With this particular residence, the water culprit was a water pipe leak. As long as there is water or moisture, mold will grow. Mold will consume any organic material, even processed wood, by releasing dissolving enzymes. When doing so, many mold strains release gases whose pungent “musky” smell we associate with mold.
Even though this was a finished basement, the homeowners were elderly and had limited mobility. They stopped venturing down into the basement, so this water pipe leak probably went on for a month or two before the couple noticed the mold problem. Mold spores from mold growing in a basement or crawl space travel on air currents to the living spaces of the home and reattach there.
When these microscopic spores are circulating in the air, we breathe them in. Many people can develop severe respiratory problems from living in these contaminated air spaces, especially the young, the elderly, and those who already have respiratory issues or compromised immune systems.
One important lesson from this job is that if you know someone or a couple who are elderly and living alone, a friend or family member should periodically check the residence for possible insect or mold problems. The sad reality is that because of diminished eyesight, mobility, and even mental capacity, the elderly often do not notice these problems in their early stages, and it is only after things get really bad that they take notice. With mold, what could have been a smaller, localized problem turns into an extensive mold removal project along with accompanying property damage.
With this Cape May home, because of the delay in treating the mold and underlying water problem, the basement paneling was ruined. We had no choice but to do a full-tear out of these materials. The beauty of the Mold Exterm system is that we often avoid removal of building materials. As long as there is no loss of structural integrity and the paneling or drywall or other materials simply has mold growth, we treat the mold right where it sits, rendering it harmless and nonallergenic. However, like here, once the materials are physically damaged because of water saturation, they have to go.
With this home, after tearing out the water-destroyed paneling, we first treated the beams and all of the affected areas by applying our EPA-registered anti-microbial (MM1) using electrostatic fogging, which kills any surface mold as well as any airborne mold spores. We then applied our patented polymer sealant (MM2), also using electrostatic fogging. This unique sealant is available only to authorized pest control operators licensed to apply chemical products inside structures. While completely safe and non-toxic to people, this sealant destroys mold at the cellular level. Any mold we treat is rendered inert, harmless, and non-allergenic. The sealant is also moisture-sensitive and reactivates to prevent the return of any new mold growth in the treated areas. In order words, the sealant not only kills today’s mold growth; it stops tomorrow’s growth as well
The homeowners were pleased that the mold problem was resolved in less than a day and the water pipe leak was fixed. Although the paneling had to be removed, all of the other building materials could be saved and there was no need for any major reconstruction. The Mold Solutions team drove back From Cape May to Monmouth County pleased that we could help out this nice elderly couple and fix their dangerous mold problem.
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