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Serving Maine Homeowners & Businesses Since 1980

What is mold? Do you have mold in your home?

Molds are simple microscopic organisms found everywhere, and generally not dangerous to humans. In many respects mold is a good thing. Without yeast, a mold, there would be no bread, nor beer. Imagine a world without mushrooms or cheese.

On the other side of the spectrum, mold will do little more than aggravate common allergies, hay fever, asthma, and yellow toe nails, but some mold spores, those that produce mycotoxins are harmful to humans.

Mold requires three elements for growth: warm air, a food source (remember it will eat almost anything), and most critical to mold development, moisture. Moisture results from flooding, plumbing leaks, condensation from a variety of sources, plugged up rain gutters, and unvented washers and dryers. Unfortunately, it can also be the end result from the fire department just trying to save someone’s home.

When your home has been subjected to years' of slow growing mold, or devasted from a fire and subsequent efforts to put out the fire, you have a dangerous problem.

Keith Trembley's division of Paul Davis Restoration and Remodeling can remove the mold, restore your furnishings and personal possessions. Our state-of-the-art cleaning facility is dedicated to returning your life to normal.

Mold causes and detection

There is ALWAYS an underlying moisture problem when mold is present. Typically the moisture is due to man made causes like leaky pipes, broken hot water heaters, condensation, malfunctioning rain spouts, or windows left open during a rain storm. As witnessed in hurricane Katrina, there are natural causes as well, including structure damage due to wind, tornadoes and hurricanes, and floods. It is virtually impossible to keep mold spores from our living environment, but without moisture and darkness, these spores alone won’t create a mold problem. The living organism, like mycelia for mushrooms, must be present. A spore source, usually airborne, or those carried on hosts such as family pets, arrive in our homes daily, but lack the moisture, warmth, and conducive lighting conditions they don’t take hold. Think about an itchy case of athlete’s foot. It lives in a warm, moist, dark area between its victim’s toes.

Mold spores, the ones that ruin houses and health, require near to total darkness to take hold and multiply. They have difficulty surviving in bright light. One of the first ways mold is detected, beside a musty smell, is when a light source is introduced to a dark place such as poorly lit corners of basements, closets, and in the backs of bathroom and kitchen cupboards.

Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any organic substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed. It is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. However, mold growth can be controlled indoors by controlling moisture indoors.

Molds reproduce by making spores that usually cannot be seen without magnification. Mold spores waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. Molds gradually destroy the things they grow on.

Many types of molds exist. All molds have the potential to cause health effects. Molds can produce allergens that can trigger allergic reactions or even asthma attacks in people allergic to mold. Others are known to produce potent toxins and/or irritants. Potential health concerns are an important reason to prevent mold growth and to remediate/clean up any existing indoor mold growth.

Testing for the presence of mold is not normally required. Its presence is usually all too obvious from the odor that the decaying dead organisms create and through a visual inspection. Homeowners can request a third party inspection by a qualified industrial hygienist. Keith Trembley Builders does not provide this service.

Why choose Keith Trembley for mold remediation

The work of mold remediation requires explicit knowledge, complicated sets of predetermined steps and procedures. To simply know these by rote still isn’t enough. There are months of rigorous course work and practicum to gain the certifications. This is why Randy Nason leads our mold remediation team. Randy has the knowledge, the certifications, and the experience to tackle any mold situation a Maine homeowner is likely to encounter. He is certified by the IICRC for:

  • General Carpet, Upholstery & Fabric Cleaning
  • Journeyman Textile Cleaner
  • Journeyman Water Restorer
  • Journeyman Fire & Smoke Restorer
  • Water Damage Restoration
  • Odor Control
  • CPT Repair & Reinstallation
  • Fire & Smoke Restoration
  • Master Fire & Smoke Restorer
  • Health & Safety Technician
  • Applied Structural Drying
  • Applied Microbial Remediation Technician
  • Master Water Restorer

Memberships

  • IICRC : The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) has served as the Industry Guardian for the cleaning, inspection and restoration service industries for more than 30 years. As a non-profit certification organization, the IICRC helps ensure that homeowners have access to trusted and trained cleaning professionals by establishing and monitoring certification programs and standards for these industries.
  • To qualify for IICRC-Certified Firm status businesses must demonstrate proof of insurance, maintain a written customer complaint policy with documented follow-up and provide ongoing education and training leading to certification for all technicians. IICRC Certified Firms are also required to abide by the IICRC Code of Ethics. Services provided by IICRC–Certified professionals range from flooring inspection and cleaning to mold remediation to water and fire damage restoration. 
  • NARI:
  • NAHB

Health issues associated with mold in homes in Maine

Headlines such as these are showing up in newspapers nation-wide:

A 300% increase in the asthma rate over the past 20 years has been linked to molds : 1999 USA Today

According to a 1999 Mayo Clinic Study, nearly all chronic sinus infections (afflicting 37 million Americans) are a result of molds

Depending on the type and quantity present, molds cause a wide array of adverse responses in humans. Dose and human response can be highly individualistic. The sensitivity of the person exposed is also an important consideration. Infants and young children, the immune-compromised, and the elderly are at an increased risk of adverse health effects from mold exposure.

Mold exposure happens in many ways including dermal contact, ingestion, and inhalation. Health risks associated with mold exposure include, but are not limited to: allergic reactions, irritation associated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), invasive disease, mycotoxicosis.

Allergy

Allergic reactions occur when a mold that is not harmful itself causes an immune response in those susceptible. The most common symptoms range from runny noses, itchy-watery eyes, coughing, sneezing, and throat irritation to more severe symptoms caused by chronic conditions such as sinusitis and especially asthma sufferers.

Irritation

Fungi produce Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) during the process of ingesting substances for nutrition. VOCs are the cause of the typical “moldy/musty” odors associated with contamination indoors. High level exposure to VOCs can irritate the mucous membranes and the central nervous system leading to headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath, decreased attention span, difficulty in concentration, and dizziness and nausea.

Invasive Disease

Though uncommon, infection caused by exposure to microorganisms that don’t normally produce disease in healthy individuals, may affects those persons with abnormally functioning immune systems such as those with HIV/AIDS or those receiving immunosuppressive subsequent to an organ transplant or chemotherapy.

What to do first to combat mold

We only want the best outcome for your mold problem. It truly is a race against time. The longer mold spores have to occupy and reproduce in a home, the more damage done, and the harder the problem is to eradicate.

Many homeowners will first try to solve the problem themselves only to find they are ill equipped for the chore, and lack the knowledge and training required for a successful remediation effort. Most homeowners don’t understand the need for containment and the right chemicals. The fumes produced during an ill advised homeowner remediation can be as unhealthy as the mold problem they are attempting to remedy.

The following set of steps is provided in a specific order. If you follow them in this order, you will minimize the effects of the disaster. There is a specific reason for each step and a reason for the order in which they are executed. Again, we only want the best outcome for your mold problem.

  • Call us: 888.869.9395 
  • Control underlying moisture problem 
  • Disconnect (SAFELY) all power to the affected area. 
  • Turn on your air conditioning 
  • Establish a triage area away from contamination, but where cross contamination will be controlled >
  • Remove valuables from affected area (let us know where they are so we can clean them thoroughly to reduce risk of re-contamination)
  • Remove books and other printed items to a triage area for later determination 
  • Remove rugs (leave the carpets to us) to triage area 
  • Punch holes in ceiling tiles and drain into plastic containers 
  • Remove clothing and other fabrics to triage area 
  • Remove as much water as possible by mopping and blotting (do not try to use a household vacuum) 
  • Remove furniture to triage area 
  • Call your insurance agent

Mold removal procedure in homes in Maine

Because we are a certified Paul Davis Restoration company we will:

Return your emergency call within 30 minutes, 24/7/365
In an emergency we will be onsite within two to four hours
Site Evaluation
Discuss with you our remediation goals
Photograph your loss

Always – Safety First – Always!

Homeowner & Pets
Abatement Crew
Personal Protection
Containment Control

Step 1 - Select personal protective equipment

Respirator

Full-face HEPA
Filter down to 0.3 microns
Protective clothing

Disposable or washable
Eye Protection (if less than full-face)
Gloves (impervious to chemicals and sharp objects

Step 2 - Contain Work Area, limit access

Contain around areas of visible and suspected mold growth
Air-tight
Decontamination Isolate air-handling system
Shut down HVAC
Seal supply and return grills
Establish critical barriers w/ double layer polyethylene and duct tape
Establish negative air pressure
HEPA-filtered ventilation equipment

Step 3 - Prepare area to minimize mold disturbance

Remove accessible surface growth w/ HEPA vacuum

Step 4 - Perform Remediation Activities

Removal all carpeting and furnishings with visible mold or exposure to moisture longer than 48 hours
Remove porous materials (i.e., drywall, pressboard cabinets, structural elements that cannot be brought to suitable condition)
Thoroughly clean all non-porous materials (i. e. tile metal, porcelain, finished wood, hard plastics, concrete.

Step 5 - Clean as needed

HEPA vacuum, shampoo, or steam-clean fabric furniture, carpeting
Air scrub containment area.

Step 6 - Final cleaning and drying of non-porous surfaces

Step 7 - Facilitate complete drying of all materials

Use dehumidifiers, fans, heat lamps, and ventilate with dry air
Complete drying may take days or weeks

Step 8 - Perform post-remediation and document work performed

Step 9 - Deconstruct containment and remove air-handling equipment

Step 10 - Reconstruct and replace materials

mold is dangerous

Economics of mold

There are benefits to mold, such as yeast, cheese, beer, etc. But when it comes to a home, mold is dangerous.

• Asthma associated with mold in Children cost US $23 Billion (Developing Policies to Improve Indoor Environmental Quality, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, 2006)

• Mold Claims Hit $4 Billion in Texas (Insurance Journal, 2003)

• Reduced Nutrient Values and Palpability in Animal feed (North Carolina University)

• Fungus attacks a wide range of hosts and has a worldwide distribution on numerous field crops and vegetables (Greenhouse and Processing Crops Research Centre, Harrow, Ontario, Canada, 1997)

Keith Trembley serves Central Maine homeowners for all mold remediation. Mold can result in serious medical issues including allergies and sinsus infeactions. Flooding, plumbing leaks, and condensation are leading contributors mold growth.