Nine Strategies for Avoiding a Mold Infestation and Mold Remediation at Keller, TX, Businesses
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth outlines nine tips for preventing mold infestations at businesses.
SERVPRO® of Northeast Fort Worth offers a mold prevention guide for commercial facilities seeking to avoid mold infestation and mold remediation. Mold in a retail space, restaurant, professional office, service center, or other workspace affects employees, patrons, and patients. Ultimately, business operations, customer experience, revenue, and profitability suffer if the mold problem is not quickly resolved.
The mold prevention guide outlined below targets mold growth in a retail space, office building, manufacturing plant, or other commercial facilities.
#1. Repair plumbing leaks immediately.
These leaks may occur in the following locations: faucets, inline valves, supply line connections, drains, toilets, and fire sprinkler heads. Leaks in the building envelope include leaks around windows, doors, roof penetrations for vents, skylights, waste removal, and ingress/egress hatches. Roof punctures from broken tree limbs, hail, or collapsed supports or equipment should be repaired with no delay except for danger from severe weather.
#2. Pay attention to new developments such as condensation and wet spots.
By the time condensation and moisture are visible on ceiling tiles, walls, or the floor, the problem is well advanced. Remove standing water and dry the area with a fan or dehumidifier within 24 hours. If the water damage cleanup is extensive, high-capacity wet-dry vacuums, rapid-spin fans, and heavy-duty dehumidifiers will be needed to remove the excess water and dry out the moisture-laden environment. Without adequate equipment, special techniques, and moisture-detecting technology to verify the moisture is below acceptable levels, a mold issue of mammoth proportions could result. A bucket and mop are sufficient to remove small amounts of water from the floor’s surface, but water that has seeped under the flooring must also be removed. The removal of water and moisture from carpeting is beyond the scope of most janitorial services. If carpeting, including padding, is insufficiently dried, sanitized, and disinfected, mold will gain a significant foothold in as little as 24 to 48 hours. The stale, moldy smell can potentially make the facility unsuitable for business operations.
#3. Take steps to prevent condensation.
- Increase surface temperatures on walls, ceilings, floors, desks, and equipment.
- Reduce moisture levels (humidity) in the air with a dehumidifier.
- Repair any leaks to directly reduce humidity in the facility. Increase airflow if the outside air is cold and dry.
- Install new or additional insulation to reduce condensation on cold surfaces. Under floors, in the attic, and on pipes are good starting points. A storm window installed on the inside is very efficient.
- Maintain indoor humidity at or below 50 percent relative humidity.
#4. Keep the HVAC system in top operating condition all year round.
- Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedules.
- Make sure the HVAC drip pans are free of dirt and grime and are properly evacuating the water. Check the external pipe for damage or blockages.
- Routinely replace HVAC filters and ensure the filters are seated properly.
#5. Provide exterior venting for moisture-producing equipment.
Dryers and other moisture-generating appliances should be vented outside and not into the attic or crawl space. Schedule inspection and maintenance to keep the exhaust tubing clean and unobstructed.
#6. Identify, assess, and resolve foundation and crawl space moisture issues.
The ground should slope away from the foundation at one inch per foot for at least six to ten feet. This degree of grade should be able to accommodate a severe downpour, directing the water sufficiently far enough away from the foundation to prevent seepage into a crawl space or service basement. Downspouts should extend several feet beyond the foundation and evacuate into an area that allows the water to drain freely. In extreme conditions, ponding may occur if drainage avenues (conduits, drain fields, dry creek beds) are overwhelmed.
Install a sump pump system in the basement or crawl space to remove excess water. Take more aggressive measures if this action fails to resolve the problem. Seek professional advice early in the process. Install a moisture barrier in the crawl space. Efforts to reduce humidity in the facility using a dehumidifier or increased ventilation may not prove successful if the moisture problem is not stopped at the source.
#7. Take steps to promote groundwater drainage away from the perimeter of the building.
An onsite consult with a competent certified landscape architect skilled and experienced in grading issues can prove invaluable, saving a business the cost of the consult a hundred times over by avoiding unnecessary grading expenses. Take simple steps such as clearing vegetation away from the foundation, rain gutters, and drain fields. Exposure to sunlight and wind will help a building’s exterior dry out after precipitation.
#8. Include a vapor barrier between the floor covering and a concrete floor.
When installing new carpet or other floor covering over concrete, install a vapor barrier (plastic sheeting) between the concrete and the flooring product. Carpet and padding will wick moisture from the concrete, and mold can thrive in moist carpeting and under laminate flooring.
#9. Avoid installing carpet in areas or around appliances with a high probability of water release.
- drinking fountains
- breakrooms, especially if the locations have a sink, refrigerator, ice machine, or dishwasher
- service sinks
- laundry rooms
- concrete floors with perpetual leaks or frequent condensation
When a property damage disaster such as a roof leak, burst pipe, or fire sprinkler malfunction occurs, take action to repair the leak, clean up the water, and restore any damage to the structure. A delay of a day or two can result in a major mold infestation and other advanced secondary damage. The damage restoration and cleaning specialists at SERVPRO® of Northeast Fort Worth provide a rapid response so that the disruption to business operations is minimal.