Now that we have passed the fourth stage of reopening in New York State, businesses are opening their doors, schools are looking to get back in session, and commercial workspaces that once sat vacant are welcoming back their employees. As much of the concern is focused around the COVID-19 pandemic and attempting to establish face mask and social distancing safety protocols, employers may be overlooking another biological issue that the stagnant environment can cause – mold.
As leading mold remediation specialists in Albany, Philadelphia and Tampa, we explain what causes mold to grow in empty buildings, how to prevent it, and what to do if you find it.
Why Building Closures Can Lead to Mold
When buildings are closed for several months with little airflow throughout the summer, the conditions become favorable for mold to thrive. In fact, structures that have been closed and were not properly prepared for extended closure periods, can provide the perfect humidity, temperature and air quality levels for mold to grow.
Structural mold is silent but can grow and cause enough damage to structures, ultimately causing buildings to remain closed longer than expected. Mold can also have harmful effects on the air quality and health of the individuals breathing in that air.
How to Prevent Mold Growth During an Extended Closure
Many buildings were closed abruptly in March, eliminating the opportunity to perform proper procedures for building closure. Ideally, in closing a building, the following measures should be taken to properly secure and close a building for extended periods of time:
- Complete cleaning of the structure, focusing on areas where dust settles, such as door jambs, chair rails and baseboards.
- Removal of all food, including trash and other garbage that can cause odor or other issues after being present for months at a time.
- Removal of any standing water, such as is in sinks.
- Provision of fresh air into the building by a designated employee.
- Opening of window blinds to allow ultraviolet light into the building for destruction of mold growth, as it is a natural destroyer of mold.
- Maintenance of humidity levels under 60% to reduce the chance of mold growth.
How to Determine if You have a Mold Problem
When inspecting the structure’s overall integrity, it is important to look for visible mold growth, water stains or discoloration on exterior or interior walls, and “keep a nose out” for musty odors. Mold can begin colonizing within 24 hours, feeding off moisture and organic matter found inside most buildings, ultimately causing damage to the building’s structure.
How to Remove Mold
Fortunately, if you find mold growth, MacFawn Fire & Flood Restoration can help. There is no building too big or too small that we can’t handle. With over 30 years of experience in mold remediation in Albany, Philadelphia and Tampa, MacFawn Restoration has the licensing, equipment and expertise to properly remediate and remove mold from your business or home. MacFawn’s team of professionals will work with you every step of the way to meet your unique needs.