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Mold remediation experts use vacuums and negative air machines with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, commercial mold inhibitors and barrier methods to control mold in a home or building. Other equipment includes personal protective equipment (PPE) such as respirators and protective clothing, gloves and trash bags. Professional mold remediation equipment is much more involved than the equipment in a do-it-yourself operation. Not only is mold destructive, it also is a known allergen and can make people very ill.
A common and important piece of mold remediation equipment, the HEPA vacuum works like a regular vacuum but with HEPA filters installed. These filters trap small particles and keep them from spreading. Most vacuums blow air out the back when they are in use. The filter keeps those particulates from leaving the vacuum in this manner. A canister-type vacuum reduces or eliminates the airstream, as do some commercial upright models.
Negative air machines establish negative air pressure in a room that is being treated with mold remediation equipment. A negative air machine does two things. First, it pulls air into the room so spores can't get out, like a reverse fan. Second, it uses HEPA filters to trap spores so that any air exhausted into the rest of the building won't contain them. It keeps the mold confined to the area of remediation.
Environmentally safe and approved mold inhibitors treat surfaces to prevent mold from returning. Bleach is not generally recommended because although it will kill the mold, it can burn skin and is not safe for use around children or pets. On a small area, it can be effective but does not work over the long term. Professionals should have safe inhibitors in their mold remediation equipment kits.
Barrier methods close off areas to the rest of the building. Plastic sheeting is commonly used to cover earth in a crawlspace, for example. It’s also used for containment by blocking off non-contaminated areas. If spores drift into these other areas, the problem will start all over again. Combined with negative air machines, plastic keeps further contamination at bay.
Anything that comes into contact with the mold should be bagged up and treated as contaminated because of spore transmission. Carpets and furniture usually must be cleaned by a professional. If this is not possible, it should be discarded. This also applies to stuffed toys, clothing, linens and other personal belongings stored in an affected area. The mold will more than likely ruin the items and render them unusable.
Respirators with P95 filters will keep mold spores from being inhaled into the lungs. Professionals use these along with other PPE items such as plastic coveralls, shoe covers and gloves in order to avoid spreading contaminants. Heavy-duty trash bags can contain pieces of drywall and other debris that is to be removed from the site.
Mold feeds on moisture. To avoid further remediation, one should find the source of the moisture that began the problem and eliminate it. Some ways that one can do that include using dehumidifiers, blowing dry air over the remnants of a spill and fixing leaks in the plumbing or the roof. In a small area, people can try to remove mold themselves. Anything larger than about 100 square feet (9.3 square meters) would require someone licensed with professional mold remediation equipment to do it properly.