Do you own a building that experienced a prolonged shutdown? Then it is time to think about mold growth. Here’s a few tips to make sure your building is mold free before and after you open up.
After over a year of work-from-home, shutdowns and other measures, many people are starting to head back to buildings that have been largely abandoned for some months. Coming back, they are finding that these buildings didn’t simply stop. In some cases, much more than a thin layer of dust has gathered over the spaces inside. In fact, many have major issues that need to be addressed, chief among them being mold growth.
Since mold growth is such a problem, it’s important to know what to do before it spirals out of control. If you have a property that has been in a prolonged shutdown, here is why you need to address mold growth right away, and four tips to ensure the problem gets dealt with properly and never returns.
Why Mold Growth Matters
When we think of mold, it can often come with a visceral reminder of a smell associated with rotten food or that distinct musky odor. Unfortunately, much of the mold growth that we are seeing in buildings that have been shut down for long periods of time don’t actually have mold that you can smell. It can be mold growing silently, without a trace, in hidden corners, behind walls, in the HVAC system and more.
This mold growth is a problem for more than just a potential smell. It can also be harmful to people inhaling the spores it spreads throughout the building. Especially in office buildings and other spaces where people can spend a lot of time, mold growth can lead to health issues. For property owners, that can mean possible culpability and legal exposure if someone gets sick, among myriad other issues.
Cost is another major concern regarding mold growth in buildings. Like many things, mold growth is something that is more affordable to deal with early on, and then gets very expensive as it grows out of control. Instead of waiting until the problem is too big for your wallet, it is always better to address the problem early. Then, you will need a preventative maintenance plan in place to ensure the problem never gets out of control in the future.
If your building has mold, it is your duty as a property owner to address those issues, and it is prudent to address them as early as possible. Here are just a few ways in which you can limit mold growth and get rid of existing mold during and after a prolonged shutdown.
1. Get a Risk Assessment and Inspection
The first thing you need to do to address old growth in your building or property is to know what you’re dealing with. For that, you will need the help of experienced and professional companies that specialize in mold removal and remediation services.
Mold remediation experts understand mold, where it grows, how it spreads, and what needs to be done to eliminate it and stop further issues. If your building has experienced prolonged shutdowns, then you will need to hire mold remediation experts for an inspection, ideally before you open.
2. Head into the Plumbing
Mold loves wet and humid spots, which is why it thrives in and around plumbing. One of the first places mold will start to get out of control is near a leaky pipe, which will give it the very humid atmosphere it needs to grow, and then provide a viable place to spread throughout a building.
One of the first steps to limiting mold growth is getting a plumbing inspection to ensure it is airtight. That way, the water won’t lead to mold growth and your property will be able to better limit further mold-related issues.
3. Reassess Your HVAC System
Your HVAC system is the invisible and unsung hero of your building. We often never think about it, but it keeps our buildings well ventilated and at a comfortable temperature. But because it does most of its work behind the walls, in the ceiling and under the floors, we often forget about it. This can be a major problem for many reasons, including potential mold growth.
Mold loves our HVAC systems, especially when the systems haven’t been cleaned or inspected in some time. This is one of the first places a mold expert will head when performing an inspection because it is one of the fastest ways for mold to spread. If you fear mold, then you will likely need your HVAC system cleaned out. This will not only flush out any potential mold, it can also clear out dust and other allergens that can make your property uncomfortable for many of its occupants.
Regular cleaning, however, may not be enough. More and more property owners are realizing that they need an entire overhaul to offer better ventilation and make their spaces safer for people. If your HVAC system doesn’t meet new recommended ventilation standards, then it may be time to do more than just cleaning. When the new system is installed, however, make sure that you contact professionals for regular cleanings.
4. Make a Preventative Maintenance Plan
If you followed the first tip and got an expert in for a mold inspection, then you are likely well on your way to developing a preventative maintenance plan. This is a strategy that makes sure your building doesn’t develop mold in the future. Since small problems are much cheaper and easier to deal with than big ones, this part is key for ensuring your property is safe and efficient moving forward.
Since the end of lockdowns, many people and property owners have been realizing that their buildings have issued stemming from a prolonged shutdown. If you own a building that has been shut for a long time or is still in lockdown, then you will need to think about potential mold growth. Remember, it’s always cheaper and better to get rid of mold earlier rather than later. If you own a building or property that has potential mold growth, contact the professionals right away. Then, develop a maintenance plan to ensure the mold growth never comes back. This is the best way to ensure your buildings are clean, safe, and welcoming.
Alliance Environmental offers a professional mold remediation service that will provide the necessary abatement for your property. Contact Alliance Environmental Group for a Quote