What Are the Levels of Mold Damage?
You already know that mold shouldn’t be in your home, but unfortunately, it’s a common problem that a lot of homeowners in Charlotte deal with at some point during their home ownership.
If mold gets out of control in your home, it can obviously make you sick, but it can also damage your home to the extent that it is no longer structurally sound.
In some cases, it may be possible for a homeowner to remove mold themselves, but usually, it’s going to be necessary to call a professional to get rid of dangerous mold. Knowing the difference between different levels of mold will protect you and your family from too much exposure - and your home from major damage.
Let’s take a look at the various levels of mold damage found in homes.
5 Levels of Mold Damage
Depending on the extent of the mold in your home, you may be able to remove it yourself. Otherwise, you are going to need professional mold remediation, and probably some home repairs as well.
These levels are generally measured in square feet.
Level 1 Mold Damage
Less than 10 square feet
This amount of mold is usually the result of HVAC leaks and is typically found on baseboards, ceilings, and floors. It is generally the first sign of a home issue.
You may also see small amounts of mold on the walls in high-humidity areas or in your shower or tub.
Catching mold damage in this stage is very fortunate, as it can usually be removed with no lasting consequences.
Level 2 Mold Damage
10 to 30 square feet
If the contaminated area reaches 10 square feet or larger, it’s a sign that you have a big problems somewhere within your home. It could be an issue with the plumbing or your HVAC system. It may indicate a leak, but it could also be the result of poor ventilation.
Level 2 mold damage is usually fond on walls and ceilings. At this stage, you definitely want to have a mold specialist take a look at it so you’ll at least know what type of mold you are dealing with, and you’re strongly encouraged to have a home inspection as well, to see what the underlying cause of moisture is.
Level 3 Mold Damage
30 to 100 square feet
This amount of mold damage signifies a serious problem. It doesn’t occur overnight, so you will generally see the problem developing over time on wallboards and ceilings. In a basement or attic, this amount of mold could go unnoticed for quite a while.
Again, plumbing or ventilation may be the issue here. Either way, you need to take action immediately to protect your home and family. This will require mold remediation and extensive home repairs.
Start by getting an inspection from a professional to determine what kind of mold it is and, therefore, how dangerous it can potentially be.
Level 4 Mold Damage
Over 100 square feet
At this stage, it’s safe to assume that the mold has been completely ignored for a long time.
It isn’t uncommon to see this amount of mold in buildings and homes that have been closed up for a long time, or in areas that stay closed up and are rarely used, like basements and storm shelters.
Level 4 mold damage is very dangerous for your family and pets, and it can severely damage organic materials that hold your home together, such as wood and drywall.
You do not need to spend any more time in a home that has level 4 mold damage.
Level 5 Mold Damage
Mold in the HVAC system
This type of mold damage gets its own category because it is potentially disastrous.
When mold infiltrates your home’s HVAC system, it can blow mold spores all over your home, leading to a complete infestation. This includes building materials like insulation and wood trusses, as well as carpet and upholstery.
If mold is a recurring problem, you need to have your HVAC system inspected to rule out this problem. If mold is found, you will be instructed to turn the system off immediately. Your entire home and the system itself need to be cleaned and sanitized before you spend another night in the home.
Time for Mold Remediation?
Knowing these different levels of mold damage is the first step. The next is knowing when it’s time to call a mold removal service versus trying to remove the mold yourself.
Here’s a basic guideline.
LEVEL 1 - You can generally handle Level 1 mold damage yourself. Sometimes this is as simple as scrubbing the shower or a small section of baseboards.
LEVEL 2 - Level 2 mold damage is tricky. You may be able to remove less severe mold damage on your own, but in the higher end of the range, it’s probably safer to call a pro.
In either of these stages, mold is still very dangerous. Follow these procedures for the safest removal process:
If the mold is on glass, tile or metal, and some non-porous woods, simply wiping it away is usually enough. You may need a specialty mold removing product to loosen and kill mold spores first.
If the mold is on another type of surface such as drywall, you may need to scrub with a stiff brush first, then clean with a specially designed solution or spray with vinegar.
After cleaning the mold away, dry the surface well and ventilate the entire area so that it has a chance to dry completely. This will prevent future mold problems.
Even if there is little mold, take safety precautions like wearing gloves and mask. Throw away rags and brushes after you are finished.
And remember, you should never attempt any level of mold remediation if you have respiratory issues.
LEVEL 3 or above - Any amount of mold damage above Level 2 needs professional attention, especially Level 5. This is where Pure Air North Carolina can help!