I think I have mold – should I hire a professional?

As  mold contamination continues to be a major news topic, people continue to have greater or heightened awareness of mold related issues and potential health risks.  Along these lines, many people wonder if they can test for and/or remediate mold in their homes on their own, or when it is best to call in a professional mold inspector or remediator to address the potential mold problem.  One question that can be surprisingly difficult is:  Do I have a mold problem…and is is airborne?  Only professional testing with necessary equipment can answer this question.  Home test kits available in hardware stores and big box stores simply do not quantify or qualify mold levels in the property.

Generally mold in a home can be remediated by a homeowner (using appropriate safety measures) if the area impacted is less than 10 square feet.  Additional considerations can be found on the EPA website ( that can assist homeowners in determining if they would like to do the work themselves.  For larger concerns, in difficult areas, or in the event that you are very sensitive to working around mold and microbial growth – hiring a qualified mold professional, like Montana Basement Solutions, is often the best option.

Should I test for mold before and after work is done?

Montana Basement Solutions is a company with some of the most respected protocols in the industry.  As such, we strongly recommend proper mold testing be performed prior to hiring a mold remediation company so that you, the property owner, know exactly what types of mold are present – and at what levels.  After a remediation is complete, testing for mold can verify that the remediator did their job properly.  This is certainly important to do if you or any occupants or your home or business are sensitive to these types of substances.  Our company protocols mandate baseline testing of air outside the structure to give you a relative sample of natural mold levels that day in your area.  Companies who fail to test beforehand may not understand the extent of the airborne contamination prior to remediation performance, while those who do not test afterwords can not accurately claim the job is done as planned.

Bottom line is that MBS tests before and after all work performed to ensure our clients understand the situation prior to our work, as well as are given piece of mind that the job was done correctly and completely.  While MBS does offer in-house testing services (with 3rd party national lab assessment), we also work with 3rd party testing services if preferred by our customers.

Can I kill mold with Bleach?

Bleach can be used to kill mold, and it is specifically mentioned in numerous “do it yourself” guides as acceptable.  Montana Basement Solutions does not recommend the use of household bleach to remediate mold in most cases…and here is why:

It is important to know  that bleach is only effective in removing/killing molds on non-porous surfaces, such as tile, linoleum, bathtubs/showers, etc.  When treating porous surfaces, such as drywall or untreated woods, bleach is not effective long term.  Chlorine based bleaches can not penetrate into the porous substances to kill or remove the “roots” or hyphae of molds.  As the bleach is often diluted with water (for safety reasons) – the remaining water can actually “feed” the re-growth of mold on these surfaces later.  It is not at all uncommon to hear from clients that they have repeatedly treated mold with this solution, only to fail and eventually call us to fix the issue.

If you contact a mold remediation company or contractor that offers to “remediate” or kill mold in your home with bleach – run, don’t walk, the other way.  More than likely they are neither experienced or properly trained to perform the service effectively or safely.

Lastly, bleach can be dangerous if not handled properly.  If you intend to attempt cleaning mold with bleach make sure to read all warnings on the labels, and never mix bleach with ammonia.  Mixing these two substances can produce chlorine gases that can cause serious injury or death.

How do I avoid mold growth in my home?

  • Repair plumbing leaks and leaks in the building envelope as soon as possible – and immediately dry the area.
  • Watch for wet spots from condensation lines and repair the source of the moisture problem as soon as possible.
  • Keep heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) flowing properly, drip pans clean, and unobstructed.
  • Moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers, need to be vented outdoors.
  • Maintain low indoor humidity, ideally 30-50% (RH).
  • Schedule regular building/HVAC inspections and maintenance.
  • Address chronic or acute water in basements and crawlspaces properly with a qualified contractor such as MBS.
  • Dry out and clean wet or damp spots within 48 hours.

Is mold really dangerous to people?

Experts debate the real and perceived impacts of mold on humans routinely.  Both camps can point to studies that bolster their opinions – but the general consensus is that large mold infestations in confined living spaces is not considered a healthy environment.  Many health professionals suggest that certain segments of the population are more susceptible to the effects of molds.  These often include the very young and the elderly, as well as those with compromised immune systems and respiratory concerns.

If you have concerns regarding potential mold related illnesses, contact you healthcare professional.  In the meantime, if you are looking to identify and quantify potential mold contamination in your home or business, please call us to schedule an onsite evaluation and mold test.  Your family’s health and safety should be of primary concern.  Knowledge is power!