If you live in Florida, there will always be mold in your home. The presence of mold in the air is normal. However, homeowners should avoid conditions which allow mold to grow and multiply indoors. If this happens, the risk of potential health problems increase and building materials, furniture and other household goods may be damaged.
The key to avoiding mold is water or moisture. Without water, mold does not grow, multiply or spread. In Florida, all it takes is for water to stand for 24 hours for mold to take hold. Preventing any type of water intrusion or excessive moisture is key. Given Florida’s tropical weather, this is sometimes not possible. All indoor mold should be removed as soon as possible. Who should do the cleanup of the mold depends on various factors. Among them, the size of the mold problems, the location of the mold and the amount of damage caused.
If the areas affected by mold is less than 10 square feet (roughly 3 feet by 3 feet), you may be able to handle the job yourself. However, when dealing with extensive water damage and mold growth, the best advice is to engage the services of a mold assessor and/or a mold remediator. In Florida, these professionals have to be licensed. Senate Bill 2234 (227), which became effective on July 1, 2010, provides for licensure and regulation of mold assessors and remediators.
“Mold Assessment” is the process performed by a mold assessor that includes the physical sampling and detailed evaluation of data obtained from a building history and inspection to formulate an initial hypothesis about the origin, identity, location and extent of amplification of mold growth of greater than 10 square feet. “Mold Remediation” is defined to mean the removal, cleaning, sanitizing, demolition or other treatment including preventive activities of mold or mold contaminated matter of greater than 10 square feet that was not properly grown at that location.
Among other things, the law requires mold assessment or remediation professionals to possess at least a two year degree in microbiology, engineering, architecture, industrial hygiene, occupational safety, or a related field. The education must be obtained from an accredited institution. Mold assessors and remediators must carry general liability and errors and omissions insurance coverage in the amount of not less than one million dollars. The law also requires that all contracts for mold assessment or remediation services to be in writing (which includes electronic versions) and the contracts must be signed, or otherwise authenticated by the parties, in order to be valid.
There are several exemptions in the law regarding the requirement of licensure for mold remediators and assessors. These include:
- A residential property owner who performs mold assessment/remediation on his or her own property.
- A person who performs mold assessment/remediation on property owned or leased by that person, the person’s employer or an affiliate of the employer, as long as the person are not engaging in the business of performing mold assessment for the public.
- A full time employee engaged in routine maintenance of public and private buildings who does not otherwise hold himself/herself out for hire.
- Division I and Division II Contractors licensed under Chapter 489 of the Florida Statutes.
Given the expertise required to deal with mold and the benefits of dealing with a licensed professional, homeowners should not attempt remediating mold in their homes or property when the affected area and damage is substantial and should always seek the services of a licensed mold remediator.