Should I Stay Home During Mold Remediation Work?

stay home during mold remediation

As with most things, this is usually possible but by no means always practical or safe. If you are contemplating whether you should stay home during mold remediation work or leave, here are 6 important factors to consider first.

 

1. What areas or systems are affected?

If the kitchen or the (only) bathroom are affected, it will be difficult to remain in full occupancy. Is there is an alternative bathroom that can be used, and/or are you willing to put up with a temporary “kitchen” consisting of perhaps only a refrigerator, hotplate and microwave? Even though it may be possible, it could pose some real inconveniences.

If the HVAC system requires remediation, it must be shut down while that work is being performed. Temperatures may become excessive, especially in the summer, for comfortable living. The possible need for supplemental dehumidification may also increase temperature and noise.

 

2. How extensive is the remediation work?

remediation containment in home

This point can certainly make or break the decision to stay home during the mold remediation process. A small project may be completed quickly with minimal disruption, while a larger project may go on for weeks and the disruption of moving out temporarily may be less than the disruption and inconvenience of living around the work in progress.

A “fully-involved structure,” in which all areas are affected, often requires a full or partial packout of contents, as well as other procedures that make continued occupancy unreasonable. There is a spectrum here, with a limited area of one room on one end and the “fully-involved structure” on the other. At some point along that spectrum, staying in your home becomes impractical.

 

3. How much does noise bother you?

remediation equipment in homeThe containment requirements of remediation often require constant operation of negative air machines and sometimes dehumidifiers and other equipment. These create considerable noise, which bothers some people more than others and if in proximity to bedrooms can disrupt sleep. Turning off these machines at night may be possible; however, this is not an appropriate option in all circumstances. Consult with your restoration contractor before turning machines off.

 

4. How sensitive to mold exposure are you?

Another concern for homeowners is whether it is safe to stay home during the restoration work. When remediation activities are taking place, concentrations of mold inside the contained areas will reach intermittent peaks much higher than concentrations prior to start of work. While the whole purpose of containment is to prevent these concentrations from affecting areas or people outside containment, there is the possibility that containment efforts will fail and there will be an accidental release into adjacent areas. To be on the safe side, people who are highly mold-sensitive should consider alternative housing while remediation is in progress.

 

5. Temperature comfort concerns

rising temperature during remediation

Due to the amount of equipment in use, temperatures both inside and outside containment may climb to uncomfortable levels, especially if the HVAC system requires restoration, as discussed above. Even if the system itself is unaffected, it may need to be shut off during phases of remediation for a variety of reasons, causing temperatures to become excessive.

 

 

6. Reconstruction issues

During remediation, dust in the occupied areas should be well-controlled by the containment. However, during reconstruction dust, noise and disruption of family life may be more of an issue, since containment may require modifications and/or removal. Many people find these potentially disruptive conditions unacceptable.

 

Summary

As discussed, deciding to stay home during mold remediation depends on many factors. Thereby, it may not always be practical to remain in a structure undergoing remediation. The larger and more contaminated the affected area(s), the less practical it becomes. In “fully-involved” remediation projects, it is not a good idea to stay. On larger projects, working around occupants means the project will probably take longer and increase costs.

All things being equal, a larger project will run more smoothly if the occupants are not present. However, there are many other factors, notably financial considerations, that rightly influence the decision.

Feel free to contact IET if we might be able to answer your questions.

3 comments

  1. Millie Hue says:

    We plan to hire a remediation expert because my husband noticed that there are molds in our basement. Maybe it was due to the water pipe that burst before. We know that it can be dangerous for my family’s health, so it’s a must to get it resolved as soon as possible. I am quite unsure if it’s okay to stay in our house while the procedure is ongoing because this is the first time that we’ve had molds. So thanks for your article because if we are sensitive to the noise then it’s best to leave the house. Like you said, they will be using pieces of equipment that makes a lot of noise which can be bothersome because those machines cannot be turned off even at nighttime. Thanks for the information!

  2. IET says:

    Millie, glad you found the post helpful.

    One point: If there is visible mold in your basement, it may or may not have created a general condition of contamination in the basement and contaminants from that source may even have spread into other areas of the home. There is no way to determine this other than a comprehensive assessment by a mold expert, including air, surface and possibly viable dust sampling methods. You can assume areas are not contaminated, or you can assume they are contaminated and remediate them. But to accurately determine a scope of work requires a proper investigation.

    Sincerely,

    Tim Toburen
    Environmental Consultant

  3. My parents saw possible mold in our bathroom and want to make sure that we are safe. It was explained here that it will be difficult to remain full occupancy on places where the mold the was found, so, it’s best to find an alternative for the time being. Furthermore, it’s best to have professionals handle mold remediation.

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