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?
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?
The 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
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.
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.