With the current consumer focus on indoor air quality, making use of mold- and moisture-prevention products is important to mitigate moisture's effects in the home. One company moving forward with an aggressive method is CleanZone, which provides mold eradication services via generated ozone. “For so long, getting rid of mold has meant tearing down walls and rebuilding,” says CleanZone CEO Housh Khoshbin. “Now, our process has licensed technicians eliminating mold without forcing people to move or dispose of their belongings.”
Similar to fumigating a home for termites, the CleanZone process requires all doors, windows, and other openings to be sealed while the ozone generator runs inside; all people, pets, and plants must be removed from the home. Using ultraviolet light, the generator converts oxygen molecules (O2) into ozone (O3), an oxidizer that kills bacteria and is often used in water purification. As it seeps into everything from carpets to wallboard at a concentration of 120 parts per million (compared to 0.1 ppm in the natural environment), the ozone kills living spores and eliminates odors.
Khoshbin says the company guarantees 100% mold eradication after a 12- to 16-hour treatment. As a business opportunity — which some pest control industry operators are already taking advantage of — technicians go through a three-day training session.
Other products and services on the market are designed to prevent mold from growing in the first place. Products such as Mold-Ram, from Sostram Corp., are sprayed on exposed wallboard, lumber, concrete, and masonry, coating them with chlorothalonil, a fungicide used in paints and caulks to prevent mildew. “It's always important to read labels when using these types of products, but Mold-Ram is very easy for someone like a remodeler to apply with a manual or electric spray tank,” says Sostram general manager Tim Zech, noting that an application of Mold-Ram will stave off mold for years, provided the home remains dry. Other companies such as American MoldGuard and Envirocare specialize in similar pre-treatment services for large-scale applications.
Finally, air purifiers provide a more tangible mold management system. Installed with an HVAC system, Carrier's Infinity Air Purifier pulls mold, allergens, and other unwanted particles from the air and neutralizes them, explains product manager Jim Moore. Although mold hidden behind walls or under carpeting won't be eliminated by this type of product, independent studies do show that air is cleaner in homes with a purifier. Carrier says the Infinity system treats most of the air in a home as often as three to eight times per hour. For maintenance, the system requires only an annual change of the media cartridge that captures and eliminates pollutants.
For professional education on mold remediation, the Indoor Air Quality Association offers a two-day, hands-on certification course. Learn more at www.iaqa.org.