As I’ve mentioned in this previous post, getting a call from your tenant suspecting mold presence in your rental condo can quickly ruin your day. If, in fact, there is mold in your home you are looking at potentially spending thousands of dollars to hire a company that specializes in mold cleanup and remediation. Before you start calling these companies you might want to consider at least trying to address the issue yourself first. The method described here does not cost much to try and can only make things better, even if you do decide to hire a company later.
After researching the available options of getting rid of mold, I decided to try Concrobium products as they’ve seemed to have great reviews from both the professional and the DIY crowd. Per manufacturer, Concrobium contains no bleach, ammonia, or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This was a selling point for me because I wanted to make sure that my tenant could return shortly after the treatment was done without having to deal with any toxic fumes or smells. When used as directed Concrobium is said to eliminate mold and mildew, preventing mold growth and killing musty odors.
You can buy Concrobium in spray bottles, one gallon jugs or 5 gallon buckets. If you have a small area to treat a spray bottle might be enough. However, I wanted to treat the whole apartment using a professional grade fogger so I bought 3 one gallon jugs of Concrobium. There is a great video showing how to use the fogger to treat each room along with instructions on how to calculate the amount of liquid required.
Instead of buying the fogger I rented one at a local Home Depot. The funny part was that they had one on display but no one knew what it was for. They were all excited that someone was actually going to rent one after I explained what I was going to do with it. The fogger was brand new and I was the first to rent it. The rental fee was only around $20 for 4 hours which was plenty of time to finish the project. The liquid is what was expensive with 3 jugs ringing in at around $100.
Here is a simple process I went through to clean and eliminate the mold at the condo.
- First step is to clean the source of mold and the mold itself. In my case, the HVAC unit had a clogged drain that caused the water to collect in the drip tray creating an environment hospitable to mold. I cleaned the drain, the drip tray and the coil using a bleach/water solution and then used Concrobium I put into a spray bottle to clean it all some more. The end result was a decent looking (considering its age) HVAC coil that was ready to be fogged.
- Put a gallon of Concrobium into the fogger and put the white filter provided with the rental on the machine.
- I started with HVAC first. Take the air filter out of the HVAC unit, set up the fogger to shoot the mist into the intake, open all vents in the condo, turn the thermostat to FAN ON, start the fogger and run about a gallon of Concrobium through the system. This will get it into all the air ducts to kill any mold that might be growing there.
- Now it’s time to do each room individually. It would be best to remove or cover up any valuables in the room, especially electronics or paintings or anything else that you would not take into a sauna with you. The first room was empty so no issues here. I calculated that I needed to fog each corner of the room for about 4 minutes after which you simply point the fogger to the next corner and continue until the whole room is done. The fogger was set up in the middle of the room like so…
- Continue the same process in the next room…
- And each bathroom…
- Living room…
- After every room was sufficiently fogged, there was a nice layer of white residue on some walls, furniture and floors which was easily cleaned up with a wet rag. While I was cleaning up the air cleared up again and there were no smells of any kind. It actually smelled fresher in the apartment than before I started the process. I wore a mask while the fogger was doing its thing, but I took it off after the air cleared up and had no issues during or after fogging.
- I left a dehumidifier running for a couple of days after fogging to bring the humidity down to a normal level.
So here it is – a brief introduction to Do It Yourself mold remediation with Concrobium. It’s brief because there is not much to it and anyone can DIY. I am glad I found and tried this solution because it seems to have worked as advertised. My tenant moved back in after I finished and she had no more allergy-type symptoms that she was having before the mold treatment.
I’d like to add that it’s definitely a good idea to test the air quality to confirm that the mold is gone after Concrobium treatment. This can be done quickly and easily with an inexpensive DIY home mold test kit – all at home without having to send anything to the lab and wait weeks to hear back.
Also, some people recommend to clean the HVAC ducts as well. An article by the EPA might help you decide if you want to go that route or just leave your ducts as is. After considering pros and cons I decided to leave the air ducts alone for now.
When I was researching DIY methods for getting rid of mold I did not see a whole lot written about Concrobium so I hope that this review will help those facing a seemingly daunting and expensive task of mold remediation!
2014 Update: It’s been over 8 months since I treated the condo with Concrobium and everything seems to be going fine. My tenant is happy and has not complained about any mold-related issues. Hopefully its gone for good!
2016 Update: Still no issues with mold at the condo! I had a second floor bathroom leak in my own house that created a potential mold situation in the cavity between the second floor floor and the first floor ceiling. Just to be on the safe side I treated the affected area using a spray bottle of Concrobium before repairing drywall. The last thing I wanted to worry about was mold growing in a place where I’d never see it until it was too late. Here is a link to the repair post.