Removing Mold - Need Help!

My father lives in a condo which he flooded accidentally a 2 years ago. It's a small 2 bedroom condo (1100 sqft), and about 2 rooms were flooded. Unfortunately we did not do anything about it, except letting it dry naturally. Since then there has been a strong mildew/mold smell. I was going to just replace the carpets for my dad, but I was told that their could be mold underneath the carpet.
I ordered a mold test, which is basically a petrie dish that you tape to a air conditioning vent for 10 minutes with the fan on high, then put in a cool dark place to let it incubate. After letting it incubate for a week, it seems to be growing spores. The instructions say if you see growth, you have mold. I have the option of sending the test to their lab, to get more information on the type of mold.
Since the test, I have become really concerned about my father's health in the apartment (though he doesn't seem to have any allergic symptoms), and would like to clean-up the mold. However, after calling a few "mold remediation" contractors, I could not get a straight answer on the cost. One guy said there is a $250 removal estimate cost, and $70 per test, and only then could he give me an estimate. Another guy said it could cost anywhere from $2000 - $4000. I feel like I'm setting myself up to get ripped off. (BTW, I've already checked the homeowners policy, and it's not covered)
I believe most of the mold/mildew is in the carpet and padding. Moreover, I've read on the net that it is possible to remove this yourself with some diluted bleach? I was considering removing the carpet and padding myself, and bleaching the floors. Then throwing away most of the stuff effected by the mold. Then replacing the carpet.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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I know nothing about testing for mould, however, the test you described would seem to me, to be guaranteed to give positive results no matter what. Mould is in the air, air conditioners blow air around. This will certainly deposit some mould spores onto the culture allowing them to grow. Is this a test supplied by a company trying to get work cleaning mould from buildings? Do some research regarding moulds, tests and clean-up.

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Eric Tonks wrote:

Agree with Eric, but if you smell mildew, it's there. Very likely the flooring is ply or partilce board. These will both support mold growth, so it could be worse than carpet;.
Do some GOOGLE searches for mold remediation, or similar. You'll get a lot of hits from co's selling services, but weed out.
Even if your father doesn't show any signs, there could be health risks. Further, selling the condo will be a problem if the situation is left as is.
Jim

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Well, what's under the carpet?
If you can smell it, there's mold there. But wait - don't panic. And whatever you do, DON'T call in the "mold specialists". They are nothing but opportunists [1].
Go ahead & pull the carpet. If the subfloor is plywood, you'll see whether you have a problem or not (which, more than likely, bleach will take care of. Worst case scenario, replace the subfloor). Replace the carpet & padding with new stuff. Call it a day.
Mold needs water to live & grow. Usually mold is just a symptom of a bigger problem - a leak. In your case, a one-time leak, I wouldn't be worried.
JSH
[1] Realize that there are *NO* EPA standards for mold. Asbestos? Yes. Lead? Yes. Mold? No.
Further, the National Academy of Sciences came out a few months ago with their results on mold: to paraphrase, "no big deal". A small %age of people will come up with allergy-like symptoms to the strains of mold most commonly found in houses. That's about it.
So, whatever "$pecialist$" you hire have taken a one-day course to be "certified" to demand that you spend thousands of dollars at their whim, for no solid or scientific reason whatsoever, and in the end all you'll have done is replace the carpet anyway!
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Wait.. you did the mold test BEFORE removing the carpet and padding? What the hell for, if you can smell the mold already? Take the carpet and padding out, clean the floor with something appropriate, dry it, air out the house, and THEN test for mold. Then do a reality check by testing YOUR house, and see which is worse...
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Your idea of removing the pad and carpet and washing with bleach are correct. Use a 25-50 % bleach mix. If you see black on the subfloor you may need more pure bleach in areas. Bleach will change the color of mold in killing it. Follow by a soap and water wash. . If you have moisture present , mold will come back. It is a Diy job, but you should wear a real respirator with cartrige filters, apx 25$ , because pulling up old carpet is full of everything. It will take a few days of good air to get out the bleach smell.
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On 29 Jul 2004 06:55:21 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com (CheapStingyBastard) wrote:

I read of your "mold test" <sic> with interest. AFAIK those results would occur with ANY A/C system that was operating for a few years. As to help.,, In Aussie we have a number of treatments for mould in ducts and permanent solutions to add deodorizers and fumigants to recirculated air systems,, no doubt your location has similar options available. IF that is the problem,, I suspect it is not. I would look more closely at the area that was flooded for the substructure to be carrying mould and (more likely) fungi growth. Hardwood structures are not easily affected by the occasional immersion in water,, but Softwood structures are a different story. So check out just what material you have under the carpet and go from there. Either way, that carpet is coming up..! :-0
Cheers
BTZ
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