A few months back our cat, Sara, got very ill, with acute kidney failure. She was in the animal hospital for over a week and ultimately we were called in when things took a turn for the worse, and given the option of putting her down. I couldn't do it and refused. You can read here how, only through a true miracle, she made a complete recovery. While she was in the hospital, I was searching for reasons why our healthy five year old cat would suddenly get so ill. I decided to call in a mold specialist to test our finished basement. Over the past year or so the basement had developed a musty smell. We finished the basement 11 years ago and never had any issues before this.
I didn't expect them to find anything, and I was doing it more to make myself feel better. Well, imagine my surprise when they found mold growing by the window.
Last year during Hurricane Irene, we had water pouring in from the gutter being clogged. We pulled the rug back and did everything that was supposed to be done to dry everything out. When the mold specialist came he found that mold had developed behind the baseboard molding. Still, not a big deal. The specialist told air samples but told me there was nothing to worry about and that we could probably just replace the molding and everything would be fine. Well a week later the mold specialist called and said that the air quality levels were off the charts bad! He suggested we do a complete remediation. Before going forward we attempted to go through our home owners insurance. Guess what...mold is not covered under home owners. Just super (with tons of sarcasm). But the home owners did bring in their own mold specialists and their tests also revealed super high levels of mold in the air, including black mold. Ugh, this was becoming a disaster. The drapes have to be removed and sent to the dry cleaners to make sure are free from any mold.
They will be starting the remediation on Thursday. The process includes cutting away all of the sheetrock within a two foot radius of any found mold, pulling back all of the baseboard molding and checking for mold elsewhere. It also includes removing all of the carpet, creating a negative pressure situation in the basement and cleaning all of the air. We have to empty out the basement almost completely. This toy closet has a very musty smell too so I fear they will find mold in there as well.
We emptied out this closet and are using this as an opportunity to go through everything and start to get rid of those toys the kids have outgrown. Not such an easy process, especially with my kids, who seem to have an attachment to each item I propose throwing out. Some they have no choice about, especially the bag of stuffed animals that we just can't take a chance and put back in the room after it is remediated.
The closet under the stairs was next to be emptied.
This closet is way bigger than we remembered. It's going to be much better organized after the remediation too. Those wires you see go to the equipment in the home theater on the other side of the closet.
This is what our theater usually looks like. The theater has no air quality issues, so it will be exempt from the remediation and will act as a storage room for everything we move during the process.
Here's what it looks like after we emptied the basement this weekend.
UGH...it looks like an episode of hoarders.
As it turned out, the poor air quality in the basement had nothing to do with why our cat got so sick. The basement is going to get almost a complete makeover due to this situation. New carpet has been ordered and the painters are ready to go as soon as the remediation process is complete (about five days). Our painters will also be responsible for repairing all of the sheetrock damaged during the remediation process. All in all it will probably take about two to three weeks to complete everything and get the basement back to normal. The hardest part about this entire thing is that Sara (the cat) is going to be displaced by the whole situation. Although she has the run of the house during the day, her litter boxes are in the basement and she sleeps and eats down there as well. We are concerned with how she is going to react to the whole thing. Let's hope that she is not going to be too freaked out. I'll keep you all updated during the process. I can't wait until we get to the pretty part.