Mold F.A.Qs

Mold can be hazardous to your health if not taken care of. Here are some frequently asked questions about mold.

Q: Why does mold grow in homes or buildings?

Mold is a fungus that is found in nature and is necessary to breakdown dead matter. These micro-organisms can enter a building by their spores being carried in on something or directly through the air. In a home, mold is usually found growing on wood, upholstery, wallpaper, drapes, carpeting, ceiling tiles, and drywall (gypsum, sheetrock, plaster).

The key factor to mold growth is moisture. This is the main component this fungus needs to grow, and as a result, the most common places that mold are found are in basements, bathrooms, and kitchens.

In buildings, moisture can be present due to flooding, leaks in the roof or plumbing, showers, cooking facilities, too much humidity, and sealed buildings that do not allow excess moisture to escape.

Q: What are some types of mold?

While it is cool to be able to identify what mold is present in your property, it isn’t necessary. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) states that all molds should be treated the same when it comes to health risk and removal.

Here are some of the common types found in buildings:
Stachybotrys chartarum
Aspergillus sp.
Penicillium sp.
Fusarium sp.
Trichoderma sp.
Memnoniella sp.
Cladosporum sp.
Alternaria sp.

Q: How does mold cause health problems?

Just because a property has mold doesn’t mean that the health problems will also occur. However, if you inhale the fungus or parts of it, it can lead to health problems or make pre-existing health problems worse. Also, many of these molds make mycotoxins. These are by-products from the molds that have been established toxic to humans. These toxins can slowly wear down the immune system and can lead to respiratory problems.

Here are the most common symptoms: headaches, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, eye irritation, nasal congestion or runny nose, asthma flare ups, and coughing.

Molds can also make allergies much worse, such as chest tightness, shortness of breath, and wheezing. People recovering from surgery are also more susceptible to health issues from mold.

Q: How can I prevent mold contamination?

Mold can grow practically anywhere as long as moisture is present. Essentially you will want to keep the relative humidity between 30% and 50%.

These steps can also help: use a dehumidifier, vent showers to the outside, insulate cold surfaces to prevent condensation, use exhaust fans when cooking, washing dishes, or doing laundry, clean up spills or floods immediately, do not install carpeting around sinks, bathtubs, or showers, and keep your HVAC system in good working order.

Q: What should I look for when inspecting my home for mold?

A visual inspection is the most reliable method to identify any type of mold on your property. The most common signs of water damage is discoloration and staining. Usually, mold will appear as a dark spot, a stain, or a patch. If you find a spot that looks like it could be mold, put a small amount of chlorine bleach on it. If the color changes or disappears, then it is likely mold.

When inspecting your property, make sure to check these areas:
-Ceiling tiles
-Wallpaper, walls, drywall
-Flooring
-Window sill
-Insulation
-Carpeting
-Behind duct work
-Furniture
-Cardboard or paper products

Also, you should look for standing water, which could be underneath sinks, tubs, dehumidifiers, air conditioners, and refrigerators. Surface sampling can be done by scraping or swiping the suspected spots if needed, but this should be done by a professional.

When looking for a mold remediation company to help you through this time, make sure that they are experienced, qualified, and certified.

Other helpful resources:
National Association of Realtors

CDC – Mold

Smoke Damage Repair Services That Can Work Directly With Your Insurance Carrier

Homeowners whose property has been either destroyed or damaged will for sure look at their insurance companies for relief, but usually that comes with success of varying degrees. There are a number of insurance companies that work with the smoke and fire damage repair service people to finance and fix the repairs. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when interacting with insurance companies:

1. Getting Advance: When you are forced to evacuate your home in a hurry, you would not have had time to catch hold of all your basic necessities before leaving like toothbrush, clothes etc. The policy of homeowners allows one to cover up for the cost of replacing all of these items but there will be no need to file a claim. Take a good look at your policy even if it does not include “replacement” coverage, it is surely going to have “actual cash value” that will cover for your personal items that were lost in the fire.
2. Make Sure You File Your Claim Instantly: Most policies will need homeowners to make a report of losses as soon as possible. You can do this by either making a call to your agent or sending out an email. You will then be asked for “proof of loss of claim”. This is where you will need to mention all the items that you have lost in the fire. If you delay in filing for losses, you will see yourself far down the list when it is time to send coverage’s.
3. Contact a Fire and Damage Repair Service That Are Connected to the Insurance: There are a number of insurance companies that work directly with your insurance companies. The insurance company works closely with them and tracks what work needs to be done, what can be covered and how much relief is needed for the agreed coverage.
4. Make your property secure: Most policies will want you to take a reasonable number of steps that will minimize the harm that can be done to your property by fire. In the legalese, this will be known as duty for mitigating damages. This includes some very basic aspects like covering a portion of the leaky part of your roof till you can repair it. Your insurance company will provide relief when you can make the claim.
5. Keep track of the insurance company’s prompt action: There are regulations by the Government that require insurance companies to act in a timely manner. You must keep track of how much your insurance company is paying for the repair of smoke and fire damages. The repair company can give you a fairly good picture since you can physically see how much work is done in terms of repair.

Apart from this, make sure that you keep track of all your living expenditure; the insurance policy can also cover this. Keep track of all these aspects in a list so you do not forget to check when you file for claims.

Learn How To Repair Water Damage Caused By Ice Damage

For home owners in cold states, ice dams are a real inherent danger and cause of property damage in the winter time. Once dams are caused by heat escaping from the roof or attic, which warms the rooftop. This warming causes snow to melt which runs down the roof, then when it reaches a cold point of the roof or gutter, it turns to ice. More water runs into this ice and very quickly an ice dam is created. The ice will build up very thick and restrict the drainage of any remaining water, causing the ice dam to grow in size. The ice builds up hourly, and eventually reaches back up to the heated part of the roof, then digs underneath the singles, melts and the melt water runoff works its way into your home. Some ice dams can cause enormous damage, while others can cause very little damage, because no two ice dams are alike, neither will be the damage. Ice dams are the result of heat loss and one or both of these two factors: poor ventilation in attics or the lack of enough insulation for the roof and attic. We spoke with Matt who’s Michigan based company has been dealing with water damage for several months caused by ice dams and broken pipes. He said they have had over 300 calls a week for the last two months.

What is certain however is if you do have damage from an ice dam, it will need to be addressed quickly, less further damage result. This is especially true with interior damage caused by ice dams. Ice dams can cause water damaged ceilings, peeling paint, damaged plaster,wet insulation, gutter damage, roof shingle damage, soffits, and even interior walls and ceilings damage. If these types of damages are allowed to stay wet, more damage will result so the first step in addressing this type of damage is to thoroughly dry the area and remove any ice from the area that can melt and soak the area again. Sadly ice dams are well known for causing water leaks and heavy water damage that is not readily apparent until the maximum damage has already occurred.

If you have had ice dams and suspect you may have interior damage, call in a professional that is experienced with interior and exterior repairs for ice dam damage. A reputable company can repair your roof, replace singles, underlayment and sheathing, as well as replace or repair any gutter damage that may have occurred. Also they should be versed in addressing any heat loss issues that may have resulted in the ice dam damage in the first place, as all ice dams are the result of heat loss. For indoor damage they should be experienced in repairing of interior walls and ceilings, as well as be able to address and assess any potential mold or mildew issues that will likely result from the water damage that you have sustained. Mold and mildew are secondary forms of damage following water damage from an ice dam, and mold will indeed grow in cold temperatures. Any damaged insulation or drywall will also need to be replaced.

If you have ice dams every year or signs of ice dams such as heavy formations of icicles along the roof edges, you should have your home assessed for heat loss and ventilation issues. Your attic should be cold during the winter to prevent ice dams and the resulting water damage. A reputable company that deals in ice dam damage, removal and repair can assist you in addressing these issues to prevent future ice dams and costly repairs in the future.

Why Flooding Insurance Is Important For Homeowners and Businesses Alike

Sudden and unfavourable circumstances like accidents can happen at the spur of a moment with anybody. The pitfalls of life that strike one’s face without any prior intimation are the ones that are most difficult and burdensome to deal with. An insurance policy acts as a helping aid during such testing times. Although any kind of insurance money does not have the power to bring back what is lost, nevertheless, it does have the capacity to help out in minimizing the losses by providing new options of regeneration.

Insurance Policies for Relief against Natural Disasters

Most people are aware of the facility of having insurance policies against accidents, loss of family members, and other relevant reasons alike. However, the common masses are most of the times unaware of special insurance policies that can be used to claim help during crisis occurring due to natural disasters. Natural disasters are not in the control of man, and hence it is generally believed that losses occurring due to them cannot be claimed under any insurance policy. The converse is actually the truth since the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is a unique insurance policy that covers losses occurring due to floods, and nearly 18,000 communities have opted to join the nationwide program.

Necessary Advice before Opting for NFIP

One of the hardest hitting natural disasters known to the history of mankind is flooding of high-risk areas. Here are a few important tips for claiming insurance for the same:

• Flood insurance is not sold directly by the federal government. It can be purchased from private insurance companies which are backed by the federal government.
• People residing in flood-prone areas need to be quick to buy insurance before it is too late and the flood takes its toll. This is due to the reason that it takes a 30 day period before the policy comes into effect. The only possibility when the 30-day waiting period gets a waiver is if the insurance is a necessity for loan upon closing.
• Residential property damages costing up to $250,000 can be claimed under a standard flood insurance and an extra $100,000 can be claimed if contents coverage is also claimed.
• For Business related property, a claim up to $500,000 for the building and additional $500,000 for contents is possible.

5 facts related to flood insurance policy, but unknown to most of the beneficiaries

• All communities belonging to NFIP can claim insurance. People residing in Special Flood Hazards Area (SFHA) can avail the same at affordable rates.
• Flood insurance can be bought during a flood situation or just before it based on the weather forecasting reports.
• It is unwise to depend upon homeowner’s insurance to cover during floods. It is always better to have a separate flood policy.
• The flood insurance policy does not get nullified if the property has already been flooded in the past. One can still apply for the insurance.
• Residents of areas which are not covered under high risk zones can also apply for flood insurance with a moderate premium yearly payment. It is advisable to do so since floods can also be caused due to heavy torrential rains on occasion.

The Benefits of having a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Membership Plan

Sudden and unfavourable circumstances like accidents can happen at the spur of a moment with anybody. The pitfalls of life that strike one’s face without any prior intimation are the ones that are most difficult and burdensome to deal with. An insurance policy acts as a helping aid during such testing times. Although any kind of insurance money does not have the power to bring back what is lost, nevertheless, it does have the capacity to help out in minimizing the losses by providing new options of regeneration.

Insurance Policies for Relief against Natural Disasters

Most people are aware of the facility of having insurance policies against accidents, loss of family members, and other relevant reasons alike. However, the common masses are most of the times unaware of special insurance policies that can be used to claim help during crisis occurring due to natural disasters. Natural disasters are not in the control of man, and hence it is generally believed that losses occurring due to them cannot be claimed under any insurance policy. The converse is actually the truth since the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is a unique insurance policy that covers losses occurring due to floods, and nearly 18,000 communities have opted to join the nationwide program.

Necessary Advice before Opting for NFIP

One of the hardest hitting natural disasters known to the history of mankind is flooding of high-risk areas. Here are a few important tips for claiming insurance for the same:

• Flood insurance is not sold directly by the federal government. It can be purchased from private insurance companies which are backed by the federal government.
• People residing in flood-prone areas need to be quick to buy insurance before it is too late and the flood takes its toll. This is due to the reason that it takes a 30 day period before the policy comes into effect. The only possibility when the 30-day waiting period gets a waiver is if the insurance is a necessity for loan upon closing.
• Residential property damages costing up to $250,000 can be claimed under a standard flood insurance and an extra $100,000 can be claimed if contents coverage is also claimed.
• For Business related property, a claim up to $500,000 for the building and additional $500,000 for contents is possible.

5 facts related to flood insurance policy, but unknown to most of the beneficiaries

• All communities belonging to NFIP can claim insurance. People residing in Special Flood Hazards Area (SFHA) can avail the same at affordable rates.
• Flood insurance can be bought during a flood situation or just before it based on the weather forecasting reports.
• It is unwise to depend upon homeowner’s insurance to cover during floods. It is always better to have a separate flood policy.
• The flood insurance policy does not get nullified if the property has already been flooded in the past. One can still apply for the insurance.
• Residents of areas which are not covered under high risk zones can also apply for flood insurance with a moderate premium yearly payment. It is advisable to do so since floods can also be caused due to heavy torrential rains on occasion.