Is Mold Covered In Homeowners Insurance?

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Like any other organism, mold needs food and water. It loves to eat wood, and that’s one reason why homes and other structures sustain mold damage. When it begins depleting its food source, damage occurs. Mold is easily identifies by how it looks and its odor.

Any type of water damage can result in mold. How the water gets into your home determines whether your homeowners insurance will cover the mold damage and remediation. All homeowners policies declare their covered perils along with their exclusions from coverage. An occurrence that’s typically covered in the context of water damage is a pipe burst. That’s because the actual pipe burst is the cause of the claim, as opposed to the mold itself. If a mold claim arises from Florida weather activity, like a hurricane or flood, it’s not likely to be covered without special coverage. You’ll want to review your policy or talk to your insurance representative to learn whether you have flood coverage.

Most basic homeowners insurers do not provide mold coverage within their covered risks, but that does not necessarily mean your claim will be denied. For instance, the pipe burst, which would be an accidental occurrence, which may lead to mold due to the moisture, should be covered, because the pipe burst is the claim reason, not the mold. However, a home showing neglected maintenance (unrepaired water leaks or exposure to humidity over a prolonged period of time) will be more likely to have a denied claim. You do need to be aware that mold coverage that is provided, due to accidents, is relatively low, unless an additional premium is paid. If you do have some mold damage, you’ll want to do whatever you can to mitigate your damages. You should also be vigilant about making periodic checks for possible water leaks in these common problem spots:

  • HVAC system lines & drains
  • Hoses for appliances
  • Tub, shower & sink seals
  • Any visible pipes
  • Weatherproofing of windows & doors
  • Wet spots in the attic & missing roofing material
  • Landscaping around your home

If you don’t have mold coverage, it’s recommended that you get it, particularly because mold thrives in Florida’s warm, humid climate. an average mold claim ranges between $15,000 and $30,000. Mold riders are available as an optional coverage, however they often come with a big price tag. Discuss your options with your insurance agent. Once you have all the information, you can weigh the risks against the costs for your needs.

As always, it’s important to know what your homeowners policy says in regards to your coverage. Take the time to familiarize yourself and ask questions about specific wording in regards to mold coverage, then you will be prepared should you have the unfortunate need to file a claim.

Sources: Does my homeowners insurance policy cover mold damage? Web Blog post. Living Prepared. Prepared Insurance. Home Insurance and Mold: Is Mold Covered? Web blog post. Houselogic by Realtors.

Is Mold Making You Sick?

Molds are various types of fungi that grow in filaments and reproduce by forming spores. The term mildew is sometimes used to refer to some kinds of mold, particularly mold in the home with a white or grayish color or mold growing in shower stalls and bathrooms. Mold may grow indoors or outdoors and thrives in damp, warm and humid environments. Mold can be found in essentially any environment or season. The most common types of indoor household molds include Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria and Aspergillus. Stachybotryschartarum (also known as Stachybotrys atra and sometimes referred to as “black mold”) is a greenish-black mold that can also be found indoors. Although, it is less common than the other types of mold found in homes. Stachybotrys grows on household surfaces that have high cellulose content, such as wood, fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, dust and lint. There are types of mold that can grow on substances as different as foods and carpet.

Molds produce irritating substances that may act as allergy-causing substances (allergens) in sensitive indiviuals. Furthermore, some molds produce toxic substances known as mycotoxins, but mold itself is not poisonous or toxic. The conditions under which some molds produce toxins are poorly understood, and the presence of mold, even a mold that is capable of producing toxins, does not always imply that toxins are being produced. Mold may not cause any health effects, or it may lead to symptoms in people, including adults and children, who are sensitive to molds. Allergic reactions to mold are the most common health effects of mold. Allergic reactions may happen immediately or develop after a period of time following exposure. Both growing mold and mold spores may lead to allergic reactions. Allergy symptoms include:

  • sneezing
  • runny nose
  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • water eyes
  • redness of the eyes
  • itchy eyes
  • skin irritaion or rash

Sometimes people may develop severe reactions to mold exposure. Symptoms of severe reactions, which are uncommon, include fever and difficulty breathing. People with compromised immune systems or those with chronic lung disease can develop serious infections of the lungs due to molds. It is not possible to predict the degree of severity of the health risks associated with mold in the home. Allergic individuals vary in their degree of susceptibility to mold, and the risk may also depend upon the extent and exact type of mold that is present.

Studies suggest that chronic sinusitis is caused from exposure to fungus and mold spores. Chronic sinusitis patients should try to limit their exposure to mold spores, which can be a challenge when you are outside. Pay attention to the weather, particularly air quality alerts that report high levels of spores and pollen, and limit outdoor activities. With respect to your home environment, you have greater control, meaning you want to ensure that your indoor air quality is optimal for long term health, particularly since the likely cause of chronic sinusitis is mold. Here are some tips:

  • Maintain healthy humidity levels, 30 – 50%, to minimize moisture and prevent mold growth.
  • If you have mold, ensure that the root cause of the problem (ie. the moisture source) is first fixed, and then hire a professional to remove the mold.
  • Ensure that your HVAC system is functioning properly and circulating clean, healthy air. Yearly maintenance and inspection by a professional is highly recommended.

If you suffer from asthma, sinusitis or other respiratory ailments, call a professional mold inspector to determine if you have a mold problem. If you do, the short term cost to remove the mold will be minor compared to the long term health benefits you will gain.

Sources: http://www.medicinenet.com/mold-exposure/page2.htm. http://mszrestoration.stfi.re/is-your-sinus-infection-caused-by-mold/?sf=vzggj&utm_content=buffer9bb01&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Signs Of Hidden Water Leaks In Your Bathroom

Bathroom leaks can be tricky and hard to detect, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Puddles left on the floor after a shower or bath can seem innocent enough, especially if you have children. You may need to poke around to find the not-so-obvious bathroom plumbing leak.

Look for these somewhat subtle signs to determine whether you need to hire a plumber to fix those leaking pipes or plumbing fixtures before things get worse. If left untreated, a water leak in you bathroom can cost you, expecially if it leads to serious water damage to walls, flooring and paint.

Mildew or Mold

No matter how well and how often you clean your bathroom, mold or mildew can spring up if you have a hidden water leak. Mold thrives on moist, dark areas, and a pipe, which is typically hidden in a wall or under flooring, provides the perfect starting point for mold or mildew if the pipe springs a leak.

While it’s normal for a little mildw to occur wherever water accumulates, such as in the corner of a shower, mold or mildew on non shower walls or in corners of the bathroom is a clear sign that water is leaking somewhere and finding its way close to those areas. A leaking pipe provides plenty of moisture so the longer it takes you to detect and fix the leak, the easier and faster mold will grow.

Damaged paint or wallpaper

Wall damage from toilet leak.

A wall with blistering paint or wallpaper is another sign of bathroom leaks.

In most cases, steam from the occasional hot shower shouldn’t cause paint or wallpaper to come loose. When water and moisture get between the wall and paint, they eliminate the bond and begin to separate the two, causing the paint to rise from the wall and fall off in pieces. The same goes for wallpaper: The adhesive used to bond the paper to the wall becomes less sticky and the paper begins to come loose.

Damaged Walls

Tile damage from leak in shower. Mold in wall board behind tile.

A wall that is warped or stained for no reason is a clear sign that you have a plumbing leak in your bathroom.

When drywall is exposed to moisture, it becomes soft and begins to bubble, ultimately warping and breaking into pieces. If the leak reaches the ceiling, it causes it to sag and possibly leak some of the water that has accumulated. The same goes for the wall board behind tiles; once water has penetrated and moisture can accumulate, the tiles will begin to come loose and fall off.

To fix the leak, a plumber often must tear out the drywall, requiring someone to patch and paint or retile when the plumber is finished.

Damaged flooring

Unless you purposely let water sit on it, a bathroom floor rarely suffers water damage unless there is a leak. If your bathroom floor is buckling, cracking or beginning to stain for no obvious reason, chances are hidden water is the culprit. The water could be from a pipe directly underneath the floor, or it could have traveled there from another area.

Depending of the type of flooring in your bathroom, moisture can make it feel spongy or soft. Tile may lose its adhesion and become loose, allowing you to easily remove a piece and possibly expose water or moisture underneath it. You will also often find a damp subfloor.

Stains on ceilings

If you have a bathroom on a second floor, you might spot a leak in the ceiling under the bathroom. Check the patch of ceiling in the room directly beneath the bathroom for stains and signs of water damage. However, because water can travel a long distance, it’s possible to find water stains on the ceiling farther away.

An occasional wet floor in a second-story bathroom won’t cause enough seepage to damage anything underneath it. Any brown, copper or dark stain on the ceiling is a sign of a pernicious water leak in the ceiling. A sagging ceiling is a sign that water from a leak is reaching the area.

sources: J.T. Gonzales. Signs Of Hidden Water Leak In Your Bathroom. Web blog post. Solution Center: Plumbing. Angie’s List.

The Difference Between Mold and Mildew

Mold in interior of window https://www.prs24hr.com

Mold and mildew are both types of fungi that are commonly found in the home. They thrive in moist environments, spread easily, and live on various surfaces which makes them very difficult to get rid of. If left unattended, however, the harmful microorganisms can quickly affect large areas of your property and may even result in health problems and structural damage. While the two types of fungi share many common features, they pose different risks and respond to different treatment.

So, in order to come up with an efficient cleaning strategy and ensure the safety of your living environment, you need to understand the difference between mold and mildew.

What Is The Difference Between Mold And Mildew?

Common Mildew Types

Primarily, mildew is a plant disease that causes great damage to crops and plants. It is classified as powdery and downy:

  • Powdery mildew mainly affects flowering plants and first appears as white or gray patterned splotches that gradually become yellowish brown or black as the fungus grows.
  • Downy mildew is commonly found in agricultural products, such as grapes and potatoes. Its appearance varies depending on the type of surface it grows on, but usually downy mildew starts as yellow spots that eventually turn brown.

Common Mold Types

Although the number of mold species that can live indoors exceeds 10,000 according to the latest CDC estimates, most household molds belong to one of the following five types. (Picture and description to the right.)

  • Penicillium spores can spread very easily and have strong musty odors.
  • Alternaria under prolonged exposure can cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks.
  • Aspergillus is the most common type of mold found indoors. It can cause allergic reactions and respiratory infections, as well as inflammation of the lungs in those with weak immune systems.
  • Unlike many other molds, Cladosporium can grow in cool areas.
  • Stachybotrys chartarum is the most dangerous kind of household mold – it produces toxic compounds called mycotoxins that can cause severe health problems, such as allergic symptoms, breathing problems, asthma attacks, chronic sinus infections, fatigue and depression. Usually grows around areas that are constantly damp.

How To Tell The Diffence Between MoldAnd Mildew?

There are several crucial differences in the appearance and properties of mold and mildew that will help you recognize the type of indoor fungi you have discovered in your home

Visual differences between mold and mildew https://www.prs24hr.com

Differences between Mold and Mildew in Appearance

Typically, mold appears black or green while mildew looks gray or white. Yet, there are some more detailed specifics on the appearance of the fungi:

  • Mildew usually grows in a flat pattern and appears either powdery or fluffy. It can be easily identified as a patch of white, gray or yellowish fungus that is lying on the surface of a moist area. Mildew usually turns black or brown over time.
  • Mold is usually fuzzy or slimy in appearance. It appears as irregularly shaped spots that can have different colors – blue, green, yellow, brown, gray, black or white. Oftentimes, surfaces that are covered in mold begin to rot.

Differences in the Effects of Mold and Mildew

Both Mold and mildew need to be taken care of in a quick and efficient manner as they can cause a lot of trouble over time:

  • Mildew usually affects plants and crops. If it develops indoors, however, it can also pose health risks. When inhaled, mildew spores cause coughing, headache, sore throat and respiratory problems.
  • Mold can result in considerable structural damage when left unattended for a long time. Prolonged exposure can cause a variety of health problems, depending on the strain of mold. Common health effects of mold include various allergic reactions (sneezing, skin irritations, irritation of the eyes and throat, nasal congestion, ect.), respiratory problems (difficulty breathing, coughing, pneumonia, asthma attacks), heart problems, migraines, inflammation and pain in the joints, dizziness, depression and extreme fatigue. The mycotoxins produced by black mold are particularly harmful and may have severe long-term health effects, especially in younger kids and individual with weak immune systems.

Mold and Mildew Testing

If you are not sure what type of fungi you are dealing with, you can have them tested:

  • Home testing – the easiest way to identify the kind of microorganisms in you home is to drip a few drops of household bleach on the affected area. Wait for about five minutes and inspect the spot:
  1. If it has become lighter, you are dealing with mildew
  2. If it remains dark, it is mold that has developed in your home

You can also use various mold and mildew testing kits that are available on the market:

  • Professional testing – if you suspect considerable mold growth in your property or if you aren’t sure about the best course of action to take, your best bet is to ask for professional assistance. Contact a trustworthy mold removal company in your area for inspection, testing, evaluation and efficient mold removal services that will help you get rid of the harmful fungi in your home.

How To Get Rid Of Mold And Mildew?

If you can prevent mold and mildew in the first place, you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle and headaches.

How to Prevent Mold and Mildew

The most efficient way to prevent mold and mildew in your home is to keep all the areas dry and moisture-free. Maintain a humidity level of about 40-50% inside the house (a dehumidifier provides the most advantageous solution for ensuring appropriate indoor humidity), have your heating and cooling systems regularly inspected, keep air ducts clean and in good condition ensure good air circulation inside the premises, fix any leaks in the bathroom, kitchen or other areas, ect. Remove any mildew-affected plants and weeks as soon as you notice them in order to prevent mildew infestation.

How to Clean Mold and Mildew

Mildew is a surface fungus that can be efficiently treated with a commercially available cleaner and a scrubbing brush. Just make sure you work in a well-ventilated area and wear a facial mask to prevent inhaling mildew spores, as well as to avoid breathing in fumes given off by the cleaning product you use. It is also advisable to put on rubber gloves in order to protect your hands both from the mildew and from the cleaning agent. Clean all the surrounding areas carefully as well, to ensure that all the fungi have been successfully removed.

Mold, on the other hand, attaches to the affected materials with microscopic filaments that penetrate beneath the surface. The mold spore spread very easily and can survive in extreme conditions, so they can quickly affect large areas of your property and result in permanent damage. Moreover, despite its characteristic musty smell, mold is only visible to the eye when the colonies start growing, so early detection and prevention is very difficult. Worst of all, mold can have a very negative impact on your health, so DIY removal attempts are not recommendable. Beside, DIY remedies are very rarely efficient because the fungus usually grows in area that are very difficult to access and to treat.

The safest and most efficient way to get rid of a mold problem is to call a mold remediation company. An experienced professional will come to your home to assess the situation and determining the type of mold or mildew in your property, as well as the extent of the damage. Then, the most appropriate actions will be taken to remove the harmful fungi and prevent its appearance in the near future. The experts will help ensure not only the safety of your living environment, but also your peace of mind.

Have a professional detect and determine mold in your home https://www.prs24hr.com
Have a professional clean mold in your home https://www.prs24hr.com

http://Luke Armstrong. “Mold Vs. Mildew: The Main Differences Between Mold And Mildew” Web blog post. mold Removal, Restoration Master

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Water Damage Restoration

If you experience any kind of water damage to your property you need to have your home properly dried out to prevent mold and further damages. Moisture left behind will be a breeding ground for mold to develop. Once you have mold you will have another issue to deal with. Time is of the essence when it comes to water damage. Mold growth can begin within the first 24-48 hours after the water makes contact.

Categories of water damaged summarized in this short video

 

When you are looking for a company to restore your property from water damage make sure they are certified. Look for a company that offers emergency water extraction, structural drying and thermal imaging. Hiring a company that is ill equipped and unskilled can lead to more costly repairs in the future. Be cautious when you are looking for a restoration company.

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Thermal Imaging and Structural Drying – Vital Parts of Water Damage Restoration

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When your home experiences a flood or any other type of water damage you need to get the water extracted as soon as possible.  Once the water is extracted thermal imaging plays an important role in detecting the source of a leak and any water that was not extracted. It also is a great tool to have to ensure the job was done correctly when it’s completed. Taking thermal images after the restoration is completed will confirm that all water has been removed from your home.

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Structural drying requires the necessary technology, equipment and staff competence to do the work correctly. Structural drying prevents secondary water damage to your property. This includes damages to furniture, books, artwork and mold development. Such damages are brought about by moisture remaining on walls, floors, carpets and furniture. Structural drying does not necessarily include destruction. Structural drying is done thru the use of equipment such as turbo drying fans and dehumidifiers. Accurate thermal imaging and fast structural drying will be able to bring your water damaged property back to its pre-damaged state.

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Water Damage Restoration by PRS

Professional Restoration Services of Tampa Bay, Inc. has the latest technology in thermal imaging and necessary equipment for structural drying. Efficient drying is a vital part in the restoration process. PRS has the professional capacity to identify wet areas of your property and provide drying efficiently. PRS is available to begin restoration to your home 24 hours, 7 days a week. The faster PRS mitigates and dries your property, the faster things go back to normal. PRS is dedicated to provide honest and efficient service to those in need.

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The Importance of Mold Inspection

Is your home safe from mold? Although not all types of molds can put your life at risk, they can adversely affect the quality and the value of your home. This is why you need to inspect your home regularly for contamination. In order to do that, you need to familiarize yourself of the different causes of mold formation at home.

Cause of Mold formation

Molds cannot exist out of the blue. They need certain conditions in order to develop. In order for mold to grow, they need a food source and moisture. They can feed on any organic material such as drywall and wood. These types of materials are found in every home. Add a moisture source and it becomes the ideal conditions for mold. This makes mold inspection more and more important.

Possible hazards of molds

Molds may affect your health or not. Certain individual are more sensitive to it, which can trigger allergy attacks and asthma. Although some molds are not harmful, there are also those that are toxic. A study conducted by the Institute of Medicine in 2004 presented sufficient evidence that link mold exposure and upper respiratory tract problems. Other problems caused by such exposure are eye irritation, sinus congestion and other problems with the respiratory system. Fatal illness and even deaths have been associated with toxic molds as well.

Mold inspection

With the threats presented by such contamination to your health and your home, it is only essential that you have your home checked regularly. Some mold formations are visible. You can spot them because of the discoloration on your wall. Others can lurk in hidden areas within the home such as wall and floor cavities. These become hard to detect by a simple visual inspection.

Do a visual check. Go beyond the visible areas. Look in cabinets, below your kitchen sink. Check your basement and areas that are conducive for mold formation. If you suspect mold contamination at home, you have two options. There are test kits available that you can use as a homeowner.  Basically, you need to get samples of the mold and send it to a lab. The lab results will tell you if there is a problem or not. The other alternative and probably the most logical is to hire a company that is licensed and trained to perform mold inspections.

All of us wish that our home is a healthy and safe place. However, we cannot be certain unless it undergoes inspection for problems such as mold contamination. Only by inspection can we uncover and address its problems.