What is Next After the Mold "Happens" to You and Your Home

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6 Top Questions about Mold Cleanup.pdf

                This year,  April Showers Bring.....Well....... May, June and July Showers.   This has been a year of way too much rain water.  For some it has resulted in flooding. For others it has simply been leakage into their homes. The end result is more green plants outside in our yards  and more mold inside of homes.     

                If you are wondering if you have mold because there is a musty  odor, you probably do have it.  Things that are not healthy for us usually do not smell, taste or feel good.  No matter what you call it, if it smells bad, it is probably not healthy for us.    

The 6 Top Questions of Homeowners Suspecting Mold

#6. What type of mold do I have?  Modern technology allows us to do  mold testing that can tell us the amount and type of mold in a building. Air testing is the most common and useful method, but there are other possible tests.

#5. How can it affect my health ? There are many studies and resources to tell us  how mold can affect our health. That effect is highly individual, but we can see correlations that are helpful when entrusted to medical practitioners. Some molds can trigger chronic conditions like Asthma. Others can may trigger anything from neurological conditions to eye infections.


#4. Why is mold there ? Why mold is in a home is usually a complicated set of issues. There are usually multiple causes of mold in any building where it is found.  It can be condensation, improper ventilation, faulty roof yard and basement drainage. Hidden leaks, defective HVAC installation  and elevated humidity are also some of many possibilities. 


#3. How can I make it go away and keep it for coming back ? Hiring a professional specializing in environmental assessments  may answer the questions  and save money for the homeowner by addressing the home as whole. Having an environmental consultant determine the source of the problem, suggesting treatment options and content questions may save money and provide peace of mind.  

#2. Do I have Insurance Coverage? The answer to that question is "that depends."  The first thing you should do is read your individual policy.  Some insurance companies offer fairly good coverage for mold. Many other insurance companies have limits or exclusions for mold.

                The key to obtaining mold coverage is understanding that there are policies that cover mold consequential to a covered loss. In English, that means if something like a pipe breaks and you get mold, it could be covered.  If the mold is because your basement walls leak when it rains, it's probably not covered.  

                Flood damage is generally not covered unless you have "Flood Insurance. "  You may find it interesting that according to a piece of literature just received from Travelers Insurance, 25% of flood claims occur outside of flood areas. 

#1.  Drum roll please! The big question and most asked question is: What happens to my "stuff" ? What you Can Clean after Flood or Mold Problems  and What Needs Thrown Out ?

                Items that have a financial or sentimental value, makes this an important question.  Our possessions are often very important to most of us.

                The short story is if it is porous and moldy it will probably need thrown away. This includes cardboard, carpet, padding, stuffed animals  and upholstered furnishings. Mattresses and box springs are on that list.   

                Most paper products  including books will need thrown out once moldy or wet from flooding .  For very valuable items such as a family bible, there is an expensive, but effective freeze drying process that can preserve those items.

                Small appliances that have been exposed to mold will need replaced. The cost of cleaning some of these items will often exceed the cost of replacement. Failure to clean these can result  in recontamination of the home. 

                Food items that have been in contact or stored in areas with mold should be thrown away. 

                Materials that have a solid surface such as plastic, glass or metal are easily cleaned and preserved. Soap and water is the simplest cleaning method. A mixture of 1/2 cup of Clorox to a gallon of water is a great way to disinfect the hard surfaced materials. Do not use a higher concentration of Clorox as it can results in injury to people, pets  and the items the mixture contacts. 

                Clothing is readily saved by washing in regular laundry detergent unless the fabric has been damaged. Mold will clean out of cloth material, but damaged clothing is not restored to its original condition by washing.

                The paper materials that did not get wet or damp and do not have visible mold or damaged may be preserved with simply HEPA vacuuming.

                Appliances that have some mold exposure but have not been under water may be saved with a professional  cleaning.  The exception can be electronics of appliances that can be damaged by mold. These may require a professional cleaning. Consult a professional about these items. As an example a hard drive may be removed from a computer and salvaged, but could be damaged if the powered on.   

                Forced  air furnaces can distribute mold through an entire home. These need addressed as a part of any mold remediation.   

                Mold can and will live behind walls. Removal of house wall finishes  may be required to get rid of the mold.  If you do this work yourself, learn and follow the principals of containment, negative air and air scrubbing.  

                Any handling of mold contaminated materials should be done with  personal protective equipment such as gloves, eye protection and masks. 

                There are materials used in the construction of homes that will require replacement  as opposed to cleaning. Fiberboard is one such example. That material is used in construction as well as in some HVAC ductwork. Insulation is another common example

So, Here We Are !

It has been a wet summer and flooding and mold have been a serious problem in most of the country. Look at what you need to do to protect your home and possessions and do it as soon as you can.

When doing the work yourself, consulting a professional for issues beyond your comfort zone or background can be a bargain.