Mold grows easily and can be difficult to get rid of. Anywhere there is moisture there can be mold, and for most of Florida, that means just about anywhere, including your home.
There are many types of common mold – anything from the discoloration you see in your shower tile grout to the variety that can grow on old bread. Most mold is harmless, but there are times when mold in your home can cause illness.
How Mold Hides in Your home
Mold likes to live and grow anywhere there is moisture. It also likes dark areas. Mold can be found inside or outside of your home. Mold spores travel easily and can enter your home through vents, windows, doorways and air conditioning systems. It can even be carried into your home on your shoes, clothing or even pets.
Mold can grow on just about any surface, but it very common in areas where there was water or moisture, such as on prior plumbing or roof leaks. It can also grow on all types of household and building materials such as paper, cardboard, ceiling tiles and wood. It has also been found growing in drywall, carpet, and upholstery.
Keeping Mold Out of Your Home
The best way to avoid having mold in your home is to avoid moisture. While there will always be some mold in every home because it is a naturally occurring matter, there are ways to control it from growing and causing illness.
- Control the humidity levels in your home
- Ventilate your cooking areas and bathrooms so moisture doesn’t collect and cause mold
- Immediately fix any plumbing leaks or leaks in your roof or windows
- If water does enter your home by accident clean it up and dry it out immediately
How to Spot Mold in Your Home
While mold can often grow out of sight, you may see signs of it if you know what to look for. Mold can take the shape of spots or rings and can grow in a variety of colors. It could be pink, brown or black.
You may be able to smell mold before you can see it. It can often smell musty in a home where there is excessive mold growth.
Signs that Mold is Making You Sick
Not all household mold causes illness, but some types of mold can be disruptive to allergy or asthma sufferers. Here are some signs that you could have hidden mold that is causing illness.
Asthma and Allergies and Mold
Mold spores easily become airborne, so they can quickly lead to illnesses related to the respiratory system. If mold spores are inhaled they can trigger asthma attacks and allergic reactions.
A reaction to mold can happen immediately or it can take some time before the symptoms begin to flare up. Asthma attacks or worsening of asthma symptoms may occur. Allergic-like symptoms can include a runny nose, sore or itchy throat, congestion, a cough or sneezing.
Irritation from Mold Exposure
Mold exposure can also cause irritation. Irritation from mold can occur in individuals that are not typically susceptible to asthma or other allergies.
People exposed to mold often report eye, nose and throat irritation. They may also feel irritation on the skin or lungs. Some people report shortness of breath and even fever when exposed to mold.
While not everyone becomes ill from mold exposure there are certain populations that may be more at risk of developing an illness due to mold. Those populations include:
- People with compromised immune systems
- People with chronic lung disease
Where Household Mold Hides
Mold can grow just about anywhere and a lot of it we cannot see.
The most common sources of hidden mold are found in homes and buildings where there has been previous water damage. Mold can grow very quickly – within 24 – 48 hours, so if you had a water damage claim and your home was not dried out very quickly, there is a good chance for mold growth.
Adding to the challenge is the fact that most household water sources are hidden from view. Any feature of your home that vents to the outside is vulnerable to water seepage. The water intrusion may not be significant enough that you see it on the interior of the home, but it may be enough moisture to cause mold growth.
Other areas susceptible to this type of mold growth include chimneys, skylights, and vents.
If you suspect you have a mold-related allergy or illness, start by checking the following areas in your home:
- Water lines: Check the water lines for your appliances. These water lines often leak and can be a source of hidden mold
- Shower pans: Shower pans are another source of household plumbing leaks. A shower pan leak may continue with no obvious signs
- Air Conditioning System: Inspect your heating and cooling systems for signs of mold growth. It can also grow in the homes duct work.
Other Sources of Hidden Mold
Hidden mold can be difficult to find in your home without the help of a professional. There are some tips and tricks you can use to locate mold sources in your home:
- Check inside cabinets and drawers. Empty cabinets and inspect them thoroughly for signs of mold. Also, remove drawers and inspect the bottom of the drawer itself
- Look under insulation in the attic
- Carefully examine all your bathroom and kitchen fixtures
- Look for sagging areas near your water driven appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines
- Use a moisture meter to detect high levels of moisture in your home as they can lead to mold growth
Hidden Mold Can be Difficult to Find
Hidden mold can cause allergies and illness and can be difficult to find. The best way to avoid getting sick from mold is to make sure your home stays free from humidity and water damage. If you suspect you have hidden mold in your home, contact a professional today.
One of the most common reasons people file insurance claims today is water damage and it’s not difficult to see why. Water damage can be the result of a number of different mishaps. Your roof can spring a leak during the rainy season. A pipe could burst or your air conditioner could leak. However, you shouldn’t assume that because water damage is a common issue that you shouldn’t be diligent as far as how you handle your claim.
Not only is it important to make sure you’ve covered all the bases as far as getting proper compensation in the first place, you need to know what to do if your claim needs to be revisited for any reason. Mold, related damage, and related health concerns are particularly crucial things to be aware of when dealing with water damage. Occasionally, the presence of mold may not be apparent until after a claim is settled.
Don’t Ignore the Possibility of Toxic Mold
Never make the mistake of assuming that because you already had a claim investigated and settled that all the bases were properly covered. To begin with, visible signs of toxic mold development aren’t always apparent right away. It’s legitimately possible that the professionals that investigated and processed your initial claim didn’t see any at the time. However, since insurance providers are generally focused on paying out as little as possible in regards to claims filed, it’s also possible that all the information wasn’t included at the time.
If you do notice the presence of mold after your claim is settled, don’t try to clean it yourself. This can actually spread the spores and make the situation worse health wise. It can also damage your ability to get your claim adjusted successfully. Instead, a qualified mold testing and cleanup crew needs to be brought in to deal with the situation properly.
You also need to contact your insurance adjuster the minute you notice the signs of mold growth. If you dealt with an adjuster your insurance company provided the first time around, consider calling a private adjuster that will be working with your best interests at heart this time.
Choosing the Right Professionals
Your chances of a successful claim adjustment increase exponentially when you hire a private, insurance adjustment agency that is not only undeniably on your side, but good at what they do. Look for someone with extensive local experience in regards to this specific type of claim. The company you choose should have a solid reputation for excellence, customer satisfaction, and overall success as well.
If you live in Florida, that agency is Bulldog Adjusters beyond the shadow of any doubt. Not only are the insurance experts at Bulldog crack shots at dealing with water damage claims, but they handle the entire process for you, from start to finish, so that you don’t have to worry about nailing the gritty details yourself. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (954) 507-4210 today to find out more about what Bulldog can do for you!