May 5, 2017
Mold is a common enemy of homeowners in Ontario. It’s not something you want to see, and it’s a common result of home water damage from flooding, leaks, and other issues. Mold growth can also happen over time in areas where water and moisture are present.
Mold from water damage is a health risk, it can do significant damage to your home and it can be extremely expensive to repair. For these reasons, you need to care about mold, know how to deal with it and make sure you understand your home insurance policy as it relates to mold-related water damage.
What You Need To Know About Mold Water Damage And Home Insurance
Mold and water damage go hand in hand. Where there are leaks, pooling water, and dampness, mold is never too far behind. It’s found on carpets, drywall, and many other surfaces, especially after you’ve experienced basement flooding.
While mold from water damage events such as sewer backup or a burst pipe are commonly covered, it’s not uncommon for mold-related insurance claims to be rejected if mold growth has been present for some time. This is viewed by insurers as neglecting home maintenance.
Insurance companies’ coverage limits vary as to what is and is not included for mold water damage and water damage mold cleanup. Make sure you are aware of what is not covered in your policy, and consider purchasing additional coverage to top up water damage coverage.
In some cases, you may be able to purchase a mold rider to supplement your home insurance coverage. Talk with an insurance broker about your options.
Since mold remediation can be expensive, it’s important to address water leaks and water damage as soon as an issue is identified. As soon as you experience water damage, call your insurance company and have it, and mold related to the water damage, cleaned up by a professional. The longer you leave a mold issue, the more it will spread and the more difficult it will be to clean up.
Mold From Water Damage And Its Health Risks
Mold can be extremely hazardous to your health. Elevated levels of mold in your home can affect anyone who is exposed to it. If ingested, it can make your seriously ill, and in extreme cases, could cause death if you have a mold allergy or pre-existing medical condition. Infants, elderly, and people with respiratory issues are at a greater risk.
Signs that mold or mildew may be present in your home include :
- Runny nose and sinus congestion
- Cough and throat irritation
- Chest tightness, wheezing, difficulty breathing
- Skin and eye irritation
- Respiratory issues such as asthma
See your doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms, and have your home inspected by a professional for the presence of mold.
Where Does Mold Grow?
Mold grows just about anywhere. It can grow on almost any surface indoors and outdoors. However, there are common areas that you should check :
- Damp areas (laundry sinks, sump pump, bathrooms – especially shower tiles and the tub)
- The kitchen
- In the basement and garage
- On walls and ceilings that have experienced water damage
- Rotting shingles and wood
- Underneath siding
- Outdoor stairwells where water is prone to pooling
- Anywhere else where water and moisture is present
How To Determine If You Have Mold
If you’ve recently had a water damage issue, there is a very good chance you will have mold if you don’t properly clean up water damage. Here are the ways you can identify the presence of mold in your home :
- Look : Look for visible signs in the common areas where mold grows.
- Smell : Use your nose. A damp or moldy smell is a common clue that mold is present.
- Condensation : You have a lot of condensation on glass or metal.
- Past Leaks : If you’ve had leaks and water damage in the past it could create a breeding ground for mold to grow.
How To Prevent Mold Growth
While you won’t be able to completely mold proof your home, there are some proactive steps you can take to help prevent mold from growing :
- Professional Help : Use a professional for mold removal or to help with water damage cleanup.
- Problem Areas : Know the common problem areas in your home and address them.
- Dry Problem Areas : Don’t allow areas to remain wet – clean up the moisture right away.
- Ventilation : Make sure your home is properly ventilated.
- Humidity : Keep your home at the right humidity level and improve overall airflow.
- Roof And Gutters : Make sure roof gutters and downspouts are in working order and make sure groundwater properly flows away from your home through proper land grading.
Water Damage Mold Cleanup – Should You Use A Pro Or DIY?
Mold cleanup is something that you need to take serious. Whether mold is a result of water damage, a sewer backup, or overland basement flooding, how you approach cleanup will depend on a number of factors.
The first thing you need to do if you find mold is determine the size of the issue. A small areas of mold can be cleaned up by you, however, a larger presence should be handed by a professional mold remediation company.
The US Environmental Protection Agency explains :
Who should do the cleanup depends on a number of factors. One consideration is the size of the mold problem. If the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet (less than roughly a 3 ft. by 3 ft. patch), in most cases, you can handle the job yourself.
Other things to consider when determining whether or not to use a professional are :
- Where Is The Mold? : If it’s near a HVAC unit and could have gotten into the system, call a professional.
- What Is The Source Of The Mold? : If the mold is a result of sewer backup or potentially contaminated water, a professional is your best optio
Have Mold? Contact Your Insurance Company
If you have mold from water damage, basement flooding or sewer backup, it’s best to contact your insurance company about your options. They’ll be able to verify if you are covered and can help you start the process of cleaning mold from water damage.
If you are not sure about the extent of your mold water damage coverage, contact our home insurance brokers today. We’d be happy to help ensure you have ample coverage to ensure your home is protected.
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