All posts by basement111

About basement111

Pa Basement Waterproofing and Mold Erasers Inc. owner and operators. 46 plus years of experience in the industry.

How to Remove and Prevent Mold From Growing in Your Vehicle!

Whether you keep a tidy vehicle or not, mold is a persistent threat. Owners must be vigilant in the upkeep of their vehicles, in order to avoid what could become a costly issue, both financially and health-wise. The key is prevention—a routine defense strategy—but if mold is already present, salvageable remediation may still be possible.

Prevention

The first step to all-around fabric and fiber mold prevention is to keep a clean car interior. Avoiding bad habits, such as eating in the car or using it as a mobile storage or trash receptacle, is the best line of defense. Cleaning the vehicle inside-and-out regularly—perhaps at the end of each work week—is the second best defensive move against mold.
With a routinely tidied car, the possibility of moisture build-up can be addressed next. Even if moisture is not detected, the owner should concede to regularly practicing the following routine(s):

Baking Soda

Sprinkle baking soda on all carpeted or upholstered areas, such as the floors and seats.

Let the baking soda sit for 2 or more hours—for maximum absorption of moisture and smell.

Vacuum up the baking soda.

Repeat at least once a month for low-risk moisture situations and once a week for high-risk moisture situations.

Rice

Fill a small, natural-fiber bag or sock with rice.

If there exists a severe moisture concern, then fill more than one rice bag.

Place the rice bag(s) in the door panel(s) of the vehicle, or lay it beneath the front seats if the car has no door panel pockets.

Discard and replace it once or twice a year for low-risk moisture situations and once every one to three months for high-risk moisture situations.

Baking soda and rice are naturally absorbent when it comes to moisture, and baking soda acts as a smell neutralizer. These drying techniques should be used together, as both a preventative measure against mold-encouraging moisture and as a means to control moisture after mold remediation.

Remediation
Vehicle mold remediation begins with detection. The earliest signs of a possible mold infiltration involve the presence of excessive moisture. The three main moisture sources are: 1. Beverage spills, 2. Snow, rain, slush, or mud stampings from shoes, 3. Issues with weather stripping—the rubber lining on the doors and windows, which can often be made brittle and useless by harsh soaps, road salt, or long-term exposure to the sun. Excessive moisture issues will be apparent by the feeling of dampness in the carpet or seats or by the formation of window fog or condensation after a rain or an exterior washing.

If there is any indication of moisture, then mold is now attempting to take root and grow—if it hasn’t already. Action must be taken immediately. Use the baking soda and rice bag technique right away; but if the moisture issue is well-beyond dampness and condensation, then purchase, rent, or borrow a carpet cleaner/steam cleaner (with a hose) or a “wet vac” and remove the majority of the moisture as quickly as possible.

It is also possible to use a small dehumidifier—as a final step of moisture control—in the car if you have a garage. Set the dehumidifier evenly on the floor in the front or back seat, crack a window just enough for the cord to run through it and plug into a wall outlet in the garage. The run-time depends on the starting moisture status, but be sure to drain or dump out the water that accumulates in the dehumidifier’s catch-container every hour or so.

Once the spill or detectable moisture has been removed, consider the following methods for cleansing away mold growth and spores:

Dish soap
Use only the soap suds—to avoid adding moisture back into the vehicle.

Fill a bowl with hot water and plenty of dish soap. Mix fast and well, then scoop up the soap suds that rise to the top and place them in a new, separate bowl. (Repeat this process until you have enough suds to cover the affected area.)

Use the soap suds to scrub the carpet and upholstery—wherever there is fabric or fibers, mold can sprout up.

Use a dry towel afterward and scrub the carpet and upholstery again. (If the towel becomes damp, get a fresh, dry towel and do it again.)

Hydrogen Peroxide
Warning: hydrogen peroxide is known to lift the color out of medium-to-dark fabrics and fibers. It can also significantly lighten—in comparison to surrounding regions—areas that have stains or sections that have mold growth.

Hydrogen peroxide is anti-fungal and safe to use in a confined space, such as a vehicle.

Pour 3% concentration hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle. Do not add water.

Spray the mold-affected area, saturate it well, and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Scrub the area and really dig into the base of the carpet. (Use a bristle brush, especially for upholstery, then wash and sanitize the brush afterward.)

Towel-dry the area with a towel you wouldn’t mind possibly being discolored by the hydrogen peroxide.

Baking Soda (as a mold-cleaner)
Mix ¼ tablespoon baking soda per 8oz. water (double or triple the mix, if needed) in a spray bottle, and shake until the baking soda dissolves.

Fill another spray bottle with very hot water.

Spray the mold-affected area with the baking soda mixture and then use a rag, sponge, or bristle brush for scrubbing. (Throw away the cleaning material or tool after using it on mold, unless it can be washed of mold and sanitized.)

Take time scrubbing and then spray just enough hot water to lightly dampen the same surface (after scrubbing). If necessary, repeat the baking soda wash and hot water rinse.

Use a clean, dry towel and rub up the excessive moisture, vigorously pressing deep in the carpet. Use more than one towel, if the first becomes overly damp.

Vinegar (white)
Vinegar is mildly acidic and is known to kill 82% of mold species. (Baking soda can be used with vinegar to kill and remove certain more-stubborn species of mold.)

Pour distilled white vinegar into a spray bottle. Do not add water.

Spray the vinegar onto the mold-affected area—saturate well.

Let sit for 1 hour.

Dip a clean rag in hot water, squeeze out (but not too much), and scrub the area. Repeat the process until the vinegar smell is still present but not so prevalent.

Towel-dry.

If the vinegar smell persists, squeeze a lemon or two onto a rag (or towel, depending on the size of the cleaned area) and place inside a bowel and within the vehicle for a few hours.

(Note: All of these cleaning methods can be used in conjuncture with carpet-cleaning machines, steam-cleaning machines, and “wet vacs.”)
Mold Erasers LLC

Pa Basement

www.molderasers.com
www.pabasement.com
800-511-6579

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Mold Uses: Good Mold?

What Is Mold?
A mold or fungus is an organism that survives on almost any material; it digests its food externally and absorbs the nutrient molecules into its cells. With the onslaught of publicity about molds that threaten human health, we now fear molds and destroy them on sight. Very understandable since it’s our general well-being that is being looked out for, but what is being forgotten is that molds have good uses too.

The first and most important role of fungi is that without it, there would be piles of trash everywhere. Don’t forget fungi get food from our weekly trash. They eat the garbage and transform it into soil. They are the first, natural garbage dispensers.

Uses of Fungi:
Fungi are very important and have a variety of important uses. Yeasts, for one, are responsible for fermentation. Fermentation is the process used in making beer and different wines. The same fungus is used in most of the bread that is eaten, and without it, bread would be flat.

Mushrooms are a form of fungus. In many countries, mushroom farming is a very big industry. The biggest role of Fungi is probably acting as the primary decomposer of dead plant and animal matter in almost all ecosystems. That is why we commonly see molds on old bread.

Remember – Mold can be put to good use too!
Mold Erasers LLC

Pa Basement

www.molderasers.com
www.pabasement.com
800-511-6579

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What is Dry Ice Mold Remediation?

How to Remove Mold

It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. This is normal and to be expected. However, the mold that lands on the surface will not grow if moisture is not present. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors. If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem. If you clean up the mold, but don’t fix the water problem, then, most likely, the mold problem will come back.

There are various methods used to go about the job of mold remediation. The most important thing to note is that once the water problem is resolved, the mold must be removed in its entirety. Too often, remediators will just spray and biocide on the mold, encapsulate it and consider the job done. However, this still leaves the allergenic mold behind and the potential for re-growth is much higher. In addition, all absorbent and pourous materials, such as ceiling tiles, dry wall and carpet, will have to be thrown out.

It is recommended by the IICRC and the IAQA to follow the S520 for mold remediation and the S500 for water damage restoration. In these standards, there are clear steps to be used for setting up containment, negative air and heap vacuuming, etc. However, the actual method for removing the mold can be done in several “approved” ways. Dry ice blasting is a new addition to these standards, because it is a fairly new to the restoration contracting industry. However, dry ice blasting was developed over 20 years ago and has since been pioneered and continuously innovated. Dry ice blasting had been used in industrial markets, cleaning rubber and plastic molding equipment, printing presses, automotive weld lines, foundries and various other industrial applications. Recently, the restoration world has embraced dry ice blasting for its quick, thorough and complete cleaning results.

The traditional methods of mold remediation involve a great deal of time consuming manual labor and back-breaking work. Manual sanding and scraping take up the majority of the mold remediator’s time in any remediation project and, therefore, account for the majority of the labor costs for any remediation contractor. The set-up of the project, including negative air set-ups, containment and HEPA vacuuming take minimal time and will always be required and necessary parts of the contractor’s project when it comes to mold remediation.

Dry ice blasting replaces the manual sanding and scraping process for the remediation contractors. It is the best alternative to manual methods, because there is no secondary waste stream created with dry ice blasting. This is not the case with other forms of media blasting. Sand blasting and soda blasting both create a huge secondary mess to attend to, that can as much as double the project time to that of dry ice blasting. In addition, sand blasting can be very damaging to the surface being blasted and soda blasting has been said to alter the PH levels in the soil it may come into contact with, killing any vegetation.

Mold Erasers LLC

Pa Basement

www.pabasement.com

www.molderasers.com

800-511-6579

PA001027

Why is Mold Bad?

Typically, mold is not a problem indoors, unless the mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. In many cases, molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (allergens are substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Typically, allergic reactions can range from hay fever-type symptoms, like sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rashes. Allergic reactions to mold are common and many people do not even realize it the mold that causing their symptoms. Often, the symptoms can be felt in individuals that may not have had any mold allergies before, or did not even know that they were allergic.

The symptoms can be felt immediately, but sometimes they are delayed. Mold has been known to cause asthma attacks in people with asthma and a mold allergy. In addition, mold exposure can be an irritant in a variety ways from itchy eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lung discomfort in both those with and without mold allergies. However, symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. It is important to note that research on mold and its health effects is ongoing. This does not describe all potential health effects related to mold exposure. For more detailed information, it is wise to consult a health professional and you state or local health department.
Mold Erasers LLC

Pa Basement

www.pabasement.com

www.molderasers.com

800-511-6579

PA001027

Water Damage and Mold!

The long term effects of water damage in a building are something we deal with every day. We also deal with misconceptions, skepticism, fear, anger and a whole range of other reactions so we make information sharing and education a top priority.

What we know for certain is that water damage in a building can result in fungal growth which can cause aesthetic and structural damage to a building. We also know that there are physical/health consequences. What we don’t know is why some people are affected and some seemingly are not. We also do not know for certain how serious the long term consequences are for people that are affected. The excerpt below, is taken from a blog by Mark Filidei, D.O. and published by an American organization called Amen Clinics. We offer it as information only and believe everyone should do their own research. Fungal contamination is real, but more real for some than others.

It is estimated that half of the buildings in United States may be water damaged buildings. Construction techniques in United States turn out to be a feast and buffet for mold and fungal organisms. Our homes here are often built of wood and drywall rather than stone or brick as in Europe. Mold and fungi thrive on drywall, wood and other soft materials. Mold thrives in dark and moist environments, and doesn’t take much water to get the process going. A small drip from a leaky toilet, shower, or sink is all it takes. Small roof leaks are also common causes. If you see a stain on the ceiling or the wall there is very likely an associated hidden mold growth. This is not the type of mold that you see on the shower wall, but rather it is lurking behind the walls and in air ducts, crawlspaces, and attics, etc.

The toxin-producing “black mold” Stachybotrys, as well as and other neuro-toxic molds, including Aspergillus, Chaetomium, and Wallemia can have a dramatic effect on the brain and behavior. There are 2 main effects of mold exposure: the physical airway irritating effects like allergies, cough and fatigue, and the more concerning effects on the central nervous system (CNS) and the brain. CNS symptoms can include brain fog, inability to concentrate, depression, sleep disorders, anxiety, irritability, headache, and confusion. Unfortunately there is about a 99.9% chance that anyone presenting with these symptoms will never have mold considered as part of the differential diagnosis. It is simply not on the radar screen of the vast majority of physicians. When was the last time your doctor asked you if your home had a water leak? Point made.

Issues in the home are not the only problem; many workplaces are also contaminated with mold, especially older buildings. Schools have been condemned because of mold contamination, office buildings, hotels, and industrial complexes can all be a source of the problem. Many of the government buildings in Washington, DC have been found to have significant mold contamination issues. Our law makers in Washington seem to have enough trouble getting things done; the last thing we need is for them to have poorly functioning brains due to toxic mold exposure.

Please share this you never know who you could help:

Mold Erasers LLC

Pa Basement

http://www.pabasement.com

http://www.molderasers.com

800-511-6579

PA001027

How can I control the mold growth in my home?

In practical terms, just as you cannot kill every single dust mite in your home, you cannot get rid of every single mold spore, but with environmental control, you can get rid of enough of them to see improvement in your allergy symptoms.

Mold FAQ – How Do I Spot Mold and Get Rid of It?

1. Repair any leaks or problems leading to water build-up in your home immediately, and remove all materials that have been damaged by water (this includes wood, wall paper, carpet, etc.). Keep exterior surfaces of your home properly sealed, and avoid piling wood or leaves near your home, as they collect moisture. Scour sinks and tubs at least once a month, and wash out garbage receptacles frequently. Pay particular attention to cracks, seams, and grout in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry areas. Getting rid of indoor plants can also reduce the number of mold spores in the air.

2. Make sure your home is adequately ventilated. Hidden mold can often grow inside HVAC systems. An allergy relief vent filter will trap the mold before it reaches you.

3. A HEPA air purifier will remove a minimum of 99.97% of all mold spores in your home, and a HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner will suck up microscopic mold spores deep in your carpet so that you can dispose of them.

4. Monitor the humidity in your home with a hygrometer, or humidity gauge. Keep your home’s humidity between 40 and 50 percent. Most importantly, use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air and control humidity.

5. Polyurethane and rubber foams, commonly used in bedding materials, are especially prone to fungus invasion. If you have polyurethane or rubber foam bedding, consider purchasing allergy relief bedding, which is specifically designed to block out allergens.

Contact us for a free inspection:

MoldErasers.com

800-511-6579                   

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MOLD ALLERGIES IN WINTER

800-511-6579Several factors lead to increased concerns about mold during the winter months. For one thing, moisture conditions indoors can lead to the growth of molds and mildews. While it’s true that forced heating systems make indoor air drier overall during the winter months, certain areas of the home may experience intensified levels of humidity because of a lack of ventilation. Bathrooms and kitchens are particularly susceptible to this problem. Steamy showers in small bathrooms spell trouble, as does the accumulation of steam from washing dishes and cooking in the kitchen. Because of cold weather, windows aren’t usually open, and condensation collects on indoor surfaces such as cold walls or windows and their frames, often creating ideal conditions for mold allergies in winter.

In addition, outdoor exposure is also common during early winter months when piles of leaves collect and absorb moisture. Cold, damp air promotes mold growth in many additional outdoor locations during this time of year as well. Mold thrives in dead vegetation, and is not killed by winter frosts. In fact, many molds can become dormant during the winter only to grow on plants killed by the cold when springtime arrives – making mold a year-round allergy trigger.

Any disturbance to an outdoor mold source, such as can occur when raking leaves or tending to a compost pile, disperses mold spores through the air, exposing individuals to varying levels of mold inhalation. So, whether you’re indoors or outdoors, mold allergies in winter can be a problem that cannot be overlooked.

IDENTIFYING THE SOURCE OF MOLD ALLERGIES IN WINTER

Mold Allergies – Don’t Mistake This for Carpet, if you notice visible mold or mildew growing in a certain area of your home, it is clear that you have a mold problem. You will need to identify the source of the moisture and remedy the problem at the source. For instance, if you discover mold growing under your bathroom sink, look to see if there are leaky pipes that may be dripping water and repair them.

However, though you may not notice mold growth in certain area, this does not mean that mold isn’t present or that it won’t grow if you don’t take action. Indications such as condensation forming on window panes or peeling paint on window sills suggest moisture buildup that makes the area susceptible to mold growth. Water stains likewise indicate a moisture problem and a potential hotspot for mold growth. Any area where water sits or steam collects, such as in shower stalls or bathtub rims, (particularly the area around toiletry bottles and the like) is also a place to keep an eye on.

CLEANING MOLD AND MILDEW

 The most important thing to remember when cleaning up a mold or mildew problem is to protect yourself from exposure. Be sure to wear an allergy mask such as the AllergyZone N95 Filter Mask when cleaning mold. If you are sensitive to mold, you should also protect yourself from exposure by wearing goggles and gloves. Make sure to discard or thoroughly clean any equipment when you are finished with the job.

AllergyZone N95 Filter Mask Blocks Mold SporesNow for how to actually clean the mold: Many people believe that the best thing for cleaning mold and mildew is bleach or a bleach solution. However, there are two basic problems with using bleach to solve a mold problem, especially for allergy sufferers. One problem is that fumes and residue from bleach are toxic and can cause additional respiratory problems for sensitive individuals. Another problem is that bleach does not necessarily kill the mold, but can trick you into thinking that the mold is dead because the mold seems to disappear; however, it may actually just be whitened, but still there, propagating itself further. While bleach may be used on hard, non-porous surfaces (although we do not recommend it), using bleach on porous surfaces such as wood is simply not effective because mold’s roots can penetrate deep into the surface.

To clean mold safely and effectively, use cleaners such as Vital Oxide Mold Remover and Disinfectant or EcoDiscoveries MoldZyme Mold and Mildew Remover. These cleaners will eliminate one potent allergen – mold – without introducing another one – toxic cleaners – into your indoor environment. Inhibit future mold growth by using a protective sealant in vulnerable areas of your home. 

Note: If the mold colony is larger than ten square feet, you should call a mold remediation specialist rather than handling the job yourself.

ALLEVIATING MOLD ALLERGIES IN WINTER

The best way to avoid suffering from mold allergies is to minimize exposure to mold in the first place. Do this by finding and eliminating sources of moisture that contribute to mold growth. In addition, take the following steps to reduce your exposure to mold:

Always wear an allergy relief mask when doing yard work. Not only will a mask protect you from pollen during the spring and fall, but wearing a mask like the extremely comfortable, hand-washable Silk Comfort Mask will also protect you from inhaling mold spores while you rake leaves or perform other necessary wintertime yard duties.

Protect yourself while you clean. Wearing a mask is also essential when you clean moldy areas of your home. If you prefer a disposable mask, the AllergyZone N95 Filter Mask, which comes in a 3-pack and filters particles as small as 0.3 microns in size, is an excellent option.

Maintain proper levels of humidity. While indoor air in the winter tends to be on the dry side AOS S450 Warm Mist Humidifier because of forced air heating systems, it is still important to monitor your home’s humidity with a humidity gauge, especially if you are using a humidifier. Ideal humidity levels for allergy sufferers are between about 40 and 50 percent. Many humidifiers also come with built-in hygrometers to ensure that you don’t over-humidify your environment, a problem which could lead to excess moisture and mold growth.

Use a sinus irrigation product like the SinuPulse Elite Nasal Advanced Nasal Sinus Irrigation System. As the Mayo Clinic points out, allergic fungal sinusitis, which occurs when fungus lodges and grows in the sinuses is a concern. For those who are prone to sinus infections, as many allergy sufferers are, it’s a good idea to take precautions against this complication by maintaining cleansed nasal passages. Regular sinus irrigation, whether with the SinuPulse system or with a neti pot, such as the Neilmed Nasaflow Neti Pot, will help to alleviate the stuffy or runny nose that can accompany exposure to mold.

When possible, remain indoors when weather is foggy or damp, the Mayo Clinic also recommends. Furthermore, it is a good idea to sleep with your windows closed to shut out outdoor mold, which is highest at night during the coolest, dampest hours.
REACTIONS TO MOLD

Even though a person may not be allergic to mold, other reactions to mold pose a significant health risk. An AAAAI Position Statement entitled The Medical Effects of Exposure to Mold describes, “Mold can cause adverse human health effects in 3 specific mechanisms: generation of harmful immune response (e.g. allergy or hypersensitivity pneumonitis), direct infection by the organism, and toxic irritant effects from mold byproducts.” Hence, it is in the interest of everyone’s health to know what kinds of environmental conditions lead to mold and how prevent or remedy them in order to limit overall exposure.

The Mayo Clinic also reports that some molds may cause symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, fever, rashes, and coughing, even in non-allergic individuals. Infants may experience bleeding in the lungs (acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage) when exposed to certain types of molds.

Those with weakened immune systems, even if they are not allergic to mold, may experience complications when exposed to mold. Mold exposure can often be handled well by healthy individuals, but may cause infections in those on immune-suppressant drugs or chemotherapy.

MOLD ALLERGIES AND ASTHMA

Mold allergies and asthma are a bad combination as exposure to mold can trigger asthma symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. In some cases, mold exposure can lead to a severe asthma attack. Therefore, asthmatic individuals must be aware of this link and of how to avoid encounters with mold.

MOLD ALLERGIES: SYMPTOMS AND EXPOSURE FROM FOOD

Beyond mold allergies in winter and contact with them in our environment, we are all exposed to a certain amount of mold every day, usually without any problem or reaction. Many of the foods we eat can contain mold without us ever being aware of it. However, those who are allergic to mold may react to exposure when subjected to too much of the fungi.

Individuals who are allergic to mold exhibit symptoms similar to those of other upper respiratory allergies when they are exposed to mold, including:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Cough and postnasal drip
  • Itchy eyes, nose and throat
  • Watery eyes
  • Sinusitis, an inflammation of the sinuses

In relation to food, it is important to note that mold does not need to be visible to be present; molds have branches and roots that penetrate into the food where they cannot be seen. Foods Most Likely to Contain Mold: Sensitive individuals should be aware of the following foods, which are more likely than other types of food to contain mold (list provided by WebMD):

  • Cheese
  • Mushrooms
  • Vinegar and foods containing vinegar, such as salad dressing, catsup and pickles
  • Sour cream, sour milk, and buttermilk
  • Meat or fish more than 24 hours old
  • Breads and other food made with yeast
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickled and smoked meats and fish
  • Dried fruits such as dates, prunes, figs and raisins
  • Soy sauce
  • Hot dogs, sausages
  • Canned juices

Contact Us!

800-511-6579

Winter Weather & Wet Basements – Keeping Your Home Dry in Cold Temperatures

As much of North America feels the extreme cold temperatures brought on by the polar vortex, we felt it pertinent to discuss some of the less sensational damage this weather can cause to homes, like moisture intrusion. Winter weather brings more common issues, and it’s important that homeowners prepare for these items as well.

Wet Basement

Subzero temperatures can often translate to wet basements. Many believe that Spring, with its frequent downpours, is when they should be concerned about moisture intrusion in their home – and they are right. However, this isn’t the only time to think about this issue. Water damage requires year-round attention.

One of the major factors in keeping your home dry is maintaining your external water management systems: your gutters, downspouts, and window wells. When properly installed, these items are meant to direct water away from the home. However, as snow and ice accumulate, they clog these areas, trapping debris such as twigs, leaves, and litter in them ultimately making them less effective. To combat this issue homeowners must ensure:

1.Gutters are clear of debris.

2.Downspouts extend far enough away from the home – at least six feet from your foundation.

3.The bottom of your window well contains several inches of gravel to allow water to drain from the well. A drainage pipe, filled with gravel (to prevent it from collapsing, but still allowing water to pass), should extend down the drainage tile around the perimeter of the footing (if one exists) of your window well. If your window well does not have this, a clear plastic dome should be installed over the window well to keep water and debris out. You may have to dig down through some gravel to see this drainage pipe.

The importance of this list is compounded this year by the ice storm and the increased volume of debris that was created when many trees froze and had their branches break off. As such, your home may require more attention than previous winters. Although the frigid temperatures of late may have you curling up with a hot cup of tea and a good book instead of heading outdoors, removing the debris from your yard should take priority – but do make sure to bundle up (pun intended).

Over the course of the next few days the temperature is set to increase dramatically, and meteorologists are calling for rain. This means the snow and ice clogging your gutters, downspouts, and window wells is going to melt. This snow-melt, combined with the rain, can seep into your basement if it is not properly directed away from your home, so now is the time to take action. Being mindful of the above-mentioned areas should help to reduce the potential for water damage in your home.

Homeowners Insurance: Is Mold Covered?

Whether you’re covered often comes down to the source of moisture and the wording of your policy.

Mold and Home Owners InsuranceMost basic home owners insurance policies exclude coverage of damage caused by mold, fungi, and bacteria, says Mark Ferguson, property claim specialist with General Casualty Insurance in Sun Prairie, Wis. Yet that doesn’t mean a mold claim will be denied automatically.

In most cases, if mold results from a sudden and accidental covered peril, such as a pipe bursting, the cost of remediation should be covered, says Ferguson. That’s because technically the pipe burst is the reason for the claim, not the mold itself. Claims are more likely to be rejected if mold is caused by neglected home maintenance: long-term exposure to humidity, or repeated water leaks and seepage.

It’s hard to put a precise dollar figure on mold damage because most insurers don’t separate mold claims from water-damage claims, says Claire Wilkinson of the Insurance Information Institute. About 22% of all home owners insurance claims result from “water damage and freezing,” a category that includes mold remediation, according to the III. A 2003 white paper on mold from the III put the cost of the average mold claim between $15,000 and $30,000, at least five times the average non-mold home owners claim at that time.

After a rush of mold claims in the early 2000s, most states adopted limitations on mold coverage. Amounts vary, but a typical home owners policy might cover between $1,000 and $10,000 in mold remediation and repair, says Celia Santana of Personal Risk Management Solutions in New York. Most policies won’t cover mold related to flood damage. For that, home owners need separate flood insurance, which averages $540 per year through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Damage Done by an Inch of water

Replace carpet, flooring $2,700

New baseboard molding $2,250

Replace drywall $1,350

Cleanup, materials $1,000

Bookshelves, lamps $500

Total $7,800

Source: National Flood Insurance Program

Is Extra Mold Coverage Necessary?

It might be possible to purchase a mold rider as an add-on to your existing home owners policy. Ask your agent. A rider will offer additional mold coverage. Cost and your personal risk-tolerance are the driving factors behind a decision.

Premiums will vary based on where you live and the value of your house. You could pay from $500 to $1,500 a year for a rider on an existing policy. Prices tend to climb in humid southern climates, and in Texas and California, where there have been high-profile mold cases.

In general, older homes in humid climates where mold thrives will be more costly to insure than newer constructions in a dry climate. In particular, homes built within the past five years are likely constructed with mold-resistant wood, drywall, and paints, says Santana. Newer homes are also less susceptible to water infiltration.

If your insurance carrier isn’t willing to provide a rider because the risk is too great, specialty companies such as Unitrin might sell you a standalone mold policy. Brace yourself for a hefty price tag. Annual premiums for a standalone mold policy might range from $5,000 to $25,000. Weigh the cost against risk factors including the age and value of your home, its construction, and the prevalence of mold issues in your area.

Moisture Prevention Is the Key

The surest way to avoid having a claim denied is keeping mold at bay in the first place. Preventing mold and eliminating mold when it does occur are critical to protecting the value of your home.

To help prevent mold growth in your home, the III suggests taking the following steps:

Lower indoor humidity with air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and exhaust fans.

Inspect hoses and fittings on appliances, sinks, and toilets.

Opt for paints and primers that contain mold inhibitors.

Clean gutters to avoid overflow and check roof for leaks.

Avoid carpet in wet areas like basements and bathrooms.

Remove and dry carpet, padding, and upholstery within 48 hours of flooding.
Pa Basement/Mold Erasers

800-511-6579

http://www.pabasement.com, http://www.molderasers.com