Water Damage, Mold and House Insurance
You’ve had water damage in your house due to a burst pipe, a roof leak or a heavy summer storm. You hope that your insurance will cover the damage. What to do? First, read about mold below. You may not know the implications of water and mold damage.
What Is Mold, and Why Should You Care?
Molds are part of a group of micro-organisms called fungi that also includes mushrooms and yeasts. Molds are familiar to most people as food spoilers on items such as bread or fruit. Molds are nature’s decomposers in the food chain.
Mold requires the following conditions to grow:
- Mold spores (which are always present indoors and outdoors)
- The right temperature range, from 2°C to 40°C
- A food supply, which means anything organic such as books, carpets, clothing, wood, drywall, etc.
- A source of moisture
The last condition, moisture, is the only practical factor to control in most houses.
If allowed to grow inside your house, mold can be a problem because:
- It can damage your possessions
- It can cause health problems, for example:
“ … mold … can cause … allergic reactions such as asthma or allergic rhinitis, non-allergic reactions such as headaches, and other symptoms [including] lung and breathing infections” (Health Canada, 2003).
Dry Quickly to Avoid Mold!
1 Contact your insurance broker
First, call your insurance broker or agent and report the water damage. You can expect to discuss these questions and issues:
- How did the water damage occur?
- Is this damage covered by your policy?
- Did the damage occur during the period your policy was in effect?
- Are you reporting the water damage promptly (within 24 hours) to allow quick drying and repairs?
2 Hire Cleanup of Maryland
Hire a Cleanup of Maryland to clean up the water and make repairs as needed to your house.
A thorough and fast cleanup will help avoid mold growth. If you wait too long and mold growth starts, cleanup costs will increase significantly. This is what you should be looking for:
Mold grows quickly; that is why you need us in your house promptly.
Cleanup of Maryland is certified and training in water damage restoration and mold remediation.
We follow basic, good clean up practices after your water damage. Here are some things to look for:
- The moisture source is stopped
- Wet items that can’t be salvaged are removed
- What can’t be removed is dried quickly
- Ideally, drying is done within 48 hours (to minimize mold growth)
- No refinishing is done until the area is thoroughly dried
You’ve Got Mold
If you already have extensive mold because, for example, you’ve had water damage while you’ve been away for two weeks, or there was a long delay between the water damage and our arrival, then we will have to discuss the following points:
1 Drying the damaged area
2 Removing the mold safely
To protect our staff and you and your family from exposure to mold, Cleanup of Maryland follows certain procedures. Here are some things we do:
- The affected area will be sealed off from the rest of your house.
- The workers will be wearing protective gear.
- There will need to be an exhaust fan removing air from the affected area to the outdoors.
- No chemical disinfectants, such as bleach, should be used during clean-up, only fragrance-free detergent.
- If transported through your house, moldy materials will be sealed in plastic.
3 Inspecting for mold
We will inspect:
- All areas adjacent to the mold growth
- Behind wallpaper
- In areas where water may have seeped, such as wall cavities, basement subfloors, crawl spaces, etc.
- Under wall-to-wall carpeting