Categories
Mold Blog

How Mold Can Thrive Indoors

Mold is ubiquitous. You will be hard pressed to find anyplace that does not have some levels of mold present. In Florida, one of the costs of living in a beautiful, tropical environment is high mold levels outside.

However, most people do not have any adverse health reactions from being exposed outside. For that reason, some people assume that if they are fine outside that they should be fine indoors.

This can cause more people to tolerate high mold levels inside, and suffer from the adverse effects.

The indoor environment is much different than the outside. There are molds that are dominated outdoors but can be a dominate species inside. These tend to be the same molds that are the more toxigenic species, such as Stachybotrys and Chaetomium.

Indoors, these are molds that need sustained moisture for a long period of time before germinating. They are also heavy and sticky molds, so they are not easily aerosolized which is the reason that they are not a dominate mold outside.

However, inside they can do a lot of damage both to other mold colonies and to the human occupants.

Another factor that helps molds thrive indoors is that they are in a confined space. Mold growth outside tends to disperse spores when released into the air. People in the area are not exposed to high concentrations, because of the broad disbursement.

When molds grow inside, the spore release is trapped and build up to high concentrations rarely ever seen outdoors.

One last factor to keep in mind is that homes are essentially a delicious smorgasbord for mold.

Mold is on this planet to eat away dead, organic material. This includes drywall paper, wall framing, wood cabinets, leather sofas and clothes, etc.

Add moisture to the mix, including high humidity, and the mold will grow, eat, and produce more mold. If you suspect that you have elevated mold in your home or office, call Lightning Restoration today. There is no charge for our initial evaluation.

Categories
Mold Blog

Mold Could Be Why You Feel Sick All the Time at Home

We get so many clients that talk about feeling sick at home but feeling fine when they are at work. That seems backwards…right? Our homes should be our “feel good” havens, not what makes us feel sick.

A common occurrence is that there has been some type of water damage in the home that the property owner is not aware of.

There are many different sources that are not readily apparent. This can include hidden slow leaks behind cabinets, a leaking window, a leaking shower pan, hydrostatic pressure from

the ground, etc. When moisture is present, mold is not far behind…especially in our tropical paradise.

When moisture problems occur and mold growth results, there are different reactions a person can be feeling as a result.

The CDC states this the best.. “Most people will not be harmed by most molds and most molds will not harm most people.

However, some people will be harmed by any mold and some molds will harm anyone.”

Those most susceptible to mold toxins have high allergies, lowered immunities, the very young and the very old.

Also, the possibility of different levels of mold exposure sensitivity must always be considered when evaluating potential health risks. Some indicators that you may have a mold concern are:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Headaches
  • Burning Eyes
  • Skin Rash
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Constant Runny Nose & Cough
  • Allergic Reactions
  • Fever

If you are experiencing regular symptoms like these, you should consider having your home evaluated and tested for mold toxins.

As always, prevention is the best cure. The most impactive thing that mold needs to grow is moisture.

If you have moisture in the home, get it dried up immediately. Contact Lightning Restoration for a free evaluation to make sure that hidden moisture has dried up, so you do not get a Mold problem!

Categories
Mold Blog

How Do I Prevent Mold Growth?

If you have a water leak, it’s important to clean and dry the area immediately to prevent mold growth. Porous materials, such as drywall and wood wall cavity wood framing can appear dry, but still hold a significant amount of moisture that will cause mold damage. Under the right conditions, mold can begin to grow in as little as 24-48 hours. 

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Some Quick Ways to Help Prevent Mold Growth

Keep your eyes open.  Identify and controlling water problems is the first step in discouraging mold growth.  Here are a few quick tips.

  • Every month, when you change your AC filters, also look at all of your ceilings and under cabinets.  Look for signs of moisture. 
  • Monitor the humidity in your home.  Keep humidity in the low 50’s or less. 
  • Regularly maintain your HVAC system.  A poorly running HVAC system will not sufficiently process the humidity in your home, which could lead to a Mold Bloom. 
  • Properly ventilate your clothes dryer and clean the lint exhaust regularly
  • Use tile, not carpet or wood, in moisture-prone areas.  In Florida, it is common to find older homes that have elevated moisture in the concrete slab due to the high-water table. 
  • Employ dehumidifiers in the home if humidity is regularly elevated.
  • Insulate cold surfaces like walls, floors and windows.
  • Use exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens and let them run long enough that you don’t see condensation on mirrors or walls.
  • Improve circulation in the home by using ceiling fans.
  • Above all else, mitigate water damage immediately.  Mold cannot grow without moisture. 

If you suspect water or mold damage in your home, call Lightning Restoration for a free evaluation & estimate.  Stay safe and healthy Tampa Bay.

Categories
Property Damage

Will My Property Damage Claim Be Covered by Insurance?

This is the most common question that we get at Lightning Restoration. The truth of the matter is that we wish that we had the Magic 8-Ball that would give us that answer every time, but we don’t.  There are a lot of factors that come into play when a carrier is deciding whether to cover your property damage claim. 

What Factors into My Property Damage Claim?

What is stated in your policy?

This is the most important factor: what coverage did you purchase with your policy?  Insurance policies are more difficult to read than stereo instructions.  If you don’t fully understand your coverages, call your Insurance Agent and request a review.  Know what you are buying and don’t try to save a few bucks by limiting essential coverages, like water damage.

What is the source of the damage? 

You may have $10k in mold coverage, but if that policy doesn’t cover the source of the mold, then it won’t cover the mold.  An example would be ground water intrusion from pooling water on the side of the house.  Standard Homeowners Policies do not cover ground water at all, and Flood Policies will not cover ground water intrusion unless there is storm flooding.  This is defined as when two or more adjacent properties are flooded.  If it is flood water, mold remediation may still not be covered since flood policies typically only pay for the water remediation & repair.

Did you mitigate the damages? 

Every insurance policy requires the policy holder to mitigate the damages. In essence, this means that you have to act to stop the damages from getting worse.  The policy also requires that the loss be “sudden & accidental”. We have found property owners who were aware of water damage to the home for months but failed to act.  Now there is a mold problem and there is an urgency to remediate and file a claim.  However, since they failed to mitigate the water damages, the carrier can deny the claim.  There is an unwritten 14-day rule that is quite common in the state of Florida.  This refers to the situation where the carrier feels like the loss has been going on for more than 2 weeks.  It is not “sudden and accidental” and they will deny the claim. 

Failure to maintain the property

If the property owner is not taking care of general maintenance, the carrier can deny the claim for that very reason.  This is commonly seen in roof leaks, where the roof is past its lifespan. 

Construction or Manufacturer Defects

An insurance carrier can deny a claim if the manufacturer of a structural material, appliance or fixture fails from defect.  This is also the case with a contractor that performs work that causes damages.  However, in most cases, we find that the carrier will go ahead and pay the claim and later subrogate back to that manufacturer or contractor.  Our recommendation is to always attempt to file a claim directly with a manufacturer or contractor before contacting your own insurance carrier.  This will save you from having a claim that will cost you a deductible and possibly increased rates upon renewal. 

  • Most appliance and fixture manufacturers have their own claims department.  Research the manufacturer’s claims department online to get the contact info. 
  • To avoid an ugly confrontation, always request a Certificate of Insurance (COI) from your contractor up front.  You can also request to be added as an Additional Insured to the policy.  When going this route, get that COI before any work begins.  Getting the COI when they want to get the job is easy.  Getting insurance information out of a contractor when damages are in dispute is always a difficult task that often gets very contentious. 

Your Claim Could be Denied for Multiple Reasons

These are a handful of reasons why a carrier could deny your property damage claim.  However, the truth is that each carrier, and each adjuster for that matter, is different and may interpret the policy differently.  By state law, if a claim is denied that you feel should be covered, you do have other recourse.  With each denial, the carrier is required to supply you with the information about how to file for mediation.  The state requires that the carrier pay for the mediation.  It is quite common for carriers to overturn denials in mediation if the policy holder can show a reasonable explanation of expected coverage. 

Lightning Restoration are experts in working with every insurance carrier in the state.  Do not hesitate to contact our office when you have Water, Mold or Fire damage.  We will walk you through the process and get the insurance carrier everything that they need to accurately assess the claim.  If a carrier has denied your claim, we offer discounted services and financing for our clients paying without insurance assistance.