Mold, Mildew, Water Damage, Mold caused by Water Damage.
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What is mold?
Simply mold or fungus is natures house keepers. The purpose of mold is to consume natural materials such as wood, paper or any material that can support the life of mold. There are many types of mold that can grow or colonize in dry, wet, humid, hot or cold environments and is able to survive for long periods of time if conditions of the environment support it.
How does mold grow?
Most commonly mold is associated with water such as water damage; a flood, a plumbing leak, rain, high rates of humidity or simply exterior irrigation. Since mold is everywhere you can assume that a situation may occur in a short period of time after a water intrusion or chronically due to how the structure is being used. Mold can begin to multiply into a visible growth that is called a colonization within 72 hours after a moisture impaction. After a water intrusion event mold growth can occur over a period of time due to irrigation impacting the wall; flower beds that are over watered possibly a dishwasher failing or a pin hole leak in your plumbing are a few examples.
Is mold dangerous?
Many molds can be dangerous to humans and animals. The concern of exposure to a fungus is a valid one. However, common sense must be used to determine if you are having an issue of exposure. Everyone reacts differently to their environments. You may not experience symptoms of allergies, sensitivities to "earth-like" odors or mental fog but someone else might. If you believe you have mold growth or conditions that could have contributed don't assume you may want to have it looked at and tested.
I have mold what do I do?
Consider that there are many levels as to mold impactions to a property either a home or even a commercial property. If mold has been identified and there has been an event or conditions to support the growth you may be able to mitigate by a combination of drying and removing materials that have been impacted. An inspection for mold will always reveal in virtually every property that there is mold. The question is how much of it becomes a problem that requires your attention to manage the situation. Again use common sense, ask questions, do some research on the subject and if something does not seem correct then likely it is not.
Will my insurance pay for my mold problem?
If your policy specifically says you have a "mold rider" to your policy for mold coverage you need to read the fine print very carefully. Most property owners don't either have coverage or have very little coverage. Call your agent and ask them what kind of an event will qualify for you to be able to use your insurance coverage.
How can I find a fair and professional remediation contractor?
There are many service providers in the Southern California area that offer services to abate mold and offer "dry down" services or even emergency water damage, fire or smoke damage restoration. If your event is large and extensive such as a flood or a fire the first likely people you will call is your insurance company and many insurance agents and claims adjusters know of professional service providers. However, remember that not all structures are the same. Emergency situations lead to costly mistakes and oversight always get as much as you can in writing even the completion time frame if possible. On the other hand, if you have time to do a little research it is always a good idea to look on social sites and read comments as to service providers in your area. Be careful with abnormally low quotes, be sure to read the fine print as to services, ask questions. Initial conversations over the phone can give you a good indication as to who you are dealing with.
If I had mold remediated how do I know they did a good job?
When determining if a post mold remediation service was successful you may want to consider the services of a mold inspector. A mold inspector should provide inspection services only. That the inspector is not also the remediation contractor. Again, ask questions, ask for references look on social sites and see if there is information as to their services good or bad. A professional inspector will provide a report that summarizes his/her inspection of either the entire property or possibly just the specific job. Apart of the report services of an inspector should include the investigation of the work performed as to completeness and will take samples to support their opinion as to the quality of the work performed. Or, an inspector may be used to determine the extent of a mold infestation and provide what is called a "scope of work." A scope of work allows a contractor to follow the guidelines as to what needs to be done with the property as to the remediation efforts.
Is this all I need to know?
Depending on the age of the property you may want to consider other factors that can complicate a project such as lead paint or possibly asbestos. You want to make sound decisions when examining the property for mold and or water damage. Be reserved and don't rush to conclusions you have some time to consider your options. Take a moment gather your thoughts as to how you want to approach the situation. Understand what your budget definition is, what will your costs be not only in inspection and demolition services but in the replacement of lost building materials. Always ask questions, get as much as you can in writing, talk to friends and neighbors about your situation and ask them if they had a similar experience and if so can they recommend someone to you. One phone call can tell you many things about your service provider.