Recent Mold Remediation Posts
Missoula Mold 102: Causes and Prevention
High humidity can lead to mold growth in your home. Check out these tips to decrease the risk!
If you don’t have visible or suspected mold growth in your home, you probably don’t want to think too much about the topic. After all, out of sight out of mind. But the truth is, the best time to think about mold is when you don’t have a mold problem. That way, you can pinpoint potential mold danger-zones in your home, and take preventative action!
In a previous blog (Mold 101: What is it? Where is it?) we talked about steps you can take if you discover visible mold growth in your home. But what about steps you can take to get ahead of mold growth? Those all come down to understanding what causes mold. Like we said in that previous blog, mold “can grow anywhere moisture, oxygen, and organic material are present.” Well, that’s pretty much your entire home. But don’t be discouraged—the key is to limit excessive moisture as much as possible. Excessive moisture occurs when a dwelling is overly humid—the EPA recommends that homes maintain 30-60% humidity—and/or has poor ventilation, so that moisture-causing activities such as cooking, bathing, and washing clothes increase the indoor humidity level. Of course, excess moisture can also be caused by a leaking pipe, a roof leak, or flooding.
Luckily, taming excess moisture indoors can by done with simple actions at-home. Open windows to let steam outside when you’re showering or cooking on a stovetop, and vent clothes dryers to the outside. To facilitate air flow through your home, so that moisture doesn’t settle on surfaces, leave doors open between rooms and use ceiling fans if available. To monitor humidity, you can purchase an inexpensive hygrometer at most hardware stores, and of course, clean up leaks and spills as soon as they occur. If you live in a particularly humid area, or have recurring mold problems, you may want to consider more serious actions like purchasing a dehumidifier. Luckily, here in Missoula we don't tend to have high humidity, so the above steps should go a long way to lowering the risk of mold growth in your home!
What to do if you find mold in your Missoula home
Finding mold in your home can be scary business, but it’s our business to make it “Like it never even happened!”
If you find mold in your home or business, several worries are likely to race through your mind—you may wonder ‘Is this affecting the health of my family or employees?’ ‘How extensive is it?’ or ‘How do I even begin to get rid of it?’—but it’s important not to panic. Mold spores get released into the air when they’re disturbed, so if you discover mold, the first step you should take is to back away from whatever project exposed the mold, and to not disturb it further.
Second, because mold is caused by excess moisture, it’s important to figure out where the moisture came from. If you discover an active source of moisture, such as a leaking pipe, fix the leak or eliminate the source as soon as possible. Once you’ve cut off the source of moisture to the area affected by mold growth, it’s time to call insurance and see if mold damage is covered by your homeowner’s insurance. Your agent will also be able to recommend next steps based on the size and scope of the damage. In most cases, but certainly if the affected area is larger than 10 sq. ft (approximately 3 ft by 3 ft), the most reliable way to remediate the mold in your home is to call in remediation professionals. This is because many popular home remediation methods, such as the use of bleach, may not fix the problem and can make it likely for the mold to return. SERVPRO of Missoula uses advanced methods of containment and air filtration, as well as specially formulated cleaning products to remove mold and recreate a healthy environment for your family.
Missoula Mold 101: What is it? Where is it?
Mold is everywhere, but if you can see it or smell it in your home, call in remediation professionals!
When you hear the word ‘mold,’ a specific image probably comes to mind. That image might be fuzzy green patches on a loaf of bread, or black splotches in the tile grooves of your shower wall. Either way, ‘mold’ does not typically conjure up a pretty picture. But what is mold, really?
Mold is a fungus that can grow anywhere moisture, oxygen, and organic material are present. That definition may sound vague, but it has to be in order to encompass the 100,000+ species of mold that there are in the world. And with so many species of mold, it stands to reason that not all molds are bad. After all, we wouldn’t have foodie favorites such as blue cheese or hard salami if it weren’t for mold. On the other hand, some mold can cause health effects, so how do you know when to take action against it, and when to let it be?
According to the CDC, “there is always a little mold everywhere—in the air and on many surfaces.” This is because, when disturbed, mold spores become airborne and can be transported in and out of the home via doors, windows, and HVAC systems, or can hitch a ride on clothes, shoes, and pets. For the most part, we’re unaware of and unaffected by the mold spores being transported all around us. Mold infestations that require action, though, are those that can be seen or smelled. Visible mold growth, regardless of the type of mold present, should always be remediated to safeguard against possible negative health effects in a building’s inhabitants. If you find mold growth in your home or business, don’t panic! SERVPRO of Missoula can make it “Like it never even happened.”
Fall is upon us, Missoula! Time to break out the rake!
Raking fallen leaves early and often can help keep mold growth to a minimum in your yard.
With the sudden cold-snap we experienced here in the Missoula Valley, leaves have begun to drop from the trees at a rapid rate. Add in all that rain (and even snow!) that we’ve been getting, and your yard becomes a potential breeding ground for mold. That’s because freshly fallen leaves still have a fair amount of minerals and nutrients in their system, which promote mold growth under the right conditions. For the ‘right conditions,’ look no further than that perpetually shady, dew-covered spot under the tree in your yard or created by the shadow of your house. In other words, mold thrives in moist, dark environments.
However, there is a simple solution to preventing your yard from becoming an irritant to those with mold sensitivities: rake early, and rake often. If you don’t allow those leaves to sit and collect moisture, they’ll have less of a chance to grow mold. That also means bagging and disposing of leaves once they’re raked, instead of leaving large piles in your yard. If mold has already begun to grow and you’re worried about releasing mold spores into the air while doing yard work, you can always don a pair of gloves and an N95 respirator mask (found at any standard hardware store) before setting out.
Leaf mold isn’t all bad, though! If you’re a gardener, you can look into repurposing those leaves as mulch; this gets the leaves off your lawn and puts them to work for you. Or if you’re looking for other ways to keep your home mold-free this autumn, you can also make sure that all of your gutters and water drainage systems are draining away from your foundation, and clear those gutters of leaves and blockages.
Is mold damage in your Missoula home covered by insurance?
Keeping your home dry and being aware of potential water access points is the first step in preventing a mold damage claim.
If you own a home, there’s one four-letter word you never want to hear: mold. Mold can be an especially scary type of property damage because it can go undetected in out-of-the-way areas like crawlspaces, and can also cause negative health effects. That’s why the first step in dealing with mold should always be prevention.
That said, nobody ever plans on having mold develop in their home. So if the unexpected does happen, there are some things you may wonder about mold and insurance. Namely, does homeowner’s insurance cover mold mitigation?
Most often, mold is a result of water damage. Whether or not your insurance policy will cover the cost of mold mitigation, then, typically depends on whether that initial water damage was a “covered peril,” and the resulting mold wasn’t obviously preventable. Covered water damage is usually that which is deemed “sudden and accidental.” For instance, damage from a burst pipe that sprays water all over your basement would likely be a covered peril, but damage from a long-term leak that goes unfixed would not. Likewise, mold that begins to form as a result of that burst pipe would probably be covered by your policy, but mold growth due to that slow leak would not. However, even after a sudden, accidental water loss, you’re responsible for cleaning up the area to the best of your ability. Mold growth resulting from a failure to dry out waterlogged materials won’t be covered. That’s why prevention is key.
Of course, mold coverage is always policy specific. If you suspect mold growth in your home, it’s best to connect with your insurance agent or adjuster for your exact policy details, and call a professional cleanup and restoration service like SERVPRO of Missoula as soon as possible.