25 Facts About Mold

25 Facts About Mold

25 Facts About Mold

As Southwest Florida’s mold testing experts, we’ve learned more than our share of facts about mold over the years. During that time, Mold Inspectors of Florida has also seen the countless ways that mold can damage homes and businesses while risking the health of anyone inside. Part of our mission is to spread our knowledge to every resident and business owner in the area. 

Our Top Mold Facts

1. Mold is everywhere! Whether there are signs or not, mold spores are in the air, in our water, and on just about every surface, both inside and outside.

2. Some types of mold can be beneficial. From cheeses to penicillin and other medicines, most of us use some form of mold almost every day.

3. Not all mold is the same. You’re probably familiar with toxic black mold and the white spots that appear on your cheese, but it can come in many forms. With over 100,000 varieties of mold, it can come in nearly any color with different textures and smells.

4. Over half of US homes have mold. That statistic is even higher in Southwest Florida, where our high humidity levels encourage mold growth. Even newly built homes can have a mold infestation.

5. Mold spores are present everywhere. But did you know that mold itself can grow and spread anywhere? It feeds on organic material, but that doesn’t mean that inorganic materials are immune to mold growth. Mold can feed on dust and skin cells, allowing it to grow on any type of surface.

6. It’s alive! Mold is a living organism, similar to plants. Unlike plants, mold doesn’t need sunlight to reproduce. It can reproduce on its own with help from moisture and a food source.

7. Your homeowner’s insurance only covers mold under very specific circumstances, usually only when it’s caused by an event that is covered.

8. Mold grows in as little as 48-72 hours from first exposure. The growth might originate from dormant spores already lying in your house or new contamination.

9. One of the most sinister facts about mold is that it often exists without the homeowner’s knowledge. It can live under flooring and behind walls, growing and spreading until the home requires major repairs and remediation.

10. In most cases, the presence of mold indicates a much bigger problem. If you keep your home well-ventilated with low humidity, the cause is usually some type of water damage or a structural leak.

11. Household cleaners don’t kill mold – even those made specifically for mold. That’s because it can grow below the surface, so even a thorough spray of bleach isn’t powerful enough to fully solve the problem.

12. If bleach doesn’t kill all the mold, then neither will paint. All that paint will do is add a layer on top of the problem while mold keeps growing underneath.

13. Trying to clean up mold by yourself usually worsens the problem. For example, you could miss an infected area that you can’t see or unintentionally spread spores to other areas of your home.

14. Mold causes more damage to wood than fire, flooding, and termites combined! Because wood is one of mold’s top sources of food, it can slowly eat away at the structure of your home from the inside out.

15. Mold spores are microscopic and can be dormant for years while waiting for the right environment to grow and spread.

16. Infants that are born into a mold-infested environment are much more likely to develop asthma later in life.

17. About 25% of people are naturally susceptible to mold, meaning one in four faces worse symptoms in the face of mold.

18. Are you experiencing allergy-like systems or worsened asthma? It could be more than seasonal allergies alone. For example, when you breathe in mold spores, it can cause reactions like sneezing, watery eyes, and even respiratory complications.

19. Mold exposure also causes skin reactions similar to a rash. You can touch it without even knowing, and symptoms could take time to appear.

20. If you have chronic sinus infections, the culprit could be a mold problem. Mold causes almost all cases of chronic infections – above 90%!

21. The destructive properties of mold are a nightmare in your home but play a vital role in nature. It breaks down dead leaves, rotted wood, and other organic materials.

22. There’s more than one way to test for mold. At Mold Inspectors of Florida, we use a combination of infrared thermography, moisture meters, and testing strips to determine the presence of mold.

23. Mold doesn’t just cause damage in your home! It can grow in your vehicle or at your workplace, making it easy to spread to other locations.

24. Infestations reduce your property value. Some mold is so harmful that infected areas must be removed, like drywall or roofing.

25. Ignoring mold will cost you. If not covered by insurance, you could be facing thousands of dollars in remediation costs alone. That’s not counting home repairs caused by an infestation, increasing that number into the tens of thousands in some cases.

What to Do if You Have Mold

Have a mold problem? Contact Mold Inspectors of Florida for comprehensive testing with verifiable results, and follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more facts about mold!

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold?

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold?

 

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold?

When you face a growing list of home repairs or unexpected damage, your first thoughts are most often how you’re going to fix it, followed by how much it will cost. Upon finding signs of mold in your home, you might expect that your homeowners insurance will cover any damage. However, that’s not always the case. Depending on the circumstances of the infestation, you may be on the hook. So, when does homeowners insurance cover mold? Read to learn more about when your policy might protect you, when it won’t, and why you need a mold inspection either way.

When Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold?

Unfortunately, most home insurance policies don’t specifically cover mold. That doesn’t mean that you’re out of luck, though. For a policy to cover a mold incident, mold damage must be related to a named peril or an instance that your policy covers. Water damage is one of the most likely causes of a mold problem and often follows one of these named perils.

Broken Appliance

In the case of accidental leaks, you can typically expect to be covered. That includes a broken dishwasher, water heater, or washing machine. However, it’s essential to maintain your appliances since leaks due to negligence are not covered. Likewise, leaks that happen over time aren’t covered.

Leaky Plumbing and Burst Pipes

Most homeowners in Southwest Florida don’t have to worry about their pipes bursting, but it has been known to happen. A leaky pipe, on the other hand, is a real threat that can lead to mold infestation under the sink and behind your walls. Keep in mind that gradual leaks aren’t covered, so don’t ignore that leaky sink.

Water Damage After a Fire

Many don’t consider the threat of mold after a devastating fire, but the water from a fire hose or sprinkler system is enough to encourage mold growth. During a fire, the only concern is putting it out, which usually results in water damage along with smoke and fire damage. The exposed wood and drywall are both a food source for mold spores, and the soaked structure makes for an ideal breeding ground.

Roof Leaks and Storm Damage

Be sure to check that your home insurance policy covers roof and storm damage. Whether the cause is hail, heavy rain, or a fallen tree, you want your home’s exterior to have adequate coverage. That’s because you have to worry about water and mold on top of the structural damage, so don’t hesitate to check your policy coverage.

When Does It Not?

There are many cases when your home insurance won’t cover mold. For instance, ignoring a necessary repair will leave any related cost on you.

Floods

There’s a reason that Florida residents rely on a separate flood insurance policy. Your homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage, and our area ranks relatively high for flood threats. However, your flood policy might not cover you, either. Call a mold inspection specialist immediately after a flood, except in cases when you aren’t allowed back home. In those cases, you’re covered.

Negligence or Lack of Maintenance

Keeping up with home repairs can feel like an uphill battle, but you should put even minor repairs at the top of your priority list. For example, failing to fix a known leak in the bathroom or failed seal on a window will leave you to cover the cost of mold removal yourself.

High Humidity or Low Ventilation

It’s no secret that mold is attracted to humidity, and it can be a struggle to escape it here in Florida. Utilize fans, dehumidifiers, and proper ventilation to keep humidity levels low and discourage mold. If your bathroom fan breaks, fix it or find an alternative to prevent mold.

What to Do After Water Damage

No matter the cause of the damage, it’s important to take the threat of mold seriously. In the right circumstances, mold can grow and spread in as little as 48-72 hours, and water damage creates the ideal environment. If your water damage is from a named peril, be sure to document every step of the process, including taking pictures. Start by addressing the water damage, removing items damaged beyond repair and anything that might pose a health risk. Next, keep the area well-ventilated and contact an expert for structural drying.

The next step is tackling the mold. Contact a licensed mold inspector for thorough testing and inspection since mold can grow in places you can’t see. At Mold Inspectors of Florida, we use the latest infrared thermology, moisture meters, and a keen eye for detail to find signs of mold that you might not notice yourself. By the time we have the results from your testing, you can begin working with your insurance to find a mold remediation service. Don’t ignore mold; it only spreads and grows, causing further damage.

For more tips on keeping a mold-free home, follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

How To Know If You Are Buying a House That Has Mold

How To Know If You Are Buying a House That Has Mold

Can You Avoid Buying a House That Has Mold?

There’s more pressure than ever to make a quick decision in today’s real estate market, or you’ll miss out. However, there is more than one reason to take a closer look, and a big one is mold. Buying a house that has mold is one mistake that can cost you time, money, and a lot of stress. The presence of mold causes issues ranging from health effects to structural damage, so it’s important to know what questions you should ask and what to look out for to avoid buying a house that has mold.

 

What You Should Look For

Finding the right house is hard, but you should never forget to ask important questions about the home’s history. A homeowner might not want to admit that there was a mold problem in the past, and they might not even know if there is a problem. That’s why you can make a list of questions to ask that will let you know about any potential issues as well as give you insight into the home’s quality and structure.

 

How’s the roof?

Buying a house that has mold in the roof can be a costly mistake. A home’s roof is essential in keeping water out, and you’ll want to know that it’s made to last. Make sure the roof’s edge hangs over long enough past the siding to allow water to flow freely of the home. Has there been any damage? Hurricane season, falling trees, and even mold can cause damage to a roof, so be sure to ask if the roof has ever had repairs. You’ll also want to find out the type of roof.

 

Home’s Location

Location is one of the most important things in real estate, but what you’re looking for isn’t the geographical location. Where is the home located on the lot? Is it at the bottom of a hill or slope? Does the ground slope away from the house anywhere? Make sure that the rainy season doesn’t end in mold for your home by checking the drainage around the home. Water should flow away, which also reduces the risk of home flooding.

 

HVAC

Since most parts of a home’s HVAC system aren’t easy to see for yourself, you can ask questions to learn more. For example, does the AC unit have a built-in dehumidifier? Florida homes need extra help when it comes to indoor spaces. Since mold can get inside on your clothes or through windows, a dehumidifier will stop mold spores from growing and spreading. When was the unit installed or last repaired? A leaky drip pan or cracked seal becomes a breeding ground for mold. You should also ask about where bathroom and laundry room vents lead, which should be outside.

 

Appliances

From the kitchen to the laundry room, any appliance that uses water puts you at risk. Does the refrigerator have an ice cube maker? How old is the washing machine? When was the last time the homeowner replaced hoses and connectors? Everything from a leaky seal to a crack in the house will invite mold to grow, usually in areas that aren’t immediately visible. For example, if a hidden hose is compromised, you could be buying a house that has mold without anyone knowing until it’s too late.

 

Plumbing

Plumbing and pipes run through every home’s walls, floor, and ceiling. Apart from knowing the home’s age, it’s hard to see the state of the plumbing without a proper inspection done by a professional. You could ask if the homeowner has ever had an assessment or if they would be willing to pay for one as part of the home-buying agreement.

 

Flooding

Flooding can be devastating to a home, but proper clean-up can usually resolve the problem. What it might not resolve is mold, however. Has there ever been a flood in the area? All it takes is a little bit of moisture to let mold grow, and areas like carpet and drywall let mold grow undetected while causing large amounts of damage.

 

Do I Need an Inspection Before Buying a Home with Mold?

If the answer to any of the above causes concern, then the answer is yes! Here in Florida, all homes are susceptible to mold damage. Request an inspection from the homeowner and know when to walk away if they refuse. When you look for an inspector, you want one licensed by the state of Florida as a mold assessor like Mold Inspectors of Florida. We can see mold in impossible-to-reach areas thanks to infrared thermology and moisture meters, allowing us to detect mold anywhere.

 

Our highly-trained technicians use state-of-the-art technology to detect mold at its source. We have a background in construction, giving us extra insight into where mold likes to hide inside a home. Our results will show whether you’re considering buying a house that has mold and allows you to make an informed decision. Contact us today for an inspection and follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more mold tips.

Florida Mold Law: What You Need to Know

Florida Mold Law: What You Need to Know

What Landlords Should Know About Florida Mold Law

Owning a rental property comes with its own set of challenges. Regardless of whether your rental is a single-family home or a multi-building apartment complex, you’ve undoubtedly come across mold in one of those properties. While the cause can be anything from an unrepaired plumbing issue to a leak or spill, mold will wreak havoc on your property and could even lead to legal problems. Since mold thrives in our damp environment, Florida landlords should be familiar with Florida mold law and their responsibility in protecting their property and tenants.

There is currently no Florida mold law in effect requiring that landlords disclose mold issues to potential tenants or buyers. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s something that you can ignore! It also doesn’t protect you from a renter attempting to withhold rent or sue you for health problems caused by the mold. It’s your duty to take care of the mold problem quickly and safely before it spreads.

Where Mold Comes From

So, what is mold, and where does it come from? Mold spreads through spores – in the air, water, and all around us. Those spores can lie dormant until they find a suitable place to grow in a damp space with a food source. Here in Florida, mold thrives almost everywhere, including inside our homes. All it takes is a spore to blow in through a window or attach to your clothing or pet. Then, once it’s inside, mold will start to feed on any organic material it can find, which can be anything from wood to drywall and fabrics. You might associate mold with a dirty shower, but our humid environment allows mold to thrive almost anywhere. A leaky roof, cracks in the exterior, or even a broken seal on the dishwasher can invite mold into the property.

 The Effects of Mold on Rental Properties

If you find mold, don’t panic. As always, the sooner you know about the mold the better since that means you can tackle the issue before it spreads and causes expensive repairs. While current Florida mold law states that you legally don’t have to disclose a high concentration of mold on your property, it’s still on you to keep the rental inhabitable. If you don’t, you could face much more complicated problems.

Rent Withholding

If a tenant informs you of a mold problem and you don’t take steps to remediate it, they can start withholding rent until the problem is solved. So even though you don’t have to disclose the problem due to Florida mold law, you do still have to take steps to fix it. However, if you find that the tenant caused the mold themselves, you can also recoup some of your money from a security deposit.

Property Damage

Whether your rental is your sole income or a side project, you have a lot invested in that property. Unfortunately, mold can cause a building to fall apart from the inside out, requiring extensive (and expensive!) repairs or remodeling. Hiring a licensed mold inspector can help you identify the problem and avoid costly repairs.

Legal Disputes

Since mold can cause mild to serious health problems, it can make the property uninhabitable. Tenants are entitled to a clean and healthy living environment, so neglecting the mold issue can lead to a legal battle and hefty penalties for you. Many Florida lawyers will jump at the opportunity to prove that a landlord was negligent in taking care of mold, so you should take the problem seriously from the start.

How You Can Prevent Mold in Your Rental

It can feel impossible to avoid a mold problem in your Florida rental, but there are steps you can take to do so. Even if you can’t fully prevent it, you could stop mold from spreading and causing damage to your property.

Routine Inspections

Mold causes a lot of damage from the inside, but you don’t have to impose on your tenants in order to do an inspection. Instead, inspect the outside of the property, including the roof, siding, windows, and doors. Those areas are the most susceptible to mold, so an inspection will identify any cracks or leaks sooner than later. Of course, you should also inspect the inside if you feel there might be a problem there, too.

Repairs

Finding cracks, leaks, or damage does no good unless you take steps to repair them! Mold is tricky and will speed up the amount of damage, so it’s essential to do all repairs quickly.

Keep Humidity Low

Fit your rental with an air conditioner or dehumidifier, so mold doesn’t stand as much of a chance. Encourage your tenants to let in some fresh air when the weather allows to keep air flowing and dry things out.

Take Action

If you do find mold, act fast! Because of the health and property risks associated with mold growth, you should always hire a licensed professional to handle both the testing and remediation. Mold Inspectors of Florida use infrared technology and highly-trained technicians to detect mold that isn’t visible to the naked eye or is hidden away behind a wall or cabinet. Once you know the source of the mold, your mold inspector can recommend a trusted, reputable third party for remediation and repairs.

Want the most current information on Florida mold law and how to stay mold-free? Follow Mold Inspectors of Florida on Instagram and Facebook!

Finding the Best Mold Testing Companies: What to Look For

Finding the Best Mold Testing Companies: What to Look For

Choosing the Best Mold Testing Company for You

 

Noticing signs of mold around your home or business can be discouraging. Maybe you notice an “off” smell or see spots forming around your bathroom. You’re probably worried about having to back out of a sale or put your workers’ and customers’ health at risk. Don’t let discouragement get you down! Mold is as common in Florida as the sunshine, so you’re not the first to take on this battle. What mold needs to thrive – a damp, dark environment – is plentiful around every home. Especially here in Florida, the humidity makes our homes and offices more susceptible to mold in all its forms.

 

So, you want to take care of this mold problem. Where do you start? Mold testing companies can get you on your way to knowing where the mold is coming from and why. Choosing a reputable and trustworthy company will put you on a path to success in getting rid of that nasty mold.

 

What to Look for in a Mold Testing Company

 

A third-party mold tester will find all the secret hiding spots where mold tends to pop up. But how do you choose the best mold tester? The best mold testing companies are there to help, so make sure to look out for these characteristics when making your choice. Take your time and do your research, but don’t put off mold remediation for too long.

 

Reputation

 

Looking at online reviews can give you a good idea of how mold testing companies operate, don’t forget about word of mouth. Ask your friends, potential neighbors, and coworkers about their experiences with mold testing.

 

Experience

 

Good reputations only come with experience, and Mold testing companies can vary in their expertise. Some may be seasoned experts with years of experience, while others are new, up-and-coming businesses. Either way, their prior experience can be just as beneficial. For example, Jay from Mold Inspectors of Florida worked in construction before making his way to the mold testing world. Knowing the details of a home’s structure gives more insight into where sneaky mold might be hiding.

 

First Impressions

 

Any good business makes it easy for its customers to get in touch. Your first contact with a company – whether it’s their website or how they talk on the phone – can set the tone for the rest of your experience. You should be able to reach the company easily with a friendly and courteous conversation about what you need.

 

Certifications

 

Reputable mold testers in Florida know how important licensing is. Not only does licensing make a business legitimate, but it also demonstrates your knowledge and commitment. In Florida, it’s against the law to test or assess mold without a license. Look for a Florida State Licensed Mold Assessor, which only comes after a state assessment and criminal background check.

 

Non-Biased

 

Mold testing companies that also happen to do remediation can set off red flags. Of course, it seems like they have an interest in making sure your home tests positive for mold; that means more business for them! If a company sticks exclusively to testing, you can trust that they’re neutral and non-biased. Your results should be readily available so a third-party remediation company can take the next steps without any pressure from the tester.

 

Technology

 

Certified mold testing companies will use the latest in mold detection technology. Infrared thermology and moisture meters detect mold that might not be visible or apparent at a glance. Once the tester finds mold, they should use an air sampling pump along with testing swabs and tapes. They need samples to test, after all.

 

Non-Invasive

 

Using cutting-edge technology brings us to the next point: testing should be non-invasive. You shouldn’t have to disrupt your life or work to get the testing done, and a trustworthy company would never risk property or belongings. Ask mold testing companies how they protect an area while they are working.

 

Timely Results

 

Once the testing is complete, you’ll be anxious for results. A good mold tester will get your results as soon as possible, which is typically around 72 hours from the time of testing. You may be able to expedite results for an extra fee, however. You should receive a detailed report that includes pictures and notes of all the tester’s findings.

 

How Mold Inspectors of Florida Can Help

 

Are you looking for the best mold testing companies in Florida? Mold Inspectors of Florida check every box! You’re in good hands with our licensed mold assessors. We’ll test for obvious and not-so-obvious signs of mold on the surfaces in your home, as well as inspect your air quality. Scheduling a mold test for your home or business is easy! Contact us online or by phone with your questions and concerns, and we’ll work with you to find the best time for testing.

 

Want more mold testing tips and information? Follow Mold Inspectors of Florida on Facebook and Instagram.