Why Experts Don’t Recommend DIY Mold Removal
Discovering a mold problem in your home is always a frustrating experience. While you’re probably tempted to start tackling the issue yourself, there are several reasons why DIY mold removal is never a good idea. But why is that? Surely all those products available at the hardware store work, or there wouldn’t be so many of them. However, that’s not the case. Those sprays and scrubs might temporarily remove the appearance of mold, but they can’t handle the underlying issue. Even home remedies like bleach aren’t powerful enough to tackle mold and could worsen the problem.
Why You Should Let Experts Remove Mold
So, why exactly should you hire an expert instead of doing it yourself? These are our top five reasons why we never recommend DIY mold removal.
Mold is Dangerous
The main reason we never recommend DIY mold removal is that mold can be hazardous to your health. Mold spores are invisible, meaning that high concentrations are easy to breathe in and settle on your skin. Contact with mold spores can cause health issues ranging from sneezing and rashes to more concerning symptoms like respiratory issues. A professional mold testing and inspection service will be equipped with respirators, gloves, and other protective equipment that keeps them – and you – safe. Mold exposure can cause short and long-term effects that aren’t always simple to identify, so protect your health and leave mold removal to the pros.
As you now know, mold travels through spores in the air and water. That means that it isn’t always in prominent or easy-to-reach places. You might see signs of mold in your home, but that could also indicate problems in other areas. Mold can grow in your HVAC system, behind walls, in plumbing, and just about anywhere with the right conditions. Removing mold by yourself means that you could miss areas that are affected, causing an ongoing issue that could spread even further. Before the mold removal process begins, you’ll want mold inspection and testing to find exactly where the problems lie. Mold assessors can find mold wherever it’s hidden with specialized equipment, allowing the remediators to do their job correctly.
Mold Can Spread
Every time mold is disturbed, it releases those tiny spores into the air. DIY mold removal will only spread the mold further because it’s nearly impossible to contain the contaminated area on your own. As you try to clean mold yourself, you’re allowing spores to release into the air and attach to your clothing. Those spores can lie dormant until the perfect conditions arise, which almost always leads to the problem coming back, often more severe than before. There’s a good reason that the state of Florida requires mold assessors to be licensed, and that’s because they know which precautions to take to contain mold and keep it from spreading.
The Wrong Tools and Equipment
Not only do mold experts have the training and certifications, but they also come well-equipped to handle any mold situation. Before removal begins, mold assessors will use all the tools they have to find any signs of mold. From moisture meters to infrared thermography, professional testing will give you the peace of mind of knowing the severity and location. Then, once it’s time for mold removal, your professional team will have access to cleaners and other tools that you can’t buy yourself. This specialized equipment is guaranteed to remove traces of mold, and remediation will return your home’s air quality to a safe level.
In Too Deep
In most cases, DIY mold removal spirals into a job that’s simply too big for a homeowner to handle. What starts as a quick and easy task can quickly snowball into a massive project that requires you to repair and replace areas of your home. Without the experience of a professional, it doesn’t take long before you’re in too deep and need expert help anyway. No mold removal project is ever as simple as it may seem, and having someone on your side right from the start can go a long way in the project’s success. Even if you think you have the time or energy to remove mold by yourself, you may soon find that the infestation is simply too large or complex.
Mold Testing in Southwest Florida
So, where do you get started hiring mold removal experts? To begin, find a certified mold testing service that can confirm the presence of mold. Here at Mold Inspectors of Florida, we’re led by a licensed mold assessor with years of construction experience who can identify every area of your property that’s affected by mold. We use all the latest technology to test for the presence of mold, providing detailed reports and assessments that contain everything we find. In addition, we’ll recommend trusted local mold removers and remediators to solve your problem fast, saving you time, effort, and stress. So, contact us today to start your testing service, and follow Mold Inspectors of Florida on Instagram and Facebook for the latest mold tips.
Are Bugs Attracted to Mold?
Finding yourself with a mold problem can big enough hassle by itself, but what happens when you suddenly notice an insect problem as well? You’re probably wondering, are bugs attracted to mold? Maybe the bugs are somehow causing your mold issue, or perhaps it’s simply a coincidence. The truth is that the two often come hand in hand. Learn why you’re experiencing bugs and mold and how to stop the problem.
Why Are Bugs Attracted to Mold?
There are several reasons why bugs like mold. Some use mold as a food source, while others are attracted to the effects of mold. Essentially, since mold breaks down organic materials like wood and paper, bugs that eat wood and paper have an easy and reliable, and easily digestible source of food around the mold. In addition, mold and certain insects both prefer a damp, dark environment where they can thrive.
Some types of bugs attracted to mold include:
Cockroaches are among the most dreaded pests for homeowners. While they don’t feed on the mold itself, they’re the type to eat just about anything. Mold’s trait of breaking down organic material gives cockroaches easy access to lots of food, where they can breed and thrive.
Flies, Gnats, & Mites
Different species of flies, gnats, and mites love mold because they can eat it. Their only purpose is often reproduction, and having an easy source of food makes for the perfect breeding ground. Not only are these bugs a nuisance, but they can attract other bugs with their short life cycle. On top of that, mites and larvae can cause damage to your household items and personal belongings like clothing and furniture.
Termites & Ants
Termites can cause as much destruction to your property as mold does, while ants are hard to get rid of once they make a nest inside your home. Mold does a lot of work for termites by breaking down the wood for an easy meal. Unfortunately, it also provides openings for the termites to get into other areas of your home. Unlike termites, ants won’t actually eat the wood, but they might take advantage of the softened structure to build their nest and make your home their own.
Spiders aren’t big fans of mold itself, but the other insects that it attracts. They could also be drawn to the smell produced by mold, and when they find their bug feast, they’ll stick around. Spiders aren’t the worst thing to have in your house, but they could indicate a bigger problem.
How to Eliminate Bugs and Mold
Since bugs seem to love mold, it only makes sense to work to get rid of the mold first. Before that, though, the best thing you can do is find the mold’s cause. It could be as simple as high humidity or a poorly ventilated bathroom, or it could be something more serious like a roof leak or malfunctioning appliance. Mold testing can help you find the source of the mold with infrared readers that can see behind walls and through cabinets so you can prevent further water damage.
Once you’ve stopped what’s causing your mold problem, it’s time to tackle the mold itself. Getting rid of mold is tricky because of the health risks and how easy it is to worsen the problem. Since mold can spread through the air and on your clothes, it’s better left to an expert who is well-equipped with the tools and knowledge needed to get rid of the problem for good. Otherwise, you could accidentally have a bigger problem on your hands or end up missing infested areas.
Finally, it’s time to get rid of those bugs attracted to mold. Often, the problem will resolve itself once the mold is removed. Some insects will be more stubborn, however, and might also call for a separate bug expert to help. Depending on the type of insects you have, you might have to call in an exterminator to help you monitor the process and get rid of the insects for good. While it might be a stressful process, having the right team on your side will ensure that the problem is resolved so you can live bug and mold-free.
What to Do If You Find Mold
If you notice a sudden bug infestation or smell a musty odor, you might need mold inspection and testing. At Mold Inspectors of Florida, we use cutting-edge technology to inspect your home or business for mold with fast and accurate results. Mold and insects can lower your indoor air quality and cause health issues like worsened asthma and other respiratory issues. So instead of living with the problem, we’ll help you get to the bottom of it and find the solutions that you need. Contact us to get the peace of mind of a professional and reliable service when you need it!
Follow Mold Inspectors of Florida on Instagram and Facebook for more information on staying mold-free!
8 Common Types of Mold Found in Homes
Do you notice a musty smell around your home? Had recent water damage? More than likely, mold spores are already working on spreading. There are over a hundred thousand types of mold, but luckily not all will make themselves at home inside your house. However, they all still pose a threat to your health and home. Mold spores make their way inside through doors and windows, in water, and even on your clothing or pets. Once they begin to grow, they can take on different appearances that may change as time goes on, making them hard to identify.
At Mold Inspectors of Florida, we use top-of-the-line moisture meters and mold detection technology to determine the specific type of mold afflicting your home, finding mold in areas that aren’t visible to the naked eye. While there are over 100,000 types of mold, not all are capable of growing in your house. However, there are some that we come across more frequently than others.
This is one of the common mold types found in bathrooms, laundry rooms, and other high-humidity areas of the home. It’s responsible for allergic reactions and can trigger asthma symptoms for those with pre-existing conditions.
If you’re experiencing extreme symptoms, aspergillus may be the culprit. It can be toxic, leading to severe reactions and complications.
With many different forms and colors, aureobasidium is most commonly found behind wallpaper or under the carpet. However, it can be impossible to identify without high-tech equipment due to its many forms.
Chaetonium is most commonly found after water damage. It takes only 48-72 hours to become a problem, increasing the urgency after flooding or a burst pipe.
This mold type, like most others, causes allergy and hay fever-like reactions for those with or without existing allergies. It thrives on fabric and textiles around your home.
Serpula is one mold type that thrives more indoors than out, often exclusively feeding on the wood structure of your home. It’s especially damaging because, unlike most other molds, it doesn’t need a damp environment.
Commonly known as black mold, this specific type is common and dangerous. Since it’s considered to be toxic, it should be dealt with immediately in every case.
Although often black in color, ulocladium isn’t as toxic as “black mold.” You often find this mold in your washing machine after you neglect to move your clothing to the dryer.
Dangers of Different Types of Mold
The most important thing to remember when dealing with mold is that every type can be dangerous. Whether you can instantly identify it or not, you should never try to handle it by yourself because of the many health and home hazards associated with it. Different types can carry different hazards, and there’s no safe mold.
Mold spores cause a variety of health issues for those with and without existing conditions. Breathing in those spores can cause everything from allergy-like reactions to respiratory complications. These effects are worse for those with asthma, breathing issues, or other types of health issues. Though many types of mold aren’t toxic, some can be. The most concerning part is that you might not be able to differentiate between the two yourself, so you should always leave mold problems to an expert.
Aside from your health, mold can wreak havoc on your home’s structure. Since it mainly feeds on organic materials, your home is full of food sources for mold, like wood, fabrics, and drywall. That means that mold can grow behind walls, in the ceiling, under the carpet, and in other areas that aren’t always immediately apparent. As a result, mold damage can quickly degrade the structural integrity of your home, creating massive repairs and remediation efforts.
Where Does Mold Grow?
Here in Florida, our high humidity levels mean that our homes are especially susceptible to mold damage. In other areas of the country, only damp areas like bathrooms or near appliances carry a high risk for mold. However, we need to worry about mold in nearly all areas, whether they’re directly exposed to water or not. Mold can grow nearly anywhere with moisture and a food source, leaving your entire home open to potential mold damage. The best thing you can do to prevent mold is to keep your humidity levels low and immediately address any potential threats.
What to Do if You Find Mold
If you do suspect mold, the first thing you should do is call in a mold removal professional. Part of that includes mold testing to determine the specific types of mold you’re dealing with. Mold can often include more than one type in the same areas, and knowing the exact types can help create the right removal and remediation plan. Immediate action is your best chance for successful removal without costly repairs or remodeling, especially if you’ve had recent water damage.
Need mold help in Florida? Mold Inspectors of Florida are licensed and insured to take care of your mold problem with fast, verifiable results. Contact us today for your inspection, and follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more mold facts.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.