Winter has finally left and it is starting to get warm. Now is the time for spring cleaning. Unfortunately once we start getting into all the cracks and crevasses in our home we can spot damage the winter months brought about that we didn’t notice.
Leaks and damage
The elements mixed with an aging house can wear down even the sturdiest of homes, small cracks can turn into leaks which can turn into mold. Water damage is one of the most common types of damage to a home.
Most insurance policies don’t cover flood damage, but many policies allow claims for water damage caused by rain, snow, or ice or accidental leaking or discharge from plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or a refrigeration system. If you notice water damage caused by any of these things, check with your insurer, you may be covered! Make sure you call your agent as soon as you discover the damage as many policies have time limits on how late you can file a claim. To make a claim, you need to contact your insurance provider and speak with an adjuster. Be prepared to provide:
Photos of the damage. If you are claiming damage to contents and have that coverage, provide photo evidence of that, too. The description should include the make/model, size, material, and replacement cost.
- A written estimate, from a contractor, for the repairs needed. Estimates should include a description of the work and a breakdown of the costs by materials and labor. The replacement materials should be those of the same kind and quality of those being repaired.
- Be sure to check your homeowner’s insurance to see if it will cover mold. If you find evidence of mold, your insurer will want to be contacted immediately and most likely will assign an adjuster to inspect the site. Be careful, a mold claim might affect your ability to get insurance later.
Once you notice a leak the first thing you need to do is to fix it! Seal up the crack or call the plumber to fix the pipe or a handy man to fix that leaky appliance.
The second thing you should do, AS SOON AS YOU FIX YOUR LEAK is to call an environmental services company like Branch Services to dry out the area. The faster you catch water damage the less likely you will deal with a mold problem in the future. Don’t be fooled if something feels dry to the touch doesn’t mean moisture isn’t lurking underneath the surface.
Mold will start to grow in the first 24 to 48 hours after a leak, under ideal conditions. Carpets get moldy very quickly. Older carpets that have dirt as a food source start smelling moldy after being wet just a short time. It may be a week or two before it grows to the extent that it is visible to the naked eye as spots on drywall or carpet pads.
Mold spores need three things to grow and thrive:
- Food (cotton, leather, drywall, wood, and paper products, among other things)
- Water (good circulation throughout the home is important to eliminate dampness or potential moisture, especially in attics, basements, crawl spaces, and laundry rooms)
- Optimal temperatures
The single best method for eliminating these spores in your home is through the use of a certified mold remediation professional.