ServiceMaster Mobile, Alabama locally known as ServiceMaster Advanced Cleaning & Restoration, The Master of Disaster, has posted several guidelines about mold identification and mold remediation on their site.
Please see our videos and other articles on mold remediation to obtain a fuller understanding of how remediation companies handle this issue. One video that provides good overview and a resonable approach is: http://www.servicemastermobilealabama.com/Mold-Remediation-Overview-Mobile-and-Baldwin-_1.html
Water Damage, Mold and House Insurance
You’ve had water damage in your house due to a burst pipe, a roof leak or a heavy summer storm. You hope that your insurance will cover the damage. What to do? First, read about mold below. You may not know the implications of water and mold damage.
What Is Mold, and Why Should You Care?
Molds are part of a group of micro-organisms called fungi that also includes mushrooms and yeasts. Molds are familiar to most people as food spoilers on items such as bread or fruit. Molds are nature’s decomposers in the food chain.
Mold requires the following conditions to grow:
- Mold spores (which are always present indoors and outdoors)
- The right temperature range, from 2°C to 40°C
- A food supply, which means anything organic such as books, carpets, clothing, wood, drywall, etc.
- A source of moisture
The last condition, moisture, is the only practical factor to control in most houses.
If allowed to grow inside your house, mold can be a problem because:
- It can damage your possessions
- It can cause health problems, for example:“ … mold … can cause … allergic reactions such as asthma or allergic rhinitis, non-allergic reactions such as headaches, and other symptoms [including] lung and breathing infections” (Health Canada, 2003).
Dry Quickly to Avoid Mold!
1 — Contact your insurance broker
First, call your insurance broker or agent and report the water damage. You can expect to discuss these questions and issues:
- How did the water damage occur?
- Is this damage covered by your policy?
- Did the damage occur during the period your policy was in effect?
- Are you reporting the water damage promptly (within 24 hours) to allow quick drying and repairs?
2 — Hire ServiceMaster Advanced Cleaning & Restoration
Hire a ServiceMaster Advanced Cleaning & Restoration to clean up the water and make repairs as needed to your house.A thorough and fast cleanup will help avoid mold growth. If you wait too long and mold growth starts, cleanup costs will increase significantly. This is what you should be looking for:SpeedMold grows quickly; that is why you need us in your house promptly.KnowledgeServiceMaster Advanced Cleaning & Restoration is certified and training in water damage restoration and mold remediation.Competence We follow basic, good clean up practices after your water damage. Here are some things to look for:
- The moisture source is stopped
- Wet items that can’t be salvaged are removed
- What can’t be removed is dried quickly
- Ideally, drying is done within 48 hours (to minimize mold growth)
- No refinishing is done until the area is thoroughly dried
You’ve Got Mold
If you already have extensive mold because, for example, you’ve had water damage while you’ve been away for two weeks, or there was a long delay between the water damage and our arrival, then we will have to discuss the following points:
1 — Drying the damaged area
2 — Removing the mold safely
To protect our staff and you and your family from exposure to mold, ServiceMaster Advanced Cleaning & Restoration follows certain procedures. Here are some things we do:
- The affected area will be sealed off from the rest of your house.
- The workers will be wearing protective gear.
- There will need to be an exhaust fan removing air from the affected area to the outdoors.
- No chemical disinfectants, such as bleach, should be used during clean-up, only fragrance-free detergent.
- If transported through your house, moldy materials will be sealed in plastic.
3 — Inspecting for mold
We will inspect:
- All areas adjacent to the mold growth
- Behind wallpaper
- In areas where water may have seeped, such as wall cavities, basement subfloors, crawl spaces, etc.
- Under wall-to-wall carpeting
Here is another article from one of the ServiceMaster tri-fold brochures:
WHAT IS MOLD?
We have probably all encountered mold at one time or another. It might have been in the shower, or on a stale piece of bread or cheese/ There are many different species of mold, but all molds share some common characteristics.
- Molds thrive in moist and humid environments.
- Molds require an organic food source. One common food source is cellulose, which is found in building materials such as wood and drywall.
- Molds are spread by microscopic airborne particles called “spores.”
Molds and spores are naturally present in the outdoor environment all around us. However, indoor mold growth can become a tenacious problem. Mold spreads rapidly and produces an unpleasant musty odor. If allowed to grow unchecked, mold can impact indoor air quality and can be difficult and costly to remove. Mold contamination is a growing concern for homeowners, property managers, insurance providers and restoration companies.
WHAT IS THE BEST DEFENSE?
Mold can start to grow in as little as 48 hours. To prevent the spread of mold, it is important to react quickly in the event of a water loss. By identifying and eliminating the source of the water and implementing rapid drying processes, mold growth can be curtailed. The most effective drying techniques involve the use of sensitive tools to measure and record the temperature, humidity and moisture content of both the structure and contents of the home or building. Professional water damage restoration can mean the difference between a small water problem and a structure covered with mold. ServiceMaster Clean professionally trained technicians use the latest water restoration and drying techniques to deliver quality results.
For 24 hour emergency service, call (251) 653-9333. For more information about ServiceMaster Mobile, AL and ServiceMaster Advanced Cleaning & Restoration, disaster restoration services, visit www.servicemastermobilealabama.com.
This article refers specifically and only to ServiceMaster ADVANCED Cleaning & Restoration. Make certain that you call this specific company as there are vast differences in capabilities between companies. We can be reached at (251) 653-9333, ServiceMaster ADVANCED, enterprise number 7027.
APPROPRIATE ACTION KEY
If we observe mold, we will respond appropriately, immediately reporting our observations to the insurance company. When the extent of mold contamination is isolated and/or less than 10 square feet, expensive testing and protocols are generally not required. ServiceMaster Advanced can proceed with the claim and perform emergency water mitigation services, including remediation of the 10 square feet or less of mold. We will isolate the contaminated area and remove the mold, while protecting the surrounding areas from the possible spread of mold spores.
When we encounter an affected area of more than 10 square feet, we will contain the contaminated area, stop normal water mitigation procedures and immediately notify the insurance company. In these cases, we strongly recommend the use of an environmental testing service to establish baseline levels of mold, identify the types of mold present and develop a written remediation plan. Our goal is to work with the insurance company to establish the proper procedures to handle the mold situation.
ServiceMaster Advanced, The Master of Disaster (251) 653-9333. http://www.servicemastermobilealabama.com.