If you have a mold problem, you may wonder if your home insurance will pay to remove it. The short answer is usually not. That's because most mold can be prevented by addressing routine home maintenance and long-term exposure to humidity.
For instance, say the broken and worn-out shingles on your 30-year-old roof allow water into the attic. Water saturates wood and insulation and leads to mold in the attic.
A professional can identify and repair leaks by having an annual roof inspection to prevent mold development. If your roof is suddenly damaged by severe weather and rainwater gets in, your home insurance would cover those damages. However, mold growth afterward can be averted by proactively addressing the damage, filing a claim, and getting your roof repaired promptly.
Humidity and Your Virginia Home
Virginia summers are it’s reliably hot and sticky! Heat and humidity are really uncomfortable and make your A/C work twice as hard. But the mold it invites into your home can be a bigger problem. Many types of mold naturally play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter, such as fallen leaves and dead trees. Indoors, it can not only cause health issues for your family, but it can also result in costly damage to your home and belongings.
While small problems can be handled, a larger mold issue requires professional help. If you're in doubt, contact an expert in mold assessment, remediation, or removal that holds a certification from the American Industrial Hygiene Association.
Moisture Prevention is Key
While moisture problems in your home can be challenging, the good news is there are proactive things you can do to prevent mold. We suggest ONE simple, inexpensive solution to help keep those indoor moisture levels down. It can help protect your home and belongings, and keep mold outside where it belongs!
Get a Portable Dehumidifier
No mold grows without water or moisture. Ideally, homeowners should keep aim to keep indoor humidity between 30 and 50 percent relative humidity, and a dehumidifier is the easiest way to do it. While whole house units require a professional and can be pricey, a large amount of moisture they remove lets you run your air conditioner less. But depending on your square footage, a suitable medium or large capacity floor unit for just a few hundred dollars can do the trick. Choose a larger size to ensure efficiency if your indoor space is at the high end of a dehumidifier's capacity.
Floor dehumidifiers require minimal maintenance other than finding the ideal location, emptying the collected water as needed, and occasionally cleaning the filter. A basement is a great spot and may allow for a hose to automatically move collected water straight into a floor drain or sump pump.
Even wintertime can bring mold
Keep cold surfaces, such as cold water pipes, prone to condensation, covered with insulation. If you ever see condensation build up on your window panes during winter, your home has high moisture levels. Act quickly to wipe the surface down and turn up the dehumidifier setting.
Other Water Problems
Non-weather-related water damage is one of the most common home insurance claims and one of the most expensive. It also can become a much more costly problem for you if mold develops. Home water damage can come from flooding, a failed appliance, leaky pipes, seepage in basements, and old weather stripping on your doors and windows. Maybe you need to clean and repair your gutters. Have you ever ensured your yard properly slopes away from your foundation? Do you ever have water puddles in your yard after heavy rain? Sump pumps are fantastic for some homes predisposed to groundwater and drainage challenges.
Here are a few more tips:
- Keep your air conditioning drip pans clean and its drain lines clear and flowing.
- Ventilation is vital, and fans are your friends! Bathroom fans, exhaust fans in the kitchen, and proper venting for any appliance that produces moisture are essential.
- Increase ventilation or air movement by opening doors and windows when dryer weather arrives.
- Pull up any carpet from areas where water has leaked. Increase ventilation and air temperature to aid the drying process quickly.
- Buy water detectors for your basement and near major appliances like water heaters, washing machines, and dishwashers.
- Clean mold safely with white distilled vinegar in a spray bottle. Because mold is resilient, it's best not to dilute the vinegar. Spray it directly onto the mold, and let it sit for at least an hour without rinsing or scrubbing so that the vinegar gets completely absorbed by the mold.
Flooding emergencies and mold
Other common causes of home mold are repeated water leaks, seepage, and flood damage. Flood water damage is not covered by standard home insurance. Timely cleanup is critical. Mold will begin growing within 24-48 hours of water damage and can be expensive and difficult to remove if it’s not nipped in the bud quickly. This is where that dehumidifier can come in really handy. While most of the time, you can digitally set your unit to maintain the right humidity level in your home, you can manually keep it running for quicker results during the cleanup period.
Do you have more questions about home insurance? We're happy to answer them. Give us a call!