What You Can Do Now to Protect Your Home from Mold in Rainy Season in Fort Myers, FL

Clear Gutters and Drains

One of the first things you should do to ensure that your home is prepared to cope with heavy rainfall in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs or Naples is to clear your gutters of leaves and twigs that may have accumulated throughout the year. Any blockages will cause rainwater to seek alternatives routes that could result in overflowing causing damage to your home.

It is also important to check any street drains in front of your home. If you think there is a blockage you should call your local public works department in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs or Naples to handle the blockage.

Check the Roof

One of the main culprits of water damage is rainwater coming through the roof. Due to the volume of water that falls in a short space of time, damage can be quick in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs or Naples. Ideally you should get your roof checked once a year to identify any problems by a certified contractor. Common components an inspector will examine are the overall appearance of the roof, evidence of ceiling cracks and leaks, broken or missing shingles, and damaged or missing flashing points.

Cover Air Vents

Air vents are one of the most common ways that water finds its way into a house. If you know you’re in for some heavy rain, or are at risk of flooding, make sure that you cover these from both the outside and the inside with thick plastic sheeting.

Never Underestimate Good Ventilation

You can reduce your risks of mold growth by effective ventilation in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs and Naples.

Every home has appliances that create moisture (such as stoves, driers etc.), but it’s important to make sure these are being vented outdoors rather than running up to your attic, allowing the moisture to escape.

Buy a Relative Humidity Device

One of your best tools against mold is to have a Relative Humidity Device to measure “RH” (relative humidity).

With one of these devices, you will be able to keep an eye on your humidity levels and address the cause of dampness as soon as possible. How will you know when to take moisture control action? According to the EPA, levels should be kept at between 30 and 60 percent – anything over this in your home, and you should pay attention to potential condensation, leaking pipes, or damp patches on walls. You can find these at your local hardware store in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs and Naples.

Dry Dampness Without Delay

As mold thrives on moisture, you must be quick to tackle any signs of dampness. Wet areas created by rain seeping through a hole in your ceiling should be addressed as soon as possible. If you just leave them to dry by themselves, you could endanger yourself, your property’s structural integrity, and your family.

Use a dehumidifier and open your windows from time to time to allow moisture to escape. Obviously, you may be unable to do this in pouring rain, so take the opportunity whenever it presents itself. Also, if you see condensation forming anywhere, wipe it down immediately.

As we enter rainy season in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs and Naples you can be proactive in preventing a mold bloom in your home.  If you feel that you need to have a mold inspection contact iMold.us to find out how we can provide you with a free mold inspection.

 

Humidity Control in Regions of Warm Weather

It’s a fact of life: Nearly every home, especially those located in warm regions of the United States, are equipped with central air conditioning.  Though many people believe that these systems just cool their homes down, these systems actually do much more.  While cooling your living space, air “conditioners” also dry it out.  By reducing the humidity, these devices make our homes more comfortable, and easier to cool.  They also ensure healthy living and reduce moisture damage to rooms.

By keeping a moist interior, you’re providing the optimal space for fungi and bacteria to grow, which compromises the air quality within your home.  Poor air quality can result in serious issues for residents, such as sleep apnea, asthma, and upper respiratory infections.  This doesn’t include the wheezing, sneezing and coughing that occurs when we breath air that irritates our lungs.

Air conditioners work by removing two different forms of heat: The heat we feel as air temperature, and the heat that comes from excess moisture in the air.  The problem happens in the in-between seasons, when only dehumidification is needed, and not cooling.  The result is that the air conditioner struggles to dry the air without also overly cooling it.

The only solid solution to this problem is to separate the air conditioning cooling system from the dehumidification during seasons that don’t involve high heat.   Homes are getting better at keeping out heat and maintaining a stable interior.  It’s important to honor this by using a system that’s only doing what you need it to do—dehumidify.

Some people believe that simply introducing a dehumidifier into the house is just a band aid.  However, if you seal the house completely and effectively, and are bringing in fresh air, all you’ll need is a dehumidifier to keep moisture levels low without cooling the house too much.

Though vendors have begun to provide equipment that cools the air enough to dry it before reheating it for circulation, there’s no company that provides both the cooling and dehumidification equipment needed to work in a residential unit during temperate seasons.  The only solution is for designers and contractors to piece together equipment from different companies in order to manage the situation in the home.

The popular solution to this problem is to team up the central air conditioner with a dehumidifier and an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) for fresh air.  During hotter seasons, the air conditioner would be enough to both cool the home and remove extra moisture from the air.  The ERV is useful all year, especially when teamed with a dehumidifier, which can make up for anything the other equipment can’t cover.

Though there’s no flawless solution, homeowners will want to find the perfect balance between keeping their home the ideal temperature without compromising on the quality of the air they breathe because of excess moisture, or by only having a comfortable living space part of the year.  Working with a professional will ensure that you have the best combination of equipment to make your home healthy and comfortable.

5 Shocking Health Issues Caused By Toxic Black Mold

Did you know that some molds can be more poisonous to you and your body than pesticides? It has been shown that many homes in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs or Naples have mold in them; up to 25%. Everyone is at risk for mold poisoning. It doesn’t matter your age, gender, or the climate you live in – mold can be there.

Mold causes many of different health issues. It can even be deadly, despite what some people say. Some people aren’t as sensitive to mold as others are, but mold does cause health issues. Some of these include:

  1. Rash – Some people are allergic to mold which can then cause a rash to appear on their body. In severe cases, mold can cause inflammation in your throat. It is not rare for mold to make rashes and hives appear.
  2. Cough – Mold spores are very light and travel by air. It is very easy for mold spores to be inhaled. When they are inhaled, it creates irritation in the lining of your throat, causing you to cough.
  3. Sore Throat – If you are allergic to mold, a sore throat is your body’s way of defending itself from the allergen. Your immune system sees the mold as a threat and your throat can inflame in response. Inhaling the mold spores can also cause a sore throat. The mold spores can cause irritation in your throat, lungs, and airways.
  4. Asthma – Mold doesn’t necessarily cause asthma, but mold can bring on asthma attacks in people with asthma. When exposed to mold, the person’s symptoms will get worse. You may experience more asthma attacks, a very tight chest, and the attacks will seem longer than usual.
  5. Fatigue – Exposure to mold can make it hard to breathe for people who have pneumonia or other respiratory problems. The difficulty in breathing can make you feel tired.

Some of these symptoms are very common if you’ve been exposed to mold in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs and Naples. Others are rare. Most people who have experienced an exposure to mold get a rash, cough, or a sore throat. It is very common for people with asthma to have an increase in asthma attacks. It’s not as common though for you to feel tired.

If you’ve been exposed to mold and are experiencing any persistent symptoms, or even if any of your symptoms are not listed here, you should go see a doctor. You will need immediate treatment and the quick eradication of the mold. It is very important that you listen to what your doctor tells you to do. People have died from too much exposure to mold.

Mold allergies vary in every person. Some people may not be affected at all. Others may experience year-round symptoms caused by mold, or they may only experience discomfort during certain times of the year. Usually those symptoms will occur in the wetter months.

In conclusion, mold can be dangerous to people of all ages. If you suspect that any of your symptoms are caused by mold you’ve come in contact with, alert your doctor.

Will My Homeowner Insurance Cover Mold?

Living in Florida you more than likely have heard the horror stories about toxic mold, expensive mold remediation, and denied home owners insurance claims. At iMold.us we want you to be aware of this common question…will my homeowners insurance cover mold?

Mold needs moisture to thrive. Problems can arise for home owners when the presence of persistent moisture goes undetected or unresolved, leading to widespread mold growth. Moisture can result from high indoor humidity, flooding, or a leaky roof or dishwasher.

Whether mold damage is covered by home owner’s insurance often comes down to the source of that moisture. Take an hour or two to review the language of your policy, especially as it pertains to water damage. Look for mold exclusions or limitations. Call your agent if  you have any questions about your coverage.

In most cases, home insurance covers mold if a “covered peril” caused the mold. Your home insurance policy will likely pay for repairs and clean-up when one of these acts is present. Home insurance policies usually don’t cover mold that resulted from a preventable water leak, flooding, or high humidity.

Here are some of home insurance’s covered perils:

  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Vandalism or malicious mischief
  • Damage caused by vehicles
  • Theft
  • Falling objects
  • Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam from plumbing, heating, air conditioners, sprinkler systems, or household appliances

These are “sudden and accidental” incidents. Insurance companies typically cover this type of damage. In fact, non-weather-related water damage is one of the most common home insurance claims and one of the most expensive.

When home insurance will likely NOT cover you:

Broken or missing shingles on your 40-year-old roof allows water into the attic. Water saturates wood and insulation and leads to mold in the attic.

Mold forms in your shower. You don’t think much about it until one day you notice that it’s unsightly and you’re concerned about whether it’s making your family sick.

In these cases, an insurer will likely not cover the damage. Why? An insurance company expects you to take care of your house. That means properly ventilating the bathroom and replacing an old roof.  An important reason to stay on top of home maintenance.

Is my home covered in case of flood?

The standard home owner’s insurance policy does not cover water damage caused by a flood.  If a flood causes water damage that leads to mold, the resulting mold issue would not be covered by your home insurance policy.

A separate flood policy will cover mold and mildew, if it’s not caused by the homeowner’s failure to inspect and maintain the property after the flood.  That means, once you can get back into your home, you need to start trying to clean up and keep mold from growing or spreading.  Utilizing a professional licensed water remediation company to assist with this clean up is the best way to combat mold growth after a flood.

Buying mold insurance

If you don’t have mold coverage, you can buy an endorsement to your insurance policy that adds mold coverage. An endorsement is when an insurance company adds additional coverage to a regular home insurance policy, for an additional fee.

Mold endorsements will cost you more in humid areas and in older homes made with materials more prone to mold. The cost can range between $500 and $1,500 annually.

Some home policies provide a limited amount of coverage for mold claims.  This can be by capping the amount the insurer will pay, for example at $5,000, or stating that the insurer will only pay for certain services, such as clean-up, and excluding others, such as testing and remediation.

The best practice if you have questions would be contact your home owners insurance agent.

Not All Molds Are Created Equal

There are many different types of mold. There are non-toxic types and toxic. If you find mold in your home in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs or Naples, it’s important that you figure out which type it is. It’s not uncommon for mold to cause people and pets to become sick, so finding the mold and figuring out whether it’s toxic is a very important task.

Here is a list of the differences and the characteristics of toxic and non-toxic molds that can be found in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs and Naples.

Toxic Mold

* This type of mold is usually the one to cause health issues. Irritation of the lungs, eyes, and nose can cause discomfort due to an allergy to mold. (There can be an allergy to mold whether it’s toxic or non-toxic.)

* Toxic mold produces mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are toxic substances produced by a fungus.

* Many people have been affected by long-term toxic mold syndrome. Deaths have occurred because of prolonged exposure to mold.

* Toxic mold is usually most life threatening to small children because their immune systems aren’t as strong and can’t fight off the infections that mold can cause.

* It will usually only grow in the carpet, inside wood, and in drywall (paper materials).

* Toxic mold will usually have more of a distinctive smell.

* Toxigenic molds are less common to come by.

* The mold itself isn’t toxic; it is the toxins that the mold produces which is toxic to humans and pets.

* The inhalation of the toxins is very dangerous and is what causes inflammation of the throat, redness of the eyes, and difficulty breathing.

* There is a small percentage of mold that is truly poisonous to people and pets.

Non-Toxic Mold

* This can still make people sick. Many people are allergic to mold which will give them flu-like symptoms. People with asthma will often have a harder time being able to breathe.

* If the mold is not toxic, it is very common for it to be allergenic.

All molds can be harmful to people. Not one specific type of mold will make its presence unknown. They all can attack humans’ and pets’ bodies and make them sick. All molds have the capability to cause rashes, headaches, difficulty breathing, dizziness, and have the potential to cause hay fever. Both types can even cause people with weakened immune systems to have serious lung infections.

It is very important to determine which type of mold you have in your home Fort Myers, Bonita Springs or Naples. There are plenty of different mold testing kits that you can use to determine if the mold is toxic or not. But be aware that sometimes the tests aren’t always accurate.

This is because the number of mold spores in the air fluctuate over time, which makes the test not as accurate as you’d want it to be. If the test says the mold is toxic, remember that when they say “toxic mold” it’s not the mold itself that’s toxic.

It is recommended that you get a professional certified mold specialist in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs or Naples to come to your home to test for toxic mold.  At iMold.us in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs or Naples we offer free inspections by unbiased third-party companies to come into your home and test for mold.  Contact us today to learn how to get started with your mold test.

Do I Need a Mold Test or Inspection?

If you suspect that you have mold in your home, it is very important that you have a mold inspection. Mold can cause sickness, so it is very important that you get the problem fixed. To properly inspect your home for mold in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs and Naples, you need to know where to look. Just follow these tips.

Where to Find Mold

  1. Check places that are full of moisture. For mold to grow it needs moisture, so this should be the first places you look for mold. Make sure you look in locations such as under your sinks and showers.

 

  1. Check for places that have recently been damaged with water. Have you recently had any floods? If so, check the location of the flood. Check your water pipes too. Have you recently had a water pipe burst? If the water was not cleaned up properly, that’s where you may have a mold problem.

 

  1. Check your ceilings and wall cavities. The spacing between the walls are a great place for mold to hide, especially since they’re sealed off and trap moisture. Sometimes piping may drip, too, which will add more moisture between your walls. Mold growing in these areas will continue to spread so it’s very important that you find it before it starts to become visible.

 

  1. Check your shower curtains. When you shower, dirt and shampoo mix, and leave a residue behind that is a perfect place for mold to grow. Unless you wipe down your shower curtain after each shower, there will be extra moisture that will allow for mold to grow.

 

  1. Check your household air ducts. If your house has central cooling or central heating, your vents will experience fluctuations in moisture. Because of the mixture between hot and cold, moisture tends to collect on and in the drain pans. The vents will then become a prime location for mold to grow.

 

How to Check for Mold

Hire a professional mold inspector in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs or Naples. A professional will have a variety of different instruments and equipment used for detecting mold. Before hiring a professional, check with your state’s contractor-licensing board to ensure that they’re licensed to remove mold.

Check the infected area often after cleaning. If there was mold underneath your bathroom sink, check that area regularly. If you find that the mold has reappeared after the cleaning, the cleaning was not effective, and you need to get that area cleaned again.

Inspecting your home in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs or Naples for mold is very important. You need to know where to look, and how to get rid of mold if you find it. Leaving the mold where you find it could potentially put someone’s life at risk if the mold problem is not fixed immediately.

At iMold.us in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs and Naples, we provide you with a free mold inspection upon request. We want you to be confident that the final determination of a mold problem is based on unbiased mold testing. These trusted 3rd party professional companies have specialized training by top credentialing associations for mold testing.

The certified companies we recommend are highly experienced with the knowledge and equipment to properly analyze and document losses related to mold and moisture conditions.

Water Damage in Fort Myers, Florida

Water Damage in Fort Myers, Florida

Mold is the number one silent killer in most homes because it can grow for a long time before you see it.  All the while, you and your family are breathing in harmful spores.  Whether it’s a small leak, or a huge flood, iMold is ready to tackle any flooding, or water damage issues before it becomes a mold issue.

However, if you suspect your home has become the breeding ground for colonies of mold, we’re happy to help you get rid of this toxic problem before it negatively impacts your family.  There are some sure signs of mold, and if you or your family experience any of them, call us immediately.

They are:

  • Many people have a sensitivity to mold, which results in classic allergy reactions, such as runny eyes, sneezing, coughing, or sore throat. This is not a guarantee—some people have no reaction to mold.
  • Visible dark spots on surfaces around the house, especially near water damage.
  • Spongey or soft spots on walls or ceilings where there has been water damage.
  • A musty or mildew-type smell coming from a specific area, or room.

If you encounter any one of these possible signs of mold or have had a third party come to confirm the existence of mold in your home, call iMold immediately.  We’re available 24/7 and will act fast to rid your home of all mold.

When mold is found in homes from either water damage or flood damage, there are a few steps that need to take place in order for the threat of mold to be eradicated.  This is called mold remediation.  This includes:

  • Detection of Water Damage – Sometimes finding the damage is easy, such as in the case of flooding. Sometimes it’s more difficult, such as a trouble pipe or a leaky tub.  Regardless of where it is, we’ll find it.
  • Contain the Mold – This means sealing off the area so that spores won’t spread, and it also means making sure the mold won’t continue to grow by eliminating the water source. Wet areas are mold’s favorite thing, so getting rid of that factor is key to pausing growth.
  • Proper Air Filtration – While cleaning, it’s important to set up a system that sucks up any spores that may be released so that they don’t spread to people or other areas of the house.
  • Removing Mold and Compromised Items – Cleaning the mold is an large job, and part of that means removing and discarding items that are too damaged by mold to be kept. They pose a danger to the future safety of the room, and can reintroduce mold to the area if left.
  • Sanitize Belongings – Anything that was in the area of the mold needs to be cleaned thoroughly and sanitized before being left in the room post-cleaning. This includes furniture, personal items, and surfaces.
  • Restoration – Mold often causes damage to homes, which means that after the home, room, or contained area is treated for mold, it may need to be restored. This includes replacing walls, repairing ceilings, or patching holes.

How Often to Clean Your HVAC System

There is not really any solid number of times per year that you need to clean your HVAC system. The factors of how often you need to do it are variables that reflect on your lifestyle. No matter how often you do clean your air conditioning ducts, it is a good idea that can help your health and the health of your family, especially if anyone in the home or office has asthma or allergies.

If you have smokers in your home, you will want to clean your ducts more than other people. This is because residue and toxins from the smoke can build up in the ducts and get passed around the home over and over every single day, exposing all the residents to these toxins more and more as the ducts become dirtier.

Pets are also a cause to clean your HVAC system more often. Their fur and dander can get caught up in the HVAC system, giving people who visit your home with pet allergies a difficult time.

If you’ve ever had water damage to your home, you will want to get your HVAC system evaluated by a professional. This is because mold loves to grow in HVAC ducts due to all of the organic material that collects there from your home.

Any home with allergy sufferers will benefit from regular duct cleanings. This will help to lower the amount of allergens flowing through the home, giving your family members relief from their suffering.

Anytime you do a remodeling job on your house, you will want to get your ducts clean. The construction materials usually create a lot of dust, some of which can contain toxins from construction methods, which you don’t want to be breathing in.

Finally, if you are buying a new home you will definitely want to get the HVAC system evaluated before you make a final decision on the home. You don’t want to end up with a very expensive surprise at the end of the day!

6 Signs You May Need Water Damage Services in Fort Myers, FL

Once water gets into your home, it will go anywhere it wants. It can penetrate walls and floors and stand still in hidden places.  Some people can sense water leaks and some even hear them. But, the rest of us have to recognize signs that indicate there might be a problem. Here are six sign you will need water damage services in Fort Myers, FL:

  1. Actively Growing Mold: Mold is nature’s decomposer as it helps break down dead substances.  It creates spores, which are microscopic cells that travel through the air.  Many people believe mold is only present when they see it growing, but mold spores are always present. Other than food left too long in the refrigerator, mold spores pose no threat, unless they land on a wet or damp spot and grow, then it can cause a lot of damage and potential health effects.  It usually looks fuzzy, greenish, or black (black mold is a serious problem) and sometimes has a foul odor.
  1. Unpleasant Odors: Dampness leaves behind a definite earthy smell.  Dampness can lead to mold and bacteria growth, which also smells very unpleasant.  Certain houses, especially older ones, may have a nasty smell, but if it’s overpowering, it’s concerning.
  1. Stains or Discolorations: Water that oozes into the spaces between floors, spaces, and walls often leaves splotches and streaks on floors and walls. This can often times cause permanent, unattractive water marks on the surface.
  1. Drooping Ceilings and Walls: Drywall and/or wood absorb water slowly and then buckle.  Such can happen suddenly, due to a storm, or over a period of time, as the result of a leak.  If it collapses, it can cause a safety hazard.
  1. Peeling Paint: In areas and spaces that don’t have windows or exhaust fans, like bathrooms and basements, moisture can seep around and into drywall.  Usually, brown stains start first, then, the moisture loosens the paint’s grip on the wall and it starts to peel.
  1. Subfloor Problems: Water almost always seeps underneath tile, carpet, and vinyl and saturates the subfloor, making removal and replacement necessary.

water damage services in fort myers, fl

Incidents that cause water problems include, but are certainly not limited to: 

  • Gutter and sewage problems
  • Storms
  • Broken water pipes
  • Overflowing toilets and tubs
  • Sump pump issues
  • Hot water heater leaks

As mentioned, just one strong storm could lead to serious damage that takes an expense that will take experts hours to fix, so it’s probably best to act quickly if one suspects water is damaging their home.  And, sometimes the damage is hard to see at first, so one has to be very diligent and always observant. Contact iMold today for a consultation.

Four Signs You Need Mold Removal in Fort Myers, FL

Here are Four Signs You Need Mold Removal in Fort Myers, FL. We’ve all seen mold growth on food that’s sat a bit too long in the refrigerator.  It’s white, brown, yellow, green, or pink, sometimes black, and is usually always fuzzy.  It’s not hard to identify.

Mold is a general term for a broad range of fungi.  Molds are very helpful as they create antibiotics and help make beer and wine and food, such as cheeses and breads.  And, molds help break down garbage – without them, we’d be overwhelmed in it.

Mold spores are all around.  They are microscopic, so we don’t see them.  Mold spores like dampness, and when they find it, they will land on it and rapidly grow.  And, if that dampness is in a home, on furniture, on the walls, in carpets, it can cause a lot of damage and pose health risks.

Many people live with mold infestation and never realize it until it actually affects their health.  And, at that point, removal may be costly and extremely difficult.  If you even suspect you have mold in your home, you should have a professional evaluate it for immediate removal.

Here are four signs that indicate you may have mold in your home:

  1. A Recent Water Event: A recent storm, hurricane, or even extremely humid weather could trigger the growth of mold spores.
  1. Discoloration: Mold growth almost always discolors its host, be it food or drywall.  It is often black, but can also be white, red, gray, and even pastel colored. And, again, it’s almost always fuzzy.
  1. Odor: Some molds leave a distinct, musty odor. Some do not, so the lack of odor doesn’t mean there isn’t mold.  Some homes, too, have a musty odor if they’ve been uninhabited for a while, so the odor doesn’t necessarily mean mold is present.
  1. Human Health Effects: Are people in the area having allergic reactions, increased asthma symptoms, respiratory problems, or other symptoms while in the building, but then feel better when they’re away from the building?  Such could indicate mold infestation.

If you notice any of these signs or even suspect the presence of mold, once again, seek the advice of a professional.  Ignoring the problem could lead to more serious issues that you may never be able to properly fix.