Despite mold leading to the groundbreaking discovery of lifesaving antibiotics, it can be an unhealthy nuisance when it encroaches the home.
Currently in my 116-year-old home, we have been smelling the telltale musty odor of mildew wafting up through the heat vents. Along with this, I have been plagued with health issues that are typically associated with mold reaction.
Scouring the internet can be a blessing and a curse when conducting research. Watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, asthma attacks and my favorite — hives — are possible symptoms of mold exposure. The next step is investigating how to remedy the situation. Where do I begin?
I started by calling a mold removal company without thinking that this may be a project covered by homeowner’s insurance — I’ll get to that momentarily. Del Buxton is the owner of ServPro of Ionia and he visited my home to conduct the mold inspection.
While scheduling the appointment, he asked if there was a reason that led me to believe there could be a mold issue in our home. I replied that in December 2014, we had a water line burst that fed into the refrigerator. The significant amount of water that sprayed out of the burst pipe leaked all over the wood floors in the kitchen and leaked into the basement as well. Having an older home, we have a Michigan basement that includes wooden shelving units.
In March of this year, the water heater leaked a significant amount of water in the basement as well. I also explained this to Buxton and he asked if we had dried the basement. We had simply borrowed a ShopVac and removed the standing water, not thinking to run fans because of cement floors and rock and dirt walls.
Buxton then explained that while the Environmental Protection Agency does not have a certification process for mold removal, ServPro does have a training program and adheres to a set of industry standards. Buxton did want to make clear that ServPro offers inspection and not testing.
“I look and see if there is any mold and put together an estimate,” Buxton said. “We don’t do the testing — we always use a third party to avoid conflict of interest, I have several places I can refer.”
Clearly there is a cost involved and it can vary widely on the extent of infestation and the size of the area affected. Because it can be costly to remedy the situation, it is worth a call to your homeowner’s insurance agent.
Mark Warnshuis of CJ Nye Insurance of Greenville has worked with clients who have had mold issues in their homes. He remarked that most, if not all, mold issues are discovered during the buying and selling process of a home through inspection. My situation is not unique, however.
According to Warnshuis, mold removal is sometimes covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy. How that is determined is based on the source of the mold. Noah and his ark of animals might be remarkable to see, but that scenario is going to likely result in being at the homeowner’s expense.
“Heavy rain is not likely to be covered unless they (homeowner) have flood insurance,” Warnshuis said. “Very few around here have flood insurance because we are on high ground and that would be the homeowner’s responsibility.”
Interestingly, even if a homeowner wanted to purchase flood insurance, they may be unable to do so. Warnshuis remarked that flood insurance can only be purchased when a home is located in a municipality that participates in and permits flood insurance policies.
A burst water pipe resulting in flooding and subsequent damage, is likely to be covered by an insurance policy. A city’s backed up sewer system leading to flooding is a bit of a gray area and would need to be clarified individually by the policy. In our case, we will be paying for evaluation, clean up and removal out of pocket.
While not extensive, there is mold in the basement. Mold was visible on the walls and on a shelving unit. To remedy the situation, we first have to have the mold tested to verify the species and see how extensive it is throughout the house. We also require replacing steps leading into the house, sidewalk up to the house, mortar repaired on the outside basement walls and replacing gutters and downspouts.
This is not going to be an inexpensive undertaking, but ultimately necessary for the health and well being of our family.
Photo Source: www.garrettwaterproofing.com