Can mold cause health problems or make them worse? Absolutely!!!

We were recently called to help homeowners deal with water damage in their Westminster home, when we got there and we discovered extensive mold throughout the home as well. One of the owners had recently suffered a severe illness and this mold wasn’t going to help. We had to deal with the water damage and the mold remediation.

We are partners with a lot of major Insurance companies and this assignment came direct from one of those national insurance company relationships.  We received the call in the evening. All we were told was our client had water ankle deep in their basement and did not know what to do. We headed out immediately to assess the situation. When we got there, we discovered that a pipe had burst and water had flooded the basement. They already had someone working on the leak, so we got to work on extracting the water and drying the home.

water damage, moisture meter, drying floor

Moisture meter, one of the tools we use to assess water damage in the home. This one is measuring moisture in the hardwood floor. The reading should be closer to 10%

As we started our initial assessment, which includes creating a scale drawing of the affected area and the initial moisture measurements, we found something far more upsetting than just wet walls: This home had a huge mold problem. It was clear that there had been a water damage event sometime in the past that had not been repaired properly and mold had been growing ever since.

mold, mold removal, water damage

Mold growth in the back corner of a closet. This is typical of mold growth and long term water damage.

Mold spores are in all of our homes. A clean home will have equivalent numbers of mold spores as the outside air. Normally this isn’t an issue and we all live with it.  However, when moisture is introduced and allowed to sit the spores bloom and start to germinate spreading growing mold rapidly around the wet area.

In our initial report back to the insurance company we outlined what we had found. Given this was older damage they asked that we halt our work while they reviewed coverage and determined what would and what would not be covered under the homeowner’s insurance policy. Unfortunately, since the mold was a result of an old water damage event, mold remediation was not covered by the insurance company.

One of the homeowners had recently been released from the hospital after a severe illness, we could not help but wonder if the illness might havebeen caused by the heavy mold growth in the the home. Even if the mold was not the cause of the illness people with a compromised immune system are much more susceptible to mold related problems. Mold can cause respiratory problems, headaches and other physical problems in some people.

HEPA Filter, mold spores, mold contamination

HEPA Air filtration unit captures all mold spores and microbial contaminants. This unit along with the plastic containment barriers will stop the further spread of mold in this house.

We informed the homeowner about the mold issues and gave them an estimate on removing the mold from their home. The insurance company in the mean time, had given us the go ahead to proceed with drying and resolving the current water damage. That would require placement of dehumidifiers and large air movers throughout the home. The mold contamination complicated this project. Our drying process creates a lot of air movement and that air movement would spread the mold even further so we had to modify our plan to make sure the mold was not allowed to spread.

dehumidifier, water damage

Dehumidifier and air movers placed to speed the drying of this water damaged home.

We enclosed the mold contamination behind plastic containment barriers. We also added HEPA air scrubbers to the equipment. These would capture and airborne mold spores in the HEPA filters. These additional steps would ensure that the mold contamination would not spread further while we were drying out the home.

We had effectively contained the mold issue stopping the further spread. After 5 days of drying, we had one problem area left. The vanity in the bathroom just would not dry and it had a tremendous amount of mold growing in it as well. We determined the best course of action to take would be to remove the vanity entirely. We discussed this with the insurance company and they approved the removal and replacement of the vanity. We removed the vanity, dried the floors and drywall and the drying job was done.

We were now waiting on the homeowner to decide how they wanted to proceed with the mold problem. Stay tuned for future post on that project.

mold, mold remediation, water damage, water restoration

Mold and persistent water under the vanity in basement bathroom. The unit had to be removed and replaced.