When it comes to leaks, a tiny drip can quickly turn into a tidal wave of problems. According to recent research, the number of water damage claims initiated by leaks has grown exponentially in recent years.
In fact, during the time period from 2013 to 2017, one in every 50 homeowners filed a water damage claim each year. The same research shows that the average claim cost around $1,000, for a total insurance payout of around $13 billion per year for water damage alone.
In addition to wreaking havoc on your property and leaving you with a mess to clean up, a flood can also lead to other, more serious issues if left untreated. One of those is mold.
It’s no secret that mold and mildew thrive in moist, humid environments. Unfortunately, that’s exactly the kind of setting that flood damage creates. If you’re facing an extensive amount of property damage, Boise mold removal services are essential to keeping your property clean and safe.
Today, we’re taking a closer look at the connection between mold growth and water damage. We’ll also review the ways that this issue can grow into an even greater problem if left unchecked, along with the important ways that a team like ours can help.
What Is Mold?
Before we dive into how it can affect the safety and sanitation of your residential or commercial property, let’s start by answering one important question: What exactly is mold, and where does it come from?
In short, mold is a type of fungus. It consists of tiny organisms that thrive on moisture.
It begins and grows by digesting organic matter. Once initiated, it can spread by releasing its small, lightweight spores, which allows it to reproduce.
In the natural world, mold is an everyday occurrence. It plays an essential role in helping to break down dead leaves, plants and trees into organic matter. However, it isn’t quite as welcome in your home or workplace.
As these organisms are especially adept at digesting wood, it’s no surprise that one of their favorite places to set up shop is within the framework of your property. Even one leak can lead to the development and spread of mold throughout your entire floor and ceiling space.
However, they don’t stop there. It’s possible for mold to spread to almost any surface, including the wood and wallpaper on your walls to your ceiling insulation and even area rugs and carpet. In the case of the latter, you’ll usually notice mold on upholstery growing in a thin, white layer usually referred to as mildew.
While these surfaces can all act as breeding grounds for mold, the spores prefer environments that stay warm and damp on a daily basis. This means they’re especially drawn to:
- Laundry rooms
- Crawl spaces
What Does Mold Look Like?
While you may be familiar with the telltale black streaks of mold, it can appear in a variety of colors including black, white, green, orange or even purple! As such, you’ll need to look for other signs of mold rather than simply going off color alone.
As it continues to grow, mold becomes more prevalent and easier to spot. In most cases, you will first notice small specks that are either black or white in color. Yet, if it’s made its way into places that are more difficult to reach (such as within ceiling tiles or behind wall coverings), you may smell it before you see it.
Mold has a musty odor that you may recognize from damp towels hanging in a humid bathroom. Chances are, if you can smell them in the air, the spores are lurking close by. There is no one-size-fits-all look for mold, so be open to the other signs of its presence.
How Can I Spot a Water Leak?
Sometimes, mold originates from a major flood that completely disrupts your entire property. Other times, it grows from a small leak that goes undetected, allowed to expand into a bigger mess.
To this end, it helps to know how to spot a leak in your home or office so you can repair it quickly. Otherwise, it could create the kind of moist, warm environment that mold spores love the most.
A few of the signs that you might have a leak nearby include:
- A surprise increase in your water bill
- Musty or damp-smelling odors
- Unexpected changes in water pressure
- Light brown stains on your walls or ceilings
- The sound of dripping, trickling or even rushing water
- Areas or rooms that feel particularly damp and never dry out
While most homeowners or commercial property managers think that they’d be able to spot the very first signs of a water leak, the reality is that many of them can go undetected for a while. If you even slightly suspect that you might have a leak on your hands, our team of experts can help you pinpoint its exact location.
How Does Water Damage Lead to Mold?
Mold thrives and grows best under humid conditions. This is why any water leak that originates from your leaking pipelines can cause the organisms to advance.
While you’re exposed to mold every day through your environment, these amounts are minimal and do not pose a major health risk. However, when these spores take hold of a damp spot in your home, they can begin to grow out of control.
Whether you’re dealing with the aftermath of a small leak or your entire basement flooded, it’s easy to become overwhelmed when surveying the damage.
In your quest to remove the water, assess the condition of the items impacted, and restore your space to its pre-damage state, it’s easy to miss critical issues lurking just beneath the surface.
The relationship between mold and water leaks is one that’s often misunderstood.
For instance, did you know that even a tiny leak can encourage mold to grow in your home or business? It isn’t only catalyzed by the kind of severe water damage you might expect. There doesn’t even need to be a flood or even a visible leak for the growth to begin without your knowledge.
In as little as 24 to 48 hours after the water damage occurs, mold could begin to grow and spread. That’s why it’s important to act as quickly as possible. A team of cleanup and restoration experts like ours can take care of the issue swiftly, helping to keep any mold growth at bay.
Is Mold Dangerous to My Health?
The reality is that you’re exposed to mold on a daily basis. Every time you step outside, there are organisms hard at work, decomposing nature all around you. Mold spores also exist in everyday household and workplace dust and debris.
To that end, being around miniscule amounts of mold isn’t usually deemed harmful to your health. However, the issue lies with the amount of mold you’re exposed to during an average instance of water damage.
Direct exposure to mold can result in severe health conditions that could greatly impact your quality of life. Unless they are thoroughly removed, inhaling these spores could trigger these symptoms, although it’s important to understand that not everyone will react the same way.
Certain people are more sensitive to mold exposure than others. For this reason, the same amount of mold could cause an intense reaction in one person, but barely affect the other at all. For those who are especially sensitive to molds, these microorganisms can lead to a range of issues, including:
- A stuffy or runny nose
- Sinus headaches
- Red, itchy eyes
- Red, itchy skin
In very serious cases, such as someone allergic to mold or someone with asthma, mold can cause a more intense reaction. If this happens, exposure can result in fever, shortness of breath or even death.
In addition, some types of mold can also produce toxic compounds or poisons called mycotoxins. These are a form of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). If inhaled, they can affect your central nervous system, which can lead to dizziness, headaches, difficulty concentrating and even a shorter attention span.
While these instances are alarming, they aren’t common. Rather, these outlier reactions are usually reserved for occupational-related exposures, such as farm workers exposed to large quantities of mold-ridden hay while on the job. Still, if your home floods and you’re faced with a great deal of water damage, it could also create the same type of toxic environment.
The Most Susceptible Populations
Are you wondering if you’re at a heightened risk of experiencing a severe reaction to mold?
If so, begin by considering your history of allergies. If you suffer from environmental allergies that get worse during certain times of the year, exposure to mold could generate an adverse internal reaction.
In addition, anyone with a compromised immune system or any form of underlying respiratory disease could also feel the impact more than others. If you have a chronic respiratory disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) or asthma, being around mold could lead to breathing issues.
Other populations that are at a greater risk of developing a severe health response to the presence of mold include the elderly and young children. In these cases, the populations do not possess the immune strength and physical capacity to ward off most of the symptoms of mold exposure.
In general, all of these populations are also more vulnerable to contracting any form of fungal infection, and that includes an infection that stems from inhaling mold spores for even a brief period of time.
How Can Mold Damage Your Property?
In addition to causing an immense amount of physical damage, mold spores can also do a number on your personal property.
You know it’s unsightly and you can recognize its trademark musty scent, but did you know that mold can also affect your furniture, walls, carpet and internal framework? Let’s review how this process begins and where it leads.
Feeding on Decay
Mold is especially drawn to and feeds on organic materials, such as paper, wood, fabric and even certain kinds of glue. Unfortunately, all homes and commercial buildings are replete with these kinds of items. Inside of almost every room, you can find a variety of similar materials, including:
- Wooden studs
- Ceiling tiles
Once the mold takes hold of each surface, the spores begin to work their way through it. Over time, this causes the material to rot and break apart. If you choose to let the issue fester and put off calling for professional restoration and cleanup, you could compromise the very integrity of the building.
In severe cases, mold can cause ceilings to collapse, floorboards to cave in and walls to fall down.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Your walls won’t begin to lean as soon as mold begins to grow on them. Yet, you don’t have too much time to waste.
Quick and complete treatment can help you save your favorite properties, safeguard your investments and eliminate any mold before it has the opportunity to grow further.
How Can You Repair Mold Damage?
Are you facing a mold issue in your home as a result of water damage?
While there are at-home methods you can try to keep the problem at bay, it’s always best to hire a professional crew to visit your space and begin cleaning up immediately. Otherwise, you could risk spending time and money on solutions that may not provide the total fix that you need. In the meantime, the spores will continue to populate and spread, damaging both your home and health.
The Risks of DIY Mold Removal
In general, the size of this job will vary greatly depending on the amount of mold present and the degree of damage the spores have created. While it’s tempting to handle the situation on your own, consider the risks of doing so.
For instance, if you go to remove moldy materials from your home, you could exacerbate the issue if you fail to follow strict protocols for safe removal practices.
Say you decide to pull up moldy carpet or remove moldy drywall in an effort to stop the mold in its tracks. However, the very act of tugging on these surfaces could send hundreds of thousands of miniscule mold spores catapulting through the air around you. From there, they settle on nearby surfaces and continue their feeding frenzy.
Navigating Store-Bought Mold Tests
Sometimes, you might only suspect a mold issue is taking hold of your property. To breathe a little easier at night, you may decide to purchase a store-bought mold test.
Most of these standard mold test kits work in much of the same way. Usually, you’ll place a small dish in your home for a given period of time. The premise behind this approach is that if there are mold spores present in your air, they will settle out of the air and migrate onto the dish.
While this may work in some cases, it’s easy to see how this experiment could go awry. The lack of mold spores in your dish does not necessarily mean you’re in the clear. The only way to accurately access the presence of mold in your home is to hire a mold restoration expert to make a visit and take a look.
Cleaning Mold From Common Household Surfaces
While mold is notoriously difficult to remove from upholstery and carpets, other surfaces are more manageable and easier to wipe clean. These include metal, tile, glass and concrete. Still, although these materials do not harbor mold spores as easily as others, the process of completely removing mold from them can be laborious and expensive.
The same goes for any wooden surfaces in your home or commercial property, including your floorboards and wall studs. Depending on the degree of water damage present, you may be able to clean and repair these areas, as long as you catch and address the mold issue as early as possible.
However, if you allow the mold spores to continue to grow, the problem will progress. Soon, it may be impossible to completely remove the mold growing on those wooden surfaces. While you can replace floorboards (for a price), you can’t take away wall studs as easily. If they’re significantly damaged, you may be able to sand the studs to remove some amount of mold.
How Can Boise Mold Removal Services Help?
You may already know that the CTR team is able to perform a wide range of restoration and cleanup services. These include:
- Bio-hazard and infectious cleanup
- Water damage
- Fire and smoke damage
- Wind and storm damage
- Construction services
- Personal property restoration
- Environmental restoration
- Structural board-up
- Structural cleaning
Did you also know that we’re also renowned leaders in mold remediation?
Whether the mold growth is confined to a small area within your home or office building or it’s traveled throughout the entire structure, we have the tools, resources and knowledge to help.
The best part? We’re always ready when you need us. We understand that while it would be convenient for floods or fires to occur only during normal business hours, it doesn’t usually work that way. That’s why we’re proud to offer our professional services around the clock, 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
Let’s take a closer look at how we can treat any mold that you’re experiencing as a result of water damage.
One of the most frustrating and dangerous qualities of mold is its ability to grow behind walls or under floorboards, completely undetected. Though the spores tend to congregate in areas that are frequently trafficked, they don’t always contain themselves in this way.
As such, while you might notice a slight odor in the air, you may not immediately attribute it to the presence of mold. This is especially the case if there are no visible or instantly detectable signs of its presence.
This is why it’s critical to schedule an initial inspection with our cleanup crew as soon as you recognize any form of water damage. Not only can we help you safely and quickly remove the excess water, but we can also survey your property for any signs of mold.
As a certified mold remediation company, we can send our qualified restoration experts to your property as soon as possible to assess your situation.
Scope of Work
Once our team members inspect your property, the next step is to put together a plan of action.
At CTR, we work closely with professionally-certified industrial hygienists (IH) to develop a complete and comprehensive scope of work that caters to your unique needs. Every scope of work we generate follows a strict protocol for not only mold remediation, but also detailed testing to ensure that no traces of mold spores remain upon completion.
Contact CTR For Mold Remediation Today
Maybe your basement flooded, leaving you with standing water and a quickly expanding population of black mold spores on your walls. Or, perhaps you only suspect you have mold, due to the musty odor in the room and the small leak you just fixed.
Either way, we’re here to help.
Our team at CTR is skilled and experienced in helping homeowners and commercial managers wade through the aftermath of both natural and man-made disasters. If you’ve recently suffered an instance of water damage, our Boise mold removal services can help make the air in your home is safe and clean.
Contact us today to learn more and let’s connect!