There’s nothing more disruptive than when your home has been hit with water damage that grew mold. I know because I’ve been there. This is the guide I wish were available when I discovered mold in my home.
I’m sharing with you today the steps to take if you find water damage in your home. The reason for creating this step sheet is that I found mold in my home and I got so worried and scattered that I didn’t do this in a very organized fashion. So I’ve created a little handout for you to have on your phone or tablet. It’s downloadable. Just send me your email address and we’ll send this to you so that you have it in your resources for if this ever happens to you.
Step 1. If you find water damage in your home, call your insurance company.
Step 2. Call an air quality inspector. Let the insurance company know you are going to do this and demand it. That you can use someone that’s going to actually make sure that if there’s mold found after this water damage, that it’s handled well. Often the insurance company’s first step is to send you an inspector and they will want to get the bad material out of the house to mitigate their losses, which is fine as long as it is just wet material, but not fine if its moldy because then it will bring mold spores into your entire home environment. So demand mold testing and your air quality inspector will be the person to rely on for that.
Step 3. Get on the remediator’s schedule if the air quality person does suspect that there is mold, they will test it.
Step 4. is get testing done but make sure you get on the remediator’s schedule. The remediators they’re very busy people. You can always cancel later.
Step 5. Have the remediators remove any water-damaged material using all of their safety methods. They use containment. They use negative air so that any air flow that happens during the remediation doesn’t poof spores into your house and infect the rest of your space. They will double-bag everything to make sure that as it’s leaving your house it’s not infecting it as well and then HEPPA vac the area before getting/opening that area back up.
The next step is to obviously keep your insurance company informed and the way I recommend doing this is taking pictures with your smart phone. Take pictures of everything. Take pictures of more than you think you need. Take pictures and document everything, who you talk to, dates and the steps that you took.
And then next tip with the remediation is make sure that your remediators are erring on the side of removing more material then not and also to make sure that material is removed, not just treated. I’ve had multiple times working with patients of mold illness where the remediators didn’t take as much material as they probably should have. They just treated it with an anti-bacterial or anti-microbial and the mold ended up growing back once the conditions returned of high humidity. So make sure that they remove material and that they remove rather than treat and take more than they think they need to.
The next step is to get post-remediation testing done by your air-quality inspector. The remediation company will do their own post-testing that’s for their quality controls and that’s fine. But you need to make sure that the post-remediation testing is being done by an independent person so that there is no conflict of interest and that you are sure that they got everything that they could. There are times where a remediation company does a beautiful job and there’s still mold. Their post testing is bad and that’s because there was, that water, as water does, it can find a different way to go to the lowest point in the house or maybe travelled down the back of a wall to get to the basement. The problem was in the basement but maybe that middle floor needs remediation as well. Not to overwhelm you but that’s just some of things that happen.
And then the last step is of course rebuild but make sure that you are only rebuilding once you are sure that all of the sick material has been removed from the house. When you are on a limited budget, put your money into taking out sick material and live with studs. That’s more important than trying to do a poor or halfway job on the remediation and relying on treating it with sprays and chemicals and then being very focused on rebuilding and getting your life back to normal. I completely understand that. But you are better off living in a safe environment that’s down to the studs than to live in a beautiful environment that still has illness behind the walls.
For a pdf of the guide, please send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This content is health information and not intended as personal medical advice. Viewing will not establish a doctor-patient relationship. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or medical condition. The information discussed is not intended to replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Reliance on information provided by Dr. Jill Crista, employees, or others appearing at the invitation of Dr. Crista is solely at your own risk.