The 4 most common questions about home flooding

Flood damage isn’t something homeowners deal with often. Unlike “routine” services like a plumber or carpet cleaner, it’s fortunately very rare when you need a flood damage company like us. But because it isn’t very common, it’s also very confusing to most homeowners. And you can only imagine how much stress is added to the equation when you’re dealing with an emergency event like substantial flooding. Many people have no idea where to turn or what actions to take. In some cases, that can lead to paralysis. In other cases, it can lead to making poor decisions that can either put your health and safety at risk or cause you significant financial hardship down the road. We always tell people in your situation that it’s a good idea to ask as many questions as possible as soon as possible. That goes for any flood restoration service company you are talking to, your insurance adjuster, or anyone else that might be involved in the recovery process.

Here are the most common questions we get from home or business owners that have experienced significant flooding damage to their property. If you find yourself in their shoes, you’d be wise to make sure you have the answers you need to make the best decisions to protect yourself, your family and your bank account.

Does my homeowners insurance cover flooding?

This depends on your policy. Homeowners insurance typically covers flooding due to internal plumbing or roof issues, but you would need special flood insurance for cover for storm flooding, usually. If your home is located within a flood zone, then you likely are covered. Colyer Services have experience insurance adjusters to help identify your coverage, and see to it that your claim is paid!

What should I do immediately to protect my safety?

During a flood event, your life is at risk from a number of dangers. Obviously rising water levels and quickly moving water can cause drowning, but there are other dangers you should be aware of. If it’s the case you find yourself unable to leave your home due to the rapidly rising water levels, seek the highest position in your home possible. If you live in a 2 story home, go to the second story and call for help. If you’re unable to stay dry, it’s important you turn off the electricity to your home as well as your gas. In some instances, electrocution or gas leaks can occur due to flooding.

Who should I call to help me?

If you’re in danger, always call 911. If the danger has subsided but you don’t know where to turn, you have a variety of resources. Locally, you may have some non-profit organizations that can help you put the pieces back in place and begin the recovery process. The Red Cross is always a good resource in the event of a natural disaster. They typically put employees and volunteers on the ground after large-scale flood events to help people in your situation.

If you do have flood insurance and aren’t sure what to do, we would encourage you to call us to begin the process of assessing your loss. It’s probably a good opportunity to remind you that costs for our services are dictated by your insurer. So as long as you hire a company that is using Xactimate, such as Colyer Services, to estimate the cost of your flooding damage cleanup services, that company is going to ultimately work with your insurer to determine the cost of the loss. We say that to remind you that you don’t need to worry about whether or not the cost of your loss will be covered by your insurer. Sometimes people wait around for their adjuster to take the lead on the claim, and when there has been a major flood event, they’re often overloaded with claims and can’t get to you in a timely fashion. That means your property ends up with even more damage to it, and not to mention the risk of health hazards increase as your property sits waterlogged.

How much will it cost?

It’s impossible to say. Every property is unique and every situation differs. What does remain constant is the unit cost of every single item that must be replaced and every action that must be taken by whichever restoration company you hire.

If you have a flooded property, contact the Emergency Response Team at Colyer Services right away

Tampa – 813-734-2552

Sarasota – 941-201-8520

Orlando – 407-388-8800

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Mold Exposure Symptoms

You might be experiencing mold exposure symptoms if your allergies have been acting up lately or if you’ve been getting sick and don’t know why. People often don’t realize when they are experiencing mold health effects. Of course, if you see a lot of mold growing in your basement or your bathroom, you know you’ve got a mold problem. However, mold often grows in hidden places, like inside your walls or even inside your home’s air ducts, so you could have a mold problem and not even know it. Sometimes the first sign that you have a mold problem in your home is symptoms of exposure to mold.

Mold exposure symptoms

Mold Exposure Symptoms

Even short-term exposure to mold can trigger some common mold health effects, similar to short-term exposure to other environmental allergens. Symptoms usually start out mild and increase over time, although some individuals are particularly sensitive to mold and they may experience moderate to severe symptoms from the beginning. Symptoms of short-term exposure to mold often include:

  • Allergy symptoms, like itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and a stuffy head
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Headaches
  • Snoring at night, in people that did not previously snore
  • Rashes, itchy skin
  • Asthma attacks (1)

If you’re experiencing symptoms like these and you are aware of a mold problem in your home, let your doctor know because it may affect the prescribed treatment. If you’re having symptoms like these and don’t know why, especially if you’ve never had environmental allergy symptoms in the past, you might have a mold problem in your home that you don’t know about yet. Take some time to check for mold in your home.

Long-Term Mold Health Effects

Long-term mold exposure symptoms are more serious, and may include things like:

  • Worsening of asthma symptoms, which may be long-lasting
  • Development of asthma, or asthma-like symptoms, in people not previously diagnosed with asthma
  • Chronic sinus infections
  • Chronic sore throats
  • Respiratory infections, like bronchitis or pneumonia
  • Bleeding in the lungs
  • Depression
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory loss

Long-term exposure to mold can cause other symptoms, as well. Different people respond differently, though the very young, the elderly, and people with pre-existing health problems are more susceptible to mold-related health problems. In some cases, mold-related health problems can be very serious and even lead to life-threatening complications.

Treatment for Mold Exposure Symptoms

Treatment for mold-related symptoms depends upon the specific symptoms you’re experiencing. For instance, allergy-like symptoms typically respond to antihistamines, while respiratory infections like bronchitis generally require antibiotics. Let your doctor know if you think your symptoms might be related to mold exposure, though, as that might affect treatment.

Keep in mind the fact that symptoms will usually continue even with treatment as long as you continue to be exposed to mold. In fact, symptoms may grow worse over time. In addition to the appropriate medical treatment, you’ll need to make sure all traces of mold are removed from your home in order to return to good health.

Mold Removal

Removing mold from the home is a complicated process and if you’re experiencing mold-related health problems, it’s not recommended that you try to remove mold on your own. Doing so only exposes you to more mold and may make your symptoms much worse. If you have a mold problem in your home, we recommend contacting Colyer Services to assess the situation and handle the mold removal so that you can return to good health and avoid further mold-related health problems.

Colyer Services:

Tampa – 813-734-2552

Sarasota – 941-201-8520

Orlando – 407-388-8800

Does Mold Cause Sinus Infections?

Two of the most common respiratory conditions are asthma and sinusitis.

The purpose of this article is to provide you with information pertaining to research on the link between mold and sinus infections.

If you have asthma, sinusitis, or other respiratory conditions, please explore the possibility that mold may be the cause.

Medications and treatment can only be effective if it deals with the cause of the health condition.

In short, if the root cause of your health problems are mold, then the only way to get healthy is to do something about the mold concern.

10 Key Stats and Facts About Sinusitis!

  1. Acute sinusitis is caused by bacterial infections that usually last a month or less.
  2. Chronic sinusitis lasts three months or longer.
  3. Chronic sinusitis is an inflammation of the membranes of the nose and sinus cavity.
  4. Small growths, referred to as polyps, often develop in the nasal passages of chronic sinusitis patients causing significant breathing challenges.
  5. Signs of sinusitis include the following: facial and/or teeth pain; tenderness and swelling around the eyes, cheeks, nose, and forehead; sinus pressure or congestion; difficulty breathing through the nose; loss of the sense of smell or taste; sinus headache.
  6. Approximately 37 million Americans or 12% of the population suffer from chronic sinusitis.
  7. Every week there are about 308,000 doctor visits or 16 million per year by sinusitis patients.
  8. Over $150 million is spent each year on prescription medications to treat sinusitis patients.
  9. Over $1 billion is spent each year on over-the-counter medications by sinusitis patients.
  10. Direct healthcare expenditures due to sinusitis cost are well over $8 billion each year.

Sinusitis Treatments

Antibiotics, over-the-counter medications, and balloon sinuplasty (BSP) are the mainstream treatments currently offered to patients that suffer from sinusitis.

Antibiotics may help acute sinusitis patients because these drugs are able to target the bacterial cause. Such drugs, however, are not effective for chronic sinusitis patients because it likely does not address the actual cause of the problem (explained below).

There are many over-the-counter drugs also available which do provide some temporary relief, but are not long term solutions because they do not reduce the inflammation which is causing the discomfort.

A medical procedure, Balloon Sinuplasty (BSP), is performed in outpatient surgical facilities under local anesthetic. This procedure widens the sinus cavity to allow for better sinus drainage and function.

MAYO Clinic Researchers Believe That MOLD Is The Primary Cause Of Chronic Sinusitis

Mayo Clinic Doctors: David Sherris; Eugene Kern; and Jens Ponikau, believe chronic sinusitis is caused by a fungus that causes an immune reaction:

Medications haven’t worked for chronic sinusitis because we didn’t know what the cause of the problem was. Fungus allergy was thought to be involved in less than ten percent of cases. Our studies indicate that, in fact, fungus is likely the cause of nearly all of these problems. And it is not an allergic reaction, but an immune reaction. This is a potential breakthrough that offers great hope for the millions of people who suffer from this problem. We can now begin to treat the cause of the problem instead of the symptoms. Finally we are on the trail of a treatment that may actually work.

The researchers studied 210 patients with chronic sinusitis, collecting mucus samples from the noses of the patients. They discovered fungus in 96 percent and identified 40 different kinds of fungi, each patient averaging 2.7 kinds.

Nasal polyps were also removed from 101 of these patients. The researchers found eosiniphils, which are a type of white blood cell activated by the body’s immune system, in the nasal tissue and mucus of the patients.

This discovery shows that in sensitive individuals, the body’s immune system is sending the eosinophils to attack the fungi, which in turn irritates the membranes of the nose. Consequently, traditional treatments do not work because they do not rid the body of the fungi that is irritating the membranes and causing the inflammation.

Since mold is found everywhere, the doctors believe that fungal spores, which become airborne and then are breathed in by the sufferers of chronic sinusitis, perpetuates their condition caused by the immune response. Further research is underway to set up trials to test medications to control the fungus.

If you are suffering from Chronic Sinusitis, and no medical treatments seem to work, it’s time to contact Colyer Servces for a Comprehensive Mold Examination of your home!

Tampa/Sarasota -813-734-2552

Orlando – 407-388-8800

Pets and Mold

Many homeowners know that mold can make people sick but not as many know about pets and mold. Exposure to household mold can make pets sick, too, and in fact they may get sick faster than people do when exposed to mold since they are so small, much like infants are more susceptible to mold-related illness than adults.

Common Symptoms of Mold Exposure in Pets

The symptoms of exposure to mold may vary somewhat depending on what type of pet you have. For instance, a dog or cat may show somewhat different symptoms than a guinea pig or rabbit.

Some common symptoms of mold exposure you may notice include:

  • Excessive scratching in the absence of fleas
  • Pets may develop sores and/or bleed from excessive scratching
  • Excessive licking
  • Hair loss due to excessive scratching and/or licking
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Runny eyes
  • Labored breathing
  • Wheezing sound when breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

Talk to your veterinarian for more information about pets and mold exposure symptoms of which you should be aware. You should also be familiar with the typical behavior, eating patterns and energy level of your pet. If you notice changes, contact your vet.

Treating Symptoms of Mold Exposure in Pets

If your pet shows symptoms of exposure to mold, he needs to see a vet right away. Let your vet know if your pet has been exposed to mold or if you suspect exposure to mold might be causing his symptoms.

Cat Sick From Mold Exposure

If you can’t get your pet in to see the vet immediately, we recommend removing him from the home if possible in order to avoid continued exposure to mold prior to seeing the vet. Arrange for him to stay with a friend or family member or in a kennel if you can. Continued exposure to mold could make your pet’s symptoms worse and permanent damage to the respiratory system or even death could result.

Your vet will probably prescribe medications to treat your pet’s symptoms. However, your pet’s symptoms will probably not improve and may even continue to get worse as long as he is exposed to mold. Your vet may advise you to keep your pet out of the home until you’re able to get the mold cleaned up. You may be able to board your pet at the vet’s office, or you can ask a friend or family member to keep him temporarily, or you may be able to board him at a kennel. Make sure to ask your vet if it’s safe for him to be around other pets, though; if he’s sick, he may not be able to stay in a kennel or in a home with other pets.

For Help with Mold Removal

If you’re concerned about pets and mold exposure, you need to get any household mold cleaned up as soon as possible. We recommend calling in Colyer Services to make sure the job is done correctly and completed in a timely manner so your pet can safely return home. Make sure you get the benefit of expert advice about the job even if you plan to do the work yourself.

We also recommend having a certified mold tester inspect your home after the cleanup has been completed, whether you do the job yourself or hire a professional, to make sure all traces of mold have been removed. That way you know for certain it’s safe for your pet to return home. Colyer Services are State of Florida Certified Mold Assessors and General Contractors with years of experience.

Colyer Services:

Orlando – 407-388-8800

Tampa/Sarasota – 813-734-2552

How to Test for Black Mold?

BLACK MOLD TEST

 

Black mold test

Do you know how to test for black mold? You may need a black mold test if you find greenish-black mold in your house or your house has a strong musty smell, to find out if it’s Stachybotrys chartarum, a form of mold known to be particularly harmful to some people. It’s a common mold in the United States, though the New Mexico State University reports it’s found outdoors more than it’s found indoors. Sometimes it is found indoors, though, where it can lead to a variety of health problems.

In some cases, homeowner’s insurance policies will pay for a black mold test of your home. Otherwise, it’s worth the cost if you have to pay for it yourself, because black mold can be so harmful to your health, causing respiratory problems, rashes, seizures, fatigue and unusual bleeding. Small children, elderly people, pregnant women, those with respiratory disorders and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk.

HOW TO TEST FOR BLACK MOLD

There are black mold tests you can buy and do yourself but we recommend you have a professional come to your home and do the test. He or she will know how to test for black mold, where to find it, and can make recommendations for removing the mold. Professional tests are more accurate than home tests you can buy and conduct yourself, plus your homeowner’s insurance might pay for a professional tests but it won’t cover a do-it-yourself model. Call your insurance company and explain why you believe you need a black mold test; describe any visible mold in your home, any musty smell, and any symptoms your or any family members have been experiencing. In order to assist with this, Colyer Services are Florida licensed Mold Assessors, General Contractors, and seasoned insurance Adjusters.

There are two basic ways how to test for black mold. If you actually see mold growing somewhere in your house, that substance can be tested. If you don’t see any mold but you or your family members have symptoms of living in a home with black mold, there is a test that can be done of the air to search for traces of mold. The air test is much more accurate, and will detect mold that you may not have seen.

WHAT THE RESULTS MEAN

Regardless of how to test for black mold, there is some question of what the results mean. Neither the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nor the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) have established levels that are considered safe. The CDC points out that if you or any family members seem to suffer ill effects that can be attributed to the presence of mold, you should leave the house if possible and invest in mold remediation.

However, even though no “safe” level has been established, if you have a black mold test performed before you clean up the mold, you can then perform another test to find out if the level is at least significantly reduced. If you have a professional perform the cleanup, make sure you get a test for the presence of black mold both before and after the cleanup. Colyer Services always contracts a third party to perform the final mold test. The mold tester should be able to advise you as to what level of mold in the home he believes to be dangerous; keep in mind, however, no amount of mold is really healthful to breathe day in and day out. Of course, you can also consult with a doctor about whether or not any health problems you are experiencing are related to black mold in your home.

You can also compare the results from one room to another by conducting air tests in several rooms. If you notice the mold level is much, much higher in your bedroom than in your living room or kitchen, that might explain why your sinuses act up every night.

WHY WE RECOMMEND HAVING A PROFESSIONAL TEST YOUR HOME FOR MOLD

  • Most professional mold testers like Colyer Services, are engineers. They are trained to conduct mold tests with precision and accuracy.
  • We are also trained to know where to look for mold and can often find mold in places homeowners have overlooked.
  • We can tell you what strains of mold are present in your home, which are present at dangerously high levels, and which pose the greatest health risks to you and your family.
  • We can advise you about important safety precautions to take while removing mold from your home.
  • We will return after mold has been removed to make sure none was missed.

Colyer Services:

Orlando – 407-388-8800

Tampa/Sarasota – 813-734-2552

Causes of Mold in Your Home

Understanding common causes of mold in the home allows you to take steps to prevent the development of a potentially serious household mold problem. Knowing what causes mold also allows you to prevent a mold problem from recurring if you’ve already dealt with the effort and expense of cleaning up household mold. If you don’t address the cause of the problem, it will likely return and you’ll be faced with cleaning up mold all over again.

Potential Mold Causes

Many different things can cause a household mold problem. Typically things that cause mold growth involve too much moisture in the home, since all types of mold require moisture in order to grow and spread.

Conditions that are often causes of mold in a household include:

  • Flooding (See picture below)
  • A leaky roof
  • Leaky window frames
  • Leaving windows open when it rains
  • Leaky or broken pipes
  • Leaky sinks, tubs or toilets
  • Leaky washing machines or dishwashers
  • Poorly ventilated bathrooms (simply turning on the exhaust fan or opening a window a bit when showering can help with this)
  • Poorly ventilated laundry rooms
  • Damp basements
  • High levels of relative humidity in the home (greater than 50 percent)
  • House fires (mold is actually caused by the water used to put out the fire, not by the fire itself)
  • Any type of significant water damage in the home
Basement Mold From Flood

To prevent mold from developing in the home, correct any of these conditions as soon as possible. That means repairing any leaks promptly. Clean up any water spills promptly, as well. If you have high levels of relative humidity in your home, or if your basement is damp, you can purchase a dehumidifier to reduce the amount of moisture in the air.

The above things aren’t the only possible causes of mold and sometime even the best preventative steps don’t keep household mold from developing. If you notice signs of a mold problem in your home, take steps to address it immediately. Most types of mold grow and spread rapidly, so every day you delay just allows the problem to get worse. We suggest a Mold Assessment from a licensed professional, such as Colyer Services

Testing for Mold

If you aren’t sure if you have mold in your home or not, you can have a professional come in and test for mold. This is a good idea after a flood, fire or other event involving significant water damage to the home. If you smell a musty odor in your home, you probably have mold somewhere even if you can’t see it, and you should also have a professional come in and test for mold. By catching mold early, you can prevent a problem from getting much worse. Contact Colyer Services, below, to address your Mold Issues.

For Help Finding out What Causes Mold in Your Home

If you’ve got a mold problem in your home and aren’t sure what caused it or how to prevent a problem from recurring in the future, we recommend consulting with a mold remediation professional. A trained and experienced professional will visit your home, inspect the areas affected by mold, explain the conditions that led to the development of the mold problem, and let you know what you can do to prevent future problems. Even if you want to take care of cleaning up a mold problem yourself, you can benefit from some professional advice about how to prevent future problems.

Colyer Services

Tampa – 813-734-2552

Sarasota – 941-210-8520

Orlando – 407-388-8800

Pictures of Black Mold

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so we’d like to show you some pictures of black mold. You might think household mold is not such a big deal, but when you see a picture of toxic black mold covering a wall, well, you might think again. Black mold spreads rapidly, so what starts out as a little bit of mold in a corner can quickly grow to nightmarish proportions.

Black Mold Pictures

Black mold, officially known as stachybotrys chartarum and sometimes referred to as toxic mold, is typically black and slimy in appearance. Its appearance may vary somewhat depending on what type of surface it’s found growing on, though. It is typically found in areas that stay damp, whether from a leak in the roof, leaky pipes, leaky toilets, or leaky windows. It can also begin to grow after a home has been flooded. We’ll show you some examples of what black mold may look like.

Here is a picture of toxic black mold growing on a wall. When you see a lot of black mold on a wall like this, there is often mold growing inside the wall, as well. It’s usually impossible to clean walls like this. In such cases, it’s usually necessary to remove the drywall and insulation and replace them with new, mold-free materials.

Mold in corner of walls

Here is a picture of black mold growing on a ceiling, which often happens after a roof has been leaking for a while. If you see mold on your ceiling, there is a good chance you have mold in your attic, as well.

Black mold on ceiling

Mold can also grow on floors, of course. Here’s a picture of toxic black mold growing on carpet. If you see mold on carpet, there’s probably mold under the carpet, as well. It’s usually impossible to remove mold from carpet; in most cases, the carpet must be removed and replaced.

Black mold on carpet

Black mold can be found in any part of the home. Here are some pictures of black mold in different areas.

Mold on basement wall
Black mold in a basement
Black mold in attic

Black mold in an attic

Black mold in bathroom behind tiles
Black mold in a bathroom
Black mold in air ducts
Black mold in heating ducts

What If You Have Mold That Looks Like This in Your Home?

So what if you have mold that looks like these pictures of black mold in your home? Well, your health, and the health of your entire family, is at risk. Black mold is sometimes referred to as toxic mold because it produces mycotoxins that can cause numerous health problems, including breathing problems, asthma attacks, respiratory infections such as pneumonia, coughing, sneezing, headaches, sore throats, exhaustion, and depression. It can even make your pets sick; some families have lost pets due to serious infections and other health problems related to exposure to black mold.

If you have mold like this in your home, you need to get it cleaned up as soon as possible in order to prevent health problems from beginning or worsening. If you have black mold covering a large area (greater than three square feet) or mold growing in your heating and ventilation ducts, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends having a professional handle the cleanup. If you have and mold-related health problem, or health issues such as asthma that might be worsened by exposure to mold, it’s also best to have a professional handle the job. If you need to hire a mold removal professional, or if you’d just like some expert advice about the mold in your home, you can schedule a consultation with Colyer Services. Fill out our contact form below, or call!

Orlando – 407-388-8800

Tampa/Sarasota – 813-734-2552