The Effects of Mold and Mildew on Your Health

Mold and mildew are fungi that flourish in wet and moist areas inside and outside of your home. Over time, both types of fungi can cause damage to the surfaces beneath them. Thanks to rapidly-spreading spores that can quickly become colonies, it is hard to control mold growth. If you are experiencing a musty odor in your home and not sure if it is a real problem, you should know more about the effects of mold and mildew on your health.

How Does Fungus Harm Your Health?

Some children and adults are very sensitive to mold and mildew. Symptoms can range from itchy eyes to skin rashes. Those dealing with chronic lung and sinus issues can suffer serious infections after exposure to either type of fungi. One study, conducted by the Institute of Medicine, discovered a link between exposure to a damp indoor environment and respiratory symptoms in healthy people.

The symptoms of fungi exposure include:

  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Rashes
  • Watery or itchy eyes
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Hay fever-like symptoms
    • In rare cases, people can develop serious reactions, including fever and trouble breathing. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict whether or not someone will have a bad reaction to mold, which makes it even more important to proactively test for it and remove it.

      How Is Exposure Treated?

      If you are concerned that you have been exposed to mold, you should first try to determine where you were exposed and if the source can be removed. If you cannot get rid of the mold in your home or workplace immediately, you should take antihistamines. These can be purchased over the counter or prescribed by your doctor. If you have a serious reaction, your doctor may need to prescribe corticosteroids or nasal sprays to manage your symptoms.

      Controlling Mold In Your Home

      • Monitor humidity levels
      • If you use a dehumidifier or humidifier, be sure to constantly adjust them based on the humidity level in your home, as the level should never be higher than 50%
      • Fix leaks in your home as quickly as possible
      • hire a professional remediation company to remove affected material, thoroughly dry out the area and test to ensure that all fungus is gone
      • Whenever you have flooding, even if it is a small amount in the basement, contact a water damage remediation service to assess the damage, troubleshoot the problem and dry out the area to prevent fungus growth

      Protect Your Family’s Health with Flood Department

      Flood Department emergency water removal can complete a wide range of mold removal, flood damage restoration and clean-up services. To learn more about our services and whether or not you have a mold problem on your hands, give us a call at 301-829-2600.

Preventing Water Damage in Your Home

A burst pipe, leaking appliance or terrible storm could lead to water damage in your home, as well as large expenses and homeowner’s insurance claims. To keep your home safe from the costly and stressful effects of water damage, here are some of our best tips!

Check the Outside of Your Home

Are there any hoses connected to your home with standing water inside of them? In the best-case scenario, the hose will freeze and stop water flow. In the worst-case scenario, the water will cause your pipes to explode and create serious damage to the walls, floor and foundation of your home. You should also take the time to check your gutters and downspouts. Are they both free of debris? If you allow debris to accumulate, it can lead to blockage and ice dams. Standing water on your roof can also lead to serious damage that requires professional repairs or replacement.

Pay Attention to Your Appliances

Inside of your home, you should take the time to check your appliances regularly for any leaks. Are there pools of water around the base of your dishwasher or washing machine once you are done using them? Any signs of leaks or water problems should be taken seriously and dealt with as quickly as possible. A small leak can become a big problem over time.

Keep an Eye on Your Water Pressure

If water pressure is set too high, pipes and hoses might break under the pressure. Use a water pressure gauge on an outside faucet to check how strong your water pressure is. Install the gauge and turn your faucet as high as it will go. Most homes have pipes that are designed for water pressure between 40-70 psi. If your home’s pressure is higher than 100 psi, you should install a pressure regulator to reduce the likelihood of a burst pipe.

Use a Drain Snake

Even if you do a great job keeping your kitchen and bathroom clean, there is a chance that blockages in your pipes will occur. While it’s okay to use a high-powered drain cleaner once or twice to get things moving, you should avoid using them frequently. Using them too often can lead to pipe damage. Instead, purchase a drain snake to fish out whatever is blocking the way. They can often cut through tough clogs with ease and get things moving again.

Remedy Water Damage with Flood Department

Flood Department emergency water removal can complete a wide range of mold removal, flood damage restoration and clean-up services. To learn more about our services and whether or not you have a mold problem on your hands, give us a call at 855-350-0360.

Warning Signs That You Have a Mold Problem

While the mold on the old slice of bread in your bread basket isn’t inherently dangerous, the mold lurking behind your walls might very well be. Household mold is incredibly common and, depending on the variety, also very dangerous. It can be hard to tell whether or not you have a mold problem if you don’t know what to look for.

Warning Signs of Mold: Your Health

If you have a mold problem in your home, you might be experiencing symptoms that feel a lot like seasonal or household allergies. If your symptoms improve when you leave your home and seem to get worse when you’ve been at home for longer periods of time, there’s a chance that it’s a mold problem. The warning signs of mold include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy, sore or scratchy throat
  • Runny nose
  • Sinus pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Irritated and itchy skin

Depending on the type of mold in your home, there might be many serious consequences of long-term exposure including organ damage, cancer, internal bleeding or death.

Warning Signs of Mold: Your Home

If you take the time to pay attention when walking around your home, you can often detect the early signs of a mold problem.

  • Musty Odor: Every mold does not produce a smell, but many of them do. If you have a lingering musty odor, there might be mold in your home.
  • Visible Mold: It might go without saying, but visible mold is definitely a sign that you have a mold problem. Some molds appear to be white, while others look like clusters of dark black spots. Mold can be almost any color, including gray, green, brown, pink, purple or orange. If you are not sure whether or not a growth in your home is mold, don’t hesitate to call the experts at Flood Department.
  • Water Leaks: If you have a persistent water leak in your home or just discovered one, there’s a good chance that mold has been growing behind the scenes. Leaks behind walls or in areas of the home with poor circulation, like your basement, will lead to mold over time.
  • Water Damage: Water damage does not occur without a source of moisture, so signs of water damage could also mean that there is mold present. Cracking or peeling paint, bubbling in wallpaper and discoloration are all signs that mold-friendly conditions are present in your home.
  • Past Flooding: If your home experienced flooding in the past (especially if you did not use professional mold remediation services), there is a high likelihood that there is some type of mold present.

Correct Your Mold Problem with Flood Department

Flood Department emergency water removal can complete a wide range of mold removal, flood damage restoration and clean-up services. To learn more about our services and whether or not you have a mold problem on your hands, give us a call at 855-350-0360.

My Property Is a Crime Scene: Now What?

No property owner ever wants to deal with the stress, trauma and ugly realities of a crime scene. The aftermath of a violent crime is not pretty, and if a crime occurs at your place of business or your home, you need to take steps to restore the property back to normal as quickly as possible. So, now what?

Notify the Proper Authorities

You should always call the authorities before doing anything else. Never move things around at a crime scene, unless someone is in immediate danger. Wait for police and paramedics to arrive before you attempt to start the clean-up process and follow any instructions that the police give you. If the building is sealed while the crime is investigated, you will need to find temporary housing if it is your home. You may also want to make an insurance claim, depending on how much business you lose and the funds needed to restore things.

Call a Crime Scene Cleanup Service

Once the scene has been cleared, your next step should be calling a crime scene cleanup company like Flood Department. Under no circumstances should you attempt to clean the scene yourself. The scene will contain numerous dangerous biological contaminants, like blood and bodily fluids. Bacteria and viruses like Hepatitis, HIV and C-diff all survive in blood, and coming into contact with the pathogens could harm you or someone else.

Trauma cleanup can take care of decontaminating and deodorizing the scene. All crime scene cleanup workers are trained in proper remediation methods and have professional equipment, chemicals and tools to safely treat anything left behind. While we can never remove the horrors that happened at your place of business or house from your mind, we can remove every trace of them from your property.

Keep Information Together

You should keep any information that the crime scene cleanup company and your insurance company will need to know in a central location. Keep track of where the incident occurred, any contents of your property that were affected and the measurements of the area. You will need detailed lists of things that were damaged before making a claim, including flooring, drywall, furniture and anything else.

Crime Scene Cleanup from Flood Department

Flood Department can complete a wide range of mold removal, flood damage restoration and crime scene clean-up services. To learn more about our services and whether or not you have a mold problem on your hands, give us a call at 855-350-0360.

The Most Common Types of Indoor Mold

While some indoor molds are worse than others, none of them are a good thing to spot. Understanding the most common types of indoor mold will help you to identify them and any potential threat to your family’s health.

Cladosporium

This mold species is commonly found in basements that are not waterproofed and that have experienced high moisture levels or basement flooding. Cladosporium can cause severe asthma attacks, so it is important to remove it the moment that it is detected. Inside, this indoor mold can be spotted on carpeting, flooring, acrylic walls, underneath wallpaper and in insulation. Cladosporium is deep green, brown and black and expands into branching colonies. This mold appears to be fuzzy and is soft to the touch.

Stachybotrys

This is more commonly known as black mold, which is highly toxic to humans and, after short-term or long-term exposure it can lead to a wide range of health problems. Stachybotrys thrives in warm conditions and grows along damp surfaces. It appears in long streaks and is black or dark blue in color. It appears to be slimy and will smear if you touch it.

Aspergillus

Aspergillus is a type of indoor mold that can weaken the immune system and cause health issues. It grows along wallpaper, flooring, carpeting, upholstered furniture, gypsum board, insulation, plastic, leather and wood. It is green and white and forms in circular patches. It appears to be soft and will crumble if you touch it.

Why Is Mold So Dangerous?

Indoor mold can be very toxic and have long-term effects depending on the length of exposure and the mold species. Seniors, pregnant women, children and anyone with pre-existing health conditions will be disproportionately affected. The health effects of mold can range from mild sensitivity to chronic conditions.

Those with mold sensitivity typically experience:

  • Congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Dry, sore, itchy or watery eyes
  • Skin rashes and irritation
  • Headaches

Anyone with an existing respiratory illness, like an upper respiratory infection, asthma or lung illnesses can also react severely to mold. Indoor mold can even cause dangerous conditions like asthma to develop in children.

Indoor mold exposure, in the most severe cases, can lead to:

  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Cancer
  • Pulmonary bleeding
  • Kidney and liver conditions
  • Immune system and blood conditions
  • Neurotoxicity

If you find mold in your home, you should call an experienced mold remediation professional to take care of the problem. Never attempt to remove mold on your own.

Remove Indoor Mold with Help from Flood Department

Flood Department can complete a wide range of mold removal, flood damage restoration and clean-up services. To learn more about our services and whether or not you have a mold problem on your hands, give us a call at 855-350-0360.

What Should I Do After a Flood?

Just a few weeks ago, the second tragic flood in two years struck Ellicott City, MD. While the level of flooding that occurred is not easily remediated, smaller floods due to heavy rain have become commonplace in many Maryland homes. What should you do if your home is full of water?

Prevent Further Risks

If the flood that happened was so severe that you needed to leave your home, you should take care when returning to the property. Check for structural damage like cracks, warping or holes before entering the property. You should also contact your utility provider immediately if you are concerned about damage to water, electric, sewer or gas lines. Turn off all water and electricity supplies to the home to prevent further hazards.

Take Photos

Before you remove water, you should thoroughly document the damage to your home in photos and videos. Your insurance company will need to see as much evidence as possible to determine what you will receive for the damage. If you remove water or items before you take the time to document everything, you could decrease your insurance coverage and be unable to afford the necessary repairs.

Protect You and Your Family

Even if the water sitting in your home appears to be clear and clean, there is a high probability that it has been contaminated by sewage, chemicals and debris. Before entering, you should put on waders or waist-high waterproof boots. You should get rid of any perishables that have had contact with the water. You should call a professional water remediation company like Flood Department.

Call Your Insurance Company

You should notify your insurance company as quickly as you can after a flood occurs. If the entire area around you has been affected as a result of heavy rains, remember that your insurance agent might be overwhelmed with calls. Most groundwater flood damage is not covered by the average homeowner’s insurance policy, so if you do not have flood insurance, you will also need to figure out what caused the flooding and what can be covered. If the cause was inside of your home (a pipe, for example), your insurance policy might cover more.

Stop Mold Damage

Once water has been removed, you should take immediate action to prevent mold from accumulating. Mold can rapidly develop within 24-48 hours of flooding. Anything wet inside of the home, like bedding and carpeting, should be removed right away. Again, you should photograph all flood-damaged items and contact your insurance company to make sure that throwing those items away won’t hurt your coverage.

Flood Cleanup from Flood Department

Flood Department can complete a wide range of mold removal, flood damage restoration and crime scene clean-up services. To learn more about our services and whether or not you have a mold problem on your hands, give us a call at (301) 829-2600.

The Causes of Attic Mold

There are plenty of things stored in your attic—old yearbooks, your wedding dress and seasonal decorations waiting for colder weather to roll around. However, there can be less-than-desirable things also hiding in your attic. Attic mold is a health hazard for your family, and it can do serious damage to your home. What are the most common culprits behind attic mold?

A Leaky Roof

If you have a bad leak in your roof, the water might leak into your attic and then drip through the floor underneath to give you a heads up. While that’s a pain, you will at least know the problem before it can get even worse. However, sometimes small leaks in the roof go unnoticed until someone goes upstairs to grab a box and sees an old puddle. Even if you have the mold removed, it will always return until you get the roof repaired.

Insulation Issues

Did you DIY your insulation? Missing insulation or poorly installed installation can also foster mold growth. The wrong type of insulation can trap moisture from the lower level of the home that rises and lead to mold. If you used insulation on top of insulation and chose one with foil or paper backing, you might have created a vapor barrier that will lock moisture in and encourage attic mold.

Vents and Fans Leading to the Attic

If your dryer vent, plumbing vent, kitchen fan or bathroom fan is routed into the attic, the moisture in the air can get trapped and cause mold growth. Since mold needs three things to grow (food, moisture and warmth), keeping a warm flow of moist air into your attic can cause attic mold to thrive.

Water Heaters or Furnaces in the Attic

While traditionally the basement was the only place that water heaters and furnaces were installed, modern homes can be built with either or both installed in the attic. This technique can allow you to have a gorgeous spa tub in the bathroom, but it can also add even more moisture to your attic and lead to attic mold.

Attic Mold Testing and Remediation from Flood Department

Flood Department can complete a wide range of mold removal, flood damage restoration and crime scene clean-up services. To learn more about our services and whether or not you have a mold problem on your hands, give us a call at 855-350-0360.

What to Do if Your Sump Pump Fails

If you live in the Maryland area, you’re probably used to periods of intense rain, quick summer thunderstorms and the occasional hurricane. Whenever your home and landscape are forced to deal with a great deal of rain in a short period of time, flooding and other problems can occur. What should you do if your sump pump fails when you need it the most?

Stay Calm and Call a Plumber

It’s hard to stay calm when your basement is flooding, but it’s important to keep a cool head and place a call to a local plumber. A licensed plumber can evaluate your sump pump, make a recommendation or repair and get things running again. If other homes in your area are experiencing the same thing, you might be in for a long wait.

The second call that you should make, even if the plumber can’t come for several days, is to a water remediation company like Flood Department. If the water has stopped and the amount of water in your basement is stable, a water remediation company can pump out extra water and take steps to prevent serious water damage and mold growth.

Prevent Future Failure

Prevention is always better than trying to fix a flooded basement at 2 AM on a weekend. One of the most common problems in Maryland homes is an insufficient sump pump for the amount of rain in the area. You should purchase and install a sump pump that can handle a significant volume of water without breaking. A cheap, inexpensive model is much more likely to fail when you need it. If you can, upgrade your sump pump and install an additional battery-backup sump pump for significant rain events.

Another common problem is a sump without a lid. Over time, a hole in the ground will accumulate dust, debris and dirt and either dramatically slow or stop working altogether. The sump pump itself can also get clogged up in mechanical parts as a result of sitting in a dirty sump pit. You should have your pump inspected on a regular basis and choose a model with an airtight lid. A lid will make sure that water doesn’t evaporate back into your basement and that debris won’t fall in.

Water Remediation and Mold Prevention After Sump Pump Flooding from Flood Department

Flood Department can complete a wide range of mold removal, flood damage restoration and crime scene clean-up services. To learn more about our services and whether or not you have a mold problem on your hands, give us a call at (301) 829-2600.

The Hidden Dangers of Basement Flooding

Basement floods can be heavy, severe and cause devastating damage to your home. While everything above your basement steps might seem normal, damage to the foundation and basement of your home is no laughing matter. Whenever we are called out to a home or property with basement flooding, we take our time and look for these hidden dangers to keep your family safe and prevent bigger problems down the road.

The Signs of Basement Flooding

While walking downstairs and stepping in a puddle is the most obvious sign of a basement flooding, there are other subtle signs you might have a moisture problem, including:

  • Air that is damp, humid or heavy
  • Respiratory issues
  • Mold, mildew or fungus that is visible
  • Standing water
  • Spots or cracks on walls

Warped Flooring

If you have a finished basement and have carpet or wood on the floor, there’s a good chance that your floor materials are going to be incredibly damaged. Standing water can damage anything underneath it, even a concrete floor. Whenever possible, we will work to restore the flooring that you have instead of recommending a replacement. However, if the damage is severe, replacement might be the only option.

Staining on the Walls

By the time that flooding reaches your basement floor, there’s a high probability it has picked up dirt, debris, grime and plenty of bacteria along with it. All of that water will leave behind whatever it was carrying when it is removed, which can cause wall staining. This is also why it’s so important to have professional flood remediation after your basement floods. Don’t handle dirty, bacteria-filled water on your own and risk your health and well-being.

Mold Growth

It only takes a short period of time for mold to start the growth process, especially if your basement is relatively warm and dark. A professional basement flooding remediation company can take proactive steps to discourage mold growth including bringing in industrial drying and fan equipment to keep air moving. Stopped a mold colony from forming is easier and more cost-effective than returning in the future to take care of the growth, so you shouldn’t try to skip steps in the flood remediation process!

Fix Your Basement Flooding with Help from Flood Department

Flood Department can complete a wide range of mold removal, flood damage restoration and crime scene clean-up services. To learn more about our services and whether or not you have a mold problem on your hands, give us a call at (301) 829-2600.

The Signs of Mold in Your Home

You’re suddenly sneezing when your seasonal allergies aren’t acting up, there’s a musty smell in the air and there might be a spot of mildew in your shower. What are all of these signs telling you? There might be a mold problem in your home. Catching mold early is essential to successful remediation, so keep your eyes peeled for these signs of mold in your home.

The Warning Signs of Mold in Your Home

  1. Allergy-like symptoms including sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose or persistent congestion
  2. Cold or flu-like symptoms that improve when you are not at home
  3. A musty scent that lingers in your home
  4. Visible mildew growth, regardless of what color it is and where it is located
  5. Water leaks, which often mean that there is mold growth near the site of the leak
  6. Visible water damage, which indicates that water lingered in an area and potentially allowed mold to take root
  7. Condensation on the inside of your windows that can indicate high humidity levels and a build-up of moisture
  8. Serious physical and neurological symptoms including difficulty concentrating, headaches, a short attention span, dizziness and memory loss