Frequently asked questions
What Does It Mean To Be IICRC Certified?
IICRC stands for the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification. IICRC is an organization established in 1972 to set standards for the inspection, cleaning, and restoration services industries. Considered a certification and standard-setting body rather than an association, the group includes 53,000 active certified registered technicians, as well as 6,000 certified firms, individuals and companies. It is important to note that the rationale behind being IICRC certified is to protect both the interests of professionals in these industries and consumers.
To obtain an IICRC certification, technicians need to take a series of classes in specialized areas of cleaning, inspection, and restoration before sitting for a standardized exam. After achieving this certification, registrants must keep up with trends in the field and the challenges presented by new materials through continuing education credits (CECs) to maintain their certifications.
An IICRC certified water damage restoration company typically indicates that it has the right amount of knowledge and expertise to adequately and safely restore a home. Although firms that specialize in restoration and remediation can function without an IICRC certification, those with this designation can offer a degree of confidence to business owners and homeowners affected by natural disasters.
To qualify for an IICRC-Certified status, business owners must also prove to the regulatory body that they are reliable and trustworthy. Firms in these industries are required to produce proof of insurance, and proper documentation that technicians are educated and well-trained in their respective fields. In addition, all ongoing and follow-up trainings must be documented as well.
Can Mold At My Home Or Office Make Me Sick?
Yes. Mold in homes and offices have the potential to make some occupants sick.
About 50 to 100 common types of indoor mold have the potential to create health problems. Due to the health risks associated with mold exposure, it is best to facilitate mold remediation and abatement services as soon as possible. While the type of reaction depends upon the mold present and the individual, the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) state that all molds have the potential to cause health issues such as:
- Breathing difficulties
- Persistent cough or cold symptoms
- Burning or irritation of the eyes, nose, throat or lungs
- Asthma attacks
- Hypersensitivity pneumonitis
- Skin irritation
- Allergic reactions
- Opportunistic infections in immune-compromised individuals
From orange films on kitchen drains to white patches on basement flooring, household mold is more than unsightly. Individuals who have asthma or allergies can become sick due to prolonged mold exposure. In addition to the elderly, children and infants, individuals with chronic lung diseases or weaker immune systems (e.g., due to chemotherapy) may also be sensitive to the effects of mold.
Mold in an office can play a significant role in causing Sick Building Syndrome and affect Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). Mold colonies typically grow in an office environment that has a temperature range of between 70 and 90°F, as well as 60-90% moisture/humidity levels. That's why proper humidity control measures are needed in office buildings to minimize mold and mildew problems. Break rooms, top floor ceilings, windows, bathrooms, and basements are some of the common areas where molds are found in an office environment.
Will Painting Over Mold Solve My Issue?
When you paint over mold, you are not getting rid of the problem, you are hiding it. Painting over mold does not fix the source of the mold (e.g., water leak, flood, etc.) and will only make the problem worse. These actions only delay the inevitable and put the health of employees and family members at risk. If mold is painted over, it will continue to grow underneath the new coat of paint. As the mold colonies continue to grow and spread on porous surfaces like drywall, the material will eventually become incredibly saturated, unsafe and will need to be completely removed and replaced.
Why can't we just paint over mold? It is important to note that mold is an actual microorganism and not a stain or dirt. Because it is a type of fungus, it can't be killed by paint. In fact, mold will eat through painted surfaces without a problem. This is the reason why newly painted surfaces will soon become discolored. It is the result of chemical reactions between the painted surface and the mold.
Common signs of paint-over-mold surfaces:
- Ceilings and walls are not entirely flat
- Surfaces bow out and/or bubble
- Light colored or white paint turns yellow (also a sign of water damage)
- Severely cracked or chipped paint
So, always fix the source of the mold problem first before painting. If your mold infestation is bad enough that household mold cleaners and removers do not work, we strongly advise that you call a water damage and mold restoration professional. This option will save you both time and money.
Can Water Damage Cause Mold To Grow?
Yes. Water damage caused by high humidity, leaks, or floods can compromise the integrity of your home, personal belongings, and lead to mold growth. Mold caused by water damage can begin to grow in as little as 24 hours, making restoration processes challenging. Mold thrives in damp, dark environments but can begin to grow just about anywhere after a flood or a roof or pipe leak. If not handled properly and quickly enough, a small amount of moisture can turn into a large mold infestation.
There are plenty of porous organic materials in a residential property. For example, these materials include paper products, paint, insulation, drywall, and more. A few inches of water is often sufficient to create the necessary conditions for mold growth. Other elements that mold needs to grow include oxygen, temperature range of 41-104°F, sugar, and starch.
What should you do? How can you prevent mold growth after a leaky faucet or storm surge? Make sure all affected areas are dried immediately, take note of musty odors, check your property's exterior (e.g., ensure that ground water is not accumulating against your foundation), and remove any damaged material that you can find.
If you can't handle the situation on your own, one of the most effective ways to stop mold growth after water damage is to hire an expert. Contact an experienced water damage restoration company that offers prompt mold inspection, remediation, and abatement services. Remember that once mold sets in, it won't be long before it starts reproducing new spores and releasing them into the air!
How Does The Water Damage Restoration Process Work?
Step 1: Inspection
A professional can best assess the extent of water damage in your home. Each inspection determines a class and category of water damage. Defining the class and category of water damage helps outline the best means to restore your property.
The three main water damage classes include:
- Category 1 Water Damage: Water that originates from a sanitary or portable source. It is fit for human consumption.
- Category 2 Water Damage: Water source is contaminated and may cause discomfort or sickness upon consumption.
- Category 3 Water Damage: Water source that is grossly contaminated and contains harmful toxigenic and pathogenic agents.
Step 2: Water Removal
Pumps and vacuums are used to remove water from your home. The type of equipment needed depends on the extent of the water damage. Water removal begins as soon as possible to prevent mold and bacteria growth.
Step 3: Drying Affected Areas
After all standing water and absorbent surfaces are vacuumed, drying and dehumidification begins. This step is important to clear up any remaining moisture after water removal. The drying out process can take several days to weeks to fully complete.
Step 4: Cleaning and Removing Damaged Items
All personal belongings need to be cleaned and sanitized to prevent unwanted mold and bacterial growth. Carpeting, clothing, and drapery are given antimicrobial treatments. Air scrubbers may also be used to remove particles and moisture from the air.
Step 5: Restoration
The biggest step in the process is restoration. Restoration involves replacing materials like drywall, insulation, and flooring.
How does the Mold Remediation Process work?
Once your mold specialist arrives on site the first thing he will do is assess exactly what is damaged and determine the best course of action to remediate your mold problem. Your mold specialist will explain to you exactly what needs to be done to safely and fully remediate your mold issue and will prepare a complete estimate of the work to be performed.
Once we begin the mold remediation process, the first step is safety. Containment will be set up to isolate the area and to prevent it from spreading to unaffected areas. For your safety you may be asked to refrain from entering the work area until it is properly cleaned and determined to be safe.
During cleaning, different types of equipment will be incorporated. An air scrubber will be running, most likely, constantly throughout the process. It has the ability to clean the air by removing air borne mold spores and other harmful particulates. Another vital piece of equipment used is a HEPA vacuum. The technician will vacuum all affected areas before removing the mold, and will vacuum throughout the process, and a final time after cleaning is completed.
Once the equipment is in place and the area has been properly vacuumed, the cleaning will continue in some or all of the following ways. Removal of materials that were damaged by mold and cannot be saved. Actual cleaning of surfaces that may include use of antimicrobial cleaners to effectively remediate the microbial contamination.
After the remediation process has been completed, a final inspection will be performed to ensure that the microbial contamination has been effectively removed.
Why Should I Hire A Mold Removal Specialist?
Professional mold removal specialists do more than just get rid of the mold in your home. They have the experience and expertise to locate the source and eliminate it. Because mold can look like normal dirt or soot, some people overlook certain affected areas and allow the problem to persist after cleaning. Mold removal specialists know how to distinguish the discoloration that’s typically present in a mold infestation and other places where mold may be hiding.
Mold removal services providers can help their clients determine the best course of action – and what to watch out for – to remedy the problem once the source is identified. Oftentimes, these recommendations are designed to reduce the chances of a recurrence.
When you hire a professional mold removal company, you can enjoy complete peace of mind knowing that they will completely assess the moisture problem, as well as properly treating and disinfecting all affected areas. For example, mold removal technicians can seal off the mold, physically remove it, and clean up afterwards.
During a mold cleanup process, some spores inevitably get into the air and may spread throughout the house. D.I.Y removal procedures can exacerbate the problem by allowing more mold to spread. As a result, you or a loved one may experience respiratory issues. Professionals are trained to contain the spread of spores and help reduce health concerns in your household. These skills also help homeowners to save money because they can avoid fixing extensive damage if bacterial growth get out of hand.
Why Should I Hire a Water Damage Restoration Specialist?
Disaster strikes when you least expect it. The worst part of it is when you were not prepared for it at all. For instance, the kind of disaster that prompts damage to your pipes and sewers is the one you should be worried about.
The best part is that it’s something that can’t be fixed. Leaky roofs during heavy rains or any other causes of a flooded house can easily be brought under control. If you are wondering why you need a water damage specialist, this is why.
There is nothing as unbearable and unsightly as leaking or broken pipes. What’s even worse is when you have little ones that know no boundaries around your house.
The good news is that you can easily have a certified specialist to look into this. It gets even better when you have highly experienced ones on your speed dial list. Water damage specialists always start with the root cause and then see how best to solve it.
Another reason you need a specialist is that they have all the necessary devices needed to repair your broken pipes. They use them effortlessly, and before you know it, your house is in tip-top condition.
Certified specialists also clean up the pipes and unclog them. This enables a smooth flow of clean water to go through the pipes. After all, the majority of all the activity around your home revolves around clean pipes.Hiring a water damage specialist ensures that your drainage system is accorded all the professional attention it deserves.
Do I Need To Pay A Deductible To Restoration Contractors For Them To Commence Work?
Property owners are indeed required to pay a deductible before restoration contractors can begin their repair works. This regulation is set to safeguard contractors from being taken advantage of by a certain percentage of property owners who is looking to get repair works done for free.
Waiver, Rebate, or Offset
Contractors are not allowed to waive off, provide a rebate, or offset the deductible amount which is required of the property owner to pay prior to the commencement of any restoration project. With the deductible paid upfront, restoration contractors can perform repair works with peace of mind knowing that they do not have to chase the property owners for payment after the completion of their project.
The reason for making it mandatory for the upfront payment of deductibles is to ensure that there will be no implications of insurance coverage issues after restoration projects have been completed. Regardless of the situation, contractors will receive the deductibles and any subsequent matters are resolved by the property owners on their own without involving the contractors.
It is best for property owners to negotiate with their insurance providers for the lowest deductibles to be able to afford upfront payment when they require the services of restoration contractors in the near future.
What Are The Four Classes Of Water Loss?
Water damage in a home varies, depending on the different circumstances. In order to better assess all these different factors, you can categorize the level of water damage in your home into one of these four classes of water loss. How we determine the four classes of water loss depends on the amount of water, the anticipated evaporation rate, and the type of materials that are affected by water in your home.
The four classes of water loss are:
- Class 1: There is a slow rate of evaporation and only involve a small quantity of water which affects a part of the room. The materials that are affected by this are non-porous or low-absorbent materials such as plywood and structural wood.
- Class 2: There is a fast rate of evaporation and involve a significant volume of water that affects the entire room. The materials that are affected by this are absorbent materials like cushions and carpet. The extent of vertical seepage up the walls is less than 24” from the ground and moisture can be found in structural components.
- Class 3: With the fastest rate of evaporation, there are water loss from above through the ceiling. This class of water loss affects the entire room, including the ceiling tiles, draperies, furniture, and carpets.
- Class 4: This class of water loss involves specialized drying situations, affecting materials with very low permeance or low porosity, such as hardwood, concrete, basements, subfloors, and crawlspaces.
What Are The Main Categories Of Water Damage?
Category 1: Sanitary Water
This category of liquids derives from sanitary sources such as kitchen faucets and toilet systems. This water is not toxic and does not pose any risks to human health. Possible causes of such water damage include broken kitchen appliances or sink malfunctions.
Category 2: Grey Water
This category of liquids derives from sources in the kitchen like washing machines, dishwashers, sinks, and toilet systems overflow that do not contain feces. This type of water is full of contaminants and microorganisms which may cause health implications on our body or cause discomfort if ingested.
Category 3: Black Water
This category of liquids derives from unsanitary sources such as sewage systems and backup, toilet systems overflow containing feces, floodwater from rivers and streams, and stagnant liquid that contain bacteria as well as other harmful organisms. This type of water can cause severe illness or even death if ingested.
Being able to assess the severity of the water damage in your home is essential to allow you to determine what necessary repairs need to be done and what water removal processes are to be put in place. After understanding the different water damage categories, knowing the different classes of water damage will help you to make swift decisions on the suitable timeframe to rectify the water situation before it worsens.
What Happens If My Home Becomes Unlivable Due To Mold Or Water Damage?
Having to deal with mold or water damage in your home is stressful but having to find a replacement housing on top of that only makes it worse. If your home becomes unlivable due to mold or water damage, it would be great to have additional living expenses insurance on hand to help you tide over this difficult situation.
Additional living expense insurance covers for the extra costs that incurred when you are temporarily displaced from your home. For example, if your house is suffering from really severe water damage, possibly from a burst water pipe, and is unlivable at the moment, you will have to find a temporary housing to stay in while your home is undergoing repairs. The additional living insurance will come in handy here as it covers costs such as hotel stays, rent for temporary housing, storage fees, laundry costs, pet boarding, and food expenses.
How to Claim Additional Living Expenses
For additional living expense insurance, you can only claim if the cause of damage is a covered peril that was indicated in your insurance policy. Usually, the perils that are covered include fire, lighting, windstorm, hail, falling objects, or sudden water damage such as a burst pipe. You are only eligible for additional living expense if your home is uninhabitable due to the damage.To understand better, do check with your respective insurance company. Your claims representative can advise you about policy coverage for living expenses and assist you in locating temporary housing.
What Is My Mortgage Company's Role In Damage Restoration?
Your mortgage company does indeed have a role to play in damage restoration. This takes place during the claim process with the insurance provider that covers your property. The check that you receive from the insurance provider needs to be endorsed by your mortgage company before any funds can be released to pay for the commencement of restoration works.
Involving My Mortgage Company
If your property is still under a mortgage, your lender is also covered by the same property insurance. Any insurance payments that are disbursed to cover any damages to your home technically belong to your lender, apart from yourself. Your lender is the named “loss payee” stated in your property insurance policy apart from the name of the property owner.
The term “loss payee” refers to the individual or a company to whom any insurance payments need to be channelled to by the insurance provider. Hence, property insurance checks will usually contain as many as two or three parties in total who need to counter-sign after you.
Your mortgage company also partly invests in your home. Thus, they need to ensure that your home is well-repaired to as close as possible to its original condition to restore its value. This fact causes most mortgage companies to withhold part of the insurance payment amount to keep a close watch on the repair works and will only release the repair funds in intermittent intervals.
Will My Insurance Company Cover Mold Or Water Damage?
In most cases, home insurance companies will not cover mold damage unless it is caused by a covered peril. For example, home insurance policies do not cover mold that results from a preventable water leak or preventable maintenance issues. A covered peril refers to the specific risk or cause of loss that are indicated in an insurance policy, which can include fire, lighting, vandalism, theft, falling objects, frozen pipes, weight of ice, snow, or sleet, and many more. In such cases, your home insurance company will likely pay for mold removal, repairs and clean-up.
As for water damage, whether your home insurance policy covers this depends on the cause of the water damage. If the cause of water damage is due to your personal neglect of lack of maintenance, your insurance company will not cover the water damage. Examples include flooding, ground seepage, or water leakage due to the poorly maintained pipes. However, home insurance companies will usually cover water damage if it happens suddenly and internally. By internally, it means that the water has never been in contact with the outside ground. Examples of this include a leaking roof, plumbing, rain, or snowstorm.
To know whether your home insurance policy covers mold or water damage, only your insurance company can verify this after an investigation.
Provision will utilize their experience to assist you in the process of filing a claim and determining coverage. If the loss is covered, our team will take the lead on communicating with your insurance provider until the home is restored. If the loss is not covered, we will provide a discounted self-pay quote for restoration.