Mold Warning Signs and Damage
Whether mold is found in a home or commercial building, treating it could end up being expensive. Mold exposure and repairs after mold-related damage can be very costly. Toxic mold can affect a structure and the health of its occupants, too.
Buildings in humid places like Florida are especially at risk. It helps to know the warning signs and types of damage to look for. You may be able to catch a mold problem before it causes widespread property damage or serious adverse health effects.
Warning Signs of Mold Damage
Mold will grow when a spore reaches an area that has:
- Sufficient moisture
- The correct temperature range
- A food source
Insulation, paper sheathing, carpet, wood moldings, or ceiling tiles can all act as food sources. A moist area, like a basement with water damage, can also encourage mold spores.
If you suspect a mold problem, the earlier an investigation takes place, the better. Early detection increases the possibility that you can reduce or prevent widespread damages. There are a variety of physical warning signs that should lead you to investigate a home or commercial building for possible mold infestation. These include:
- Visible mold growth
- Discoloration or water stains on internally facing walls or ceiling tiles
- Discoloration or water stains on externally facing walls or drywalls
- Areas of standing water or condensation on floors, walls, or window sills
- Musty odor
Property owners, including homeowners and landlords, can take measures to prevent mold issues. Remember that mold grows in areas with moisture. Therefore, proper air conditioning and ventilation can be great for mold remediation. Products like bleach and detergent can also be used for cleanup in some circumstances.
Health Problems Caused by Some Types of Mold
The presence of mold can create liability. While not all mold is toxic, certain types of mold can cause personal injuries. These include:
- Stachybotrys chartarum (black mold)
Toxic mold exposure can be caused by mycotoxins, or poisonous compounds. What might appear as an allergic reaction could be something far more serious. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), toxic mold cases can involve:
- Stuffy sinuses, sore throat, sneezing, coughing
- Wheezing, burning eyes, or skin rash
- Lung infections in people with compromised immune systems
Other mold injuries include memory loss, pain, and fatigue. Injury cases involving moldy environments can vary. Some plaintiffs might file personal injury claims for their medical expenses. Sometimes mold lawsuits are about more than medical bills. In landlord-tenant cases, mold claims might involve withheld rent or early lease termination.
What Damage Can Result From Mold Exposure?
If mold is allowed to grow and spread in a home or commercial building, a variety of physical damage can result. The damage can be to both the structure itself and the building's fixtures or contents.
- Building materials and structural components: Mold may cause serious structural damage to a building because it feeds on and breaks down organic matter. Therefore, when mold infests walls, insulation, paper backing, or carpeting, the materials must be removed. Cleaning and removal cause great expense and inconvenience but are often necessary.
- Personal property: In addition to causing structural damage, mold may destroy property within the home. When mold attaches to personal property, it may be very difficult or impossible to clean. Often the item will have to be destroyed because the spores cannot be fully removed.
- Heating and ventilation systems: Mold may also enter heating and ventilation systems. Many sections of the system may not be accessible for visible inspection or cleaning. You may need professional assistance. It is very important that heating and ventilation systems are cleaned thoroughly. Spores may use the systems as gateways to other areas of the home or commercial building. If the system cannot be cleaned, or if a moisture problem cannot be corrected, the whole system may have to be removed and replaced. This can mean replacing an entire air conditioning system, often at great expense.
In the end, the best way to alleviate a mold problem is to deal with its root cause. The verdict from professionals suggests it's almost always a water intrusion problem. If you watch for warning signs and correct a moisture problem soon after it occurs, you may be able to avoid substantial costs. That includes expensive mold remediation in a home or commercial building that has been infested with mold.
It may be helpful to carry an insurance policy for water damage. Insurance companies might not provide direct warranties against mold. But having insurance might help lessen the impact of a giant cleanup bill. Sometimes an insurance company might act in bad faith and refuse a payout. In those situations, having an attorney may be helpful.
Affected by Mold Damage? A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
Whether you're a property owner, homeowner, or tenant, you might have a mold claim. Perhaps you need to pursue an insurance company for a mold-related payout. Or maybe you need to recover for your medical expenses after mold injuries.
Legal advice from a mold attorney can be very helpful in these situations. Contact a personal injury attorney today to get more information.
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