Will My Insurance Company Cover Mold Growth in My Milford Home?
If not immediately treated, mold can quickly spread throughout a home, causing extensive mold damage that may not be covered by your insurance agency.
When a homeowner discovers that mold is growing behind their walls, in their attic or under their carpeting, one of their first questions is whether the mold will be covered under their insurance policy.
Although there is no universal answer to that question, as homeowner's insurance policies are unique from provider top provider, there are some general guidelines that most insurance companies adhere to.
Typically, your homeowner's insurance policy will cover mold remediation if the mold is caused by "covered peril". What this means is that the cause of the mold growth is already covered by your insurance policy. Since mold is caused by high moisture levels, covered cases are generally from water damage claims. In addition, most of the homes that we restore after fire damage also have secondary water damage as a result of firefighting efforts. Because mold growth can happen within 24 hours, even water damage that is being properly addressed can lead to mold growth.
If the mold found in your home is not from a sudden and accidental event, it mostly likely will not be covered. Mold damage that is caused by a water leak or high moisture levels that could have been prevented typically do not fall under a homeowner's insurance policy. Insurance companies expect that a home should be properly maintained and any defects that could lead to mold growth addressed.
A scenario we frequently see is that of a pipe that bursts in the basement. If the homeowner discovers the damage later that evening and calls a restoration company to begin the cleanup, any mold growth caused by this event should be covered. However, if the water and mold damage from a pipe burst isn't discovered for two months because a home has been left vacant with no caretaker while the owners are away on winter vacation, an insurance company may decide that the home was being neglected and deny coverage.
A water leak from a washing machine that has been properly maintained would usually be covered. However, if the machine has old hoses that have been slowly leaking for months, that would be considered neglect and may not be covered.
Roof leaks are also a common cause of mold growth. Attics tend to be high moisture areas that aren't frequently visited. If you find mold in your attic despite having a newer roof that is properly maintained, you may be covered. A roof that has 40 year old shingles is considered past it's life and mold growth at that home may not be covered.
Most homeowner's insurance policies in Connecticut do not cover flood damage. If you have mold growth after heavy waters from a rainstorm leave a few inches of water in your basement, neither the water nor the mold damage will be covered. If you live in a high risk area for flooding you may consider purchasing separate flood insurance for your home.
Prevention is the key to avoiding uncovered mold damage at your New Haven area home. If you notice high moisture, damp areas of carpeting, buckling of vinyl or wood flooring or water stains on your ceiling or walls, do not ignore it! All of these are signs that there is a leak or high levels of moisture that can cause mold growth. As tempting as it may be to turn a blind eye to potential issues, acting on them quickly can save you thousands of dollars in the end.
If, despite proper home maintenance and vigilance, you still worry about mold in your home, a separate mold insurance rider can be purchased from most insurance companies.
If you see black, green or any shade of mold growing in your home, give us a call at (203) 301-0500. Our IICRC mold remediation professionals will inspect your home, find the source of the mold and advise you on a corrective course of action.
Water Damage From Sprinkler System Malfunctions at Woodbridge, CT Commercial Properties
Our crew restored this Shelton, CT commercial property after a sprinkler system malfunction caused water damage throughout the building.
Having a sprinkler system installed at your commercial property is an effective way to protect your business from fire damage. A sprinkler system that is properly working can make the difference between full recovery from a fire in your place of business or irreversible damage and loss of property. On occasion, though, a sprinkler system malfunctions and causes water damage to a property even though no fire has occurred. Our office receives numerous calls each year from businesses that have had water damage from their sprinkler systems. Our team has seen that this damage is caused by a few common reasons.
If your sprinkler system was poorly installed or poorly maintained, your system is at risk of mechanical damage. Mechanical damages can include over-tightening fittings, improperly installed sprinkler heads, and a variety of other mistakes made during installation.
Overheated Sprinkler Heads
Sprinkler systems are activated by heat, so it is important that the temperature at their location be controlled. If installed near a skylight or heater, the temperature can become high enough to set them off. If there are construction or heat source changes to your building, make sure that the sprinkler heads are not affected by a change in temperature.
We've seen this a few times in the wintertime. Just like the pipes to your house can freeze, so can the water in your sprinkler system. Frozen sprinkler pipes can cause the water to expand and crack, causing the water to flow freely once the temperature warms up again. Frozen sprinkler pipes can be prevented by adding antifreeze or insulating pipes during the cold winter months.
Like any water-based system, sprinkler system pipes are also subject to corrosion. Corrosion can impact the functionality of the system and even lead to leaks or breaks. Because of the pressure in these systems, a pipe burst can cause significant water damage. To help prevent corrosion, it is important to have your sprinkler system pipes inspected annually.
Sprinkler system pipes are often used for the wrong purposes and this can cause stress to the system. We've inspected properties in which the pipes have been used to hang something on like ropes or chains in order to lift heavy items. We've also seen sprinkler systems that have been painted over, which will cause them to malfunction.
When we receive a call from a business owner who is dealing with water damage, we know that our response time is critical. The sooner we arrive at the job, the less the damage will be and the smaller impact it will have on the businesses continuity. That's why SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford has a local, professional crew on call 24-7 to respond to the water damage at your New Haven County business.
Keep Your 4th of July Festivities Safe With These Fireworks Tips
Fireworks cause fire damage to homes and buildings and injuries to people each year. If you choose to use fireworks at home, follow these safety tips.
With the 4th of July around the corner, we have already started hearing fireworks being set off in our Stratford area neighborhoods. Let's face it, it's hard to resist picking up a few things that go bang and some sparklers for the kids. At the risk of sounding like a killjoy, we do want to remind our customers that fireworks, and even sparklers, cause quite a bit of damage and bodily injury each year.
In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year. This includes 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires and 16,900 outdoor fires. The NFPA recommends that you leave fireworks to the professionals however if you want to set a few off in your driveway, here are a few tips to keep it safer.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
- Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
- Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
- Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
- Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
- Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.
- Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
- Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
Adults should always handle fireworks. Although sparklers are fun, they account for roughly one quarter of fireworks injuries. If you give kids sparklers, make sure they keep them outside and away from the face, clothing, and hair. Sparklers can reach 1,800°F (982°C) — hot enough to melt gold. Kids are also drawn to investigate the used pieces of fireworks that lie on the ground after an event. Discourage this, as some may hot and even still be ignited and can cause burns.
Pet safety is also a concern on the 4th of July. Think about your pet. Animals have sensitive ears and can be very frightened or stressed by the noise that fills the day. Don't bring your dog to the barbecue – they are happier and safer if left inside. Create a comfortable place inside your home for your pet. Finally, make sure your pet has accurate identification tags on them in case they run away because of the loud noises.
Whether you choose to stay at home or go to a public fireworks show, stay safe and have a great time!
Don't Let Water Damage Ruin Your Summer Vacation
Leave the swimming for vacation. Avoid water damage to your Orange, CT home while you are away with a few safety tips.
With summer here, many families in New Haven County are getting ready for their summer vacations. Whether that means a camping trip or a tropical island, you will most likely be leaving your home vacant while you are off having fun. When a home is left empty, it is particularly vulnerable to extensive water damage since the water is not immediately discovered. We have restored homes in which water damage originated from a pipe leak, a refrigerator line burst or a toilet overflowed while the homeowner was away on vacation. Because the water was able to flow for several days, or weeks, the damage was spread throughout the home. Rather than localized damage to a kitchen floor, the water had also saturated through the sub floor and the lower home level as well.
Before you leave for your summer vacation, we recommend that you take a few precautions to avoid water damage in your Milford home.
1. Prior to your trip, turn off all of the water sources in your home.
This only takes a few minutes and is the number one thing that you can do to minimize water damage if something does break while you are away.
Turn off your water at the main source, which is usually located in your basement. While you are down there, turn off the valves to your exterior faucets as well. Then, open your faucets and drain your water lines as well as your toilets. Turn off the valves at the sink, dishwasher and washing machine.
2. Inspect Your Hoses
Inspect any hoses that connect to major appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerator ice-makers. Make sure there are no kinks; replace any old or damaged hoses.
3. Keep the weather out:
Check that all doors and windows are securely shut and locked. A rainstorm can do a lot of damage through a non-latched window.
4. Check your gutters:
Clear your gutters of any potential blockages and take the time to make sure that your downspouts are still moving water at least 10 ft. from the home.
5. Inspect your sump pump:
If you have a basement and if you have a sump pump make sure that it is in working order. The last thing you want to do is come home to find your basement flooded.
6. Fire prevention:
Unplug appliances and electronic devices.
Thoroughly check wood stoves and fireplaces to ensure that they are out.
7. Keep the temperature right:
Set your thermostat to a temperature closer to outside temps (warmer in the summer, cooler in the winter) but which still protects your plants, pets and furniture.
It's always a good idea to have a friend check on your Orange, CT home while you are away.
Make sure someone has your contact info and our number (203) 301-0500 in case there is water or fire damage while you are away.
Attic Mold Causes and Remediation in New Haven County Homes
Mold in the attic of your Milford area home can be caused by improper ventilation and insulation as well as leaking appliances and roof leaks.
Summertime has the phones ringing in our Woodbridge office from homeowners who have discovered mold in the attic of their home. Mold in the attic can compromise the air quality in your home and, if left untreated, can spread to other areas as well. Often hidden in a space few of us visit regularly, attic mold has a few common causes: a leaking roof, inadequate attic ventilation, the wrong type of insulation and appliance leaks and failures. Attic mold is avoidable with some precautions taken and vigilance.
A Leaking Roof
Inspect your attic seasonally for signs of water damage such as wet insulation, stains on plywood and black spots that could be mold. Leaks are common around plumbing stacks as well as the area where two roofs join. If you have recessed lighting, check the canisters for rust or corrosion. This is an indicator of high moisture levels.
New Haven County homes typically have attics with soffit, ridge and gable-mounted vents. Having adequate ventilation is important because condensation can’t escape your attic without it. We have inspected several homes for mold in which there is not the proper number of vents in the attic, or in which they are improperly installed. Also check to make sure that your vents are not blocked by insulation or stored boxes.
Dryer vents, plumbing vents, kitchen or bathroom fans that are vented into the attic can also create moist conditions. If yours are installed this way, contact a professional to re-route them outside.
A Well-Insulated Attic
If your insulation is installed incorrectly, or the wrong type of insulation has been used, moisture from the lower levels of your home can get trapped in the attic. This can feed mold growth. If you’re layering insulation atop other insulation, don’t use the kind that has “kraft face” finish (i.e., paper or foil backing). It acts as a vapor barrier and can trap moisture in the insulation. Check the condition of your insulation- it should be thick, soft and dry.
Appliances Installed in the Attic
In many newer homes, air conditioners, swamp coolers, and HVAC systems are installed in the attic space. There is the possibility that these may fail and cause water damage. A small, undetected leak in the attic can cause a mold disaster so have your system inspected regularly.
If you find mold in your attic space, give our office a call at (203) 301-0500. We will come out and inspect your attic and advise you on a course of action.
Fire Safety When Grilling This Summer in New Haven County
Although this house is brick, it was still not safe to cook on the grill this close! The fire was able to reach the vinyl overhang and catch.
Finally! Summer is arriving and we are all excited for barbecues, the beach, camping and fireworks. Nothing says summer like late nights around a fire pit with friends. Summer brings fun activities but we should also be aware of the increased risk of fire during these months. Awareness of the risks and taking caution when participating in fire related activities will keep your summer safe.
Grilling is our favorite way to cook in the summer. Barbecued food tastes delicious, grilling keeps the heat outside on a hot summer day and there are no pots to clean afterwards. It's a win-win-win if it all goes right. However, 5,700 home related grill fires occur each year – the majority of which occur between May and August.
Take preventative measures by:
- Inspecting your grill’s condition before the grilling season begins. Clean the grill, the drip pan, and anything that could have grease on it from previous barbecue dinners. Inspect each part of your barbecue to make sure everything is attached properly.
- Make sure that your grill is a safe distance from your house – 10 feet is recommended. I've personally experienced how quickly the vinyl siding on a home can melt from a barbecue. Do not use the grill in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or under a surface that can catch fire.
- Be prepared for a fire, as grease and fat are likely to catch on fire. Keep baking soda in a waterproof container near the grill in case a grease fire breaks out.
Air Conditioning Fires
According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2010, air conditioning, fans or related equipment were involved in an estimated 7,400 reported U.S. home structure fires, with associated losses of 29 civilian deaths, 249 civilian injuries and $207 million in direct property damage. These fires usually begin with the ignition of a wire or cable insulation. It’s not just the AC that catches on fire, if your AC heats up, flammable materials near your unit can catch on fire. Fires are most likely to occur when it’s hottest outside—between 2 and 8 p.m.
- Inspect your air conditioner’s wiring systems each year to prevent these types of fires. Consider the safety concerns of purchasing an older or used air conditioning unit.
- Also, find ways to use the AC less during the day. Not only will you save money, you can save your home from a potential fire. Using fans, keeping windows open during the night, and closing blinds during the day are just some ways you can keep your house cool without AC.
We're looking forward to seeing everyone out at the beach and grilling out in Milford this summer! Stay safe and have fun!
We Restore Homes After Sewage Backups and Toilet Overflows in New Haven County, CT
Sewage water from septic tank backups and toilet overflows is considered black, or category 3, water.
Sewage damage is one of the worst types of water damage that can occur in your home or business.
Whether it be from a municipal sewage backup, a clogged and overflowing toilet or a septic system failure that causes a backup, sewage water is considered to be Category 3, or black, water. Category 3 water is contaminated, can cause severe illness or death if ingested and any contact with it should be avoided. Examples of black water includes water that originates beyond the toilet trap and standing water that has begun to support microbial growth. A sewage backup should always be taken seriously due to the potential viruses, bacteria and harmful microbes it may contain.
If you have water damage from sewage in your home, a plumber should be called as well as a professional restoration company that specializes in restoring water damaged properties and has the training needed to clean up black water properly. When faced with a sewage damage disaster, never enter the damaged area without proper protective equipment, rubber boots, gloves, goggles and complete body cover. Do not try to clean up and repair area yourself.
What Causes Sewage Damage in Milford Homes?
There are many different causes of sewage damage in the home however at SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford, we see a few causes repeatedly.
Clogs in pipes leading to the toilet cause a back-up that can spread beyond the bathroom. A good solution to help prevent this if you have a septic system is to make a regular habit of pouring a natural enzyme treatment into your toilet on a weekly basis. Another common cause that we see is when the toilet itself malfunctions, causing an overflow.
Septic system backups can be caused by damaged pipes that have been broken by tree roots or a heavy object, such as a car or truck, being driven over them. Know where your septic system and leach field are located and use caution when doing yard work or home remodeling. Never drive over a vehicle or heavy machinery your septic system or leach field. Thankfully, a ride on lawnmower will not damage your pipes. Do not plant bushes or trees near your septic system and if there is a tree growing a little to close, consult a professional to see if the roots are a threat to your pipes.
If you have a toilet overflow or septic backup, give us a call at (203) 301-0500.
After the Storm; What Can Be Saved?
When the storm is over, the SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford crew will help you go through the contents of your home to determine what can be saved
New Haven County is still is still in the recovery stage after last weeks devastating storm and tornadoes. Our office has been responding to calls from homeowners who have damage from a tree falling on their house, high winds and water damage from rain and flooding. Each of these homes has a unique restoration plan depending on the type and level of damage. Not only has the structure of the homes we are working on been damaged, but the home furnishings and belongings have been affected as well. SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford crew members assist our customers in determining which of their possessions are salvageable, and which cannot be saved.
We go through the contents of a home on a piece by piece basis and while each item is a unique case, we do use a few factors to determine whether it gets boxed, sent to our facility for cleaning or put in the dumpster.
The type of water that has flooded the home is an important factor in determining what stays and what goes. Clean water does not pose as much of a health hazard as potentially contaminated water does. If there is concern that water is contaminated from sewage or chemicals, we are unlikely to suggest it be cleaned. It's not worth the risk.
Typically, porous fabrics such as mattresses, pillows, carpeting and particle board cannot be salvaged. They absorb water quickly and are breeding grounds for mold spores to grow. However, there are cases in which we are able to clean area rugs and wood if we are called to the job quickly and the piece has not become oversaturated.
Our ability to be on the job quickly helps us minimize damage to personal possessions that have water damage. The perfect example of this is wooden furniture. It takes quite a bit of time for it to really absorb and become completely water logged. If you get personal belongings out of the standing water and begin the drying process right away, you have a good chance of being able to save them.
The SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford team has the experience in caring for the belongings of your Oxford area home. Experiencing damage to your home is an upsetting ordeal. We understand that it can be difficult to part with treasured items, and do our best to help save them.
Employee Spotlight: Matt Caulfield, Production Manager
Matt Caulfield is a production manager at SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford.
Going above and beyond is the norm for our employees.
Every day, we see them give their all and then some to our customers. This month, we'd like to recognize Matt Caulfield for his dedication to his work at SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford.
Matt has been at SERVPRO for five years, having come from the construction and mortgage industries. He is the kind of guy who throws himself whole-heartedly into whatever he does and has worked his way to a position of Production Manager at SERVPRO. Matt is an extremely dedicated professional who is courteous, cares about his customers, is quick to return phone calls and sincerely wants the best outcome for his clients. In fact, clients often go out of their way to let us know how impressed they were with Matt's service.
Matt lives in Milford, CT and is an avid fan of the Minnesota Vikings and the Georgia Bulldogs. An athlete himself, Matt loves snowboarding, football and working out. He can't pass up a piece of pizza and loves country music. I was surprised to learn that his favorite tv show is "This is Us" - you never know who is watching that show! His dream is to spend time on a Caribbean Island someday.
Matt's co-workers know that if they need a hand with anything, he is there to help- often without being asked. He is a pleasure to work with and brings a positive vibe to our office and the work site. Matt finds it personally rewarding when he can take an overwhelming loss and turn it around for the very best outcome for the customer. In an industry like ours, where homeowners are dealing with stressful and often emotional situations, Matt's commitment to help, and not just "get the job done", truly makes a difference.
Call Us For Emergency Board Ups and Tarping in the Oxford, CT Area
If you have roof or window damage to your Oxford home, call us for an emergency board up and water damage restoration.
The storm that hit Connecticut last night has devastated our area. We never think that we can be hit by a tornado in the Bethany area and this storm caught everybody off guard. Roads are still closed throughout New Haven County and trees are down on houses and businesses.
If there is a tree down on your house, or windows blown out from the wind, call us for emergency roofing and tarping. Closing up the roof and any broken windows is the first step to restoring your home. Once we have it secure, we can begin the process of cleaning up damaged materials and possessions, removing the water and restoring your home from water damage.