The ultimate guide to mold and water damage removal

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As South Florida’s best mold and water damage company, we are well-versed in every aspect of prevention, removal and the handling of mold contaminated items.  In addition we have seen again and again the health hazards related to mold growth. 

We are located in Boynton Beach, Florida and offer free water damage and home inspections in all the following towns  & cities:  Boca Raton, Wellington, Coral Springs, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Green Acres, Stewart, Parkland, Lake Worth, Pompano Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Sunrise, Pompano Beach, Palm Beach.  In also cover all of Palm Beach County, Broward County, and Martin County.

In this article we will cover all these topics as well as provide insight from our vast experience handling and removing mold which resulted from water damage.

If you are reading this article chances are you are either suffering with with water damaged home or you suspect you have a mold situation.  You may also be wondering, how can I handle this myself?  Or what is involved in mold and water damage remediation and removal.  Here in South Florida both water damage and mold growth are very common.  This is due to our humid climate, the fact that we have storms and hurricanes, and in some cases many people live and work by the ocean.  Any real estate agent will tell you, whenever someone considers purchasing a home, condo or business property, if it’s close to the ocean, mold, wind and water damage is always something to consider.

At Get Dry, Inc. we are experts at handling mold and water damage situations.  If you are faced with water damage or mold it’s important to take swift action because without action, the problem will get worse.   The question is, whom should I call?  There are so many mold, water damage, and even fire damage companies in South Florida that it’s almost impossible to figure out who is the best.  After all, they all say they are “The Best”.   To answer this question of, who is The Best mold and water damage Removal Company in South Florida?  It only makes sense to ask, what makes up “The Best”?   Does a mold-free guarantee, make a mold company “The Best”?  What does that mean anyway?  If you have mold after they leave, do you get your money back?    Do they come back again, and again, until the mold is gone?  How about a low price guarantee?  I don’t know about you, but anytime I went with the lowest price, I wish I didn’t.

At Get Dry, Inc. we consider ourselves “The Best” for more solid reasons.   The fact that we have been in business for over 25 years means that we have handled thousands of water damage and mold situations.   The fact that we are a 220 licensed insurance agent, gives us an edge when working with insurance claims.  In addition we have over 20 years of experience in home construction.   Our home construction experience is a huge plus because, in addition to understanding water and mold damage, we also know how facing these types of situations will affect your homes structure.  While many insurance companies will attempt to clean up the mess, and avoid structural damage issues, are approach is to make sure your entire home is safe and mold free.   From experience we know, the quick fix method of mold and water damage removal doesn’t work.  No homeowner who has suffered water or mold damage wants to re-face the same stressful situation years later.

The best mold and water damage company in South Florida
There are plenty of good reasons to call Get Dry, Inc. for your water and mold damage needs. Our experience combined with our license in mold assessment make calling us the smartest decision a South Florida home owner can make.

How do most water leaks start?

 Water leaks can start any number of ways.  Small leaks can go unnoticed for a very long time.  It’s often these small hidden leaks that always seem to cause the most extensive damage.  This is mostly due to the fact that moisture that is located in a dark hidden location has plenty of time to start producing and growing mold.  Once mold has started growing it’s very difficult to stop, much less remove. More on this later, in our business we have found that there are a few water damage situations that occur over and over.   Below are the 4 most common.

1 – Roof Damage from flying debris.

Here in South Florida bad weather is a common occurrence.  Hurricanes, Storms with heavy winds can easily cause roof damage.  Often the home or business owner has no idea that they have a roof leak.  In the case of small roof leaks, the rainwater finds it’s way into the attic and soaks the homes insulation.  The insulation holds the moisture giving mold a chance to grow.  Eventually the moisture appears as brown spots on the ceiling or in more extreme cases the ceiling collapses leaving a brown mess of water soaked drywall mixed with mold.  It’s not a pretty sight.  In a way, it’s better to have a larger roof damage hole because the water damage becomes apparent sooner.  Before the mold starts to grow.  Either scenario is bad, however when a homeowner has both roof damage and mold damage, the situation is even worst.

2 – Water leaks from broken pipes.

Water leaks can start many different ways.  In the case of older cast iron pipes the walls of a rusting pipe start to wear thin.  Eventually the pipe will either spring a small leak or simply burst.  In the case of a small leak, a homeowner can face the same problems that occur when there is a small roof damage leak.  However, there may be some signs that will give the home or property owner some clues that there is a problem brewing.   One signal that there may be a problem is the noise a leaking pipe makes.  If you hear strange sounds coming from within your walls, then it’s in your best interest to have us visit your property and check for leaks. Another sign that you many have a leak is a higher than normal water bill.  Another point to keep in mind is that a plumbing leak can result in the water being discharged in such a way that the leaking water is directed both inside and outside your home. At Get Dry, Inc. our services include leak detecting. We also have all the sophisticated equipment needed to determine the exact location of the leak, and the tools to fix the leak before more damage occurs.     Cast iron pipes are not the only types of pipes that leak.   Plastic pipes sometimes crack and leak and many leaks occur at the joints.  Also, because many of these pipes are located inside the walls and not in the ceiling above the water has a better chance of remaining hidden and undetected for a longer time.   Even though the use of cast iron piping stopped many years ago many homes and properties still have cast iron plumbing.   After homebuilders discontinued the use of cast iron piping, many builders switched to copper piping.  Copper piping which is an improvement over the old cast iron piping could still develop leaks.  In copper piping the joints are fused together with the use of solder.  If done correctly these joints will hold together forever, however if the solder joint fails leaks will occur over time.   The bottom line is, all home and property piping has toe potential to fail.  Sometime the failure is in the form of a small pinhole leak, other times it’s a massive failure.

Underground iron pipe with a leak, in Palm Beach County.
Plumbing is everyplace in and around the average home. Some pipes are iron, copper, PVC, even steel. When a pipe springs a leak the consequences could be disastrous. Underground pipe ruptures like this could go on unnoticed for weeks or months. Recovering from the damage caused by this type of leak requires the help of a trained professional.

 3 – A broken appliance can cause a water damage disaster.

When an appliance springs a leak the damage caused could be extensive.  Since almost all home appliances have moving parts the chances of a leak happening are great.  A washing during the cycle of a washing machine, water is fed into a moving drum filled with clothing.  While your typical pair of jeans is not very heavy, once it’s wet it in the wash cycle becomes a heavy soapy spinning weight.  When you consider all this movement, it’s very easy to expect broken fittings; this explains why so many floods happen in the laundry room and the kitchen.  Just as a slow leak can go unnoticed in a plumbing fitting, the same can happen with an appliance breakdown.

 4 – When your air conditioning

Another source of water damage could come from your air conditioning unit.  Air conditioners work by removing warm air from the inside of your home and replacing the warm air with cool air.  This is accomplished evaporating the moisture from the warm air and transferring the moisture outside through a drain line.  Sometimes the drain line gets clogged and the moisture collects in a drain pan.  The drain pan usually has a shut off micro switch, which prevents a flooding.  Most homeowners never check their air-conditioning unit for leaks until it becomes obvious that there is a problem.   Air conditioning units also contain a part called an evaporator coil. If the evaporator coil becomes frozen the result is moisture in the coils.  This moisture can sit inside your air-conditioning filter and start mold growth.  One thing to keep in mind is that any stagnant pool of water can result in mold growth within 24-48 hours.

Air-conditioning leak created ceiling damage.
By using infrared technology we can clearly see hidden moisture around an air conditioning vent. When a HVAC system cools a home or business, it does so by removing moisture from the warm air. This moisture is usually directed outdoors through a release pipe and  If this release pipe becomes clogged, water will usually create a flood some place.

When your home or business AC unit has no way to remove the moisture it has collected from the warm air, the moisture, now collect as water is going to either pool or flow to a location which is conducive to mold growth.  Read:  Is your air-conditioner making you sick?

How does water damage turn into a mold situation?

When water damage strikes a home or business one of the first concerns is, has mold started to grow?  Removing water, and drying a room that is wet from a flood is one thing.  In many cases, we can use commercial dryers, and dehumidifiers to remove the moisture and restore a room back to pre-water damage condition.  However, once mold has started to grow. The situation becomes vastly different.   In a sense mold is a living organism that will fight to live and grow.  Like other living organisms, mold eats, actually mold eats the sugars in wood and paper type products.   When mold grows its reproduces by creating cells called spores.  By becoming airborne some of the mold will likely land on a fiber type surface.  If the surface is damp the mold will start to grow.

What are the health risks of mold exposure? 

Because mold is a one cell living organism it’s life purpose is to survive and grow.  Mold does this by eating and attacking anything it comes into contact with.  While mold can’t eat every surface it’s can’t grow every place.  However, in a fiber type, damp and dark place mold can have a great life of eating and destroying.  As side for damp parts of your home or business property, can you think of other damp dark places?  How about your lungs, sinuses, throat?  This explains why people who suffer from mold poising suffer, breathing, and other respiratory problems.  In humans, our immune system is generally good at fighting off most of these unwanted visitors.  However, mold is different, especially mold that contains mycotoxins.  This type of mold is referred to as toxic mold.

Rashes & itchy skin could be the result of hidden mold and water damage
Mold and mold spores could cause rashes and itchy skin. When you visit a dermatologist with a skin condition such as this, chances are they will treat the rash. However, the underlying problem could be the mold living in your home.

Once infected with Toxic Mold, the human body and nervous system will become molds playground.  The effects of toxic mold are so vast and far reaching that doctors have a very difficult time determining the reason for the patient’s symptoms.  In the case of mold poisoning, many symptoms are the same symptoms of may other illnesses.  Often patients with mold poisoning have no idea mold the cause of their illnesses.  Doctors are often find themselves on a wild-goose-chase, running test after test in an attempt to figure out why their patients have sinus problems, which are quickly and temporarily remedied by medical treatment.  Once the sinus problem is cured, a breathing problem starts.  When the sinus and breathing issues are addressed headaches start.  In addition skin irritation and rashes can start as a result of mold poisoning.  This cycle goes on and on and could even affect the patient’s mental state.

Can mold kill you?   Yes, in extreme cases. However most of the time the symptom related to extreme mold poisoning is so severe that infected people eventually find the culprit before dying.  However, this doesn’t mean that patients suffering from extreme mold exposure have an easy time dealing with the symptoms.

How does Get Dry, Inc. remove mold in your home or business?

 The process for removing mold and water damage is sometimes complex.   The first step is to determine which type of mold is growing in your home.  Once we know the type of mold present we can determine which safety precautions need to be taken.  As mold and water damage experts we own and use the most sophisticated test equipment available. For safety reasons, it’s critical for us to determine if there is mold, and the type of mold before we start the clean up process.  Not all water damage cases have mold problems.   Sometimes for insurance reasons we may need to prove to insurance company that there is mold growing.  By providing test results we can address any objections your insurance company my have.

Areas in your home or property with water damage need to be addressed immediately, which means finding the source of the leak first.  Sometimes the leak is within a wall or ceiling.  This means doing s visual inspection, or using one of our infrared cameras to give us a visual view of the spots that contain moisture.   In the case of plumbing leaks we can use a special inspection scope that will give us a view of your homes wall plumbing.  Using a scope to view inside your homes walls is much better than the remove the wall and look method.  In addition by using a scope we can see if there is any mold growing as well.

Once we start the clean up process, we use special commercial grade dehumidifiers and air movers to remove the moisture.  In addition we also have high tech moisture suction vacuums that can pull out any water or moisture from within your walls.  The equipment used is not simple wet dry vacuum type of stuff that you can purchase in your typical hardware store.  For example just one high end professional Dehumidifier unit cost thousands of dollars.  We typically use several along with other professional water extractors to remove water damage in a typical home or business.  Using all this high-powered equipment also requires experience in the area of home electrical systems.  If someone simply plugs this type of equipment into a home chances are the result will be blown circuits or maybe even damaged home electronics.  Our home and business construction experience will insure that our equipment won’t damage your homes electrical systems.

If mold is present, it’s very important the mold spores do not become airborne and travel to other parts of your home or business property.  To make sure the mold stays in one place, we use special room sealing zip walls. When combined with a negative airflow system the spores are directed away from other parts of your home or business.  As I stated earlier, mold produces spores that very easily become airborne.  Once they land in another damp location, a new colony of mold will start to grow.    Once we test and confirm the environment is dry and that mold and mold spores is no longer present we consider the job complete.   At Get Dry, Inc. happy clients are our number one priority.  Our reviews are a testament to the quality of our work and our skill in handling insurance claims. Read our reviews here:  Thank you Get Dry, Inc.

We hope you find this article helpful, at Get Dry, Inc. helping home and business property owners recover from unexpected damage is our goal.  If you live in Palm Beach County, Martin County or Broward County and you believe you are suffering health issues, or if you have a home or business that seem moist or smells strange call us at 561 777-2618 for a free inspection.