After Hurricane Harvey hit, it was clear how the storm affected Texan communities. Some homes were inundated four-feet deep; others received external damage from rushing flood waters. Today, the waters have receded, and Hurricane Harvey poses no risk to Texans; however, the floods left behind a serious threat—moisture.
Moisture a Detriment to Harvey Homes
While drying out a home may seem like the first step to fighting mold, the reality is that some parts of a home are irreparable due to how much moisture they contain. Therefore, the first step to fighting mold is to remove all soaked housing materials from your house. Hurricane Harvey ruined these resources, and there is no way to get them back. When it comes to wood studs and flooring, experts agree that 15% moisture or less is a satisfactory place to start. If the moisture percentage is more than this, it’s time to call in the demolition team. Mold grows in wood and flooring materials when the moisture level is in the 18-20% range. Therefore, you need to remove any materials with moisture percentages higher than 15% from your home. If you are checking drywall, it can only stay if the moisture level is less than 0.8 of a percentage.
Moisture can be checked using a variety of “moisture meter” instruments.
Here is a list of moisture meters from most to least accurate:
- Infrared Cameras: Can detect moisture levels to a tenth of a degree
- Intrusive Moisture Meters: Penetrates wood and other materials to takes readings
- Nonintrusive Meters: Uses radio frequencies to scan wood for moisture
Nonintrusive moisture meters can only scan an inch of thickness. This can be a problem because condensation can take root deep inside a wooden beam. Therefore, you should just use nonintrusive meters for shallow wood pieces.
Fighting Mold in Homes
If mold moved into your home, getting rid of the growth should be your first priority before it spreads. Experts say antimicrobial products are a necessity to get rid of the pesky fungus.
Everyday household items that have antimicrobial properties include:
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Vinegar mixed with water
If you utilize these solutions, it is crucial that you go over the area a handful of times. It is rare for mold to die in one treatment, so persistence is the key to successful results. If these home remedies are not getting the job done, homeowners can turn to KILZ or Foster brand products with a 40-50 mold resistant coating rating.
Mold Inspection After Cleaning
While your insurance plan may cover mold damage, many insurance carriers have separate water damage claims that do not. If you are waiting for an insurance payout for the damage Hurricane Harvey caused your home, you will need a certificate of mold damage remediation (CMDR). This certificate helps you prove to an insurance company, mortgage company, or Realtor that you dealt with any mold issues that occurred or that could have occurred. A licensed inspector is the only person who can award an authenticate CMDR. There are people handing out certificates that authorities do not accept as genuine. For this reason, it is essential that a person check to make sure that the inspector is official.
Common ways to check if an inspector is official:
- The CMDR will have a Texas Department of Insurance seal.
- The inspector’s signature should include a license number that starts with “MAC.”
- An inspector must carry their license with them (it should have their picture on it).
Unfortunately, mold authorities are saying that many Texans are failing the inspection process. In fact, one inspector said that he has to fail more homes than he can pass, which means that people are not efficiently getting rid of the moisture and mold in their homes.
“I have a lot of empathy for people, so I have to remove myself. I feel their pain, and it hurts me tremendously,” said the inspector.
Getting Legal Help for Mold & Moisture Insurance Claims
Unfortunately, fighting moisture and mold can be a complicated process. As the inspector lamented, many people are unsuccessful in removing mold from their homes. This is because many residents are unable to pay for professional treatments since their insurance company has not paid out their insurance claim. However, some residents cannot get their insurance claim because they have mold. This situation leaves many families in a catch-22, but there is a way out. If you need help with your insurance company, contact Arnold & Itkin. Our firm can go through your situation with you, free of charge. We are here to help, and we may be the solution to your seemingly unsolvable problem.
Call (888) 400-2101 to get your questions answered.