Homeowner’s Insurance and Mold

Mold 2Mold is something that nobody wants in their home. Sometimes it gets in though without us realizing or after a flood. Whatever the reason that the mold is there it’s important to get rid of it. If you have it though you’re probably wondering if it’s covered with your homeowner’s insurance. We found this article to answer just this question!

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From the article:

Mold strikes fear into the hearts of those who???ve heard horror stories about toxic mold, expensive mold remediation, and denied home owners insurance claims. Yet mold can be found anywhere, including in most homes. It???s usually harmless.

Mold and home owners insurance
Most basic home owners insurance policies exclude coverage of damage caused by mold, fungi, and bacteria, says Mark Ferguson, property claim specialist with General Casualty Insurance in Sun Prairie, Wis. Yet that doesn???t mean a mold claim will be denied automatically.

In most cases, if mold results from a sudden and accidental covered peril, such as a pipe bursting, the cost of remediation should be covered, says Ferguson. That???s because technically the pipe burst is the reason for the claim, not the mold itself. Claims are more likely to be rejected if mold is caused by neglected home maintenance: long-term exposure to humidity, or repeated water leaks and seepage.

It???s hard to put a precise dollar figure on mold damage because most insurers don???t separate mold claims from water-damage claims, says Claire Wilkinson of the Insurance Information Institute. About 22% of all home owners insurance claims result from ???water damage and freezing,??? a category that includes mold remediation, according to the III. A 2003 white paper on mold from the III put the cost of the average mold claim between $15,000 and $30,000, at least five times the average non-mold home owners claim at that time.

After a rush of mold claims in the early 2000s, most states adopted limitations on mold coverage. Amounts vary, but a typical home owners policy might cover between $1,000 and $10,000 in mold remediation and repair, says Celia Santana of Personal Risk Management Solutions in New York. Most policies won???t cover mold related to flood damage. For that, home owners need separate flood insurance, which averages $540 per year through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Have more questions about mold? Checkout this article about mold for busy homeowners that could be of interest to you.

Read the entire article here: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/home-insurance/homeowners-insurance-mold-covered/#ixzz2al89GsMw

Mold 101

MoldMold can be scary if you don’t know much about it. We found this article with a TON of information on mold. We know that it will help you in gaining more understanding about mold.

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From the article:

Facts about Mold

  1. What exactly is mold? Molds are living microorganisms and forms of fungi like yeasts and mushrooms. Now that we have a basic definition of mold, lets start debunking some common mold myths!
  2. Most of the information you find in the media and internet on ???Black Mold??? is completely bogus and horribly misleading. The fact is that the color of the mold as it appears to the naked eye cannot tell you anything about whether its toxic or not. This brings us to point #3:
  3. With over 100,000 species, mold comes in about any size, shape, and color you can think of, making it virtually impossible to tell what type of mold you have without a microscope.
  4. While there are over 100,000 species of mold, the good news is that you do NOT need to know what kind of mold you have to eliminate mold growth. All mold is treated in the same way. Since mold is a living organism, it requires food and water to survive. But controlling mold by eliminating food sources is very difficult since mold can feed off building materials, and the tiniest of organic matter like dirt, dust and debris. Thus the best way to eliminate mold problems is to eliminate water problems.
  5. Eliminating mold problems is important because the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that we spend 90 percent of our time indoors, and that the air we breathe indoors is more polluted than the outdoor air. So indoor air quality matters a lot to our health.

Interested in maintaining your home this summer? Checkout this article with more information about summer maintenance for busy homeowners that could be of interest to you.

Read all the facts and information here: http://www.moldmanusa.com/106-tips-about-mold-mold-remediation-mold-removal-mold-testing-and-mold-prevention

Have a Flood? Learn How to Clean it Up Here

Flooded HouseHaving a flood is nerve racking. Not knowing what to do about it and how to clean it up is even worse. We found this article released by the City of Milwaukee with information about how to clean up after a flood. We hope that you never need this information but should you need it we hope it helps.

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From the article:


  • Floodwater may be contaminated with sewage and should be treated as such.
  • Minimize skin exposure by wearing rubber boots and rubber gloves during clean up.
  • There is a hazard in utilizing electrical equipment (i.e. sump pumps, furnace motors, etc.), which is wet. It can produce severe shocks and endanger human life as well as burn out the equipment. Make sure all electrical equipment is dry before use
  • Check gas and oil furnaces as well as gas hot water heaters for escaping gas and ensure that pilot flames are lit. If gas is escaping, do not light a match until the gas supply has been shut off. If you are unfamiliar with this procedure, contact your local gas company or a professional heating contractor.
  • The area may be extremely slippery. Walk Carefully.

Interested about someone else’s experience with a flooded laundry room? Checkout this article about flooded washer horror story for busy homeowners that could be of interest to you.

For all of the tips click here: http://city.milwaukee.gov/Flood-Clean-up

Laundry Room Flooding Horror Story

home disastersYou never want to think of your home flooding. Especially by your brand new washing machine. Read this woman’s story and decide for yourself if you should buy Whirlpool or not.

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From the article:

The first load of laundry in Lona Massong’s new Whirlpool Cabrio washing machine went smoothly.

Load No. 2, well, that’s a different story.

Massong filled the machine with clothes, poured in the soap and turned the dial.

When she returned to the first-floor laundry room a short time later, she found herself standing in a pool of water.

She ran down to her finished basement and found the ceiling caving in, the carpet soaked and a wall saturated with water.

Massong and her husband turned off the machine, cleaned up the mess and immediately called Grand Appliance, where the couple had purchased the washing machine.

Two days later, on Aug. 9, a repairman came to their Wadsworth home, dragged the washing machine into the driveway and looked underneath.

It didn’t take him long to find the problem. A clamp that was supposed to connect the washing machine’s drain hose to the drain pump was missing, so when the clothes in the second load began squishing around, the motion dislodged the hose, sending water everywhere.

Grand Appliance replaced the washer but said the damage to Massong’s basement was Whirlpool’s responsibility because the manufacturer failed to attach the clamp.

Massong called Whirlpool, which instructed her to get two estimates. One estimate put the damage at $5,660, Massong said, and another was closer to $6,000.

Whirlpool hired Eagle Adjusting Services Inc. to examine the claim. Eagle Adjusting came up with its own, considerably lower estimate, placing the damage at $4,575.38. It then subtracted $1,072.18 for “depreciation,” saying nothing in Massong’s basement was new.

The final offer from Whirlpool, based on Eagle’s estimate, was $3,503.20, a number that did not sit well with Massong.

Looking to maintain your laundry room? Checkout this article about laundry room maintenance for homeowners that could be of interest to you.

Click here to read the rest of the story: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-11-06/business/ct-biz-1106-problem-massong-20111106_1_basement-whirlpool-cabrio-washer

Learn the Facts About Dryer Vent Safety Here!

everystockphoto_135439_mWith so much confusing information out there about dryer vent safety we thought it would be important to provide clear information that’s easy to understand.

We found this article that we feel will do just that. Check it out!

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From the article:

The Facts About Dryer Vent Fires

  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a consumer product safety alert. According to the CPSC, annually there are 15,500 household fires due to dryer exhaust duct fires.
  • Annual property damage is approximately $88,000,000
  • There are approximately 400 injuries and 15 deaths each year due to dryer vent fires
  • Failure to clean the dryer vent is THE leading factor contributing to clothes dryer fires in residences
  • 80% of clothes dryers fires occur in residences

Why it is Critical to Keep Dryer Vents Clean

  • Moisture- one gallon or more of water must be disposed of for every typical load of laundry. Because of the moisture, exhausting the dryer to the outside is a must. Lack of cleaning can contribute to the growth of mold and retention of lint within the system.
  • Carbon Monoxide- Proper exhausting is of particular importance with gas dryers. In addition to moisture and lint, gas dryer ducts carry the by-products of combustion, including carbon monoxide.
  • Clogging- A lot of lint is produced in the drying process, and lint can restrict or block dryer ducts. A poorly exhausting dryer is not only less efficient, it can also be a fire hazard due to extreme flammability of lint.

Who Should Have Their Dryer Vent Cleaned?

  • Anyone who uses their dryer regularly each week and has not had it cleaned in 2 years.
  • Anyone who washes several loads of laundry every day should have the dryer vent cleaned annually.
  • Anyone who can see lint buildup in the exterior duct vent or lint preventing the closure of the exterior flapper.
  • Anyone who has dryer duct work running up through the roof or out a second story wall should have the dryer duct work cleaned annually.
  • Anyone noticing that it is taking the dryer longer and longer to dry their clothes.
  • Everyone who owns and uses a dryer!

Looking for more tips on dryer vent safety? Checkout this article and learn more important fire safety tips that could be of interest to you.

Read the entire article here: http://www.mikesexteriorhomecare.com/dryer-vent-cleaning/

Learn All About Water Damage Restoration Here

1244314_water_damaged_ceilingWater damage restoration is something that not many people are familiar with unless they have had to have it in the past. We wanted to share this article with you so that you have more information.

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From the article:

Water damage restoration is the process of restoring a property back to pre-loss condition after sustaining any level of water damage. While there are currently no government regulations in the United States dictating procedures, two large certifying bodies, the IICRC and the RIA, do recommend standards of care. Most companies use the IICRC procedural standard, which is the S500. It is based on reliable restoration principles, research and practical experience with extensive consultation and information gathered from numerous sources. These include the scientific community, the international, national and regional trade associations serving the disaster restoration industry, chemical formulators and equipment manufacturers, cleaning and restoration schools, restoration service companies, the insurance industry, allied trades persons and others with specialized experience. The S500 water damage guide is subject to further revision as developments occur in technology, testing and processing procedures.

Loss assessment and evaluation
A professional water damage restoration service will document the materials which were affected by the water damage and refer to industry standard pricing guides such as The Blue Book in order to determine the proper value of the residence’s materials lost and their service.
Water damage services include the inspection of the affected area(s) with water sensing equipment such as probes and other infrared tools in order to determine the source of the damage, and possible extent of area affected. Restoration services would then be rendered to the residence in order to dry the structure, sanitize any affected or cross contaminated areas, and deodorize all affected areas and materials. After the labor is completed, water damage equipment including, but not limited to, air movers, air scrubbers, dehumidifiers, wood floor drying systems, and sub floor drying equipment is left in the residence. After a period of two to three days are the labor is completed, a reevaluation of the residence is taken to monitor the drying process, and any equipment not further needed is removed as to keep the charges under control.

Wondering how your insurance will respond to a water damage claim? Checkout this article and find out how your insurance company will respond to a claim that could be of interest to you.

Read the entire article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_damage_restoration

Drywall Have Water Damage? Start Here!

5375756159_0d47d38c1d_bWater damage can affect many different areas in your home but one of the most common places it affects is drywall. Most people not sure how to start so we found this article that we hope will help.

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From the article:

If you have water damage on a part of your drywall–say, from a leaky roof over that spot or a plumbing problem–you don’t need to replace the whole wall. If the damaged area isn’t more than few square feet, you can cut it out and set in a replacement piece of drywall. It’s important to work off studs so the new section is solid, and you’ll need to plan on taping and sanding the seams over a few consecutive days.

Things You’ll Need

  • Electronic studfinder
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Long level
  • Razor knife
  • Drywall saw
  • Screwgun
  • Drywall screws
  • Piece of drywall the same thickness as the existing drywall
  • Mesh drywalling tape
  • Bucket of pre-mixed drywall compound
  • Drywall application knife (looks like a very wide putty knife)
  • Drywall sandpaper
  1. Use your studfinder to locate the nearest studs on both sides of the damaged area. With your level, make two vertical pencil lines at the centers of each of the studs, with the lines running high enough and low enough to span the damaged area.
  2. Use the level again to mark two level horizontal lines between the vertical lines, one above the damage, the other below it. You should now have a perfect square perimeter around the damaged area, with the vertical lines of the square centered on studs.
  3. Use your screwgun to sink drywall screws along the vertical lines, half an inch outside the square and every 6 inches along the line.
  4. With your drywall saw and razor knife, cut out the square at your pencil line. You should end up with a square hole in the wall, with half the widths of the studs visible on either vertical side, leaving the screws just outside the vertical sides to secure the nondamaged parts of the wall to the studs.
  5. Cut your new piece of drywall an 1/8 inch smaller than the dimensions of the square. Set your level along your marks, running your razor knife along the edge of the level, then snapping the drywall at the line and cutting it away from behind.
  6. Set the new piece of drywall in place in the hole. Use your screwgun to put screws along the vertical edges of the piece, into the studs.
  7. Lay mesh drywalling tape over all four seams and spread drywall compound over the seams with your drywalling knife. Let it dry for a day, then hand-sand the drywall compound and apply a second, lighter coat of it along the seams. Repeat the process a third time, with the lightest coat, then give a final sanding and paint it.

Interested in avoiding a flood? Checkout this article about avoiding a flood by maintaining your washer.

Read the entire article here: http://www.ehow.com/how_5164670_replace-drywall-water-damage.html

Learn What to Do After a Fire From the U.S. Fire Administration

293052_burning_hauseFires can be devastating. It can be difficult to pick up the pieces and move forward. We found this article that we hope will help if the need ever arises.

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From the article:

Recovering from a fire can be a physically and mentally draining process.

When fire strikes, lives are suddenly turned around. Often, the hardest part is knowing where to begin and who to contact.

The U.S. Fire Administration has gathered the following information to assist you in this time of need. Action on some of the suggestions will need to be taken immediately. Some actions may be needed in the future while others will be on going. The purpose of this information is to give you the assistance needed to assist you as you begin rebuilding your life.

Contact your insurance company or agent right away.

Ask your agent:

  • What to do about the immediate needs of your home. This includes pumping out water and covering doors, windows, and other openings.
  • What you should do first. Some companies may ask you to make a list of everything that was damaged by the fire. They will ask you to describe these in detail and say how much you paid for the items.

Be careful when you return home.

If your home had a home fire sprinkler system, you will find little damage from flames, heat, smoke, and water. If not, and you plan to rebuild your home, now is the time to think about installing sprinklers into your home! Talk with the owner about it if you are a renter. You can find more information at the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition???s website: www.hfsc.org

Cleaning and restoring personal items.

There are companies that are experts in cleaning and/or restoring your personal items. Whether you or your insurer buys this type of service, be clear on who will pay for it. Be sure to ask for an estimate of cost for the work and agree to it in writing. Ask your insurance company for names of companies you can trust to do a good job at a fair price. These companies provide services that include some or all of the following:

  • securing your home against more damage;
  • estimating damage;
  • repairing damage;
  • estimating the cost to repair or renew items of personal property;
  • storing household items;
  • hiring cleaning or repair subcontractors; and
  • storing repaired items until needed.

Did you know that your dryer could catch on fire? Checkout this article and learn why it’s important to maintain your dryer that could be of interest to you.

Read the entire article here: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/atf/

Renovate Your Home AND Boost Resale Value!

imageAll homeowners want to do what they can to improve the value of their home. We found this article with ideas to cheaply and easily renovate your your home as well as boosting resale value. We hope it will make your creative juices flow!

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From the article:

  1. Hire a pro. Consider hiring a pro to take a look at your home and offer advice. One morning spent with a home inspector, a real estate agent or a local designer can give you insight into what potential buyers will see when they look at your home ??? and can save you money in the long run.
  2. Invest early in landscaping. A beautifully landscaped yard with gorgeous, mature shade trees can be a big selling point, but you’ll need to allow for at least several years of growth to make the most of your investment. Make planting a priority early on, and be sure to seek out expert advice on the proper placement and care of your trees and yard.
  3. Power wash paths and siding. Giving your home’s exterior and paved areas a power wash can be nearly as dramatic as repainting, for a much lower cost. Rent a machine from your local hardware store if you don’t have one.
  4. Maintain green lawns. Sad, neglected lawns are a major turnoff to potential buyers. Maintaining a healthy lawn from the beginning with regular care is the least expensive route, though laying new sod can be worth the dramatic improvement in curb appeal if you don’t have time to start from seed.
  5. Upgrade exterior doors. Curb appeal will help sell your house; it’s as simple as that. And the way your home looks from the outside depends a lot on the condition of your front door (and the garage door, if it’s visible from the street).
  6. Remove eyesores. Outdated wallpaper, tacky light fixtures, stained carpets and popcorn ceilings are all good candidates for updating. The replacements need not be high-end; just think clean, simple and contemporary.
  7. Minor kitchen renovations bank the biggest return. If your kitchen is fairly current, you may want to leave it alone ??? remodeling a kitchen comes with a hefty cost, and you may only be able to recoup around 65 percent of your investment. Smaller updates such as painting or refinishing cabinets that are still in good shape, or upgrading to Energy Star appliances, can refresh your kitchen’s look at a fraction of the cost.
  8. French doors add more than light. If you are looking for a special feature to add to your home, consider replacing a door or several windows with French doors. Not only will they let in more light, but the open feel they provide makes the whole space feel larger. Plus, they make for a romantic addition to your home’s sale ad. “French doors leading to the garden” ??? now that has a nice ring to it!
  9. Choose current paint colors. A fresh, crisp paint job in modern neutrals like gray and putty shows off your home to best advantage. Don’t feel you have to avoid all color; just be aware that the bolder your choice, the more likely it is that it won’t agree with someone. An overly bright or badly chipped exterior paint color may need refreshing too, so don’t stop with the indoors.
  10. Build in extra storage. Another great investment is to add built-in shelving or cabinets in halls, garages or anywhere you have the space. Buyers love seeing great storage, so this can add a lot of appeal ??? and if you are able to do some of the work yourself, you can keep costs reasonable.

Interested in more tips to increase the value of your home? Checkout this article for homeowners with more weekend home improvement projects that could be of interest to you.

To view the entire article click here: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/3189463/list

Spring Cleaning – A Guide to Making it Easy

656146_cleaningSpring cleaning is something that most people would like to do whether or not they actually follow through and do it is another story. We found this article that we hope will make Spring cleaning go easier for you this year and for many years to come.

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From the article:

Spring cleaning will never be effortless, but you can take the guesswork out of what to do in each room with these helpful checklists. Download each checklist to take with you as you work your way around the house. Each list is organized by what to de-clutter, clean, dust and update in each room. Customize the list to fit your individual needs by adding your own cleaning to-do’s in the notes column.

Don’t fret over how long it will take to get the task done — these lists can help create a realistic timeframe for your spring cleaning project. Each list can be broken up over several days and accomplished in smaller chunks.

Make sure to get family members involved with spring cleaning. Print off separate bedroom and bathroom checklists to give to older children and ask them to pitch in. Each family member can be responsible for clearing personal items from public areas like the kitchen and living room.

And while spring may be the traditional time of year to deep-clean, these spring cleaning checklists can also come in handy any time you want to freshen up your home throughout the year.

Worried about cleaning your dryer vent? Checkout this article about why dryer vent cleaning is a must for homeowners that could be of interest to you.

Get the checklists here: http://www.sheknows.com/home-and-gardening/articles/827351/spring-cleaning-checklists