As a homeowner, an unexpected fire, flood, or mold issue ranks pretty high up there in things you hope never happen. It’s likely, however, that at some point during your homeownership you will encounter these once-in-a-blue-moon scenarios. Knowing what to do when they happen can mean the difference between a properly mitigated problem and lasting damage to your home and your wallet.
For advice on how to identify and troubleshoot common water and mold issues, we turned to Chris Larson, the general manager of VetCor Services of the Hudson Valley, the first northeast branch of VetCor. As a restoration company that solves residential and commercial water, fire, and mold damage while creating meaningful and sustainable employment opportunities for our nation’s veterans, VetCor Services of the Hudson Valley provides services throughout the region and prides itself on deploying technicians to provide exceptionally great service on time at a time of need.
Below are six common mistakes that VetCor sees homeowners make when dealing with water or mold damage and how to undertake a remediation project the right way.
1. You think you can adequately dry out your water-damaged property yourself.
It can be tough for you to figure out when the material is fully dry, not dried enough, or even over-dried, which can cause mold issues down the line. VetCor recommends using a moisture meter capable of detecting moisture levels in various materials, like the Delmhorst Moisture Meter Pro. Just ensure you select the proper respective material when you’re using the detector.
2. You think that if you can’t see any visible signs of mold, there’s no mold.
To really determine if you have a mold problem, you should also be looking for signs that aren’t visible. Mold can be present within your wall cavity and not visible. However, mold spores may be present in the air, while there are no visible signs of mold, and still cause health problems for occupants. Symptoms to watch out for include wheezing, rash, watery eyes, runny nose, itchy eyes, coughing, and redness of the eyes.
3. You don’t initiate an insurance claim, or even an inquiry, for your mold or water damage.
If you have an issue, the first step is to consult your insurance policy, find out what your deductible is, and what is and is not covered as a loss. While you’re not required to notify your insurance carrier when you have a challenge in your home, you are required to take action to mitigate further damage. An inquiry with your insurance carrier at the least allows you to make an informed decision about next steps, and often can lead to professional advice on how best to proceed.
4. You don’t dedicate the necessary resources to completely mitigating a water or mold problem when it occurs.
Did you know that not ensuring (and proving) that a water or mold problem has been properly resolved can affect you when you go to sell your home? Water and mold challenges only get worse with time if left unresolved or adequately and properly mitigated immediately. When you sell your home in the future, you are required to disclose any mold challenges and can be sued if you have not properly remediated a problem, and then not disclosed that you had the problem.
5. You search for a contractor on the internet and don’t properly vet them.
You can always select the contractor of your choosing, but it’s important to make sure you find a reputable restoration contractor that understands building sciences and is not focused on just “cleaning. If you want to learn about their industry standard credentials, look up the firm at iicrc.org to check if they are a certified firm. You want to protect your investment for the long term.
6. You sign a contract with an “assignment of benefit” clause.
When you hire someone to help you mitigate a water or mold issue, you’ll need to be confident that your contract or work authorization is not actually placing you at risk when you sign it. Check to see if there is a clause indicating “an assignment of benefits,” which transfers your insurance policy benefits to the contractor, allowing them to sue the insurance company as the holder of the policy versus the less risky option of “a direction to pay,” which simply allows the contractor to be paid directly by your insurance carrier.
To learn more about VetCor Services of the Hudson Valley visit their website. If you’re in need of immediate assistance, give them a call at 1-844-VETCOR1 (838-2671) or (845) 750-3836.