One thing that home insurance in Calgary doesn’t cover is mould remediation, so it’s very important that you remain proactive about avoiding this potentially dangerous and costly problem.
In indoor conditions, mould growth typically arises from consistently high levels of humidity, problems with condensation, or leaky faucets and/or pipes. Two types of mould affect buildings: viable spores, which will spread and proliferate, and nonviable spores, which won’t spread but nonetheless pose significant health and safety risks.
When it comes to mould, prevention is far and away the best cure. Because proper maintenance and upkeep are the responsibility of the homeowner, the vast majority of home insurance policies will not compensate you if you have to pay out of pocket for professional mould removal. Thus, it’s important to know how to stop mould deposits from forming and spreading.
Specific Causes of Indoor Mould
While you already know that mould thrives in damp, musty environments, you should be aware of the full range of specific circumstances that can give rise to the kind of conditions mould needs to grow. High levels of humidity and moisture can be caused by:
- Leaks in your foundation
- Leaks in your windows, roof or exterior walls
- Leaks in your plumbing and wastewater infrastructure
- Improper insulation
- Sewage backups
- Insufficient or poorly maintained weatherstripping
- Improper kitchen, laundry room and/or bathroom ventilation
- Damp basements
You should regularly inspect your home’s foundation, and check your weatherstripping, windows, door and exterior walls at least once per year. Make sure all exterior home elements are airtight. Rising water bills can signal plumbing problems you might not be able to visually detect, and be sure to use exhaust fans at all times in your kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms.
Home Insurance Calgary: Recognizing Mould
Here are telltale signs of mould growth:
- Discoloured stains on walls and ceilings; these may also appear on your furniture or floors, and will typically return within a few days if you clean them
- A musty odour in certain areas of your home
- The appearance of allergic-like reactions in home occupants despite the absence of known allergens
You are at increased risk of developing mould if you have condensation on your windows, pools of standing water in your basement or other areas of your home, or significant levels of water leakage or damage.
Health Risks of Mould Exposure
Exposure to mould can cause a wide range of health problems, some of which can be serious. Typical signs and symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Eye, nose and/or throat irritation
- Congested sinuses
- Nonproductive coughing
- Skin rashes or redness (typically only occurs if the skin comes in direct contact with the mould deposit)
In young children, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems, severe allergies or respiratory difficulties, symptoms can be more pronounced. Extreme and prolonged cases of mould exposure can lead to potentially deadly systemic fungal infections.
Home Insurance Calgary: Addressing Indoor Mould
If the mould deposit is less than 1 square foot in size, use the following method for removal:
- The use of personal protective equipment (rubber gloves, N95 respirators and secure goggles) is recommended
- Use all-purpose cleanser, liquid dish detergent, or an antimicrobial microbial cleaning product mixed with hot water
- Apply the cleaning solution to the affected area, scrubbing until all traces of the mould are gone
- Rinse the area well with hot water
- Sterilize your hands immediately after you finish
- For mould deposits of up to 10 square feet in size, use the method above, but add the following precautions:
- Be sure to use personal protective equipment
- Seal off all entryways, exits and ventilation connections to the affected area before beginning
- Ensure that the affected area remains unoccupied for at least 24 hours after cleaning is completed
- Keep the area sealed off for at least 24 hours after cleaning is completed
Severe or widespread cases of indoor mould growth are best left to professionals. Mould remediation experts will use specialized equipment to remove the mould, prevent its possible return, and restore safe conditions.
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