How false water-damage claims are reaching crisis levels in Florida

With just a few weeks before the start of Hurricane Season 2017, all eyes turn to Florida, which had remained relatively unscathed by Mother Nature’s torment in recent years until Hurricane Matthew barreled up the Atlantic coastline last September — leaving behind more than $800 million in claims in the Sunshine State.

Yet there is another destructive storm hitting Florida that’s causing untold damage. This tempest has been created by unscrupulous contractors, lawyers and their legal tool: Assignment of Benefits. It’s one that has inflicted countless painful injuries to not only the insurance industry but also to homeowners as well.

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Black water Problems

Black Water Problems

Category 3 water damage problems located in Santa Monica, CA

increased moisture in the flooring created from a category 3 water damage in this Thousand Oaks home

Santa Monica, CA | During this mold inspection many abnormal conditions were noticed by the mold inspector.  Within the bathroom of this apartment water was found below the linoleum flooring.  Our moisture meter detected moisture up to 99-100%. The origin of this moisture problem was the toilet.  An improper seal between the toilet and the flooring allowed black water (category 3) to seep in between the building materials.

In order to repair the area a restoration company must be contacted to remove materials and sanitize the structure.  Category 3 water intrusion carry bacteria and increase the chances of mold growth within your home.

Following proper restoration a post remediation mold and bacteria inspection should be completed to verify the area is cleaned properly and ready for reconstruction.

Experts explain how to deal with post-flood mold issues

Picture-blogFGAs many residents continue in the cleaning process, there could be hidden damage the flooding may have left in homes. Experts explain just how serious mold can be and what you need to know to protect you and your family.

Certain types of mold can grow within 48 hours and in some cases it can take just three weeks for mold to surface, but the excess moisture in a home is all the mold needs to grow.

“Anytime you have water come into your home, and it’s not properly dried you’re going to have mold, it’s indefinite, it’s going to happen,” explained Michael Burke, a bio-hazard expert, with A&I Fire & Water Restoration in Myrtle Beach.

Burke said when checking a home for damage, it should be a priority for homeowners to look for mold. Burke says his company has been busy responding to calls since the flood about water damage, and particularly mold concerns. “When we come in, we get the water out of the house, we extract the water from the house, remove any wet building materials, that won’t dry out or can’t dry out in a sufficient amount of time, then dry the structure out,” he explained.

Mold can quickly develop; it can take 48 hours or even three weeks before the signs surface. Burke said mold won’t always be seen. It could be hidden behind walls, underneath the home and even inside insulation.

Burke said people that suffered actual home flood damage are not at risk. He said homes that did not get water damage could still see mold because of the excessive moisture of the rain and water.

“Having a house on a crawl space or a raised house it could be growing underneath the house whether it’s in the insulation, the duct work, or the structure,” said Burke. “Look at the two-by-fours too, it (mold) could grow down there and initially start to develop in the house.”

The health risks from mold can be serious. Symptoms include shortness of breath, a stuffy nose, irritated eyes, wheezing or skin irritation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even more serious risks could include mold infections developing in the lungs.  Burke added, “If you have allergies, asthma, or something similar, it may be a problem right away. Some people may not notice it for years that mold could be growing in their home.”

Burke adds trying to remove the mold on your own can be done, but he recommends calling a professional to make sure the mold is disposed of properly, and to prevent re-growth.

Household products, like bleach, are not recommended. Burke says most products contain water, which will make the treatment ineffective as mold could resurface from moisture once it begins to dry.

“Using bleach or something like that isn’t sufficient enough, you actually need some antimicrobial, a product the Environmental Protection Agency regulates to kill mold,” stated Burke.

Homeowners concerned about mold should contact an industrial hygienist to have air quality test performed that will check for mold in the home.

Burke says there is an industrial hygienist in most of the counties in the area.


CES – Infrared Camera Detects Water Damage and Mold

Thermal Imaging Camera _Flir_When Used by a Local Certified Mold Inspections Specialist This can Locate Water Damage and Mold in Your Home

This type of camera (thermal infrared) will not find mold inside your walls, but it can be used as a very useful tool to assist your local mold inspection specialist by determining areas of moisture intrusion and water damage.

Thermal infrared cameras locate areas with temperature differences.

– Red and white colors indicate warm/hot areas

– Blue and dark colors indicate cool/cold areas

A certified mold inspector will use this device and look for varying heat signals that indicate water damage.  An unusual blue mark could indicate moisture or a leaky pipe in a wall .

“When scanning an interior wall of your home, we (mold inspectors) look for irregular temperature patterns in the camera indicating a possible source of moisture” R.Santanastasio

The Latest in Thermal infrared cameras.  This Flir model T640 is extremely powerful and very ergonomic.  This model was viewed at the latest Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas 2013.   The cameras ability to detect heat, and ultimately differences in heat, translate into areas that your certified mold inspector specialist may use to isolate moisture, water damage and mold inside your walls.  Locating water damage is a mold inspectors special weapon when finding mold within your home.