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Mold and mess

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Mold and mess

Post  johnp on 11/5/2015, 8:55 am

Well I arrived in sunny AZ this week to find that torrential rains have flooded my lower level. Black mold all around the edges of the carpet. Insurance came up with a piddling amount and said since there is no obvious exterior damage they won't pay for the interior damage. Having several restoration companies look at it this morning to remove the carpet. It looks like there may be some in the bottom of the walls. I would rather not tear out the drywall. I know they can kill the mold on the floor but will the mold (if any ) in the walls stop when fully dry? My neighbors down the street asked if they could harvest my mushrooms Rolling Eyes

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Re: Mold and mess

Post  donnainzone5 on 11/5/2015, 11:59 am

I wouldn't give up just yet on the insurance.  Assuming your insurer is a reputable company, you might be able to persuade the adjuster to reconsider.

Is there any photographic evidence, such mud, debris, etc. near where the water entered your residence?  Did anyone nearby suffer similar damage?  

Also, review your policy for water damage/mold exclusions.  

It seems to me that your case is pretty clear-cut.  Unless the insurance company can show that the water damage resulted from an excluded cause, you may win out.  For example, are there any roof or plumbing leaks that could have caused such flooding?

I'm not sure about the mold in the drywall.  A qualified mold remediation company should be able to advise.

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Re: Mold and mess

Post  Marc Iverson on 11/5/2015, 1:03 pm

A letter from an attorney will often prompt an insurance company into suddenly changing its mind.

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Re: Mold and mess

Post  donnainzone5 on 11/5/2015, 1:28 pm

+1, Marc.

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Re: Mold and mess

Post  sanderson on 11/5/2015, 1:43 pm

http://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/childrens-environmental-health/index.php#indoor-air-quality-mold

http://www.health.ny.gov/publications/7287/   "Guidelines on Assessment and Remediation of Fungi in Indoor Environments" was the first nationwide publication on indoor mold and was the generally accepted authority.

Who would have thought you needed Federal flood insurance in AZ? Shocked  Is the home a pre-fab or mobile?  I can't remember.  Wood sub-flooring?  Mold can grow under linoleum and tiles, especially with organic/mineral flood water.

John,  It's been a few years (5??) since I worked for the Environmental Health Department, but here are some generally accepted facts.  A wet carpet can only be saved if it, and the padding, are removed for thorough drying.  After 24-48 hours of wetness, it is too late as mold spores have "germinated" and are growing hyphae.  Regarding walls, remove a square(s) large enough to see inside with a flashlight and mirror.  If there are signs of flooding or wetness inside, the materials should be removed up to the flood point, the void dried, and then go from there.

I am so sorry you are having to go through all of this.  Hopefully the insurance company can up the payout some to defer some of the costs (not to mention downright inconvenience).

I wouldn't spend money on testing. It's a duh situation, meaning obvious. As far as an attorney, see if you can get a free or 30 min consultation with an AZ attorney who has some experience in mold in indoor environments, especially from flooding. Without Fed flood insurance, the regular insurance company may be being nice at paying anything at all. I hate to be such a Downer Debbie.

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Re: Mold and mess

Post  AtlantaMarie on 11/5/2015, 1:51 pm

+2!  Know any lawyers, John?

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Re: Mold and mess

Post  johnp on 11/5/2015, 4:37 pm

It was not a flood. It was a really big rain storm. After looking at it the drywall is 100% saturated up about 3 feet on two sides of the room so that will need removing. The carpet is gone. It looks like the gutter was overwhelmed and it ran inside. This is a park model home which is basically a permanent RV with an attached room, called an AZ room here or a Florida room in Fla. That is the room that has the damage.

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Re: Mold and mess

Post  sanderson on 11/5/2015, 10:45 pm

Thank goodness it was just that room and not the house proper. Shut the door and near by windows while you work. Go in and out through the exterior door. If the drywall is saturated up to 3 feet, you can remove it at the 4' line (the width of a sheet of drywall) and replace with drywall attached horizontally. Limits the amount of cutting you have to do. Depending on electrical lines or metal framing within the walls, spray with a bleach solution and let completely dry. For the subflooring: wood sprayed with solution and dried; cement mopped or sprayed with solution and dried. If there is debris on the subflooring, remove by vacuuming thoroughly on wood or soapy mop on cement before spraying. Some people can't smell mold and others have noses like a truffle dog. When mold can't be smelled after everything is dry, it should be good to go on installing the new materials. Sounds like you may have dodged a total nightmare. Oh, and repair the gutter situation. 4-5" gutter if needed for the monsoons that AZ gets. I wonder if the prior owners had ever had this happen to them and didn't disclose?? Since it wasn't a ground flood, just rain with resulting water intrusion and damage to carpet and drywall, the insurance company should pay for it. Period. Tell them Sanderson said so. Razz

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Re: Mold and mess

Post  jimmy cee on 11/5/2015, 11:15 pm

A water line split 5 years ago at 2 am. It ran for 1/2 hour before we spotted it.
1st floor ceiling, 3 walls floor all had puddles of water.
A company came in to try to eliminate moisture, after 5 days of three 220 volt dehumidifiers working along with 5 high powered fans discharging from zipper enclosed rooms to the outside is was to no avail,
Ceiling, walls and floors had to be torn up because electronic moisture detectors detected wet spots.
Moisture inside enclosed walls is tough to deal with, our insurance covered the entire bill including $1000.00 deductable after the courts ruling that a contractor who recently refinished our bathroom was at fault.

I considered ourselves very fortunate ..Why ? in 4 hours we would have been gone for 2 weeks..imagine what we would have returned to after 2 weeks of a split 80# water line running inside a home.

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Re: Mold and mess

Post  Scorpio Rising on 11/6/2015, 8:09 am

So sorry to hear about your troubles, John..... No

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Re: Mold and mess

Post  johnp on 11/6/2015, 8:11 am

I got the estimate this morning and it came out less than I thought, including new carpet and tile. I am going ahead with it because the rest of the family (wife, 2 dogs, two cats) will be here right after Thanksgiving. Will fight the insurance company later. I have checked the roof and I know how to fix at least the worst part. Off to find a sheet metal company for the right stuff. We will paint the room ourselves, saving a little and the settlement we got does pay about 70% so it is not that bad.


Last edited by johnp on 11/6/2015, 8:25 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added additional words)

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Re: Mold and mess

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