Mermin inspections Blog

The Remediators Corner

“THE REMEDIATOR’S CORNER” by: Jamey Nassef

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

WATER HEATERS

Do you know what your water heater can do if it malfunctions?
At Fireservice Disaster Kleenup, we deal with water damage every day of the year. Being in SW Florida people always ask if we want storms to hit for increased business. The answer is NO. We stay busy with leaks from dishwashers, ice makers, A/C units and everything else. As a matter of fact, most of our leaks come from water heaters. If a water heater breaks, it can flood out your entire home. If you live in a condo building or a high rise, it can also flood people beside and under you. We often see where a heater will break on the 8th or 9th floor and flood all the units below. When something like this happens, the damage can cost a lot of money.
So how do we attempt to prevent this from happening to us? The life span of a water heater depends on a few different factors: water quality, product quality, maintenance, or amount of use, just to name a few.
-Check your water quality. If you have a lot of calcium, iron, or chlorine in your water, it can shorten the life of your unit. These minerals will actually start to weaken the tank of the heater and increase your chance for leaks.

-Product quality. A lot of the water heaters in the “Big Box Stores” are nice and inexpensive but they are not as durable as some of the units that are supplied to licensed plumbers. Suggestion is to spend a few extra bucks and have a licensed plumber supply and install the water heaters. Spending the extra couple hundred of dollars can save you thousands in the end and a lot of stress.
-Maintain your water heater- It is suggested that you drain and flush out your water heater every 6 months. This will remove all the built-up minerals at the bottom of your tank. Also adjust your temperature valve. If it is set too high, your unit is working harder to keep the water temperature to set temperature.
I hope that these quick little tips can help prevent any disasters in your home. Remember to use a licensed plumber to fix anything on your heater. Jacob Mermin Inspections works closely with some very good plumbers and they would be happy to refer one to you in your area. For any type of water damage issue you may have please contact me at (239) 823-7278, and we will help you out in any way we can. We have partners all over the country to help you out, no matter your location. If you find you have a possible mold issue remember you need a Florida Licensed Mold Assessor Like Jacob Mermin at Jacob Mermin Inspecitons Inc. www.jminspector.com

Good Luck,
Jamey Nassef
jnassef@fireserviceusa.com
Fort Myers: 239-936-1033
Naples: 239-261-1422
Marco Island: 239-963-2358
Cell: 239-823-7278

Fireservice Disaster Kleenup

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Fireservice Disaster Kleenup
We, at Fireservice Disaster Kleenup, are most often asked the “Will my insurance pay for the mold damage?” It is always hard to say, due to the wording in many policies. Mold easily grows if it finds food and moisture sources inside your home. Food sources include drywall, insulation, cabinetry and carpeting, and small water leaks that provide enough moisture for mold to grow. Homeowners generally have a tough time trying to get insurers to cover mold-related problems. Your homeowners policy may only cover mold problems under strict conditions if it covers such problems at all.

The terms of homeowner’s policies vary from state to state and among insurers. Standard policies generally don’t cover mold problems when the mold results from maintenance issues, such as A/C breaking, old water leaks, improper water drainage around the exterior of your home, etc. Standard homeowner’s policies also don’t cover exterior flood damage, so any mold problems that result from exterior flooding generally aren’t covered. You will need to acquire Flood Insurance for flooding due to outside water such as excessive rain. Homeowner’s policies usually cover accidental occurrences such as a pipe bursting inside your home. Therefore, any mold growth related to that kind of occurrence is usually covered under a standard policy.

The Insurance Information Institute describes mold growth that results from extreme humidity or visible water leaks from pipes or appliances as maintenance issues that should be dealt with by the homeowner. Any mold growth that develops in such situations wouldn’t be covered by the typical homeowner’s policy. The institute also suggests that homeowners should have mold cleaned up as soon as they spot it to keep it from spreading throughout the home.

I warn homeowners to closely read their policies to ensure they understand the terms. Some insurers make efforts to avoid or limit their risks for handling mold claims. For example, some insurance companies exclude coverage for any mold-related claims, but they provide what’s known as a buy-back endorsement. A buy-back endorsement would give you some coverage for household mold problems if you pay extra for your policy. Still, that extra coverage may limit the amount of money you would receive for mold-related problems.

Insurers regularly exclude coverage for most mold problems in homeowner’s policies because mold growth is common and could potentially cost insurers millions of dollars in claims. The Insurance Information Institute asserts that the price of homeowner’s policies would be driven up if insurers were required to cover claims for mold problems. Modern home construction methods make homes airtight to prevent air leaks that increase heating and cooling costs. The downside is that airtight homes trap moisture that aids mold growth.

Fireservice Disaster Kleenup can help guide you through the claim process to help ensure that the work needed is covered by the insurance companies. We have been able to assist thousands of clients through our 42 years of business. Also, we have seen where Jacob Mermin Inspections Inc. has been able to identify the types of mold that is present and also been able to locate the cause of the issue.

I would suggest setting an appointment with your agent to sit and discuss all the items that you are covered for on your insurance. Here are a few simple questions to ask them:

1. What is included in my homeowner’s policy (structural, contents, liability coverage, additional living expenses)? Can I raise the amount of coverage for certain areas in my policy? How often?

2. What is excluded from my policy? What areas have limited coverage?

3. What would it cost to rebuild my home? What would it cost to replace the items in my home?

4. Do I need a separate policy to include exterior structures (garages, sheds, gazebos, pools, etc.)?

5. What disasters or ‘perils’ am I insured for (theft, fire, tornado, vandalism, etc.)?

6. Do I need flood, earthquake or an umbrella policy?

7. In the event of a flood what would be covered? Do I need separate insurance for coverage of possessions?

8. Am I covered in events of water damage (i.e. frozen pipes, burst pipes, leaky appliances, sewer back-up, rainwater, seepage and leaks, flash flooding)? For which events am I covered or not covered? What is your definition of ‘flooding’, meaning I’m not covered?

9. Do I need sewer back up insurance?

10. Does my policy include a separate deductible for risks like hurricane or hail?

11. Will my policy cover repairs and/or replacement of the appliances in my home?

12. Do I need separate insurance for animals and their possessions in my home?

13. Do I need separate insurance for my home-based business (liability, structural, possessions)? What types are available?

Thanks for reading and I hope that this helps.

Jamey Nassef
Fort Myers: 239-936-1033
Naples: 239-261-1422
Marco Island: 239-963-2358
Cell: 239-823-7278

Does Bleach Kill Mold?

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

I am asked many different questions about mold. Here in SW Florida we see a lot of mold issues. The most often question asked is: Does bleach kill mold? Bleach does NOT kill mold. The only thing that bleach does is change the color of the mold by damaging the roots of it. Bleach only provides a temporary solution by slowing its growth.

What Does Bleach Do?
Mold grows like weeds or plants, the only way you can really kill mold is to destroy the roots. When you use bleach, the only thing you’re doing is saturating the roots with a chemical that doesn’t destroy them, but only damages them enough to slow growth. To effectively get rid of mold, it’s necessary to disinfect the materials the mold grew on and take its food source away. Mold is everywhere. Mold is not always a bad thing. If at the right levels it helps keep our immune systems strong and working.

What you want to do is prevent the growth of mold. Mold needs a few things to grow: Food source (paper, drywall, dust, wood, soil and more) and Moisture (humidity, leak, puddle). One of the reasons why chlorine bleach doesn’t kill mold spores is that bleach is made mostly out of water. Water is a requirement for mold growth and trying to get rid of it with a product that is mostly water isn’t very effective.

What should I do?
For your health and safety, it is essential that you act quickly as soon as you realize that you have a mold problem. You should contact a Florida licensed mold inspector like Jacob Mermin Inspections Inc. who can identify the type of mold, source of mold growth and give you a protocol to remediate the mold issue. DO NOT contract a company that says it will do both inspection and remediation. It is illegal for a company in the state of FL to do both. Some companies might skew a mold inspection to make you think that you have more of an issue than you really have. Contact a mold remediation company that has been around for more than 7 yrs and ask for references. I have seen a lot of newer companies promise to perform a remediation at a low price and give a long warranty and then they go out of business. The warranty is with a company that is no longer in business. Also, contact a mold inspector to perform an inspection after the mold remediation is completed. The State Licensed mold inspector can also do the clearance testing after the remediation is complete. Finish paying the remediation company once you have received the clearance report from the licensed inspector. This is your home where you and your family will be living and that should be your main priority.

Good Luck,
Jamey Nassef
jnassef@fireserviceusa.com
Fort Myers: 239-936-1033
Naples: 239-261-1422
Marco Island: 239-963-2358
Cell: 239-823-7278