10 Places to Look for Mold in Your House

Left untreated, invasive mold could cost you your health and your home. Like other fungi, mold decomposes the matter or material that it grows on, so it can penetrate walls or ceilings and weaken the building’s structure. Particularly devastating mold infestations can cause home foundations to collapse or become so weak that you’ll need to pay tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for mold remediation and repairs. So where exactly should you look for mold in your house? Knowing where to find mold can lead to early damage prevention.

Mold Insurance Claims

where to look for mold under the sink

Unfortunately, many insurance companies refuse to pay for mold damage. They might argue that the damage did not result from a covered peril in your homeowner’s policy. If they do pay, it may not be enough to cover the extent of the damage.

Many homeowners in Florida suffer from home mold damage every year but never receive the money they need for repairs. If the insurance company refuses to pay for a mold infestation caused by a covered peril, you are entitled to seek compensation. An experienced property damage attorney at Steinger, Greene & Feiner will negotiate with the insurance company and work to get you the money you deserve.

Don’t let insurance turn you away or deny your claim; let us recover the money you need for repairs. Call our Florida property damage lawyers at (800) 560-5059 for a free, no-obligation case consultation.

Where To Look for Mold in Your House

Mold isn’t just an issue in older buildings. It grows anywhere there is moisture and can spread on a host of surfaces or materials in your home, including wood, paper, cardboard, cement, wallpaper, insulation, carpet, and more.

Our property damage attorneys at Steinger, Greene & Feiner know the common breeding grounds for molds and fungi that can affect your health and your home. To avoid costly mold remediation, check the following 10 areas frequently, especially in Florida, where humidity creates the perfect environment for mold spores to grow. Once you know where to look for mold, you can fight it, or even request a claim from your homeowner’s insurance and use that money to fix the damages.

1: In and under the sink. 

Mold spores thrive in warm, moist, dark environments, precisely the condition of the space in or under a sink. A sink overflow or plumbing issue can cause mold infestation, especially in the circumstance of a natural disaster or storm when sewage backups and leaks are common. Water can build up in pipes and sewage lines in your house, creating the perfect environment for mold spores to reproduce and spread.

It’s important to note that most homeowners insurance policies will cover mold damage if it was caused by a covered peril, such as discharge or overflow of water or steam from plumbing. However, your insurance company may try to avoid paying by claiming the damage was not caused by a covered peril. If you are in this situation, contact a Florida property damage lawyer at Steinger, Greene & Feiner for legal assistance in recovering the compensation you need.

2: Sliding doors. 

Many Floridians enjoy having a porch or patio to relax on. Sliding glass doors are popular access points for patio areas, but they can be breeding grounds for mold that rot the frame and floor beneath the door.

Mold spores thrive in the tracks and frames of sliding doors, especially if they are used infrequently, allowing for undisturbed mold growth. The best way to prevent mold from growing in sliding doors is to keep the area clean and dry. This can be difficult to manage, as dirt and moisture can easily fall into the grooves of the door tracks.

Always check the door tracks and frames for mold, as well as any rubber or metal paneling.

3: Water heaters. 

A water heater is one of the most common places for mold to grow in your home. Many heaters are kept in dark closets or cabinets that are rarely checked. The warm air and moisture from the heater can cause millions of mold spores to spread and reproduce at an alarming rate. Usually, leaks in water heaters are the cause of mold infestations. These can cause damage to your floors and your health as you breathe in the toxic spores.

Your insurance company may cover your water heater if the damage was accidental and unexpected. However, many leaks occur from wear and tear. Unfortunately, most insurance companies will not pay to replace old or faulty water heaters or the mold damage they cause.

But our Florida property damage lawyers at Steinger, Greene & Feiner know what exceptions and clauses to look for in homeowner’s insurance policies. We will evaluate your claim and help you make a case for insurance to pay for the mold damage.

4: Heating and air conditioning units. 

Even a small colony of mold can quickly reproduce and overwhelm your home. This is especially dangerous in heating and air conditioning units because these systems help spread mold spores easily throughout your house.

For a definitive answer of whether or not your insurance company will cover mold damage in your heating and air units, consult your specific policy. Repairs to heating and air units will most likely not be covered if the damage was caused by flooding or humidity.

5: Carpets or upholstery. 

Fabric surfaces are porous and collect mold easily. Large spills, leaks, or flooding can cause mold to grow and multiply beneath carpets. You may have no idea it’s even there until the mold starts to cause serious problems, like floor rotting, stains, and unpleasant odors.

Keep in mind that your insurance company will probably only pay for carpet repairs if the mold was caused by a covered peril. For example, you may be covered if a storm or hurricane smashed your windows and let rain in, soaking your carpet and allowing mold to grow.

Before you file an insurance claim, contact a property damage lawyer at Steinger, Greene & Feiner. We’ll evaluate the circumstances of your case and walk you through your legal options.

6: Beneath wallpaper and drywall. 

When you check for mold in your house, don’t forget the often-overlooked places behind the walls, particularly wallpaper and drywall. Mold can grow and spread in as quickly as 24-48 hours if there is enough moisture and organic material to feed on. So be sure to look for mold in the wallpaper and dywall.

Preventing mold on wallpaper means keeping these areas as dry as possible. You should have proper ventilation in bathrooms as well as a fan and windows. A helpful tip is to keep the fan on until after your shower when all condensation on the mirror is gone.

Mold on and behind wallpaper can cause serious structural damage to your house if left untreated or unnoticed. If you experienced this kind of damage, you may be entitled to money for repairs from your insurance company. Call Steinger, Greene & Feiner at (800) 431-6841 for a free consultation.

7: On plumbing and ductwork.

Unfortunately, some humidity is inevitable in certain areas of your home’s piping systems. However, you can prevent unwanted moisture by installing closed-cell, elastomeric foam insulation in your home’s cold water and air systems. This material is thermally efficient and prevents moisture from getting into the insulation. If your home has fiberglass structures for insulation, you should consider updating them with closed-cell, elastomeric foam.

If your current insulation was improperly installed or damaged and you’ve experienced mold problems in the ductwork or plumbing, you may be able to seek payment from the insurance company or business who made the error. Contact a Florida property damage attorney at Steinger, Greene & Feiner to speak with an attorney about your legal options.

8: In the attic. 

Be sure to look for mold in the attic. If you have mold in your attic, you’re not alone. This is one of the most common places for fungi to grow, and that’s why you should check your attic frequently for signs of mold infestation.

Like bathrooms and sinks, attics tend to have the perfect conditions for mold growth; it’s warm, humid, and provides an endless supply of food with the attic’s wood sheathing. It may not seem like a big deal for mold to be in your attic (after all, no one lives up there!), but air can become depressurized and be pulled down into your house, meaning you’ll breathe moldy air with potentially toxic spores.

Fortunately, many cases of attic mold damage can be remediated with compensation from your insurance company. That’s because most insurance carriers cover mold from perils of snow, sleet, or damage resulting from bad storms, and that’s where a large number of attic mold cases originate due to roof leaks and other moisture problems.

9: In the shower or bathtub. 

Don’t assume that mold doesn’t grow on ceramic surfaces or surfaces that come in contact with soap. Any area of your house that is exposed to frequent damp conditions could be a breeding ground for mold.

You should check for mold in the tile grout, in and around faucets, on the shower curtain, and even on and under toiletries such as shampoo bottles, especially if you haven’t used a certain product in a while. Always look for mold in the bathroom.

10: Underneath and behind the refrigerator. 

Poor air circulation, warm temperatures caused by the compressor, and moisture from evaporator coils make refrigerators one of the best appliances for mold to grow. Water evaporates into the air behind the refrigerator and collects on the wall or on the refrigerator itself. From there, mold blooms undisturbed.

Unfortunately, there are not many covered perils in insurance policies involving refrigerators. There are exceptions, so if your refrigerator suffered a mold infestation, contact a Florida property damage attorney at Steinger, Greene & Feiner for a free legal consultation.

Mold Property Damage Attorney

Unfortunately, mold affects many homeowners in Florida every year. Mold caused by damp conditions can make you and your family very ill, so if you see or smell mold, you should call a professional for remediation immediately. You also need to call a property damage attorney; Steinger, Greene & Feiner will conduct a free 10-point inspection of your home, including checks for moisture and humidity that will help validate your insurance claim. Once you know where to look for mold, half the battle is done! We can handle the rest.

It can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair the damage from a mold infestation. An experienced lawyer at Steinger, Greene & Feiner will evaluate your case and negotiate with insurance to get you the money you need. Call (800) 560-5059 today or contact us online for a free consultation.

About The Author

Michael Feiner

Michael Feiner

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Michael A. Feiner is a partner in the Fort Lauderdale office of Steinger, Greene & Feiner. Since being admitted to the Florida Bar in 2001, Michael has devoted his practice to representing plaintiffs throughout Florida in various tort and strict liability cases and has successfully litigated cases against national insurance companies, large public companies, and governmental agencies, resulting in tens of millions of dollars for his clients. He has handled all types of personal injury and wrongful death cases on behalf of plaintiffs, including automobile negligence, premises liability, medical malpractice, product liability, dog bites, and sexual harassment. Michael’s product liability case against Microsoft, as well as his representation of victims of sexual harassment and abuse by physicians, has garnered him important media attention at both the local and national levels. Michael is an experienced trial lawyer and successfully argued an appeal to the Fourth District Court of Appeal. In the reported decision Ortlieb v. Butts, 849 So.2d 1165 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003), Michael persuaded the Fourth District Court of Appeal that a directed verdict on liability was appropriate where the defendant did not rebut the presumption of negligence of a rear driver in a rear-end collision.