Homes in record numbers were flooded, some for the first time, by tropical storms Irene and Lee. So, weeks later, you may be wondering, Why do I smell mold?

We have some answers and tips for you:

What’s that smell?
Although mold begins growing within 24 hours after water enters your home, it takes a while before you can actually detect the musty odor that means mold.

What to do?
1. It’s important to test for mold to determine where it lurks as well as its root cause. Do-it-yourself testing kits can be unreliable. Qualified, trained mold inspection services are much more thorough and, therefore, offer the best protection.
2. If you can see the mold on hard surfaces, clean it off with detergent and water. Be sure to dry the surface completely.
3. If the problem is too large, a commercial cleaning company is your only solution.

Where, oh where, is that mold?
Mold plays hide-and-seek, which is why testing is so important. Typical hiding places include:
• the back side of dry wall, wall paper or paneling
• the top side of ceiling tiles
• the underside of carpets and pads
• around pipes – inside and outside your walls
• the surface of walls behind furniture
• inside ductwork
• in roof materials.

Am I safer not living in a floodplain?
We all regard coastal areas as being in the danger zone, but look at what happened inland when Irene and Lee struck. The persistently heavy rains caused massive flooding. So, living outside coastal areas won’t necessarily protect you against floods.

Am I covered?
Standard insurance policies do not cover flooding. Only having flood insurance can help.

Testing for lead isn’t required in the US — and so doctors miss children exposed to the toxin. (Vox)

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