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After record rain, Marylanders warned of mold inside homes

Wallville, MD - An inch of summer rainfall can pour nearly 1,500 gallons of water onto a roof, causing all kinds of property damage. In fact, the average cost of a residential water damage insurance claim is approximately $6,965. Perhaps one of the most damaging of these rain-related problems is also the most ignored: interior mold.

If you live in dread of black mold growing in your home, you're right to be wary. According to Farmers Insurance, there has been a significant increase in mold-related claims over the past decade. In Maryland, after a brutal summer of constant rainfall, residents are finding all sorts of molding issues inside their homes.

More than 50 inches of rain has fallen onto Baltimore streets already this year, bringing along with it high humidity levels and mold outbreaks. According to WBAL TV, after record rainfall throughout Baltimore and other areas of Maryland, experts are encouraging property owners to proactively inspect their homes for mold.

"All the major storms we've had recently, and the ground got so saturated and had nowhere to go. It just came into the basements," said Sol Kruk, owner of Property Inspection Pros, noting that his company has received more calls for mold inspection and consulting services since Labor Day. "Gutters are getting clogged and water is going directly into the foundation or sometimes into the house." Additionally, students at the University of Maryland have found mold inside residence halls, as well as in bags, on clothes, and even spread across university walls and windowsills.

"I am just done with this rain," said Ian Kennedy, a 41-year-old Baltimore homeowner. "I am done with it." According to The Baltimore Sun, the 53 inches of rain recorded at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is actually 11 inches more than the region gets in an entire year, on average.

"The prolonged amount of rain and cloudiness that we've had, it's probably, through some indirect ways, leading to lower moods," added Jared McGinley, an assistant professor of psychology at Towson University. Climate experts say that the pattern is to be expected since as oceans warm, the air becomes moister, subsequently leading to slower storms and an increase in mold occurrences. These storms aren't just impacting Maryland, either. One rainfall expert noted that the recent Hurricane Florence was the nation's second-rainiest storm in 70 years, behind only 2017's Hurricane Harvey.

A recent survey found that nearly two-thirds of consumers plan to renovate their homes in the future. Though simple household renovations can certainly improve the look and feel of a property, as well as its value, more needs to be done to eradicate mold. Getting rid of mold for good can be both time consuming, expensive, and hazardous to your health. As such, mold prevention is always preferable to costly mold remediation.

Here are some great homeowner tips for preventing serious molding issues</a> around your residential property:

Regularly inspect your basement and foundation - If you don't identify molding issues early on, you won't be able to quickly and efficiently rid your home of its mold. Do an audit of your entire property, inspecting every inch, and get professional help right away if you notice any signs of molding.

Dry moist areas right away -- Though mold cleanup professionals will need to thoroughly remove any signs of molding, you should at least dry any wet areas as soon as you can. Mold cannot grow without moisture, so tending to any wet areas can help limit the mold growth and save you money in the long run.  

Utilize proper ventilation -- If your HVAC and ventilation systems are not functioning properly, you are likely going to have some mold growing inside your home. Every time you take a shower, cook something, or do a load of laundry, make sure your home is being effectively ventilated. Additionally, stay on top of all your HVAC appliance maintenance needs.  

Monitor humidity levels -- It's recommended to keep your indoor humidity level between 30 and 60 percent. If your humidity levels inside your home are too high, that will become a great environment for mold to grow and begin to spread throughout your home. 

Clean and repair your home's gutters -- Since all that rainfall is directly contributing to mold growth, it's best to regularly keep your gutters clean. Clogged gutters will result in all kinds of household water damage and end up costing you and your family a fortune. Have your gutters repaired by professionals if they are damaged in any way and make sure you're cleaning them at least a few times each year.  

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that homeowners who notice mold inside should always wear protective clothing, throw out any item with mold on it that can't be cleaned within 48 hours, open all windows and doors, and scrub all surfaces with water and detergent.

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