Recent Mold Remediation Posts

Mold and Moisture in your Home

5/22/2023 (Permalink)

mold on trim This photo shows mold on trim from a water damage.

Mold is an ever-present element in our daily lives, both indoors and outdoors. Its occurrence is widespread, and it's important to note that not all molds pose a health risk. The potential harm often depends on the type and concentration of mold present. Mold spores effortlessly find their way into our homes through open windows, doors in constant use, and any areas where air can seep through. It's a common and unavoidable phenomenon – no home can truly be devoid of mold. For mold to thrive and grow into visible colonies, it requires two essential ingredients: water and a source of sustenance. By effectively controlling moisture levels, such as humidity and addressing any leaks, we can prevent microscopic mold spores from developing into larger mold colonies. Visualize these spores as seeds drifting in the air, intermingling with everyday household dust. When these "seeds" settle in an environment with the right combination of moisture and nutrients, mold colonies can sprout, thereby releasing even more spores. One prevalent mistake commonly encountered by professionals like SERVPRO involves homes with high humidity and inadequate airflow. Even a brief period of vacancy, like a week-long vacation, can provide ample time for substantial mold growth. This is particularly noteworthy in humid regions like the Midwest during the summer season. Thus, it becomes crucial to maintain proper climate control through dehumidification. While there's no need to set the AC to freezing temperatures, it should run sufficiently to regulate humidity levels within the dwelling. Air conditioners, especially central units, not only provide cooler air but also effectively extract excess moisture from the atmosphere, acting as proficient dehumidifiers.

Additionally, adequate air circulation holds equal importance, especially in basements. Proper airflow facilitates the evaporation of condensation on surfaces and directs moisture-laden air towards air conditioners or other dehumidifying units. Surfaces prone to dampness due to condensation create optimal conditions for mold growth. Consequently, even the use of a small fan, effectively circulating air in a damp basement, aids in evaporation and facilitates the transfer of moisture to any running dehumidifiers. If you notice a damp basement or detect a musty odor, it is advisable to contact professionals like SERVPRO of Dubuque. They possess the expertise to identify potential issues before they escalate into larger problems. In cases where the situation has already intensified, they can offer recommendations regarding the necessity of testing by an Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP), ensuring a comprehensive assessment and appropriate remediation measures.


5/22/2023 (Permalink)

mold on drywall and carpet This is an affected house in Platteville, WI.

Water damage to a building can be from Category 1,2 or 3 water.  The type of water is primarily determined by its source.

Category 1 water is water that "does not pose substantial harm to humans"

Category 2 water is water "with a significant level of contamination"

Category 3 water is "grossly contaminated" water.

As a general rule of thumb, Category 1 water that soaks into carped can usually be removed through extraction and evaporation and the carpet can be restored.

On the other had, if Category 1 water has either been contaminated further by flowing over or through debris, or if it remains for a period of time with out being removed.  Once the water has moved beyond category 1 into category 2 or 3. The carpet will need to be removed and replaced.

In this photo, Category 1 water was not addressed in a timely manner and the result was moldy carpet and pad which also contaminated the wood below.

This again reinforces the advice that in the event of a water damage, contact a professional like SERVPRO of Dubuque to make sure that all areas of water damage are identified.

It looked like it was dry!

9/9/2020 (Permalink)

Mold Growth from trapped water Mold Growth under supfloor from trapped water

Did you have a small leak that you got cleaned up and forgot about?

Do you have a nasty smell now from the area?

Often time’s water can stay trapped behind or under a surface that does not have airflow and that can cause mold to grow quickly. Mold growth can be costly to clean up. 

SERVPRO of Dubuque is here to help you find that unseen water. We can identify what is still wet with our Thermal Imaging Flir Camera and or our Penetrating and Non Penetrating moisture meter. Once we have determined what is effected we then make a plan to disperse heat, air movement, and low grain or desiccant dehumidification to dry the moisture that is trapped.

Calling the experts at SERVPRO of Dubuque when you have a water leak or water intrusion could save you tons of time and money in the end.

When water damage occurs in your home or business and you can see the actual water, don’t freak out call your local SERVPRO of Dubuque, we are Faster to Any Size Disaster. SERVPRO of Dubuque is here to help!

#SERVPROdubuque #mold #waterdamage

#fastertoanysizedisaster #heretohelp #trappedwater 

I thought I cleaned and dried all the water up!

9/10/2019 (Permalink)

Mold hidden behind drywall Here is an example of a wall cavity that was not dried properly and mold growth occurred behind the drywall.

If you have had water damage and attempted to cleanup the standing water and dry out the area, you might still be at risk for mold growth colonizing and causing a much more expensive problem.

In the event of a water damage, the visible water is not only easy to see but usually pretty easy to get out.  A combination of extraction techniques, air movement and dehumidification, will usually take care of visible water that is on the surface and free (unbound). The water that has soaked into hard to dry structures or bound water is easily overlooked and much more difficult to dry. SERVPRO of Dubuque has several tools that we utilize to find this hidden water including penetrating and non-penetrating moisture meters and thermal imaging (FLIR) cameras.

Once the bound water is identified, we use engineering controls, directed heat, air movement and low grain or desiccant dehumidification to remove this trapped moisture.

We often receive calls to re-mediate mold that appeared well after a water loss was cleaned up by the homeowner or another contractor because they failed to locate and remove bound water.

Rely on SERVPRO of Dubuque if you have a water damage in your home or commercial building.  We will make every effort to locate any hidden moisture during the initial drying phase to avoid costly mold work later.

Mold Alert!

10/10/2018 (Permalink)

Mold on furniture leg in area away from primary water damage.

Due to the recent heavy storm activity in Eastern Iowa, SW Wisconsin and NW Illinois, SERVPRO of Dubuque and our mold testing partner, MB Mold & Air Quality Testing have been inundated with calls about mold.

Mold can begin to grow on building materials after 48 hours of moisture.  So, the most important rule is to dry up water damage promptly.  

The problem this season has been that the water is recurring and the areas in question have not had chance to dry out before becoming saturated again.

We have also seen an unusually high number of issues related to secondary humidity.  When water damage is not dried properly using a combination of air movement and dehumidification, there can be side effects.  Normally a homeowner has access to more fans than the do dehumidification equipment.  The fans will encourage the wet materials to release their moisture to the air (evaporation).  With out the proper dehumidification to remove that moisture from the air, it can build up and cause moisture to affect areas that were not originally affected by the water damage.

We have seen several microbial growth on other unaffected areas such as carpet in another area of the building or walls, doors and trim on levels of the building above the level that was water damaged.  All of these mold issues can be blamed on secondary humidity.

If you have water damage, we recommend having it professionally dried prior to turning into a Mold Alert!  The water damage professionals at SERVPRO of Dubuque are here to help.

Mold Exposure and it's effects: CIRS

8/11/2018 (Permalink)

Example of Significant Mold related to water damage

SERVPRO of Dubuque recently received a call from a customer whose daughter was diagnosed with CIRS and was concerned about the air quality in her home and how it might affect her daughter.  She was interested in our knowledge of “Small Particle Cleaning, a new paradigm in cleaning.

As always, neither SERVPRO of Dubuque nor our mold consultant MB Mold & Air Quality Testing, cannot and will not offer any health related advice.  We encourage all of our clients to contact their health care professional for any and all questions about their individual health and wellness.

The level of detail that this customer’s questions contained, it was obvious that she had spent a lot of her time researching this topic that we knew very little about.  After extensive research as well as contacting the expert that handles most of our training needs, Ian Cull, PE, CIH of Indoor Sciences. We found out that a very small percentage of IEPs and remediators even know about CIRS and “Small particle cleaning”.

Although this process is relatively unknown at the current time, it appears that this new cleaning process is gaining traction and attention amongst the health care professionals in this specific field.  We just wanted to share some of the information we have found and expose our customer base to this information.

SERVPRO of Dubuque and MB Mold & Air Quality Testing will continue to expand our knowledge in this emerging field as well an any other new techniques that might help us better service our customers.

The following information was found on, a resource that we use and recommend to our clients.

Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome

Chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS) is a serious, multi-symptom illness that negatively impacts more than one system in the body. Most often is it caused by exposure to harmful biotoxins or neurotoxins in our environment. These toxins may be caused by:

  • Mold in the home.
  • Pfiesteria – Microscopic organism that produces toxins known to cause large fish kills.
  • Cyanobacteria – Commonly found in lakes and rivers.
  • Lyme disease – Transmitted by tick bites.
  • Poisonous spider bites.
  • Ciguatera – A toxin affecting reef fish that are often consumed by humans.

The effects of this inflammatory syndrome vary depending on the person and their experience. However, the respiratory, neurological, psychological, and gastrointestinal symptoms can be life-changing, no matter the source, which is why it is essential to know the signs and see your doctor if you think you have it. Remember, mold allergies are not the same as mold illness, so it is critical to determine the reason for your symptoms. If you recently had flooding in your home or the interior of your household has been humid, you will also want to determine if your symptoms of CIRS are being caused by exposure to mold in your home.

What Are the Symptoms of Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS)?

Since this syndrome can develop in our bodies from multiple biological sources, different acute indicators may arise in different people. Whether it results from eating contaminated food, breathing in mold or something else, there are a few general and more common symptoms to watch out for. 

The general symptoms of CIRS may include:

  • Fatigue and/or general malaise 
  • Chills
  • Headache 
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Joint and/or muscle pain
  • Fever 
  • Stomach pain 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Nasal and/or sinus problems 
  • Eye irritation
  • Sensitive skin

Characteristics of CIRS From Mold Exposure

It is important to know that the effects of chronic inflammatory response syndrome from mold exposure will present itself differently than if it was caused by something else, such as a spider bite, a burn or lyme disease. In fact, when a person develops this syndrome due to mold exposure specifically, they will usually experience some of these symptoms, in addition to those mentioned above: 

These symptoms are also typical signs of illnesses like influenza, indoor and outdoor allergies, and the common cold, so it is important to see your physician if you have them.

Seeing a Doctor for CIRS 

If you have any of the above symptoms of CIRS, see a doctor right away. It is critical to seek medical advice as soon as possible, because unlike dealing with the flu or a cold, the effects of chronic inflammatory response syndrome may not go away. In fact, ignoring the acute effects of the disease can lead to the development of chronic illness, which can significantly affect your quality of life.

Over time, the chronic effects of CIRS can lead to:

  • Light sensitivity
  • Memory problems 
  • Disorientation and/or confusion
  • Mood dysregulation 
  • Body temperature dysregulation 
  • Night sweating  
  • Muscle weakness
  • Depression
  • Frequent urination
  • Static shocks 
  • Increased thirst 
  • Tremor 
  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Appetite changes 
  • Metallic taste 

The chronic symptoms of CIRS are alarming and could have a significant impact on your health. Therefore, it is not only important to treat your symptoms, but to also determine their cause as soon as possible. Make an appointment with your doctor to review how you are feeling. At your visit, your doctor will perform a medical exam, as well as discuss your health history for illnesses that cause CIRS and other forms of inflammation. They may also ask you if your immediate family members currently have or have ever had a condition like Lyme disease or cancer. In most cases, they will want a blood test to see if your body is reacting to inflammation. They will look for other reasons for your symptoms, including diabetes mellitus, liver disease, renal disease, and several autoimmune illnesses. They will also talk to you about your diet and home environment to determine if the cause is external. 

Talk to your doctor about the chances that the toxicity is coming from your home or what you eat. Whether you need to eliminate recluse spiders from your attic, treat your lyme disease, or remove mold from your bathroom ceiling, stopping the reason for your CIRS at the source can improve your medical prognosis and ensure no one else in your family develops the illness. It can also help rule out other types of disease.

Checking Your Home for Signs of Mold

No matter the cause, chronic inflammatory response syndrome is a severe illness with lasting consequences. In many cases, it does develop as a result of toxic mold exposure, which is why it is important to have your home checked if you or your doctor think mold may be causing your symptoms. A professional mold inspection completed by an experienced technician will determine if mold is present, and they will let you know what needs to be done to safely remove it. 

Contact SERVPRO of Dubuque and/or our mold consultant MB Mold & Air Quality Testing if you have further questions or would like testing done in your home.

Is Mold Damage covered by insurance?

4/11/2018 (Permalink)

Mold on interior wall

Does your insurance cover mold?

Don’t wait until you have a household mold problem to ask does homeowners insurance cover mold removal. Find out in advance if your insurance will cover a problem if one arises. Mold removal can be extremely costly, so you don’t want to find out too late that you’re not covered.

Coverage varies from policy to policy and state to state, so the only way to know for sure if your policy will cover mold removal is to read your policy carefully or ask your agent. Some insurance policies contain exclusions specifically addressing mold removal. Some will cover mold removal only under certain circumstances. Some will pay for mold removal but not for mold testing, even though you may need to have your home tested for mold in order to find out if there is mold, that needs to be removed. PRV or Post Remediation Verification is also critical to confirm that the mold remediation process was successful.  The policies that do contain mold coverage, usually have a specific limit of insurance that will apply to mold.

Contact your insurance agent if you have any questions about your policy. If your policy doesn’t currently cover mold removal, find out if you can add that coverage to your policy, or if there is another insurance carrier that they can offer that covers mold.  It could save you thousands of dollars down the road.

When Mold Coverage Exists:

In cases where mold coverage exists, coverage needs to be triggered by another covered cause of loss.  Many different things can lead to the growth of mold in the home. If mold is caused from a sudden and accidental issue, like a burst pipe, which is covered, insurance is more likely to cover mold removal than if the mold is a result of an ongoing leak due to lack of maintenance

Here are some examples

Water Damage Following a Fire

Homeowners insurance usually covers fire damage. Unfortunately, sometimes the water used to put out a fire can lead to later mold problems. If mold results from a fire that is covered by your homeowners’ insurance, your insurance policy will probably cover the mold removal, as well.

Water Damage Following a Flood

Mold is a common occurrence after a home has had a water intrusion. Homeowners insurance does not cover flood, it probably will not cover mold that results from flooding. It may, however, cover mold following a covered water back up incident.

Water Damage from a Leaky Roof

Homeowners insurance usually won’t pay for water damage that results from a leaky roof, and most policies won’t cover mold damage that results from a leaky roof, either. However, if damage to the roof is caused by a fallen tree or limb, that damage usually will be covered by homeowners’ insurance. In that case, your insurance policy might also cover any resulting mold damage.

Also, most policies have a requirement that you take reasonable steps to mitigate damage.  Once you are aware of a water loss you have a duty to address the condition to protect from further damage.  If you are aware of otherwise covered water damage and fail to take any action, there could be coverage issue for the water damage as well as any resulting mold damage.

Mold Remediation

If you’ve got a mold problem the first step is finding out how bad the problem is and how much the source has contaminated the other areas in the building.  Be sure to have this inspection and testing done by a certified professional such as an ACAC Certified Indoor Environmentalist.  The initial testing results that the CIE produces will include a scope of remediation.  SERVPRO of Dubuque can take that Scope of Remediation and use it to give you a mold remediation estimate.

If you have trouble finding a certified mold inspector, we can provide a referral.  If a mold issue is identified and a remediation plan is in place, we recommend that you make sure the remediation contractor is properly trained, certified and has the proper environmental liability insurance in place to do this specialized work.  SERVPRO of Dubuque has all of these qualifications!

Congratulations Terry Lenstra, CIE and Bob Vohl, CIE

2/16/2018 (Permalink)

Congrats Terry and Bob

Congratulations to Terry Lenstra, CIE! Terry passed his certification test for Council Certified Indoor Environmentalist. We now have two CIEs on staff at SERVPRO of Dubuque. Bob Vohl, CIE received his certification a few months ago. The Council-certified Indoor Environmentalist (CIE) and the Council-certified Indoor Environmental Consultant (CIEC) investigate indoor air quality problems. For example, a CIE or CIEC identifies mold and moisture issues during a commercial investigation or a home inspection. These professionals have verified knowledge of disciplines related to indoor air quality, including HVAC, building science, mold and microbial issues, industrial hygiene, lead-based paint and asbestos. CIEs and CIECs posses verified experience conducting field investigations in one or more of the following settings: Offices and commercial buildingss Industrial structures Government facilities Schools and public buildings Healthcare facilities Home inspection To earn the Council-certified Indoor Environmentalist (CIE) or Council-certified Indoor Environmental Consultant (CIEC) designations, the candidate must: Demonstrate verifiable field experience in indoor air quality investigation Pass a rigorous examination based on broad industry knowledge rather than a course curriculum Earn the unanimous approval of the CIE or CIEC certification board Re-certify every two years Participate in 20 hours of professional development activities each year Maintain the highest ethical standards Accreditation: The CIE and CIEC certifications are accredited by the Council for Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards (CESB), a nationally recognized independent accreditation body. ACAC certifications are the ONLY designations in the indoor air quality field to earn CESB accreditation.

Mold, Don't Let it Grow!

2/9/2018 (Permalink)

Mold growing for floor joists that were not dried in a timely fashion.

Fungi and Mold are naturally occurring microorganisms which occur in over 100,000 varieties. Although some can be hazardous to human health, they often enrich our earthen experience through culinary delicacies. Have you ever enjoyed a homemade loaf of bread, blue cheese atop a delicious spring salad with fresh mushrooms or for ultra-foodies, truffles? Mmmm… fungi and mold at its finest! Now, imagine you leave this delightful picnic and head into your neighbor’s house, through their basement, to wash up. The moment you step inside, something isn’t right. You immediately notice a strong, musty smell. You can’t wait to get outside and breathe in some fresh air… you guessed it. Those same microorganisms at their worst.

You remember that last fall your neighbor’s water heater sprung a leak. You recommended they call SERVPRO of Dubuque, but they decided to handle it on their own with some house fans and a small, store bought dehumidifier. So, what happened? Mold just needs a food source, a little moisture to instigate growth and a warm environment in which to grow and multiply. We commonly keep our homes between 68°-76°F. Without a drying team, to monitor daily progress, or the use of commercial grade air movers and dehumidification, your neighbor’s home was no match for mold! Mold feeds on organic materials… the kind our homes are made of: drywall, insulation, wood, paper etc. It takes only 72 hours for mold growth to begin. Once it starts, it doesn’t stop on its own.

Mold growth in the home is not only unpleasant, it can be dangerous when allowed to flourish. Once airborne, mold can cause the Indoor Air Quality of a home to diminish rapidly. Health concerns such as coughing, sneezing, runny nose, asthma, sore throat or inflammation of the sinuses may be caused by exposure to high levels of mold growth. Mold can be especially troublesome for certain at-risk individuals such as infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with respiratory issues and weakened immune systems.

When you, or someone you know experiences water damage inside the home, act quickly to inhibit mold growth. Call SERVPRO of Dubuque, 563.584.2242.

If you suspect that mold has already began growing in your home, give SERVPRO of Dubuque a call.  We can ask a CIE certified Indoor Environmental from MB Mold and Indoor Air Quality run the necessary tests to determine if remediation is necessary.  If remediation is necessary, SERVPRO of Dubuque can handle the remediation and make it “Like it never even happened.”