John North, Dayton Better Business Bureau president. CONTRIBUTED

September is Mold Remediation Month: Is your home safe?

Mold is a common problem for some consumers across the U.S. Storms and flooding can cause extra moisture in the home, providing the perfect place for mold to grow. Mold poses several health risks to your family. It can produce allergens, irritants and sometimes potentially toxic substances called myotoxins.

The Environmental Protection Agency states that if your home smells moldy, but you cannot see it, if water stains are present or if you know you have water damage, then there is probably mold in your home. Mold may be hidden in places such as the surface of walls behind furniture (where condensation forms), inside ductwork, drywall, wallpaper, carpet or ceiling tiles (due to roof leaks or insufficient insulation). Investigating hidden mold can be dangerous and may require help from an expert. Verify the extent of your problem by hiring a professional for cleanup.

BBB offers these tips to help you find a trustworthy mold remediation contractor to fix the problem:

• Check to see if your insurance company recommends a reliable remediation company. This way you know what your insurance will cover and you can discuss the process for filing a claim.

• Check BBB Business Profiles and reviews on companies you’re considering at or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301. BBB can also provide a list of BBB Accredited mold remediation services to start your search.

• Ensure the company has the proper licensing, bonding and insurance.

• Inquire about the company’s experience cleaning up mold.

• Ask for references and contact them.

• Compare prices and services. Obtain three estimates for the services you need.

• Never pay in full for the entire job in advance and do not pay cash.

• Get a written contract specifying the work to be done, techniques to be used, timeline for work and cost breakdown. Be sure all oral promises are included.

Before the remediation work begins, all the damage should be assessed. The remediation plan should include all steps to fix the water or mold problem. Remediation may sometimes require temporary relocation of some or all building occupants. Consider this possibility when working with your remediation service. If there are any health concerns, contact a health professional. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency website for more information on the different types of mold in your area and how they can affect your family.

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John North is president of the Dayton Better Business Bureau.