Mold smells bad, looks terrible and poses severe risks to buildings, belongings and people. If your home has water damage or high humidity issues, it has a high risk of mold growth. Our partners at ConsumerAffairs researched the best mold removal in Baltimore to help find reliable companies to call if you suspect mold is lurking beneath the surface in your home.
Mold is all around us outside, and spores travel in and out of homes every day. Mold is mostly harmless but causes problems when it takes root on a damp surface and begins to grow. Mold thrives in humid conditions, and Baltimore’s average relative humidity of 75 percent in the summer and fall provides prime conditions for infestations.
The most common causes of indoor mold in Baltimore are related to structural or building issues, including porous walls, poor ventilation, cracked foundations and leaky roofs or windows. Appliance issues can also create prime conditions for mold growth, including leaking dishwashers, ice makers, sump pumps, washing machines and plumbing fixtures.
Damp basements are havens for mold. A small amount of mold in a basement can spread to a full-blown infestation in a matter of days or weeks if not treated. Mold can also form in hard-to-reach places, such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
How to spot mold growth in Baltimore
If the mold is visible, the issue may already be serious. Other indications you may have mold growth in your home include a musty odor, condensation on the walls, warped drywall, cracked or bubbling paint, rusting pipes and peeling wallpaper. If you’ve had previous flooding, leaks or water damage, you should hire a professional to check for possible mold.
Mold is sometimes confused with mildew, which also grows in humid conditions. Unlike mold, however, mildew grows on the surface and is usually gray or white with a powdery or fluffy appearance. Mildew is easy to clean and doesn’t require professional removal or remediation.
Common areas for indoor mold growth in Baltimore:
On and around window sills
In and around vents
The interior of the roof
Around water heaters and furnaces
Basement walls and floor
Near sump pumps
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s interactive mold house tour shows all likely places mold may be lurking unseen in your home.
Health risks caused by mold exposure in Baltimore
Health risks associated with mold are still being studied, but mold exposure can cause asthma attacks and allergic reactions. Prolonged mold exposure can lead to the development of allergic asthma and sinusitis.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states there is a positive correlation between exposure to mold and respiratory, sinusitis and allergy symptoms, and studies by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have found strong evidence of the link between mold exposure health problems including chronic respiratory illnesses and sleep issues.
Possible side effects of mold exposure:
Runny nose, sneezing, coughing and congestion
Upper respiratory infections
Fatigue, insomnia or sleep apnea
If you’re experiencing health issues related to mold exposure, spend time away from the suspected source and evaluate how you feel. If symptoms begin to subside after a few hours away and disappear completely when away for long periods, call a professional to inspect for mold in your home.
Handling black mold growth in Baltimore
All mold poses a health risk but black mold, also known as toxic mold, must be treated with extra care. Black mold typically has an earthy scent and is black or green. Toxic molds pose serious health risks and should be removed by professionals. The process generally costs more, requires more time and uses specialized equipment.
How much does mold removal cost in Baltimore?
The average price of mold removal in Baltimore is around $2,000, but services can cost as little as $500 to remove mold from a small crawl space or up to $30,000 for whole-house mold remediation. Mold removal is charged by square footage, with the average cost per square foot ranging between $4 and $6. However, the extent of the problem, location of the affected area and types of materials contaminated affect the price.
Many mold removal businesses in Baltimore offer free inspections. Mold testing, depending on the size of the area, is around $200 to $400. When mold removal requires the demolition and rebuilding of affected areas, the price tag can be as much as $15,000 to $30,000.
Mold often takes root in a home’s HVAC system. Even a small amount of mold in your air ducts can be difficult to remove and lead to worse problems if not correctly handled. Removing mold from air ducts or an HVAC system costs $1,500 to $2,000 on average.
Does homeowners insurance cover mold removal?
Mold removal is usually covered by homeowners insurance when the cause of mold is a covered peril under your policy, including if a burst pipe results in mold growth. Homeowners insurance typically doesn’t pay for mold damage caused by natural flooding, which is not included in most policies, or humid weather.
How to choose a mold removal company in Baltimore
Given the cost and risks related to mold infestations, it’s crucial to hire an experienced and qualified mold removal business. The best place to start your search is online, where you can browse customer reviews, rates and specialties of local businesses to narrow your list. When calling Baltimore companies, ask questions such as:
Do you provide free inspections and estimates?
What are your rates per square foot?
What other charges go into the overall bill?
Do you provide a written contract?
When can you start and how long will the process take?
Am I able to stay in my home while the work is being done?
Do you offer any guarantees on your service?
Are you licensed in Maryland and do your employees have any professional certifications?
A reputable mold removal contractor should be able to provide a written estimate and detailed plan for removal and remediation. Avoid working with contractors who won’t give you a written estimate or who offer one without inspecting the affected areas.
One of the best ways to assure you’re working with a qualified professional is to opt for businesses and contractors who are certified by industry leaders or members of professional organizations related to mold remediation. Professional organizations that certify mold remediation, removal and restoral include:
NAMRI (National Association of Mold Remediators and Inspectors)
IAC2 (International Association of Certified Indoor Air Consultants)
IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification)
Many Baltimore businesses promote their certifications and memberships on their websites, but you might need to ask independent contractors and small businesses without a significant internet presence if their technicians have professional certifications.
ServiceMaster Restore has more than 60 years of experience in the mold removal industry. The company offers 24-hour service, detailed plans for each customer and a commitment to customer service. ServiceMaster Restore’s technicians are IICRC-certified. Baltimore residents say the employees are professional, accommodating and responsive.
Green Home Solutions
Green Home solutions is dedicated to using the safest and most eco-friendly measures to improve indoor air quality. The company uses plant-based enzymes and catalytic processes that breakdown allergenic proteins, reach every nook and cranny and prevent future growth. Baltimore residents appreciate the company’s clear communication and knowledgeable employees.
Advanced Restoration Solutions
Advanced Restoration Solutions is a veteran-owned water damage and mold removal business with more than 50 years of experience, IICRC-certified technicians and a one-year satisfaction guarantee. The company offers free property assessments and promises to be onsite within 60 minutes. Baltimore customers say Advanced Restoration Solutions’ employees are hardworking and thorough.
FDP Mold Remediation
The IICRC-certified team at FDP Mold Remediation uses HEPA filtration units and PAPR respiratory equipment. The company has several specialists on staff, including a structural drying technician, a water damage restoration technician, an applied microbial remediation specialist and environmental engineers. Baltimore customers say this team is quick, skilled and responsive.