Controlling mold

Cleaning in progress sign with janitor cart Water damage to buildings, often from snow and ice accumulation or broken water pipes, is a leading contributor to the growth of mold that can spread beyond the original damaged areas. In almost every state, mold is excluded on both the General Liability and the Property insurance policies, so it’s very important for you to act quickly to repair water-damaged facilities to prevent facing an unforeseen and possibly uninsured loss.

Mold can grow in carpets, cloth, wood, paper, and foods, but it grows best in moist or wet areas. Most of us would immediately target showers and bathrooms due to their moisture levels, but there are several other areas of concern:
  • Drip trays for refrigerator units
  • Condensation in air conditioning units or their ventilation piping, and on windows and sills
  • Leaky roofs or plumbing
  • Absorbent ceiling tiles, particularly in kitchens and dishwashing areas
  • Pool pump rooms or mechanical rooms
  • Indoor pools, particularly around the ceilings
There are a number of corrective actions for reducing and preventing mold growth:
  • Vent showers and other moisture-generating sources to the outside
  • Control humidity levels by using air conditioners and dehumidifiers
  • Provide adequate ventilation to maintain indoor humidity levels between 30-60%.
  • Use exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning in food service areas
  • Inspect the building for signs of mold, moisture, leaks, or spills
  • Clean and repair roof gutters regularly
  • Ensure rain water runs away from buildings and not underneath
  • Respond promptly when you see signs of moisture or mold
  • Prevent moisture condensation
  • Reduce potential for condensation on cold surfaces (windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation
  • Clean floors and carpets regularly
The Environmental Protection Agency’s web site ( has numerous resources to help you control mold, including A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home.

Remember, time is not on your side for addressing mold….it grows fast!

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The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as all encompassing, or suitable for all situations, conditions, and environments. Please contact us at or your attorney if you have any questions. The article may not be linked to, copied, reproduced, republished, posted, or distributed in any way by non-policyholders of Markel®, without permission.