Mold Remediation

How to Test Yourself for Mold Exposure


When residing in a home that is infested with mold, it is important to test for mold exposure. Serious health conditions, like mold toxicity, can result upon breathing in mold. Homeowners who are concerned about mold exposure should get themselves tested at a doctor’s office.

How common is mold?

Mold is naturally occurring fungi that is prevalent in the environment. The spores eat away at decayed materials, like dead trees and leaves, thereby supporting the important process of decomposition. Mold requires few nutrients to survive, making many places habitable spots.

Three nutrients are necessary to support mold colonies: a constant water source, organic materials, and darkness. A dripping water pipe produces enough moisture to feed spores. Organic materials range from clothing to carpets and drywall. When these nutrient sources combine with darkness, mold thrives.

Water damaged homes, thereby, are most susceptible to mold outbreaks. Mold colonies can develop within as little as 24 to 48 hours after exposure to moisture. Under consistently damp conditions and with a nearby food source, mold spreads rapidly and infests the home.

person overwhelmed by the sight of mold

What is mold toxicity?

Of the 100,000 species of mold, some are more harmful than others. Mold emits mycotoxins, which are toxins that mold spores naturally produce. Sensitive individuals who are exposed to mold and are unable to eliminate the mycotoxins from their bodies experience mold toxicity.

The mold toxicity that results when the body is unable to rid itself of the mycotoxins damages the body’s systems. Mold toxicity is also known as mold illness or Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). Airborne mold spores can enter a person via their skin, respiratory tract, or GI tract.

Who is most vulnerable to mold toxicity?

Mold toxicity mostly affects people who are especially sensitive to mold. Not everyone experiences symptoms of mold illness or reacts, though all individuals are exposed to mold and its mycotoxins. Certain factors or conditions must be present in order for symptoms to appear.

Mold toxicity affects individuals who have a family history of asthma or allergies. People who are diagnosed with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), or other respiratory conditions are likely to be sensitive to mold and may experience mold illness.

High exposure to mold spores through the environment can lead to mold toxicity. This occurs in industries, such as carpentry, greenhouses, and millwork, where mold concentrations are highest. Similarly, working in a building exposed to high moisture levels increases the risk.

Living in a home with high humidity levels (above 50%) encourages mold and mold illness. Damp areas, such as bathrooms, are prone to mold growth. When windows and doors are tightly sealed, they can trap moisture and block the ventilation needed to prevent mold.

mold in the corner of a window

What are symptoms of mold toxicity?

People who develop mold toxicity show several symptoms. Some common mild symptoms are coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and sore throat. Affected individuals may experience runny noses, watery eyes, and sinus congestion. Others suffer asthma attacks, nosebleeds, and skin rashes.

Severe symptoms can occur, especially in immune-compromised people. These include brain fog, fatigue, changes in mood, and headaches. Individuals may suffer memory loss, liver and kidney issues, and digestive issues. Mold toxicity symptoms can overlap with existing health conditions, making diagnosis difficult.

How do individuals test themselves for mold exposure?

Experiencing symptoms of mold illness, whether mild or severe, should prompt individuals to test themselves for mold exposure. Testing is also recommended when mold is smelled or seen in the home. Musty scents may emerge or staining on walls may develop—both signs of mold growth.

A physician can order tests to determine if mold toxicity is present. Inflammation occurs alongside mold toxicity. Respiratory disease often results when mycotoxins are prevalent indoors and act as pro-inflammatory mediators. A mycotoxin test can be performed to check for toxins in the urine.

Alternately, a blood test might be ordered at the doctor’s office. The blood sample is taken and sent to a laboratory to measure the number of antibodies present in the bloodstream. The count of antibodies indicates the immune system’s sensitivity to various mold species.

How do homeowners address a mold infestation?

The first line of treatment after mold illness is to reduce exposure to the indoor mold. Homeowners must locate and repair the moisture source, without which mold cannot flourish. This may mean fixing a roof leak, a leaky pipe, or improving the home’s ventilation.

Maintaining ideal humidity levels in the home is also key to preventing mold growth and alleviating existing mold illness symptoms. Humidity levels should be kept lower than 50 percent. Be extra-cautious during the summer months and in humid climates.

Mold Remediation Services

Mold Remediation - HydroForce Cleaning & Restoration

Eliminate an existing mold infestation with professional help from HydroForce Cleaning & Restoration, an efficient, local mold remediation company. We provide thorough mold removal services in residential homes and commercial properties, returning them to a clean, habitable, and mold-free condition.

Our highly skilled team of technicians arrives quickly to assess the extent of mold growth and develop a mold remediation plan. We contain the affected spaces to prevent cross-contamination to other parts of the home or business. Specialists begin the cleanup process by first fixing the water source.

Removing mold spores in the air is a central part of our process. We run HEPA filtration equipment to clean the air and filter mold spores. When mold infests surfaces, our techs use HEPA vacuums and cleaning products to remove the spores and stains.

Anti-microbial solutions are applied to further treat affected areas. Any unsalvageable building materials are properly disposed of. The property is thoroughly dried, air quality is tested, and a final inspection is performed. We work with your property insurance company to accelerate claims.

HydroForce Cleaning & Restoration is Chicagoland’s first choice for quality and efficient mold removal. As a comprehensive service, we remove hidden and visible mold from your property. Same-day appointments are available for emergencies. Call our Bridgeview, Illinois, office as soon as you spot mold.

water damage water restoration

How to Fix a Leaking Water Heater


A water heater is an essential part of the home. It’s responsible for creating hot water for use in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms. However, when a water heater springs a leak, it can lead to costly water damage. It is crucial to address the issue promptly to avoid further damage. This includes shutting off the water, identifying the source of the leak, securing leaky connections, and fixing or replacing faulty valves. While some repairs can be done by homeowners, it is important to prioritize safety and consult a professional if needed.

How common are water leaks?

In the US, household water leaks are common. About 10,000 gallons of water are wasted each year due to leaks. When plumbing leaks go unfixed, 32,850 gallons of water are wasted. A water heater leak is also a part of these dismal statistics.

How much does it cost to repair the water heater?

Fixing a leaky water heater can vary in price. On average, homeowners spend as low as $90 to upwards of $1,700. The actual repair price depends on the cost of the parts, the water heater technician’s charges, and how long it takes to perform the repair.

leaky pipe water heater

How much does it cost to fix water damage?

The cost to repair a leaky water heater is minimal compared to the price of fixing the extensive water damage that results. The average price for water damage restoration is $3,638. However, homeowners can pay as high as $15,000 depending on the source of the water and extent of damage.

How do homeowners fix a leaky water heater?

The cost of repairing water damage makes it clear that addressing a leaky water heater is a priority. Homeowners can tackle the repair themselves when the leak involves replacing a broken part. Some repairs are simple and inexpensive. Potential fixes can extend the life of the water heater for years.

How do homeowners fix a leaky water heater

Shut Off the Water

Upon discovering the leak, close the water shutoff valve. Turning off the water prevents additional cold water from flowing in and ruining the tank. Ensure the water is turned off by opening the hot water faucet elsewhere in the home; hot water shouldn’t be flowing.

Pinpoint the Source of the Leak

Fix a leaky water heater by locating the source of the leak. The water supply lines above the water heater can leak, which cause it to appear like the leak stems from the tank. Water supply lines are notorious for wearing out long before the water heater needs replacing.

Secure Leaky Water Connections

The cold and hot water inlets connect to the tank. When either of these loosen, water leaks from the water heater. Tighten the connections with a pipe wrench. Turn off the power supply prior to performing this task, as working with a hot water outlet can be dangerous.

Tighten or Replace the Drain Valve

The drain valve at the bottom of the water heater can leak if it becomes loose over time. This valve allows the homeowner to drain the tank during routine maintenance, such as draining or flushing. Use a pipe wrench to tighten the valve and stop the leak.

Alternately, cap the drain valve with a hose cap to prevent water from dripping out. If the leak continues, the valve may need to be replaced by a professional plumber who will shut off the hot water and drain down the water heater before installing the replacement valve.

Loosen the Temperature and Pressure Release Valve

The temperature or pressure inside the water heater can rise to high levels, prompting the temperature and pressure release valve to kick in. The valve can become stuck in a partially open position, leading to a leak from the water heater.

water shut off valve

Homeowners are advised to consult a licensed plumber to repair a temperature and pressure release valve that has become stuck. Safety is paramount since handling this valve involves leaks, temperature, and extremely high pressure. A mistake can lead to serious hazards.

Replace the Water Heater

Water escapes through the bottom of the tank when the inner components begin to leak. If the tank itself is ruptured, the leak will be significant, leading to a major flood instead of a steady drip. The leak can’t be fixed and replacing the water heater is the only option.

Regular and preventative maintenance can extend a water heater’s lifespan. Delay the onset of internal water heater leaks by installing a powered anode rod, adding a water heater pan that catches water and reduces water damage to the surrounding areas and cleaning the water heater parts.

Fixing a leaky water heater can be a DIY task. However, homeowners may prefer to consult a plumber due to the risks of electric shocks, burns, and water damage. Prioritize safety when repairing the water heater by following the manufacturer’s guidelines.

When a leaky water heater causes extensive flooding or even a stubborn drip, significant water damage results. Even a water heater that drips once per second spills over eight gallons of water per day. Professionally repair existing water damage with the help of HydroForce Cleaning and Restoration.

Our crews of skilled water damage cleanup technicians arrive promptly, locate the source of the leak and begin the restoration process. We set up powerful water extraction machinery to eliminate all excess moisture, both hidden and visible, from the property. Our drying equipment fully dries the area.

Along with air movers, industrial-grade dehumidifiers are placed throughout the water damaged spaces to accelerate the drying process. Thorough drying and an application of anti-microbials prevent mold colonies from developing. We also deodorize all surfaces and steam sanitize contaminated materials.

Water Damage Restoration - HydroForce Cleaning & Restoration

Specialists at HydroForce Cleaning and Restoration work quickly to return your water damaged home to its pre-loss state. Water damage restoration is typically completed in three days but varies depending on the severity and extent of the damage. We work with your homeowner’s insurance on claims, too.

Water damage spreads fast, compromising the structural integrity of the home and jeopardizing safety. Consult HydroForce Cleaning and Restoration for emergency service 24 hours a day. We’re proud to serve Chicago, Illinois, and the surrounding areas. Call today for expert, efficient water damage cleanup.

water damage water restoration

Can I Break My Lease Due to Water Damage?


Water damage is not an uncommon problem in rented homes, condos, and apartments. The devastation in a rental can prompt the tenant to ask if they can break their lease. The answer depends on what is specified in the lease agreement. Tenants are advised to know their rights beforehand.

What are examples of water damage?

Different types of water damage can affect a rental unit. An appliance, such as a dishwasher or washing machine, can leak and cause major water damage to the surrounding floors. A pipe can burst and gush hundreds of gallons of water into the unit.

Water damage can occur in bathrooms, which contains an abundance of moisture. A toilet might overflow and cause water damage to not only the rental but the unit below. Apartments in close proximity to a river can be flooded if water overflows its banks.

Any of the abovementioned common scenarios can lead to moisture saturating belongings and damaging the walls, ceilings, and carpeting. The unexpected water damage may be so severe that it becomes impossible for the tenant to live in the unit safely and comfortably.

The landlord may outrightly refuse to perform the necessary repairs to maintain the livability of the unit. Or, the landlord may delay fixing the water damage, allowing the water damage to spread and making it difficult for the tenant to continue residing in the rental.

water damage on ceiling

Does the lease stipulate the right to cancel?

Renters are urged to understand the terms of their lease and be aware of their rights. If the landlord has insurance, it may cover the water damage to the building. When this vital information is unclear, it is the renter’s responsibility to ask beforehand who is responsible for water damage.

Total or partial water damage can give the landlord the right to evict the tenant. Conversely, the renter has the right to cancel the lease if the unit is partially or completely destroyed by water damage and the place is uninhabitable. This scenario applies to significant, not minor, water damage.

How does the Illinois RLTA protect tenants?

In Illinois, rental units must be properly maintained per the Illinois Residential Property Manager and Tenant Act (RLTA). This means property managers are required to ensure their rental units are safe, sanitary, and do not pose security threats, including water damage.

Per the RLTA, the landlord must respond to the tenant’s request for repairs within a reasonable time frame. If repairs are significantly delayed or the landlord fails to make proper repairs, the tenant may have the legal right to break the lease and leave the unit without further penalties.

Can the lease be broken if mold develops after water damage?

Especially when toxic substances, like mold, are present in the water damaged property, the tenant has legal grounds to terminate the lease. Prior to canceling the lease, the renter should make sure they are compliant with state and local statutes, plus take a series of steps.

mold from water damage

What steps should the tenant take after water damage?

When water damage occurs and makes the rental uninhabitable, the tenant should document the condition of their unit. Take photos and videos of the damage. Keep detailed records of when the water damage incident occurred, when the landlord was notified and how long they took to repair it.

The tenant must also prove that the landlord failed to make adequate repairs within a reasonable time frame. If the landlord did not act to fix the water damage at all, the tenant is responsible for documenting this negligence as well.

As a last step before terminating the lease, the tenant must notify the landlord immediately upon noticing the water damage that has affected their unit. A formal, written notification is advised. The tenant should give the landlord an opportunity to make proper repairs.

What if the tenant is at fault?

If water damage occurs, the tenant is responsible for mitigating the ruin. The tenant is expected to turn off the water supply and call the landlord soon after the water damage event. The landlord is responsible for maintaining the property and ensuring it remains functional and habitable.

Rental units are typically covered by the landlord’s property insurance. When the walls, floors, or interior structures become water damaged due to no fault of the tenant, the landlord’s insurance should cover it. Of course, if the tenant is at fault, a different scenario ensues.

In some cases, the tenant may have caused the water damage. An example is when the renter accidentally leaves the bathwater running, causing the water to overflow and seep into the unit below. In instances like this, the tenant is held accountable for the damages.

Water damage is costly and time-consuming to fix. Take the hassle out of the repairs by consulting Hydroforce Cleaning and Restoration for efficient, professional water damage restoration. Our technicians perform prompt water damage cleanup services to prevent damage from spreading.

Whether your water damage event is due to an appliance malfunction, a burst pipe, or a flood, our specialists are equipped to return your rental to its pre-loss condition fast. Technicians run powerful water extraction equipment to eliminate the moisture as well as drying machines to fully dry the area.

Call Our Professionals at Hydroforce Cleaning and Restoration

Water damage restoration by Hydroforce Cleaning and Restoration

Our IICRC certified technicians locate the source of the moisture and repair it to prevent further damage. Any objects contaminated by water are removed. We also dry and reinstall carpets affected by water damage. Once the excess moisture is removed, we deodorize and sanitize the premises.

Hydroforce Cleaning and Restoration specialists offer pack-out services. As an added convenience, our crews work with your insurance to speed up claims. Our swift response to water damage emergencies helps prevent further damage and reduces the chances of a mold infestation.

Renters, homeowners, and commercial property owners choose Hydroforce Cleaning and Restoration for all their water damage mitigation needs. We are proud to serve Chicago, Illinois, 24/7. When you are faced with water damage and need immediate professional help, call our cleanup experts.