Wet basement may need professional evaluation

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DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have a twofold question: A friend who went down into my creepy basement yesterday told me I have black mold growing on the walls and lots of spiderwebs and cobwebs. It’s a dirt cellar and part of it is a crawl space. With all the rain we’ve had recently there seems to be a musty smell in my house coming from the cellar.

Also, as new shingles sit in my yard waiting for decent weather for the roofer, water recently leaked into my kitchen. It never rains but it pours! Does homeowner’s insurance cover a mold problem? Who would I call to take care of it? Thank you again for all your help.

— Nina, Mechanic Falls

ANSWER: Just because your cellar smells musty doesn’t mean you have a mold problem. It seems that every basement in the state of Maine gets wet from time to time and we have had the wettest, most humid summer that we have had in quite some time.

Don’t panic. You simply need the advice of professionals. You also will want to call the insurance company that carries your homeowner’s policy. Before you make that call, write down your questions and review the copy of your policy that you hopefully have tucked away someplace safe. After reading it, if you still don’t understand your coverage, give them a call and explain the situation. You most likely don’t have a policy that includes coverage for mold remediation unless you paid to have it added on.

The next step, other than getting that roof fixed, is to get in touch with a reputable contractor who will give you a free estimate on what needs to happen to keep your basement dry. 

Once you have all the information, you can make an informed decision that works for you and your budget. The important thing is to stay calm and take one step at a time.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I would like some information on the Electricity Maine deal. We have been a customer for quite a few years, but I have noticed electricity keeps going up in price and have also been noticing some articles concerning this company. What do we have for options? Thank you for your help.

— Nita, no town

ANSWER: There is a website with some good information at https://www.saveonenergy.com/Maine/ that will help you make decisions about your electricity supplier. You have to plug in your zip code and then there is a list of supplier options for your area. You can also call 1-844-229-8173. For more detailed answers to your questions, which would take many Sun Spots columns to complete, you can also contact Maine’s Office of the Public Advocate at 624-3687 or email them at [email protected]

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected]

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