- Water damage brings with it a unique set of problems. Of the challenges it presents, mold growth is the most persistent.
- Mold damage can wreak havoc and ruin your furniture, fixtures, and accessories long after water damage restoration.
- Mold also presents structural challenges and poses significant health and safety hazards.
- Property owners must take the required measures to limit mold growth and disinfect all surfaces.
Mold is a common problem that can develop after water damage. Left unchecked, it can cause extensive and costly damage to your home or business. To prevent mold from becoming an outright emergency, it is essential to dry out the area as quickly as possible and ensure that the moisture does not return. This blog post outlines crucial post-water damage steps to prevent mold formation.
Explaining Mold and What Fuels Its Growth
Mold is a fungus that thrives in damp, humid environments. When water seeps into an area of your home or business, it creates the perfect conditions for mold to grow. Mold intensifies by releasing spores into the air. These spores are tiny and invisible to the human eye but can quickly spread and colonize new areas under the right conditions. Even minor condensation is also enough to enhance mold growth.
Once mold starts growing, it can cause significant damage to your property. The first signs of mold growth are often visible as discoloration on walls or ceilings. As the mold continues to grow, it will cause deterioration of the affected surfaces and may even lead to structural damage.
Learn more about the early signs of water damage.
Why is Mold Dangerous? What Are Its Implications?
Mold is often considered a structural nuisance but can pose serious health risks too. Many Americans are allergic to mold spores, and exposure can cause respiratory problems, coughing, sneezing, and watery eyes. In severe cases, mold presence can even lead to difficulty in breathing. People with asthma or other serious respiratory conditions are especially vulnerable to the effects of mold and should take measures to avoid exposure.
Structurally, mold can cause significant damage to buildings. It feeds on organic materials like wood, paper, and insulation, causing them to break down and rot. In some cases, mold growth can even weaken the building structure.
Preventing Mold Formation After Water Damage
A leaking roof, standing stormwater, and damaged water fixtures are all recipes for disaster. These are environments where mold growth can occur. If you don’t clean and dry water damage within 24 hours, mold will likely set in, so it’s essential to take action quickly.
Here’s how you can prevent mold formation –
Drain or Remove the Water
After a flood, the first thing you should do is drain or remove the water. You can only assess the extent of the damage once you remove the excess moisture. If the water is from a clean source, like a broken water line, you can use buckets or a wet/dry vacuum to remove it.
If the water is from an unclean source, like a sewage line, you should not try to remove it yourself. You should contact water damage restoration experts to handle the job.
Remove the Flooring or Damp Carpet
If your carpet or flooring has sustained water damage, you will need to remove it. Carpet and flooring can harbor mold spores, leading to mold growth if not removed and appropriately dried. This is especially true if the floors have grooves, such as stone-tiled floors. The grooves and tiny spaces can trap moisture, providing the perfect environment for mold to grow. Carpets are also a favorite hideout spot for mold; the damp and warm environment provides the mold with everything it needs to grow and spread.
In cases of minimal water damage, you can use household items to clean the carpet and flooring. However, hiring a professional water damage restoration company is best if the water damage is severe. Professional companies have the equipment and expertise to clean and dry your carpet and flooring, preventing mold growth.
Once you remove all water-damaged items from your home, you must focus on drying out the area. If possible, keep all windows and doors open to allow for air circulation. You can also use fans and dehumidifiers to help dry out the area. Drying the area as quickly as possible is essential to prevent mold growth.
Thoroughly Clean and Disinfect All Surfaces
Once you remove the water-damaged flooring and carpet, you must clean and disinfect all surfaces. This includes walls, ceilings, woodwork, and other areas affected by water damage. Use a strong cleaner or bleach solution to ensure that all mold spores are eliminated. Be sure to properly ventilate the area while cleaning to avoid inhaling harmful fumes.
Inspect Your HVAC System
The HVAC system can house mold spores and spread them throughout your home. If your HVAC system ran when the water damage occurred, it likely has mold spores. Call a professional to inspect and clean your HVAC unit to remove mold spores.
Minimize Moisture Using a Dehumidifier
Managing humidity levels indoors should be a top priority to prevent mold growth. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the humidity levels should be below 60% indoors to prevent mold formation. A dehumidifier works well for managing moisture levels and can help prevent mold growth.
Disinfect Walls, Baseboards, and Other Surfaces
Any surfaces that got wet during the water damage should be disinfected. This includes walls, baseboards, and other surfaces. You can also use a bleach solution to disinfect these surfaces and kill mold spores.
Replace All Damaged Items
Sometimes water damage is beyond repair. In these cases, it’s best to replace the damaged items. This includes carpeting, drywall, insulation, and any other materials that have been water damaged.
Damp and closed spaces are ideal for mold growth after water damage. To prevent mold growth, ensure that the space is well-ventilated. Open doors and windows to allow fresh air to circulate. If possible, use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air.
J&E Restoration Pros are Norcross’s water and mold damage restoration experts. We know that dealing with water or mold damage can be a frightening experience, but our team can help you through the entire process. From removing the water or mold to repairing any damaged property, we will work tirelessly until your home is back to normal.
If you’ve recently experienced water or mold damage, don’t hesitate to call us for assistance.