Preventing Mold Growth After a Flood
Natural disasters like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, and storms are beyond our control. Once they occur, the consequences are inevitable. We have no option but to deal with them. Wise decisions have to be made on time. If we do not take action in time, we risk losing way more than we expected.
Storms and hurricanes cause flooding. As we all know, floods are as dangerous as any other natural disaster. Right from the biblical times of Noah, the world has always suffered the consequences of floods. Loss of lives, ill health, and damage to properties are some of the repercussions that come with floods. High water levels are not the only thing you should worry about after flooding. You may contain or get rid of the water in your home, but there is a more dangerous culprit you should worry about, molds.
What are Molds?
Molds are types of microscopic fungus that can wreak havoc to your home. If they are not controlled, they may end up taking a toll on your health and that of your loved ones. There are numerous types of molds present everywhere in the environment, outdoors and in our homes. Microscopic mold particles are always present in the air in the form of spores. Spores reproduce within hours without sexual fusion. They mostly thrive in damp or moist environments on surfaces that contain organic matter. When you take a look around your home, you quickly realize that carbon-based materials are all over. Molds grow and reproduce on different surfaces. These materials are where molds and mildew will reproduce.
Molds not only come after floods. Other reasons for mold growth are the window, roof, and plumbing leaks. They grow on paper products, ceiling tiles, cardboard, and wood products. They also thrive in dusts, wallpaper, paints, fabrics, upholstery, insulations, and carpets. Lack of ventilation or air conditioning is also a common cause since they promote humid conditions in our homes. With that said, it is undisputed that flooded homes and homes that have experienced water damage provide ideal conditions for the proliferation and growth of molds.
Are Molds a Health Concern?
Pollen grains and bee stings are allergens that bring about adverse reactions to certain people. In severe cases, they can lead to death. The same applies to molds. When in large quantities, they are potentially harmful for they can trigger asthma attacks and allergic reactions to some people. Some few years ago, New Orleans lost four university professors as a result of mold exposure after Hurricane Katrina hit the area. They all worked in a storm-damaged building. Indoor molds easily affect the upper respiration system. Although serious complications may arise as a result of mold exposure, the most common effects are:
• Sore throat.
• Eyes and skin irritation.
• Wheeze/breathing difficulties.
• Sinus and nasal congestion.
• Sinus infections and other upper respiratory infections.
Effects of mold exposure vary in different people. However, indoor exposure to molds for extended periods is a health risk to anyone. The following people are at higher risks to mold exposure:
• The elderly, infants, and children.
• Individuals with asthma and other respiratory conditions.
• Individuals with weakened immune systems (for instance, chemotherapy patients, HIV patients, and organ transplant recipients)
It is prudent to seek medical attention if you feel that you are affected by moldy environments.
Other than health complications, mold damages goods, furnishings or building materials when it grows and reproduces on them. Moisture and mold growth will eventually compromise your building’s structural integrity. Due to damage to property and potential health concerns, molds shouldn’t be allowed to grow or multiply in our homes.
What is the timespan for mold growth after floods or water damage?
Microorganisms that promote mold growth are always present in the air. Mold growth starts quickly- 1-2 days after water exposure. Mold colonies continue to grow in places with high moisture content.
How to Inspect for Molds
Anyone not predisposed to mold risks can inspect for molds in their homes. When doing a mold inspection, be sure to:
• Search the areas where you detect mold odors.
• Search underneath or behind materials (vinyl flooring, wallpaper, pads and carpets, and sink cabinets), stored items or furniture. At times, destructive techniques such as opening up wall cavities may be necessary when inspecting and cleaning enclosed spaces where moisture and mold may be hidden. Ensure you use dust control methods and protective equipment when checking for molds.
• Look for signs of water damage or excess moisture. Look for standing water, water leaks, condensation problems, and water stains. If you see watermarks or woodwork, carpet, ceilings or wall discoloration, be on the lookout for these are red alarms for growth reproduction.
• Inspect for visible mold growth. Molds appear leathery, granular, velvety or cottony and vary in color. They may be green, yellow, brown, black, grey or white. Molds appear as staining, fuzzy growths or discoloration on the surface of furnishing and building materials.
Most people will tell you that mold testing is not important and unnecessarily expensive. Well, you cannot put a price on your health, can you? Testing for molds in homes that have experienced floods or water damage is as necessary as testing for testing venereal diseases after engaging in risky sexual behavior. I mean, it’s the only way to prevent serious problems from occurring in the near future. Prevention is always better than cure.
Now that you are aware that there are molds in your home, it is vital to know the type of mold you are dealing with. The reason for this is that understanding the kind of mold you are dealing with will enable you to identify the best approach of handling the situation. There are many classes of molds than the white or black mold we are familiar with. Some molds are more dangerous than others. Class A molds are more hazardous than class C and class B molds. All in all, we should get rid of all types of molds before the situation gets out of hand.
Mold Damage Assessment
It is essential to assess the extent of the damage caused by molds if they have been present in your home for a long time. Doing this helps property owners to determine the right course of action. Once you know the gravity of the damage, you can either get rid of the molds on your property or replace them. For instance, some people prefer replacing their mold-stricken walls with new mold-resistant walls.
Before we discuss mold removal and remediation, it is essential to know of the steps to take immediately after your home experiences flooding or water damage. So, what should homeowners do after a flood?
a) Take an inventory: Take a room-by-room inventory of damaged or missing goods, include manufacturer’s names, and places and dates of purchase and their prices. Take photographs as evidence for insurance purposes.
b) Dry wet materials as fast as you can: If you can, use dehumidifiers, fans, and air conditioning. If there is no power, use a generator to run dehumidifiers to help remove moisture. If materials remain wet, new mold colonies can appear within 48 hours. Do not ignore materials such as wood even though they seem dry. Ensure that you get rid of as moisture as you can.
c) Remove wet carpeting: It is advisable to discard wet carpeting. If it is salvageable, dry it after doing thorough cleaning and disinfection.
d) Get rid of damp insulation and wet wallboards: Wet insulations remain the same for long periods. Wet wallboards and insulations make room for the growth of hidden molds and decaying fungi.
e) Use non-phosphate detergents to clean items: The first rule of cleaning homes that have experienced floods and water damage is never to use non-phosphate detergents. This is because these types of detergents are mold food.
f) Do your best to speed up the drying process: Speeding up the drying process of the flooring, wallboards, and insulations is crucial before replacing any of them. Seek the help of water damage restoration contractors to help you through this process. Such specialists are well suited for speeding up the drying process because they have tools and equipment suitable for the cleanup process.
g) Make use of moisture meters: Moisture meters are essential gadgets used in testing the moisture content of sheathing and studs. Before replacing any insulations, ensure that their moisture contents are within preferred levels. For instance, wood specialists recommend that wood products have less than 15% moisture by weight before closing any walls.
NOTE: Never use vinyl papers for they prevent further indoor drying.
How to Avoid Spreading Mold Contamination
No one stands a chance against molds if they can’t contain them. To prevent mold spreading when cleaning up after flooding, do the following to deter mold spores from spreading:
• Before carrying out moldy items, ensure that you enclose all of them in airtight bags or sheets.
• Use the shortest path out and into the building while transporting moldy items.
• Seal off all work areas by hanging plastic sheeting.
• Bag or wash contaminated work clothes separately before leaving working areas.
• Dust all the working areas and any other surfaces by damp cleaning.
Mold Removal and Remediation
Reputable water damage restoration firms know that evaluation before any mold removal and remediation is the most important factor. Assessment enables water damage restoration companies to come up with the most effective action plan suited to bring your property to pristine condition. After inspection, the first thing we do is to provide our clients with a schedule and budget estimate. This helps you prepare your finances in time. The next steps include cleaning up and getting rid of all molds and sanitizing the area.
After the experts have dealt with the mold removal and remediation process, the next important step is to ensure that the air quality in your home is perfect. The reason for this is because molds are airborne. After all, no one wants to live in a house with unsafe air.
Going through a mold remediation process without mold disinfection is pointless. Competent water restoration companies know that mold disinfection goes a long way in preventing further damage to your home. Ensure that the firm you contract disinfects all the surfaces with the appropriate chemicals and equipment. Mold disinfection prevents molds from reactivating.
Water Damage Control
By now, you are well aware that molds thrive in moisture. It is for this reason that any water damage should be controlled to deter further damage from occurring to your property. Moisture and mold buildup go hand in hand. If you notice that there is severe water damage in your home, seek the help of water damage restoration as well as remediation service as soon as you can. Doing this will save you a lot of trouble in terms of property damage, expenses and lost time during the restoration process. Always make sure that minimizing water damage is your primary concern.
Commercial Mold Removal
Our water damage restoration firm is diverse. We work with homeowners as well as commercial clients. People who own commercial buildings should be more cautious when dealing with molds because it affects more people. Our firm has a big team that deals with commercial mold removal. We also use the latest equipment and technology which help us sort out your mold issue in the shortest time possible.
While removing mold from your commercial residence, we adhere to all the building safety standards to make sure we comply with the industry standards. No matter how small or big your mold issue is, we are the most qualified water damage restoration firm to handle it.
Mold Insurance Claims
The mold insurance claims process is not a walk in the park. It involves a lot of procedures and formalities. We have mastered every step of dealing with mold containment as well as dealing with your insurer. We assist you to compile all the evidence required by your insurer to process your claim.
What makes us Stand Out?
Our firm has been in the water damage restoration industry for the longest time possible. We make use of the best equipment and the latest technology. Additionally, we have a team of qualified and experienced professionals. We are aware of the adverse effects of water damage and its repercussions such as the growth of mold. It is for this reason that we offer our services 24/7. If you happen to have a flooded home or detect mold growth in your residence and need a mold remediation miami team, do not hesitate to give us a call.