As a result of the most recent storm, Hurricane Irma, 25% of homes were destroyed and thousands more have been left severely damaged. Shortly before, Hurricane Harvey demolished tens of thousands of homes throughout the southeast part of Texas and Louisiana, alone. The devastation from these natural disasters is massive. When trying to rebuild what remains, homeowners and builders are faced with many obstacles, one major one being the possibility of mold contamination.
Within just 24 hours, mold can begin to appear and start running rampant. After a flood, the likelihood of mold contamination is extremely high, and can become one of the biggest hurdles in a structural rebuild. Sometimes, if the mold is caught early on before becoming wide spread to a large area, precautions can be taken and you can avoid having to carry out mold remediation. Mold remediation requires a professional, and in those cases, equipment will be used to rid your home of copious amounts of mold contamination.
Since mold grows in moist environments, and can be a serious health risk, especially for young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people who suffer from chronic respiratory infections, it must be taken care of as soon as possible. It’s important to wear gloves and masks if possible when removing any amount of mold in your home. Be on the look out for any discoloration or unusual, musty odors. The threat that homes face if mold is left includes further damage to wood flooring, ceiling tiles, and drywall.
If only minor damage was done, here are some ways to carry out mold prevention:
1- Stop any leaks if water is getting into your home. Start by drying out the area so that mold does not start appearing.
2- If you cannot turn on fans as well as dehumidifiers, remove anything that is wet and easily absorbs water.
3- Check the base of the walls in your house. Water often times seeps through carpets and ends up in drywall.
4- If your air conditioning works, turn it on to 80 degrees to promote evaporation instead of opening your windows. You want to avoid humidity from outside.
5- If there is standing water still in your homes, remove it as quickly as possible. If you can, get a shop-type wet to dry vacuum cleaner. If your electricity is still out, substitute the vacuum for a large broom. If the water is in your basement, rent a sump pump from your local hardware store.
If your home has severe damage, here are some ways to clean up afterwards:
1- Pull up carpets and under padding. Under padding is thick, and may take awhile to dry out if its saturated.
2- If your basement is finished and the drywall is damaged, the best thing to do is cut it away in the spots that show water spots. Cut away the bottom section of drywall that is at least 12 inches above where the water hit it. Mold cannot be cleaned entirely from material that is porous such as drywall, so it will need to be tossed.
3- Take flooded items out of your home. Put them on plastic bags to prevent mold spreading if there is mold already on them.
4- Disinfect all areas that have been damaged after everything has dried. Use a good disinfectant to kill bacteria that has grown, even on walls, wood and non-upholstered furniture that has gotten wet. Bacteria can come up from toilets, sewers, and any surfaces throughout the home.
5- For items that aren’t porous, you can use detergents to clean them. Things like clothes and bedding can be washed in your washing machine.
6- Disinfect all areas that have been damaged after it has dried. Use a good disinfectant to kill bacteria that has grown, even on walls, wood and non-upholstered furniture that has gotten wet. Bacteria can come up from toilets, sewers, and any surfaces throughout the home.
7- After disinfecting, apply some Concrobium Mold Control throughout. You apply a thin layer and then let it dry through the night. What it does, is it forms a layer over mold and kills the roots of the mold spores. If you have to spray a large area or an entire room, try getting a mister from a hardware store, as this will make it easier and will be more effective.
8- If you need to remove a LOT of mold, it is best to hire a professional mold removal and remediation service. If the mold in your home is not toxic and it is less then 10 square feet, you can try mold remediation yourself. Click here to learn how
For more information on mold, here are some online resources:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/airpollution/mold/stachy.htm
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/moldbasics.html
Serve Pro: www.stopmold.com