When it comes to mold, there is one important thing to understand – mold needs three things to develop:
- Organic food matter
- Proper temperature
During the floods, when water (moisture) is everywhere and food for growth can be anything from wall paint to card boxes, mold removal is often the most requested services by homeowners.
Whenever you are experiencing heavy rains and, thus, heavy floods, you should be set and prepared to prevent any damage that would occur.
Of course, even if you’re fortunate enough to live in a region affected by flooding, you can still learn a valuable lesson by reading about recent problems in flooded areas in the United States. It will help you learn how to deal with the mold issues in case you ever end up in this situation (and we sincerely hope you will not!).
What to expect after flooding?
Some flood-related damage is easy to see and even predict. For example, rushing floodwater can mix with sewage, which contains both human and animal waste. It can destroy your personal belongings in your basement and both water and food can become contaminated with potentially infectious viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms.
Results can be harmful not only for the natural environment but our health, too. In any case, flood damage is stressful on its own, without even having to think about what you can experience in the aftermath.
One threat that many flood victims often overlook is mold. Pros from Mold Busters state that most of their clients start thinking about the problem they have with mold once it is already there and in that situation, nothing else but professional removal can help. That’s exactly why prevention is the best cure you can rely on.
How flooding and water damage are related to mold?
Water damage caused by flooding creates an ideal breeding environment for mold. If we go back to three causes of mold, we can see that moisture takes the first place and it is so for a reason. Moisture is the major trigger for mold. Let’s see why.
Organic food matter can be anything and it can be found anywhere. Think of grass, wood, food, paint, etc. And the proper temperature is any temperature a human can survive in, and even slightly lower and higher than that, like temperatures in fridges or microwaves. Meaning that these two conditions are very often met. But mold will not develop as long as there is not enough moisture.
If moisture is water (and it can be humidity too), then during the flood the third condition is easily met – there is water everywhere and in incredible amounts. That is why flooded areas often experience problems with mold after the flooding passes.
Once water leaves your home, you’re left with water damage and wet things. Not only your furniture is hit, but your walls, windows (if wooden), carpets, boxes, clothes, etc. If not properly dried in 24 – 48h, the perfect mold trio will be there – moisture, organic food, and the right temperature.
How to prevent mold after floods?
If you paid attention to the paragraph above, we said that the first 24 – 48h after the flood are crucial in mold prevention. Every action you take in that time frame will determine if you will have to call mold removal experts to help you deal with mold or not.
- First of all, make sure you know which rooms were under the water. In most cases, the basement will be completely flooded, but other rooms can be affected, too, such as the living room, bathroom, or any other room close to the ground. Once you know what the problems are, you will know where to spend most of your time and which rooms can be simply checked off.
- Your next step involves a lot of drying. From walls to furniture and clothes. If you have a problem with water in the walls, you may want to use specialized drying machines to ensure your walls are well dried. The reason for that is in the fact that we cannot see the walls from the inside where water can easily accumulate and remain.
- If your furniture is hit during the floods you have to ensure it is not only well dried but well cleaned, too, before you move it back into its original spot. If the weather allows it, get everything out for a good drying on the sun. This includes all shelves, furniture, and even carpets (don’t forget about the carpets!!!). Only when you are completely sure your indoor things are well cleaned you should get it back.
- If you had any card boxes (often used in basements as storage containers), you will have to throw them away and use either clean and dry card boxes or other storage ideas, such as plastic boxes. Before you put anything back inside, ensure stored items are also dried and clean, especially if it is seasonal clothes.
Remember – everything has to be properly dried and cleaned as soon as the water goes away (or you remove it). Only then will it be safe to return your things inside.
Don’t forget – people who are sensitive to mold may experience increased asthma symptoms, difficulty breathing, and irritations such as a stuffy nose, itchy eyes, wheezing, skin rashes, and lung infections. These can also be the first sign of mold in your home.
Toxic mold in the aftermath of a flood is extremely hazardous to human health, which is why all recently flooded buildings must undergo a proper mold inspection, mold removal, and complete flood restoration to prevent further problems.
If you’re a victim of a recent flood, you should truly consider hiring a flood restoration professional to assess and repair flood damage to lower your chances of developing a toxic black mold problem in your home.