Did you know lightning strikes the United States at least 30 million times each year? Or around the world, lightning bolts strike 100 times each second? Due to the severity and frequency of storms, they are known to cause irreversible damage that can devastate families and businesses. Many of these storms are also associated with tornadoes and hail.
Floods are a disaster that can result in an extensive amount of damage. The excessive amount of water and moisture harm your home’s building materials, furnishings, and your personal belongings. As porous materials and items absorb the moisture, their structure weakens, leading to serious damage. But as with any situation involving excess water, there’s also an increased possibility for mold growth.
Mold growth is common in water damage situations, because such damage provides an ideal environment for mold to grow.
The two key components needed for mold growth are food and moisture. With water damage in a home, mold spores get both. Mold uses the cellulose in drywall, wood, and other organic building materials as a food source and gets water from the flooding.
Once mold begins to grow, it causes damage of its own. When mold consumes cellulose from your home’s building materials, it’s actually eating away at the material. So on top of the water damage, there’s also mold damage to worry about. If you act quickly enough, then you can prevent mold or remove mold before it spreads further and creates an even larger disaster.
Continue reading for help on what you can do about mold after your home floods.
Be Cautious and Smart
Mold can begin to grow within 24 hours of the initial flooding, so it’s important to act immediately for the sake of mold prevention. However, you should not reenter your home until it has been deemed safe to do so. From unstable structures to contaminated water, there are various reasons that it could be dangerous to go back into your home.
Protect Undamaged Items
Once you’re allowed to go back into your home, you’ll want to take your undamaged items and belongings elsewhere. The less you have to clean or restore, the better. But if you leave unharmed items in your damaged home, then they are susceptible to becoming harmed. Prevent this by storing them in a dry, safe place offsite.
Extract the Floodwater and Moisture
The less moisture there is around, the less chance there is that mold will grow. Even if mold has started to grow already, removing the excess water and/or moisture in the property will help limit the damage from spreading further.
It may not be plausible for you to extract all of the water yourself, but it’s important that you get rid of as much of it as you can. If you have a water pump, feel free to use it so long as it’s safe. Otherwise, mop up whatever water you can, and use buckets to get the water out from your home.
Dry Out Your Home
Drying out your home is an important step for mold prevention. So once you’ve eliminated as much water and moisture as you can, take steps to dry your home more thoroughly. If it isn’t too humid outside, open doors and windows so your home can ventilate. Open up drawers, cabinet doors, and closets as well. If it’s safe to use electrical appliances, then you can also use heaters, fans, and dehumidifiers to help dry out your home.
Remove Water-Damaged Items and Materials
In order to prevent or limit mold growth in your home after a flood, you need to remove the materials and items that have suffered water damage, such as insulation and furniture, out of your home.
Carpet, in particular, is a material you need to get rid of if it was affected by the flood. Carpeting takes a long time to dry because of its padding. If not removed, this encourages mold growth in addition to producing foul odors.
For water-damaged drywall, cut out its bottom section at least one foot above where it’s wet. Do the same for any parts of the drywall that have mold on it as well.
Be careful with anything you remove that has mold on it, because careless transportation can easily spread the mold to new areas of your home. Place the mold-infected items and materials in a plastic bag, and then move them out of your home.
Throw out any porous items and materials that absorbed water and cannot properly dry within 48 hours. The same goes for any mold-infected items that cannot be thoroughly cleaned.
Clean and Disinfect Your Home and Belongings
When your home is completely dry, then you can move on to the cleaning process. From walls to floors, take the time to clean and disinfect all surfaces in your home. This will ensure your home is restored to a safe, healthy living environment again. In general, you can use standard household cleaning products. Products like bleach and borax might not be effective at killing mold, white vinegar is highly effective for killing mold and a much safer alternative to using bleach.
Professional Mold Removal Services
If your home has suffered water damage in a flood and, as a result, has mold growth, then there are numerous ways you can handle the mold yourself. However, it’s always best to leave mold removal to the professionals. Exposing yourself to mold can negatively impact your health, and disrupting mold can even worsen the problem.
ServiceMaster Restoration and Cleaning has professional mold remediation services to help residential and commercial properties that are affected by mold. Within our mold remediation work, our trained and licensed staff uses specialized equipment and techniques to remove mold and clean/restore your property. With professional help, the mold will be removed entirely, your property will be cleaned and sanitized, and you won’t risk your health by exposing yourself to the mold.