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Repair Flood Damage to Prevent Mold

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| 2011 May 26 |
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Repair Flood Damage to Prevent Mold

When it comes to mold, there is one important thing to understand – mold needs three things to develop:

  1. Moisture
  2. Organic food matter
  3. 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 service here at Mold Busters. If you were wondering about proper temperature conditions, let us remind you of one of our previous posts in which we said that mold can survive incredible ranges of temperatures, including fridges and microwaves (read more in How to Prevent Mold on Food). Believe it or not, but spring season in Canada basically provides the perfect conditions for mold growth and spreading.

Since we are again experiencing heavy rains and, thus, heavy floods, if you are worried about mold (and trust us, we know how mold loves floods, so you should be worried) this is the perfect moment to learn more about mold prevention after floods.

Of course, even if you’re fortunate enough to live in a region not currently affected by flooding, you can still learn a valuable lesson by reading about recent problems in flooded areas in Canada. 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!).

Water damage after floods - Mold Busters
The image above shows what happened to a couch after a flood. It is also a great example of why water damage should be resolved immediately after it occurs.

Some flood-related damage is easy to see and even predict. For example, rushing floodwater can mix with sewage, that 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 what you can experience in the aftermath.

One threat that many flood victims often overlook is mold. We start thinking about the problem we 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 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 proper temperature is any temperature a human can survive in, and even slightly lower and higher than that, like temperatures in fridges or in 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 basement will be completely flooded, but other rooms can be affected, too, such as living room, bathroom, or any other room close to the ground. Once you know what the problems are, you will know where to spend the 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 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 a 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.

To learn more about mold prevention we strongly recommend checking out The Ultimate Guide To Mold Prevention written for people who need to quickly learn how to deal with every single room in their house that was affected with a flood.

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 it’s imperative for all recently flooded buildings to 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 in order to lower your chances of developing a toxic black mold problem in your home.