Whether it’s a flood in your home or a natural disaster that has created the problem, mold is a serious risk. Following a natural disaster or flood, it’s common for standing water and excess moisture to cause mold growth, and it’s important you understand what to do in these situations.
Once water has entered your home it should be dried within 72 hours to avoid mold growth. If this was not possible then you can safely assume that there is mold growing within your home. This means you need to take the appropriate steps to have it remediated.
Once your home has been deemed safe to enter your priority becomes drying it and removing any items that have been damaged by water and/or mold. The damage will be dependent on how long the water has been sitting in your home. You may smell mold or see signs that it is actively growing. Additionally, mold could be growing in areas that you are unable to see.
So, if an initial walk doesn’t show up any mold growth it could be under the carpeting or behind your walls. Your first step is to use a wet vac to remove standing water, your second step is to remove wet material.
Of course, you should take photographs of the damage for an insurance claim. If you are tackling the mold yourself you need to wear protective equipment like gloves, mask, and goggles. After a flood you should call the professionals to handle your mold remediation, however, you will still likely need to go through your belongings to determine the extent of the damage.
So, when you are in the home you should open doors and windows to allow airflow – do the same for closets and cabinets to help dry the area. Dehumidifiers can help remove moisture, and while high powered fans are often used for drying this can spread mold so consult a professional.
You should always carry out an air test when you’ve had mold issues in your home, this way you will know if there is a mold problem that you have overlooked.
Certain people are more sensitive to the presence of mold, for example, people who have allergies, asthma or any other type of respiratory issue. Additionally, if you have experienced any health problems following mold exposure then it’s important to speak to your doctor.
Look for masks or respirators that offer the highest protection level if you plan to spend time in the home while the clean up takes place (or if you’re tackling the clean up yourself). The mask is crucial even if you are only going to be in the building for a few minutes or you’re just going to be present without cleaning up.
The Health Effects
Typical symptoms from mold exposure include skin irritations, stuffy nose, wheezing or itchy eyes. It’s common for people with mold allergies to experience shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Additionally, people with lung diseases and weak immune systems can develop a mold infection in the lungs.