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Water Damage? Take These Steps to Stop Mold Growth

water damageWater damage is one of those aspects of home ownership that we all hope to escape, yet the truth is, most of us will have to deal with it at some point. In areas with excessive rain and snowfall, flooding can be quite common. And of course there’s the possibility of burst or broken pipes within the house itself.

Cleanup and prevention can be a major undertaking. The cost can easily run into the thousands—even tens of thousands for major water damage. But it’s not just the wetness and direct damage you should be worried about. Water damage is also one of the main causes of mold infestation. This is a problem that can threaten both your health and your bank account over time, so it’s important to keep mold prevention in mind when dealing with water damage events.

If your home has recently sustained water damage, consider each the following mold prevention measures. Doing so could prevent minor flooding from turning into something much more risky and time consuming.

Remove carpeting and upholstered furniture if water damage is severe. It may be tempting to try and salvage your wet carpets and furniture, but in most cases, water-damaged carpet/upholstery is a lost cause. The padding will also have to go. Once soaked, these materials are very difficult to get completely dry. They become a perfect place for mold growth.

Remove any drywall/wallboard that has sustained water damage. Unless you’ve taken specific measures to waterproof the walls (e.g. basement waterproofing), your building materials will begin to rot once they are wet. The same principle should be applied to wet ceiling panels or tiles.

Carefully clean any flooring that is made of waterproof materials, such as tile or vinyl. Use a quality disinfectant with a mop to cleanse the floors of unwanted bacteria and mold spores, and dry the floors well. In the case of hardwood floors, time is of the essence. By getting the water off the flooring as soon as possible, you might be able to salvage your hardwood floors.

Throw out cellophane materials that have become wet. This includes magazines, books, old newspapers and other documents. Mold thrives on all kinds of paper due to the porous surfaces, and once it has taken hold of a stack of paper, it can easily spread to other areas of the house.

Ventilate the home by opening doors and windows wherever possible. If your HVAC system includes a good ventilator, run it. Otherwise, use ceiling fans and portable fans to help move and dry the air. Moist, stagnant air is a recipe for mold.

Bring in a mold remediation specialist to assess your situation and conduct laboratory testing for mold. This allows you to know for absolute certain whether mold has taken advantage of your water damage event, and gives you a clear strategy for dealing with it.

Can your home remain mold free after a water damage event?

The short answer is yes. Keeping your home mold free after a water damage event is entirely possible when you understand how is grows, and how it takes advantage of excess water in the home. If the flooding is significant, or if the water damage went undetected for a considerable amount of time, you may wish to consult a mold remediation specialist to visit and assess your property. Mold is not always easy to detect, and it often grows out of sight. Professionals will be able to quickly and effectively test your home for mold and recommend a sound strategy for dealing with it.

Thanks for reading. Please leave your questions and comments below!

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