The recent storms that hit Texas and Oklahoma killed dozens, left hundreds more injured, washed away homes, and caused rivers to swell above 40 feet in some areas. But for those lucky enough to keep their homes, a new battle has begun. It’s a fight against mold and water damage.
Beating Mold Means Acting Promptly
When flooding occurs, time is the biggest enemy. Mold and other bacteria grow rapidly in damp environments, which is extremely dangerous – especially for those who suffer from allergies, asthma, and other breathing problems. But it’s also worth noting that mold can affect relatively healthy people, too. Some common symptoms of mold exposure include shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing, sore throat, fatigue, and flu-like aches and pains.
“You’ve really got 24 to 36 hours to work with,” Rebecca Morley, executive director of the National Center for Healthy Housing, said after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. And while it may be too late for flood victims in Texas and Oklahoma to prevent mold growth, now is a good time to remind people of the seriousness of mold and how to deal with issues related to minor and large-scale water damage.
Tips for Preventing Mold After Water Damage
Depending on the situation, the following tips may help you prevent mold growth, should you ever find yourself in an unfortunate situation where water has damaged your home:
- Removal is first priority. The first thing you need to do is start removing items that are damaged by water. According to Donald Morgan, a homeowner affected by the recent floodwaters in Houston, immediacy is key. As soon as water started receding, Morgan removed carpet, furniture, floors, and the first four feet of drywall in all rooms with water damage.
- Increase ventilation and start drying. Next, increase ventilation and airflow in all rooms. Open windows, turn on fans, and run dehumidifiers to speed up the drying process. Rug and carpet cleaning services use controllable drying rooms to quickly remove moisture and prevent mold growth, fading, or warping in rugs and upholstery. Others suggest turning on the air conditioning, as the cold depresses mold growth. There are plenty of options, but make sure air is moving through affected rooms and that the drying process is initiated as soon as possible.
- Call the professionals. Ultimately, you need to call in the professionals if you have more than a couple of inches of standing water. While it may seem like you’re already dealing with an expensive issue, things can get a lot more costly if you don’t respond quickly and appropriately. “These restoration companies have all the heavy equipment that’s needed to dry out a place quickly,” says Morley. “They bring in their big fans, their big dehumidifiers.”
- Be watchful. In the days, weeks, and even months after water has been removed and your living space is deemed livable, you’ll want to keep an eye on carpet, flooring, drywall, and furniture. Mold is sometimes tricky to spot and it’s possible you didn’t catch everything the first time around.
Don’t Let Mold Further Damage Your Home
When you’re dealing with flooding or water damage in your home, the last thing you need is for mold to manifest and exacerbate the problem. By acting quickly and utilizing the aforementioned tips, you can ensure mold doesn’t find its way into your home.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=0972101608][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00AANGHXQ][amazon template=iframe image&asin=1585445908]