The only thing worse than discovering your home has been water damaged is realizing that the damage has increased exponentially through mold. In less than two days, mold can begin to form in the recesses of your house after even minor water damage. Preventing Mold After Water Damage requires that you take immediate action to fully clean, remove, and dry the moisture from the damaged areas. Otherwise, in less than 48 hours you can have far more extensive damage to repair.
Your home is susceptible to water damage from several sources:
-Flood damage (from a natural disaster)
-Flooding of your floors (resulting from a backed-up toilet, tub or sink)
-A home fire where water was used to quell the blaze
-Plumbing issues, such as a leaking or broken pipe, failed plumbing fittings, or failed connections to household appliances such as a washing machine
-Rain coming through a damaged roof
-A build up of moisture through improper ventilation
Without timely intervention, even a minor water situation can turn into a homeowner’s worst nightmare. All of the above scenarios could lead to mold growth if you do not address the damage right away.
Preventing Mold After Water Damage? Safety First
Do not attempt this yourself if the home could be unsafe. If there is any structural damage, particularly following a fire or if the electrical system could be compromised, it is imperative to consult professionals first and have the safety of your home assessed by someone with experience.
Should the damage be too severe, call a professional service. Don’t attempt to clean up a mess that is far outside your capability or you may lose precious time.
Clear And Clean The Area
If your house has survived the water exposure, your first step is to quickly clean the area. If there are any dry items in your home nearby the damage, remove them from the house or move them to an area of the home that is completely dry. This will keep those items from absorbing any moisture and will make it easier to dry the rest of your house.
Next is the crucial step of removing the bulk of the flood water. For minor water damage, you may be able to start with a mop and bucket. You may need a pump for major water intrusion. You can rent one that will work continuously to pump the water from the flooded area of your home, draining it into an appropriate location. Someone may have to keep watch on the pump in case it needs to be cleared of debris.
Remove Wet Carpeting
While a professional fire and water recovery service may be able to dry and save a slightly wet carpet if called right away, when a carpet is soaked, the safest thing to do is get rid of it. In the time it takes to fully dry a soaked carpet and padding, mold is likely to have taken hold.
Dry Out The Structure
With the carpet removed, you can now properly dry out the house itself. Get the home ventilated by opening all the windows if possible, then plugging in dehumidifiers and fans, or by using heaters.
Professionals use multiple enormous heated blowers and commercial dehumidifiers throughout the home, and keep them going until they have tested the home to make sure the moisture level is back to normal.
Once your home is fully dried and restored to normal humidity levels, you may wish to take extra precautions to prevent possible mold growth. There are anti-microbial products you can buy at home repair stores or you could make your own formula at home. Vinegar can be used to treat surfaces and kill mold on contact and prevent it from growing.
If you want to be absolutely sure that your home is 100% mold free following the clean up after water intrusion, you may contact a mold inspection professional. They will bring in equipment and test your entire home and can make recommendations if their tests reveal the presence of mold.
Preventing mold after water damage can be a trial, but with quick thinking and taking the proper steps, you can ensure that your home continues to be safe for you and your family for many years to come.
For more information on home health and safety, check out Saturn’s Consumer Guide to Home Health.
Removing the water is a good first step. After that, it’s all about getting things back in order and maybe using a dehumidifier.
It’s interesting that you point out that it may be possible to use a mop and bucket to clean up minor water damage. My sister’s basement recently flooded, and now she needs to figure out how to get it all cleaned up and taken care of. It would probably help if she had a professional come in and take care of the mess! Thanks for the tips.