While there are a number of factors that can cause and contribute to the growth of mold within our homes, it’s in most cases guaranteed after fairly extensive flood damage has occurred. Unless, of course, immediate action is taken. In the case of flood damage from rain or a burst pipe, mold can grow in as little as 24 to 48 hours and in some cases it may even take a few days longer to manifest.
The time it takes for mold to grow will depend on how long the water has been standing, the humidity levels within the home and the type of material that has been affected by water. Also, it doesn’t have to be from a flood. A slow dripping pipe underneath the kitchen sink or humid conditions without water are often all mold needs to grow.
So how does mold get into our homes in the first place?
The answer lies in microscopically small spores which make their way into our homes from the outside. Once inside all they need to flourish is a water source (floods, leaking pipes or any other water source) or sufficient amounts of humidity and a porous surface.
It’s virtually impossible to completely eliminate the presence of spores within our living environments. Fortunately, there are a number of highly effective steps one can take to greatly reduce indoor spore counts.
What can be done about it?
1: Hepa filtered air purifiers: These type of air purifiers features a filtration system that captures these microscopic spores along with various other contaminants from the air before they settle onto surfaces or are breathed in.
2: Hepa filtered vacuum cleaners: A hepa filtered vacuum cleaner uses the same effective filtration process as the aforementioned air purifiers. Regularly vacuuming your home with these will greatly reduce the amount of mold spores already sitting on surfaces.
3: Control indoor humidity: Most mold species, especially the most common ones, cannot grow without sufficient amounts of humidity. By controlling your indoor humidity levels and keeping them low enough with a quality dehumidifier will greatly reduce the chances of mold formation.
What if my house got flooded?
As mentioned, if your home flooded – even if just a small portion, then it won’t take long for mold to grow. In this scenario immediate action is required, considering that it’s safe enough to do so. Do not put your health and safety at risk. Submerged electrical outlets and structural defects are all things to consider and if not sure rather call out a professional to come assess the situation.
1: Any loose items that have come into contact with water or are still partially submerged should be removed and put outside. This includes rugs, chairs, cabinets etc.
2: Standing water should be removed as soon as possible. Depending on the severity and amount of water, a professional with a sump might have to be called to come suck the water out. If the flooding is not too severe you can do it yourself with a wet/dry vacuum or by using buckets.
3: The damage can be assessed once all water has been removed. It would be strongly advised to pull out all carpets and sections of drywall that has been submerged.
4: Even though the water has been removed, everything will still be moist and it’s essential to remove this moisture. This can be done with air blowers and a bit of time. Be sure to periodically check the moisture levels with a quality moisture meter.
Only once all these steps are followed can you re-carpet and fix any cut out drywall sections. Doing this correctly will prevent mold growth and if not sure on how to do these thoroughly then it would be best to call out a reputable mold remediation company.