Excess water in the home – whether because of flooding, a burst pipe, or a leaky roof – always causes a lot of trouble. It may compromise the integrity of the building, destroy electronics and appliances, and ruin furniture, carpeting, clothing and other household items. And as if the water damage is not enough, mold quickly begins to grow inside the home, increasing the damage and making the restoration process longer, harder, and costlier.
Mold Growth After Water Damage
Even if the water intrusion is limited and does not cause considerable damage, it may still result in a mold problem – any amount of moisture accumulation indoors can easily lead to mold growth in the home. Mold spores exist everywhere in the environment, so mold can start developing as soon as the right conditions – organic “food” and moisture – are present.
There are plenty of porous organic materials in a house – drywall, insulation, paint, paper products, etc. – so all that is needed for mold to start growing is some moisture. Only a few inches of water (or even just high humidity) can create the necessary conditions for mold growth – then, it takes just a couple of short days for mold to develop and start damaging your property.
Yet, the problem can be easily avoided – all you need to do is eliminate the moisture before mold has had the chance to start developing. But how quickly does mold grow? How soon do you have to dry the premises to prevent the spores from taking root in your home?
How Long Does It Take for Mold to Grow?
To be able to prevent mold problems after a water incident, you need to know not only how long it takes for mold to form, but also how quickly it can affect your household items and materials:
How fast can mold grow?
Under ideal conditions (optimal temperature and level of humidity), it takes 24 to 48 hours for mold to germinate and grow. Typically, the spores begin to colonize in 3 to 12 days and become visible in about 18-21 days. Of course, the time varies for different types of mold and depends on the actual conditions in the home – the type of surfaces and household materials in the affected area, the amount of moisture, the ambient temperature, etc. Nevertheless, the more time passes, the greater the chance for mold to develop and spread to other areas of the home.
How fast does mold spread?
Mold spreads in as little as a few hours. When a mold spore lands on a moist organic material, it roots into the porous surface and begins to feed off the organic substance. Within hours, the harmful microorganisms start spreading to adjacent moist areas, damaging the structural integrity of the material they’re attached to. Once mold gets a foothold on a surface in your home, it quickly fills the air with thousands of spores that spread throughout the building, affecting more and more areas with every passing hour.
So, the only way to prevent mold from infesting your home following an incident with water damage is to dry the premises within the first 48 hours after the water intrusion.
How to Keep Mold from Growing After Water Damage?
From the above, it can be concluded that there is a 48-72 hour window between the water intrusion and the beginning of mold growth. If the flooded areas are completely dried off within this time-gap, mold has very little chance to develop.
Proper drying, however, is quite difficult. Water can find its way into all kinds of materials and spread into walls, under floors, and through ceilings on its route to the lowest point in the house.
1. Extract excess water
Extracting the excess water from the home and opening a door or window to allow air flow from the outside will not dry out these inaccessible areas in time. And if any amount of moisture, however small, remains lingering inside the wall cavities, behind the baseboards, or under the carpet padding, mold will have more than enough time to start developing before it all dries up.
2. Dry out the area
Besides, people usually focus their efforts on drying the room that was flooded and neglect nearby areas where water may have flowed hidden inside wall cavities or under carpet or tile. So, even if a person thinks that the property is dried out, enough moisture may be left behind to allow mold to start growing.
To successfully remove all excess moisture from your home in the 48-72 hour window when drying can prevent mold from forming, you’re going to need professional drying services. The experts have the technical know-how and the specialized equipment needed to safely remove standing water, locate hidden issues, and thoroughly dry your home, preventing further damage and mold growth.
Professional Water Damage Cleanup and Mold Removal
At ServiceMaster Restoration Services, we use industrial air movers and dehumidifiers to evaporate the moisture from the affected materials and then draw that moisture from the air and pump it out of the home, thus stopping mold from forming in your property. Our highly effective tools, procedures, and techniques allow us to keep drying times to a minimum – and faster drying means less time and smaller chance for mold to develop, which helps avoid costly repairs and health problems that occur as a result of fungal contamination.
You can count on ServiceMaster Restoration Services for water damage cleanup, drying services, mold growth evaluation, damage containment, mold removal, and mold damage mitigation in Omaha, NE, and the surrounding areas.
Call us at (402) 973-3858 for more information about our water damage restoration and mold remediation services.