Steps to Cleaning Up Mold After a Flood
Flooding can be a cause of mold growth inside the home. A mold problem can develop quickly, within 24 to 48 hours, if the dampness has not been addressed. It’s important to clean up any mold spores after a flood. Here are the steps to eliminating the pesky mold.
A home can flood due to a number of causes. Adverse weather conditions, such as hurricanes, major thunderstorms and similar events, can introduce moisture into the home. In such cases, a homeowner needs a functional sump pump, a solid foundation, and an emergency weather plan.
When the home’s foundation is damaged with cracks or other flaws, water can enter through the floors. Since the foundation is built on the ground, it is susceptible to oversaturation from rainwater or snowmelt. Homeowners are advised to repair a damaged foundation to prevent floods.
Appliances that utilize water can malfunction and cause a flood. Water heaters, dishwashers, and washing machines that break or are improperly connected can spew water all over the home. At the first sign of issues, a homeowner should repair or replace the appliance to avoid flooding.
The chances of flooding rise significantly when the gutters are clogged. Dirt, leaves, twigs, and other natural debris can block the flow of water into the gutters and downspout, thereby causing the water to potentially seep into the interior parts of the home. Cleaning gutters regularly is recommended.
A broken pipe, too, can cause indoor flooding. It takes just minutes for a ruptured pipe to gush several gallons of water into the home. Fix minor leaks promptly to prevent floods. Also, know the location of the home’s main water shut-off valve in the event of an emergency.
How to determine if you have mold
If the home has been affected by water damage, mold is a likely outcome. Mold spores are living organisms that require few nutrients to survive: moisture, oxygen, and darkness. In order to completely eliminate the mold, it is essential to find and repair the moisture source.
Identify the moisture source
When the home floods, the first step a homeowner should take is to remove the floodwater. Use a mop, bucket, thick towels, a wet vac, or a combination of these tools to remove the water. Once the water is cleared out, look for entry points through which the water leaked.
Breach points through which moisture can intrude include cellar windows, cracks in the basement wall, or a leaky roof. A homeowner must fix the issues that allowed water to get inside. Replace the leaky cellar windows, caulk the cracks in the foundation, or repair the damaged rooftop shingles.
Use a biocide
The flooded area will likely be teeming with mold spores and various waterborne bacteria. A biocide is a chemical disinfectant that kills microorganisms, such as fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Since mold is fungi, the biocide will kill the mold spores growing in the flooded parts of the home.
One of the most effective and widely available biocides is bleach. A homeowner will likely have a supply of bleach in the home. Dilute the bleach with water, following the instructions on the bottle, and apply the solution to the moldy concrete walls and floors.
Although the bleach will kill any living mold spores, the dead spores still pose a threat to the health of the home’s occupants and should be removed. Wipe away the dead mold spores with a paper towel. The bleach and water solution is suitable for use in unfinished rooms.
Finished rooms in the home that have undergone water damage require a different and more complex approach. A biocide is not recommended, since the bleach solution can permanently discolor carpet fibers and furnishings. Plus, carpet and drywall are porous and harbor the mold spores.
In the event a finished room with carpeting and drywall becomes flooded, the mold spores can thrive behind the drywall and under the carpeting. Oftentimes, the mold behind the walls or beneath carpets cannot be seen. Musty smells, however, should cause concern, since they are indicative of mold.
Concealed mold should be removed by a professional mold remediation service. Mold cleanup technicians utilize specialized equipment that can detect the hidden presence of moisture, such as behind walls, beneath wallpaper, and under carpeting. Mold is never far from the moisture source.
Homeowners who follow the abovementioned steps can eradicate a minor mold problem. When the mold growth is severe, such as greater than ten by ten square feet, a mold cleanup service should be contacted. Mold remediation experts will perform repairs, dispose of damaged materials, and determine what should be replaced.
If mold is a problem in your home or building after flooding, you should call a professional that provides high-quality mold removal as well as water damage restoration.
Mold growth is a possible outcome of a home flood. The water from the flooding already causes significant damage and the appearance of mold will increase the damage and make the affected areas unsafe.
Professional technicians will address the flooding by removing the water and drying out the affected areas and materials, and they will also check for mold growth. Calling mold and water restoration professionals as soon as flooding occurs on your property will help limit the damage and prevent mold growth.