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Should You Test Your Home for Mold After Flooding?

Should You Test Your Home for Mold After Flooding?

With the hurricane season upon us, there's always the chance of torrential rain, especially if you live in coastal regions around the gulf and Florida. Hurricanes can go as far north along the coastline as North Carolina and New York, causing massive amounts of property damage along the way.

It's not only hurricanes that present flooding risk to homes. Living on the banks of a river or dam also exposes you to the risk of flooding.

The CDC states that if homeowners don't dry out their homes within 24 to 48-hours after flooding recedes, they can expect mold issues to occur. These mold problems may only appear several weeks or months later, resulting in pathogenic exposure to the unsuspecting resident.

When mold colonizes and starts spreading spores, it leads to severe health issues in humans and pets. Some people may get gravely ill and not understand what's causing the problem. As a result, they end up in the emergency room with severe health complications.

Mold is a Problem

When mold takes off in your home, it spreads quickly. As it develops, the mold starts to change the air quality in rooms. You may notice a slightly musty smell, even with the air conditioning system running. Mold spores can infest air ducts in HVAC systems, causing the further spread of the pathogen throughout the home.

If the homeowner doesn't recognize the presence of mold, they may go ahead and breathe in the spores every day. As a result, they increase the levels of toxicity of the pathogen in their respiratory system and bloodstream. The mold may even start growing in the lungs of some individuals, as is the case with aspergillus syndrome caused by overexposure to this mold species.

Sings of overexposure to mold may initially start with sinus issues like sneezing and a stuffy feeling in the face. People that have allergies or asthma may also notice they begin experiencing an increase in the number and intensity of allergic reactions.

When mold infection spreads in the body, it starts causing respiratory issues like shortness of breath and coughing. If left undiagnosed and untreated, the individual starts feeling fatigued, and the pathogen may end up infecting the bloodstream, leading to severe complications in the affected individual.

Mycotoxins produced by mold are dangerous to your health. Species like black mold can cause severe health complications, requiring medical assistance for recovery.

Getting An Air Test Is Essential

If you suspect that mold moved into your home after a flooding event, call the professionals for help. The reality is that your home may or may not have mold, and you need an unbiased inspection team to assess your property.

Hiring a mold removal company right away is a mistake. You might not have a problem with mold, and the contractor could state they did find and remove mold, sticking you with a bill even though they didn't find the mold and didn't do any work.

MI&T is an independent mold inspection company. We'll visit your premises and complete an audit of the air quality in your home. If any pathogens are lurking in rooms, crawlspaces, the basement, or the roof, we'll find it.

If we find mold in your home, we can advise you on the removal process. However, we don't remove mold ourselves. As an independent third party to the removal process, we don't recommend any firms in the area.

However, you get a full report on the status of the air quality in your home and what you need to do to get rid of the problem.

What to Do If You Have Mold After Flooding?

If your home floods and the water recedes, chances are you're going to have someone renovate serious damage to your property. However, there are instances where flood damage might not cause concern for the interior walls or the structure of the building.

As a result, homeowners don't think it's an immediate cause for concern. An example would be a basement draining and drying out naturally. While it may seem like there's no physical damage and no issues, mold can start growing, especially if the basement is dark all the time.

It's critical that you take steps to assess the damage to your property after any flood event. Contacting the professionals at MI&T is the best way to get an accurate inspection of any problems.

If you have an issue with mold on the property, you can usually remove small infestations of less than ten square feet yourself. Read up on techniques used for destroying mold and remediating the air before attempting to attack the mold.

People with suppressed immune systems, infants, and people recovering from surgery should not be at home when mold removal takes place.

Measure Moisture Levels

Going with a professional mold removal company is preferable if you have no experience working with it. However, some people may live in an area with a high risk of mold getting into their homes, such as residences in coastal locations.

As a result, they'll need to learn how to prevent or remove the mold themselves or spend thousands of dollars paying for professional removals over the years.

The first rule of identifying and removing mold yourself is understanding that moisture and mold are best friends. Mold reproduces through releasing spores that land in damp areas. Therefore, controlling moisture levels inside your home is the first step in preventing mold growth in the first place.

If you live in a humid environment, the use of dehumidifiers, air-conditioners, or HVAC systems can help to keep the relative humidity at ideal levels where mold can't grow. For the basement and other areas, keep an eye on them with a hygrometer to measure RH levels, ensuring you're getting airflow and ventilation throughout the roof and other lesser-visited places in the home.

Clean or Remove Moldy Materials

If you discover mold growth, you'll need to clean it away using EPA guidelines for best practices. For semi-porous surfaces like concrete and wood, use cleaning materials like laundry detergent and dishwashing soap. Follow up the cleaning with a cleaning solution of half cup of thin household bleach mixed in a gallon of distilled water.

When cleaning, it's important to note that some furniture and items around the home may be unsalvageable. Prepare yourself to say goodbye to some items, even if they are keepsakes or collectibles.

Some of the common household materials damaged beyond repair in flooding events include insulation, drywall, and carpets. Anything that stays wet for longer than two days is likely to end up growing mold.

Remediate the Air

After you finish cleaning and removing damaged materials from home, it's time to remediate the air. Homeowners may need to call professionals with the right equipment to clean the air in affected rooms. If the homeowner has a problem with the HVAC collecting too many spores, they may need to replace the filters and clean the ducting.

Ideally, you need to get the room to between 30% to 60% relative humidity (RH). Going over 60% invites the mold spores in the room to start producing again. Increase ventilation to the affected space and get the air moving as much as possible.

Keep an Eye on the Air Quality During and After Cleanup

After you finish cleaning, there's a risk that mold may return. You might miss an area, and the mold starts spreading from another location in the home. The spores will return and take to the air again if the following conditions exist in your home.

  • Porous moldy materials like wallboard or drywall break up.

  • Wallpaper housing mold spores strips or peels off.

  • You break into walls exposing infected cavities.

  • You use fans to dry out infected rooms.

Homeowners taking a DIY approach to their mold removal may need to exhaust the air from the room immediately outdoors and seal off the area while they work. Always remember to use respiratory masks and protection when cleaning out mold and remediating the air.

Can Air Purifiers Help with Mold Removal and Air Remediation?

Is it worth getting an air purifier for cleaning out the air in your home after flood damage? To be honest, it's going to have some effect in reducing the number of spores in the air during a mold infestation. However, it's not going to solve the root of the problem, and that's that there's mold growing somewhere in your home.

It's like placing a band-aid on a wound that's too big for the plaster's coverage area, and the blood keeps leaking. It's a slower leak, but you keep bleeding. It would help if you had a sustainable solution for your home, and that starts with identifying the issue using a mold inspection service like MI&T.

Wrapping Up

Every year, thousands of American homes across the country experience flood damage. Don't be one of those homeowners that sit back and ignore a mold infestation in your property. After your home dries out, contact MI&T for an independent air quality check of the air in your home.

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