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Contending a lingering problem after Hurricane Harvey: mold

After Hurricane Harvey made landfall, people throughout the state of Texas had to face the aftermath. The storm wreaked havoc on homes and businesses throughout the state, and while, for the most part, the damage has been cleaned up, many property owners are still contending with a lingering problem: mold.

Ed and Candy Mathiasen spend months making their way around the maze that had become their living room. The storm left more than 20 inches of water for a period of 3 days in their Friendswood home. The couple had to move their furniture into the middle of their living room while the water was cleaned up.

With the help of volunteers, the Mathiasen’s had to remove wet drywall and insulation from their home after Harvey hit. The couple had to live in their gutted home with fans and dehumidifiers running around the clock in every room for seven weeks. Ed would inspect several spots in the house multiple times a day to determine how well their house was drying out. Prior to Harvey, Ed, a 74-year-old retired NASA engineer had never heard of a moisture meter. Now, not only does he know what a moisture meter is and how to use it, but he has his own.

In order to get the house back to normal, the Mathiasen’s first had to get everything dry – or at least as dried out as possible. The objective was to get the moisture level to 15 percent or lower. Once moisture levels reach that percentage, experts say that it is safe to continue moving forward with reconstruction. Starting to rebuild when moisture levels are any higher than 15 percent significantly increases the risk for mold growth.

While Hurricane Harvey may be long gone, countless homeowners throughout the area are still contending with flood damage, mold abatement, and repairs. It is estimated that more than 136,000 homes and other buildings in the area were impacted by Harvey’s flooding.

Though many property owners have brought in contractors to complete the reconstruction process and have replaced the furnishings that have been damaged, realtors and mold testing and inspection experts say that the damage of the hurricane is likely to be felt for years to come.

Keller-Williams Metropolitan Realtor, Bettina Garnero, said that her industry is trying to figure out how properly handle the sales and purchases of properties in the post-flooding period.

“The biggest change we’ve seen is the fact that instead of a seller’s disclosure that property took on water, they’re asking for supplemental disclosure about Harvey, how affected it was, how much water was on the property or in the home. There’s no regulation other than that,” said Garnero. Mold thrives in damp, warm, and dark locations, putting the properties that were impacted by Harvey’s floods at high-risk for mold growth.

Mold Inspection & Testing Dallas has vast experience performing mold tests in homes and businesses in Dallas and the surrounding areas. We strongly encourage property owners to schedule mold testing – whether through MI&T or another reputable third-part mold testing company. To speak with an MI&T representative, please call 972.559.4115.