8 Ways To Prevent Mold Growth After Flooding

If your home was recently involved in a flood, you have a limited amount of time to act if you want to prevent mold growth. It only takes 24 to 48 hours for mold to start growing, so you must start your cleanup as soon as it is safe to do so. Follow these tips to reduce moisture and prevent mold from growing in flooded areas.

1. Repair damaged plumbing immediately.

If the flood damaged any of the pipes in your home, fixing them should be a priority when you start your water damage cleanup. It doesn't matter how much cleaning you do if you have a leaky pipe dripping water on an already-wet surface. If you don't have a lot of experience fixing leaks, hire a plumber to ensure the repairs are done correctly.

2. Use a dehumidifier to absorb excess moisture.

Dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air using refrigeration or absorption/adsorption. A refrigerator-style dehumidifier sucks moisture out of the air and deposits the moisture in a collection tank. A dehumidifier that uses absorption or adsorption blows hot, moist air through an exhaust duct. If you use the refrigerator-style dehumidifer, be sure to empty the collection tank regularly. 

3. Clean wet items thoroughly.

Any item with a hard surface should be cleaned thoroughly with soap and water to prevent mold growth. This includes toys, silverware, pots and pans, and countertops. Disinfect plastic items by washing them with a chlorine bleach solution and rinsing them thoroughly. Bleach reacts with metals, so do not use the bleach solution to clean pots and pans, silverware, or other items. 

4. Use heavy-duty fans to eliminate excess moisture.

A good way to get rid of moisture quickly is to run heavy-duty fans in the affected area. A small box fan or stand fan is not likely to have much of an effect, so rent large fans from a flood cleanup company if necessary. Before plugging in the fans, make sure that none of your electrical outlets were damaged by the flooding.

5. Discard contaminated items.

Items that cannot be cleaned thoroughly should be thrown away to prevent mold from spreading. Dispose of soggy books, soaked carpeting, wet drywall, and wet papers immediately. If you can't bear to part with wet photographs, rinse them off right away and put them in a plastic bag to prevent further damage. Put a sheet of wax paper between photographs to keep them from sticking together.

6. Put a desiccant in your drawers and closets.

You may not be able to use a fan or dehumidifier to try out every area of your house, particularly closets and enclosed spaces. Desiccants such as clay-based kitty litter and calcium chloride pellets draw moisture out of the air, making them a good alternative. Put desiccants in drawers, closets, and far-off corners of the basement.

7. Cover water pipes and other surfaces with insulation.

When humid air comes into a cold surface, condensation forms, increasing the amount of moisture in the area. To prevent mold growth around plumbing fixtures, cover your pipes with insulation. This will prevent humid air from coming into contact with the pipe, eliminating water droplets that can fuel mold growth.

8. Replace insulation that cannot be cleaned.

If you have Styrofoam insulation, you should be able to hose it off and let it dry, provided it did not sustain any damage during the flood. It is also possible to dry insulation made from fiberglass as long as it is not too muddy. If you have cellulose insulation, it must be replaced after a flood. Cellulose holds a lot of moisture, so it is difficult to dry out enough to prevent mold growth.

Mold can cause respiratory problems such as wheezing, coughing, sore throat, and flu-like symptoms. It is especially dangerous for people who have allergies, asthma, and compromised respiratory systems. If you cannot complete these tasks in a reasonable amount of time, hire one of the water damage companies in your area, such as All American Repair Services Inc.