With so many sources of water damage like leaks, flooding, overflowing bathtubs, or burst pipes, most people will experience one or the other at some point. One of the most unsettling effects of water damage is mold. If you are not cautious regarding how to prevent Mold and don't apply preventive measures soon after addressing the water source, you will have to worry about mold infestation.
Here are some guidelines to follow within 48 hours to discourage mold growth after the water damage.
How to Prevent Mold in 7 Simple Steps
- Turn Off Electricity
Turn off the electricity in the flooded area. Water and electricity should not meet. You need to shut off the breaker at the panel to prevent the wiring in the walls or ceiling from getting wet.
- Ventilate Early and Dehumidify
Mold loves trapped, stagnant air. It builds the humid conditions needed for its growth.
- Open up windows and doors to allow air exchange.
- Run fans and dehumidifiers to begin the drying process. Fans help maintain the air dry and moving, while dehumidifiers extract moisture from the space thoroughly.
Tip: Mold loves moisture, and also moisture is found in the air after a flood or other water damage. If a ventilator is available, switch it on right away.
- Clear Water Damage
While the area is drying out, speed up the process by pulling out any wet items. These may be draperies, storage boxes, and more. As many of these items have been submerged in water, wear gloves when disposing of or cleaning black water-damaged items.
- Some can still be salvaged, dried, cleaned, disinfected, and monitored for microbial growth.
- Throw away and replace completely those that have been wet beyond 36 hours or are badly damaged.
- Cleaning and Disinfecting Salvageable Items
The salvaged items will have to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected since they came into contact with unclean water. For the best results,
- Wash all these surfaces with hot water and a non-ammonia detergent.
- Use a scrub brush for hard and rough finishes like concrete.
- After this, disinfect all surfaces with a 10% bleach solution.
- Leave the solution on the surface for at least 10 minutes before rinsing the area with water.
- Remove Carpeting and Upholstered Furniture
If water damage is severe, it may be tempting to try and salvage your wet carpets and furniture. In most cases, however, water-damaged carpet/upholstery is a lost cause. Once soaked, these materials are tough to get completely dry. You will have to remove and replace the padding as they will become a perfect place for mold growth in their wet state. However, if not saturated in the flood, direct fans toward the carpet, padding, and subfloor.
- Take Out That Damaged Drywall.
- If you have had your areas of your home, e.g. basement, specifically waterproofed with unique materials, you might not need to remove anything from the wall.
- If a standard drywall installation has been soaked in flood, replace the panels affected. Otherwise, they'll rot and become infested with mold, which will then spread. It's the same way with the other types of ceiling panels.
Tip: If replacing drywall, consider selecting a board that contains mold and moisture inhibitors.
- Dry Wood Framing
Wood studs are salvageable after water damage as long as they can complete the drying process. No quick drying with heaters or heat guns is allowed. Use a moisture meter to confirm if the wood is completely dry before adding drywall.
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