Flood or water damage? Taking the right steps is essential to preventing mold from growing and safeguarding insurance reimbursement. A common occurrence following moisture-related damage, noxious mold can start wreaking havoc on the structure and contents of your home – and your health – as little as 24-hours after flood damage occurs.
7 Steps to Prevent Mold After a Flood:
- Stay Safe.
Eager to learn how to prevent mold from growing? Safety is critical. Even water that appears clear is likely contaminated with chemicals, bacteria, and fungi, which can multiply very quickly. Waterproof waders, boots, and gloves are a necessity to avoid these contaminants.
- Act Fast – Contact Your Insurance Carrier.
Resist the urge to clean up, first contacting your insurance carrier. If you’ve experienced a community-wide disaster, contacting the national line versus your overwhelmed local agent may speed things up. Ensure removing/discarding/cleaning damaged items will not affect insurance coverage. Cleaning before calling and documenting damage could affect coverage limits. Follow your insurer’s instructions precisely as to whether to wait or commence with cleanup. Document all conversations.
- Take Inventory.
Take photos and video of damage from all angles to for your insurance carrier, paying particular attention to high-ticket items and areas of extensive damage. Make a room-by-room list. You cannot be too detailed or take too much footage.
- Begin the Drying Process.
Moisture from the flood, heat, and nutrients in the form of your home’s structure and contents present the perfect opportunity for mold proliferation, which disperses quickly throughout your home via spores in the air. The longer these conditions continue, the longer mold will have to grow, spread, and take hold, and the more difficult cleanup will be. Time is of the essence in mold prevention and post-flood cleanup:
- Ensure electrical safety.
Do not turn on electricity or use any electrical appliances until you are sure it is safe to do so! If you’re unsure, contact a Rainbow International professional.
- Quickly remove as much moisture as possible.
After the okay from your insurance carrier, open doors and windows to increase circulation. Then begin removing standing water with a sump pump. Run a fan, considering the rental of industrial models and dehumidifiers to increase circulation and speed the drying process.
- Remove damaged, wet materials ASAP.
Such as insulation, drywall, carpet, furniture, and appliances. You can attempt to dry/salvage select items, but doing so increases the risk of mold.
- Get to work with a wet/dry vac.
Vacuum up remaining moisture trapped in nooks and crannies that your sump pump did not evacuate.
- Clean hard surfaces.
Mix 1/4 cup bleach and 1 gallon hot water and wipe down all surfaces.
- Continue drying.
Continue directing warm, dry air into the damaged area until everything is completely dry.
Continue taking photos/video to track the cleanup process for insurance purposes.
- Ensure electrical safety.
- Sort Essentials.
All food or water that has come into contact with storm flood waters must be disposed of, including sealed cans and drink bottles. Only dry items are salvageable. When in doubt, throw it out! NOTE: In an area-wide flood, boil all water until local authorities declare it safe.
- Watch for Signs of Mold Contamination:
- Earthy, musty, or foul odors.
- Discoloration of home surfaces, such as ceilings and walls, indicating the need to repair structural damage.
- Enlist Professional Assistance
Flood damaged homes require special attention for safe and effective mold removal. Enlisting professional restoration help is strongly recommended. Each and every surface of your home must be cleaned with specific solutions to prevent mold damage and ensure health and safety.
A professional post-disaster flood cleanup service can help you…
- Ensure adequate ventilation or the need for added circulation in troublesome areas.
- Employ rapid structural drying techniques when necessary.
- Decide if any areas require containment/isolation to prevent the spread of mold/bacteria.
- Determine if your HVAC system has been contaminated.
- Reduce the likelihood of overlooked/improperly removed mold colonies that could result in health issues and further structural damage.
- Apply biocides as necessary to prevent the spread of mold and bacteria.
- Identify/address sewage-related biological hazards.
- Quickly assess salvageable home content and structural materials: Porous items remaining wet beyond 48-hours that cannot be thoroughly cleaned and dried should be disposed of, including:
- Upholstery & leather
- Floor & ceiling tiles
- Wood & fibrous materials
- Some clothing
- Test your home for successful mold removal on completion.
Flood issues growing on you? Rainbow International® is here to help, with the tools, tech, and training for the fast, effective remediation of post-flood contamination and damage. Ensure the health and safety of your home and family. Contact us today.