Flooding can occur for a variety of reasons, from plumbing or appliance failure, to a weather or construction related problems. Regardless of the underlying cause, proper cleaning and drying are essential to preventing mold from growing, leading to long term problems with the building. The following tips can help efficiently dry and treat flood damage to prevent mold growth.
The first step to getting started is ensuring you have the proper tools and safety gear in order to avoid accidents or accidental exposure to dangerous substances. These items should include:
- Rubber Gloves
- Safety Goggles
- N95 Face Mask
- Rubber Boots
Once you have the necessary safety equipment, it’s important to check the external structure of the home before going in, especially if the flooding was severe and long lasting. If the house was in a disaster area it might also be a good idea to make sure the electricity is off in the building to avoid accidental electrocution. Make sure you work with a partner to ensure you have help in case of an accident, or exposure to fumes that can cause you to pass out or become disoriented.
The first step is to promote air movement by opening up the windows and doors and bringing in as many fans as are available to keep air flow strong and speed up drying time. Dehumidifiers are also important to help draw the moisture out of the air and bring the house back to dry. Once that is done, you can begin with the cleaning of the house to remove dirt, residue and buildup that can lead to mold growth or hazardous living conditions.
It’s important to check hidden insulation cavities that might be soaked through, holding water for weeks and causing problems down the line if they aren’t dealt with. Check duct cavities as well for signs of moisture, and if they have been flooded they should be cleaned thoroughly in order to avoid bringing mold spores into the house through the ventilation system. Plywood and Sheetrock should also be checked to determine damage level, and in the event of long standing flooding they will most likely have to be changed as they will not survive or dry out properly.
Interior basement walls will also have to be removed in order to properly clean and treat the outer concrete walls to remove residue, properly dry, and avoid mold growth. The exterior wall will need to be dried, and cleaned thoroughly before rebuilding. The basement is an area that is prone to moisture build up, so using a dehumidifier there is a good idea to speed up drying time, minimizing the chance of mold settling in and becoming an issue.
If your home, office or other building has been damaged due to flooding, proper clean-up is essential to preventing mold, and ensuring it is a safe environment for people to be in. Proper cleaning, drying, and ensuring air circulation is all essential to avoiding long term mold problems.