Dealing with Water Damage and Mold Growth

The two giant problems in the land of property ownership. Homeowners often get tired of tackling the issue of water damage and mold growth because it seems like a never-ending problem that seems to occur concurrently with each other, although some text place mold growth frequency after homeowners have experienced a form of water damage or the other.

Water damage can result from a number of circumstances, be it from just the routine spills that occur during shower, broken pipes, leaking roofs, defrosting of refrigerators, faulty washing machines, and dishwater or frank major flooding from storms. It is important to know that most of this may lead to household accidents, structural damage or even property loss although at different rates of progression.

Mold growth, on the other hand, stems from a lot of causes that are associated with water damage. Mainly increased indoor humidity provides an opportunity for mold to grow which can result from leaking pipes, leaks in the roof, poor ventilation, flooding, among others. This is no wonder that water damage and mold tend to go hand in hand as it has been said, you cannot find one without the other.

To go after these ‘siblings in the arm’, the best strategy would be prevention. Since they go hand in hand, when there is water damage, one should expect indoor mold growth, so it is best to prepare against the two. So that when there is some form of flooding due to forces beyond your control, you would be able to restore your home promptly and effectively while anticipating mold growth, prevent it. Avoidance of all predisposing and risk factors to establishing mold growth and water damage in your home, and when there are warning signs such as leaking roofs, dampness, or the musty smell of room or home, etc, do not ignore it. The preventive strategies to follow include:

 For Water Damage

  • Ensure proper water drainage – clean your gutters, direct downspouts ten feet away from your home and e ground surrounding your property should slope to channel water away from your property.
  • Fix water leaks- inspect your roofs for missing or damaged shingles, any dripping pipe should be reported, check for dark spots on carpets or flooring on any area under pipes or ceilings.
  • Use of sump pumps.
  • Use of sandbags, in areas prone to heavy rainfall. To divert the flow of the water.
  • Prevent frozen pipes- by insulating the pipes, keeping the temperature at 55 degrees F.
  • Get insured for flood and water damages.

For Mold Growth

since mold needs a damp environment to go, the following should be deemed useful:

  • Clean out any unwanted water, fluid as a result of flooding, burst pipes as soon as possible, and stop leaks or shut off pipes if possible.
  • Ventilate the home.
  • Control indoor humidity levels.
  • Use of dehumidifiers, fans, air conditioners to take the excess moist air out of the atmosphere.
  • Remove contaminated materials and the items that cannot be restored because they have a higher possibility if being colonized by mold, hence, there is no sense in holding on to something that can potentially endanger your life and that of your family.
  • Sanitize affected area that has experienced some form of water damage and the use of mold deterrent substances.

Despite adhering strictly to several preventive strategies, there would come a time whereby, the home gets damaged by water-related causes be it from broken pipes or a major storm. During circumstances like this, decisions regarding whether to save the property or discard it arises, while thinking about preventing mold growth or if it has occurred, eradicating it.

  • To tackle water damage, the following steps can help.
  • Stop the flow of water if it is from a burst pipe.
  • Turn off the electricity, ensure your safety.
  • Assess the damage to know if there is any salvageable material amongst them or if you would have to discard the item. This decision has to be made quickly to leave little room for the growth of mold which occurs 24-48 hours after mold growth. Also, take photos and videos capturing all the angles of the damaged property to show the insurance company when you make your claim. Report your claims promptly too.
  • Remove your valuable possessions before they are further damaged.
  • Clean up the water- You do not have to wait until the insurance company contacts the contractors to do the needful in restoring your house. Because the longer the water stays on your flooring, carpets, and other property, the more it damages it. So wear your protective gear, the rubber boots, face masks, gloves before you attempt to remove the water depending on the amount of water spillage, and the type of material being cleaned, you could go manual, using rags and bucket or if there is power, use a wet vacuum.
  • Clean up the broken glass, nails, sand, debris, and other materials taking care not to hurt yourself.
  • Drying- This should also be done based on the manufacturer’s recommendation for the material. Usually, letting sunlight do the drying work is usually advised but also subject to the weather. Do not use any appliance until they are completely dry or risk electrocution.
  • After you have done your best in damage control, leave the rest to a professional.

Mold growth is usually superimposed with water damage. Mold is sneaky and is not readily noticed until very visible (which is on a sometimes basis). They often leave off some musty smell which could be a sign that you have indoor mold. To get rid of the mold, you would need to:

  • Check out the mold, if it is something that you can clean, by all means, go ahead. But if it is not, then consider hiring a professional.
  • Protect yourself with face masks, rubber gloves, and boots. The concept of safety first in this process cannot be overemphasized because mold not only affects your home structure but your health as well and such close contact with them during their removal can trigger respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, sneezing, precipitate an asthmatic attack among others.
  • Remove any moisture from carpets, flooring, other surfaces.
  • Dry out.
  • Clean up mold using 10 percent bleach. For non-porous surfaces, use with water; for porous surfaces combine with detergent. Scrub with a brush or rag taking care not to destroy the material that you are trying to protect. Wipe clean with a damp rag after about 5-10 minutes.
  • Stop cleaning if you are showing signs of mold exposure.

In conclusion, water damage and mold growth can be detrimental to a home, structurally and functionally, luckily, the issues that it exposes one to can be effectively dealt with.

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