As weather patterns change and storms become more intense and prevelent, the potential for water damage and subsequent mold growth increases as well. Entire areas of the country are suddenly dealing with moisture problems that never had to deal with them before.
Conditions for mold growth
Water in your home or building is a disconcerning thought and for good reason, unattended moisture an lead to mold growth.
Mold needs four things to grow:
- Moisture (liquid water)
- Food (typically starch or sugar)
- Temperature between 41° and 104°
The conditions of temperature and oxygen are almost always met in an indoor environment. Food sources can easily be found in the paper backing of the drywall or even in particles in the water making the addition of moisture into the wall cavity something that should be addressed right away.
Steps to Prevent Mold Growth
Weather the water damage is the result of a storm surge or a leaky faucet, when water is trapped behind walls or paneling, the elements needed for mold growth will most likely be present. It is best to take action at this time to mitigate the damage and prevent mold growth from occuring.
Dry areas immediately. Try to clean and dry areas subjected to water within 48 hours to help prevent mold growth.
Be aware or warning signs. After cleaning and drying, continue to be sensitive to musty odors in the affected area.
Take look outside. Check the exterior of homes and buildings regularly for accumulating ground water. When the ground is saturated mold can begin to form outside and find its way inside. If water is accumulating against your foundation, take measures to drain the water away from your building. Keeping things dry is the key to preventing mold growth.
Remove damaged materials. If materials are wet and can’t be cleaned or completely dried, remove them from the building and replace them with new materials which may be more mold resistant. Fiber glass doesn’t have the food needed for mold growth but often when insulation gets wet, the water which intruded into the cavity was dirty and brought food along with it. If you have wet insulation, replace it with new mold resistant insulation.
If replacing drywall, consider selecting a board that that contains mold and moisture inhibitors. Many people have sensitivities to mold and it can be a health concern. Make sure that you take extra care to check for mold especially if this is the first time you are dealing with water inside your home or building. Use a mixture of common sense and caution- if it smells or looks bad assume that it is bad and take appropriate measures.