After a severe weather event such as Hurricane Irma, it is important to remember that the excess moisture and standing water can contribute to mold growth in homes, businesses and other buildings. When building materials, furniture, carpeting, etc. get wet, they can provide sources of food for mold spores. Removing mold safely and quickly by reducing the amount of moisture in the home, will help prevent additional mold growth. Please refer here for more information about indoor mold.
Know the signs of mold in your home:
-Mold can be recognized by sight such as spots on the walls and may be different colors.
-Mold can be recognized by smell such as strong musty earthy odors even if you don’t see any signs of mold.
-Remember mold can be hidden behind walls and under floors.
Health effects from mold exposure are also possible:
-stuffy nose, irritate eyes, wheezing or skin irritation
-Those who are allergic could have difficulty breathing or have shortness of breath
-If you or a family member is having health problems after mold exposure, please contact a health care provider.
When cleaning wet or moldy items after a severe weather event:
-Be sure it is first safe to enter your home.
-Try to dry out your home as quickly as possible to stop additional growth or to prevent it altogether.
-Water damage specialists or mold remediation companies have experience with cleaning up flooded homes.
-At a minimum, a maintenance/service professional with experience in mold clean-up can check your home heating, ventilation and air-condition system
If you choose to clean-up yourself:
-Protect yourself by wearing an N-95 or N-100 mask while cleaning your home
-Non-porous, hard surfaced items can be cleaned using soap and water and disinfected with a bleach solution of no more than ½ a cup of bleach in one gallon of water
-Porous materials soak up water quickly and easily. Items that cannot be dried thoroughly within 24-48 hours of exposure to water are more difficult to disinfect and may need replacing.
-Ensure wood studs are completely dry before reinstalling wall boards
-Use plastic to protect other items of your home from coming in contact with mold spores while cleaning including sealing off nearby HVAC ducts.
-In most cases, if mold growth is visible, sampling is unnecessary.
-If sampling is conducted to determine if an area has been adequately cleaned or remediated, it should be conducted by professionals who have experience in designing mold sampling protocols and methods, and should follow analytical methods recommended by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), or other professional organizations.