Water Damage? Beware of Mold. 10 Tips.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of water – a refreshing drink, a way to stay cool, something that keeps your garden healthy? While water is all of those things, it can also cause damage and health issues (mold), and all in a short period of time.

Key_ImageOne of the keys to preventing damage and mold from water is to act quickly. As always, use your best judgment in considering these methods and consult a professional as needed.


Water Damage Facts and Ways to Help Prevent It

  • Be aware of sources of possible water damage: Melting snow, heavy rain, sewer system overflow, ice damming or condensation from activities like cooking or showering.
  • When remodeling or building, consider the following: Choose wood-based over paper-backed products for walls (e.g., use wainscoting instead of drywall).
  • Place electrical outlets higher up on walls to avoid contact with water (in the event of a flood).
  • Choose area rugs – you can roll them up and remove them if a flood threatens, or remove them and dry them out after a flood.
  • Place electronics on higher shelves or keep them up off the floor.
  • Choose plastic storage options for important records or papers, or store them on a higher floor.

Facts About Mold

The resource list below is from the Environmental Protection Agency and it provides a helpful list about mold and the issues associated with it:

  • Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complaints.
  • There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
  • If mold is a problem, it’s important to clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
  • Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
  • Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by: venting bathrooms, dryers and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing and cleaning.
  • Clean and dry damp/wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
  • Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
  • Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
  • In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting.
  • Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.

KEY FACT: Starting water damage clean-up as soon as possible increases the likelihood of saving water-soaked items and preventing mold growth.