What To Do After A Hurricane: 3 Methods To Keep The Mold Away
With all of the big hurricanes that have been in the news in the past decade, you may be wondering what to do if a destructive one hits your area and damages your home. If you live on or near a coastline, serious damage from a hurricane is a legitimate concern.
Your roof may be torn off and your windows shattered. Expect to see trees downed in your yard and around your neighborhood, and be prepared to be without power for a while (sometimes weeks at a time). These are all big concerns and obviously need to be fixed as soon as possible. However, your biggest concern after a hurricane should be mold.
Mold forms in wet and damp areas. If your house gets water in it at all during the hurricane, which is likely with roof and window damage (and a sure thing if you live in an area that floods), the chances of mold developing is very high. Mold can cause severe health problems if left untreated. Some types of mold, like black mold, can even kill those with compromised immune systems or other health issues.
You've got to get on the task of preventing mold right away, because mold abatement gets more difficult the longer the mold is allowed to stand. Don't let mold drive you out of your home after a hurricane. Here are three things you can do to help prevent it forming in the first place.
1. Pull Up the Carpet
If your house was flooded, even if you only got a few inches of water inside, your carpet will be saturated with water. You can put fans or dehumidifiers on it to dry it, but mold can start forming right away on those wet fibers. The best thing to do is to pull up the carpet entirely and throw it away. You can always put down new carpet later.
If the floor underneath the carpet is concrete, you're probably safe from mold as soon as the carpet is removed. If it's wood, you will need to thoroughly dry the wood as soon as possible using fans, towels, and whatever else you have on hand. Mold grows easily on wood, but fortunately, drying the wood is easy.
2. Replace Damaged Drywall
Your drywall is another place where mold will grow easily in wet conditions. You will notice drywall that is water damaged very easily. It will either crumble away under your touch, or it will develop brown water stains.
By the time stains start to form, there is probably already mold in the drywall, so it's better to remove and replace it while it's still wet. This will ensure mold doesn't have a chance to take hold in your home.
3. Clean Up the Basement
Basements get flooded during hurricanes. Because this area of your home is dark by nature, it makes the perfect area for mold to grow. Mold loves the dark almost as much as it loves the wet.
Use a shop-vac or companies like http://www.smrestoreutah.com to get the water off of the floor. Then, remove everything from your basement and dry your things out in the sun. Discard damp boxes and replace them with new ones.
Shine bright sun lamps into both areas while running strong, industrial strength fans (rent them if you have to). Keep the drying going on for a few days before moving anything back into these rooms to make sure there is no suitable environment left for the mold.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), mold can be a serious threat to your health. Going through a hurricane is difficult enough as it is. Don't let mold make it harder than it needs to be, or even force you to leave your home entirely (or worse, have it razed). Follow these tips and make sure mold never has the opportunity to call your house its home.