Almost a month after Hurricane Sandy ravaged New Jersey,
residents may now face a serious health risk of mold growth that would follow in the wake of last month’s flooding. What can you do about it?
Assess Your Situation
- Was your home or business victim to major flooding damage? In the case of major
water damage or if you suspect sewer back up, be sure to contact a
professional remediator and your local independent agent to answer all of your questions first.
- As a New Jersey homeowner it is highly recommended to have a professional take care of your mold issue. Although until a professional arrives there are some steps that you can take to prevent more damage.
Treating Mold: Dry, Discard, and Defend
Dry – Mold can grow on water-damaged surfaces in as little as 24 to 48 hours. If flooding occurred in your home, take steps to dry affected areas as quickly as possible. Remove excess water with a shop vacuum or water pump. Once the water is removed, use fans to circulate and absorb moisture in the air. If weather permits, open all doors and windows; indoor mold spore counts are typically higher than outdoor counts.
Discard – Throw out water-logged and mold-infested materials that are replaceable, such as carpeting or ceiling tiles. The general rule is: if in doubt, throw it out. If drywall has absorbed water, the drywall should be cut out 12 inches above the water level and replaced once the room has dried out.
Defend – Protect your home against any future mold by taking a couple of steps. First, ensure that the surrounding property is graded so that water is directed away from the foundation. Second, run a dehumidifier to take additional moisture out of the air. Maintain relative indoor humidity between 30 and 50 percent and monitor humidity levels with a hygrometer, an inexpensive device found at many hardware stores.
Wait for the mold professional to arrive, to tie up any loose ends, inspect, and disinfect the area.