Mold is the single most common byproduct of water damage in a home or business. It appears rapidly, usually within 48 – 72 hours following a water damage event. If the water damage is sewage based, expect it to show up sooner. Many homes have mold and they actually choose to do nothing about it. This author even grew up in a home with a moldy basement that went untreated for years.
Is this smart? Not exactly. While mold isn’t likely to kill you in spite of all the myths, it still makes for unpleasant sights and smells at best, and may trigger serious allergic reactions at worst. Any sort of mold growth in your home needs to be cleaned up promptly in order to avoid future problems.
Underestimating mold is a serious mistake. Like us, it is a living thing and actually has a survival and reproductive instinct. You may clean it up, but if you want it to go away, then you need to take steps to prevent the problem from coming back.
Many times, mold may be effectively remediated by homeowners, but once the growth gets beyond 10 square feet, then it is time to call in a professional . Any organic or absorbent materials need to be thrown out, because you will not be able to get the mold out of these materials. Smaller infestations may be cleaned up using commercially available cleaners, but make sure that the area is properly ventilated and be sure to wear protective clothing, especially gloves and eyewear.
Mold needs three things to grow unimpeded: the organic matter on which it feeds, sufficient warmth, and high levels of moisture on surfaces and in the surrounding air. Once the mold has been destroyed, you need to properly treat the affected area by improving ventilation and bringing humidity levels down below 45% or so. Control moisture by fixing any leaky pipes or windows, roofing and siding, and remove any standing water. You may need to run a dehumidifier to fully control the moisture levels in the home.
Remember, killing the mold is only the first step in the mold remediation process. Be sure to treat your home to make sure that the problem does not return.