The first step is to assess the severity of the 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 insurance company. If homeowners feel they can handle the project or don’t want to wait until they can get a mold remediator to work on the job, there are some steps they can take. "Homeowners can eliminate mold and help prevent it from returning by following four simple steps," said Brian Bacik, CEO of Planet People™, a manufacturer of non-toxic, high-performance cleaning products for homeowners and professionals. "At Planet People, we advise consumers to follow the "Four Ds" to mitigate and defend against mold after a flood: Dry, Discard, Deactivate, 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.
- Deactivate - Use an EPA-registered, non-toxic solution like Concrobium Mold Control® to fight remaining indoor mold. This innovative "2-in-1" solution eliminates mold and prevents it from coming back, and it contains no bleach or other harmful chemicals. It's important to treat hidden areas in a home such as crawlspaces, closets and under furniture to be sure they remain mold-free. Special fogger units, which mist Concrobium Mold Control into the air, can be used to treat large or inaccessible spaces such as basements and attics. Foggers are available for rent at home improvement stores in the tool rental department.
- 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. Lastly, help prevent future mold growth by applying Concrobium Mold Control to vulnerable surfaces.
Following the "Four Ds" will help alleviate the mold issues that many homeowners are facing after Hurricane Sandy. For additional tips on mold control and to download a mold prevention checklist, please visit http://www.concrobium.com/ or http://curemymold.com/.