As the winter thaw gets underway, memories of recent New England springs bring with it the fear of finding that puddle, or lake, in the basement. Last spring will go on record in my neighborhood as the worst basement flooding we’ve ever experienced. With a combination of relentless rain storms and still-thawing ground, the water table rose causing many homeowners who had never experienced flooding to have to bail out. Of course, with flooding, comes the dreaded mold, and after weeks of back-breaking labor, the water and mold removal was still underway as the forecast repeatedly called for rain.
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Neighbors pitched in to help neighbors and teens earned extra cash helping older residents pull sodden treasures and trash though their bulkheads. The mold remediation process was a long one requiring patience and perseverance. But the time, effort and money invested in removing the water and mold was essential to restoring the healthy air quality to our homes. The first step was to remove the standing water as quickly as possible. Sump pumps vanished from retailer shelves and houses sprouted plastic tubes to channel the water to the streets. The lessons learned about removing contaminated materials and reducing humidity and moisture are vital reminders of the importance of avoiding and removing the mold which can ensue. Taking the proper steps toward mold remediation is essential to the long-term air quality within your home.
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Getting the water out is crucial for avoiding growth of the mold which can cause disease, trigger allergic reactions, and continue to damage materials long after the flood.
Whatever got wet and can not be thoroughly cleaned and dried within 24-48 hours should be discarded. It can be very hard to throw away items with sentimental value. But the EPA highly recommends it as an essential way to reduce the chances of mold continuing to grow and cause damage.
Drying out what remains is an equally important part of the process. This includes all surfaces affected by the water: flooring, plaster, sheetrock, furniture, carpets, etc. Microorganisms brought into the home during flooding may present a health hazard. These organisms can penetrate into soaked, porous materials and later be released into air or water. Coming in contact with air or water that contains these organisms can make you sick. High humidity and moist materials provide ideal environments for the excessive growth of mold. Long-term increases in humidity in the home can also foster the growth of dust mites. Dust mites are a major cause of allergic reactions and asthma. Mold remediation is necessary to restore your home to its healthiest state.