FLOOD RESPONSE - WATER DAMAGE AND MOLD HOW DO I PROPERLY CLEAN UP MY HOME IF IT HAS BEEN FLOODED OR HAS WATER DAMAGE? First, make sure electricity and natural gas or propane tanks are shut down. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that electricity and MOLD AND WATER DAMAGE FROM FLOOD RESPONSE natural gas or propane tanks be shut down when returning to a flooded home.

Affected residents should use battery-powered flashlights instead of candles after dark in case a gas leak has occurred. Avoid wading in standing water. I’M CONCERNED ABOUT MOLD. IS IT A HAZARD AFTER WATER DAMAGE? Molds can produce toxins. There is always a little mold everywhere – in the air MOLD AND WATER DAMAGE FROM FLOOD RESPONSE and on many surfaces. 

However, when mold spores drop on places where there is excessive moisture, MOLD AND WATER DAMAGE FROM FLOOD RESPONSE especially from flooding, they will attach themselves to many things and grow. Many building materials such as wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, and fabric (and others) support mold growth. WHO IS AT RISK FOR REACTING TO MOLDS? 

Mold exposure doesn’t always present health problems indoors. People who have allergies MOLD AND WATER DAMAGE FROM FLOOD RESPONSE or those whose immune system is compromised are most at risk. Symptoms may be minor irritations such as nasal stuffiness or eye irritation or more severe reactions such as fever, shortness of breath or infections. 

HOW DO I DISINFECT MY HOME? Fully disinfecting a home after it is flooded is critical, particularly where small children will eventually crawl on or touch affected surfaces. The CDC recommends that all walls, MOLD AND WATER DAMAGE FROM FLOOD RESPONSE hard-surfaced floors and household surfaces be cleaned and disinfected with soap, water and bleach (check CDC's Cleaning and Sanitizing with Bleach after the Flood and Get Rid of Mold for specific instructions). 

Most household cleaning products will do the job if used correctly. Check the label for directions on which materials it can safely be used on and how much to use. Follow all directions and safety precautions. If possible, MOLD AND WATER DAMAGE FROM FLOOD RESPONSE ventilate the area while using any cleaning products. Belongings that cannot be washed in hot water or dry cleaned, such as mattresses or upholstered furniture, should be air-dried in the sun and sprayed with disinfectant. 

Carpets should be steam-cleaned and residents should wear boots and rubber gloves while cleaning, MOLD AND WATER DAMAGE FROM FLOOD RESPONSE especially if any kind of sewage backflow occurred during flooding. CAN I SALVAGE EVERYTHING? No. Not everything is going to be salvageable and capable of reuse. Certain building materials (drywall, paneling, carpet , furniture) damaged by prolonged exposure to moisture may have to be discarded. 

HOW DO I KNOW WHAT TO CLEAN FIRST? Start with one room at a time beginning with a wall at the bottom MOLD AND WATER DAMAGE FROM FLOOD RESPONSE or wherever the worst damage occurred. The American Red Cross suggests the following two-bucket approach: use one bucket for the cleaning solution and the other for the rinse water. Replace the rinse water frequently. 

WHAT SUPPLIES WILL I NEED? You may need rubber gloves, cleaning products and disinfectants, buckets, hose, rags, plastic trash bags, brooms, mops or sponges, hair dryers MOLD AND WATER DAMAGE FROM FLOOD RESPONSE or fans. Use caution when using electrical items in a damp or wet area. What are molds? Molds are small organisms found almost everywhere both outdoors and indoors. 

Molds reproduce by tiny, lightweight spores that drift in the air. Mold spores can survive for a long time. Molds can grow indoors on damp surfaces. Mold growth can be colored orange, white, green, brown MOLD AND WATER DAMAGE FROM FLOOD RESPONSE or black. How can mold become a problem in my home? Molds grow in damp places. 

Sources of indoor dampness include: flooding, leaky roofs, sprinkler spray hitting the house, humidifiers, damp basement or crawl spaces, leaky pipes, house plants, steam from showers, MOLD AND WATER DAMAGE FROM FLOOD RESPONSE saunas or cooking, wet clothes, clothes dryers vented indoors, and appliances (like stoves) not exhausted outdoors. How do you know if you have a mold problem? 

If you can see mold or smell an earthy, musty odor, MOLD AND WATER DAMAGE FROM FLOOD RESPONSE you probably have a mold problem. What are the potential health effects of indoor mold growth? High levels of exposure to some molds may cause illness in susceptible people. Typical symptoms include nasal and sinus congestion, eye irritation, dry or hacking cough, nose or throat irritation, and skin rashes or irritation. 

A physician should be contacted if you have questions regarding symptoms associated with mold exposure. Should I test my home for mold? Testing is not recommended as a first step to determine if you have a mold problem. If visible mold is present, MOLD AND WATER DAMAGE FROM FLOOD RESPONSE sampling is not usually necessary. Proper sampling for mold is expensive and requires special equipment. 

In addition, federal standards for judging acceptable or tolerable quantities of mold have not been established. Since the Department of Health does not provide mold sampling services, MOLD AND WATER DAMAGE FROM FLOOD RESPONSE residents must hire an environmental contractor to do the sampling. Mold inspection and cleanup is the duty of the homeowner. 

What should I do if I find mold in my home? If mold is growing in your home, you should clean it up and fix the moisture problem. If you clean up the mold, but do not fix the moisture problem, MOLD AND WATER DAMAGE FROM FLOOD RESPONSE the mold will usually return. Normally, mold can be removed by cleaning with bleach and water (see the EPA's "A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home”). 

Large amounts of mold may require the expertise of a professional contractor. How do I prevent indoor mold problems in my home? Fix plumbing leaks MOLD AND WATER DAMAGE FROM FLOOD RESPONSE and other water problems as soon as possible. Dry all items completely. Scrub mold off surfaces with detergent and dry completely. Throw out moldy carpets and moldy ceiling tiles. Clean and repair roof gutters regularly.  

Keep air conditioner drip pans and drain lines clean and unobstructed. Keep indoor humidity low (below 60%) Vent appliances that produce moisture. (i.e. clothes dryers, stoves) Use air conditioners MOLD AND WATER DAMAGE FROM FLOOD RESPONSE and/or de-humidifiers when necessary. Run bathroom fan or open window when showering, cooking, washing dishes or running the dishwasher. 

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