In the face of changing weather patterns and intensifying storms, the risk of water damage and subsequent mold growth is on the rise. Mold requires four key elements to thrive: moisture, food (usually starch or sugar), a temperature between 41° and 104°, and oxygen. In an indoor environment, temperature and oxygen conditions are almost always met. Food sources can be found in the paper backing of drywall or even in water particles, making the introduction of moisture into the wall cavity a serious concern.
Here are some crucial steps to prevent mold growth:
- Immediate Drying: Aim to clean and dry areas exposed to water within 48 hours to help prevent mold growth.
- Heed Warning Signs: After cleaning and drying, remain alert to musty odors in the affected area.
- Inspect the Exterior: Regularly check the outside of homes and buildings for accumulating groundwater. When the ground is saturated, mold can start to form outside and make its way inside.
- Remove Damaged Materials: If materials are wet and can’t be thoroughly cleaned or dried, remove them from the building and replace them with new materials that may be more mold-resistant.
When replacing drywall, consider choosing a board that contains mold and moisture inhibitors. Many people are sensitive to mold, and it can pose a health risk. Be sure to check for mold diligently, especially if this is your first encounter with water inside your home or building. Use a blend of common sense and caution – if it smells or looks bad, assume that it is bad and take appropriate measures.