As weather patterns change and storms become more intense, the potential for water damage and subsequent mold growth increases. Mold needs four things to grow: moisture, food (typically starch or sugar), temperature between 41° and 104°, and oxygen. The conditions of temperature and oxygen are almost always met in an indoor environment. Food sources can easily be found in the paper backing of the drywall or even in particles in the water, making the addition of moisture into the wall cavity something that should be addressed right away.
Here are some steps to prevent mold growth:
- Dry areas immediately: Try to clean and dry areas subjected to water within 48 hours to help prevent mold growth.
- Be aware of warning signs: After cleaning and drying, continue to be sensitive to musty odors in the affected area.
- Take a look outside: Check the exterior of homes and buildings regularly for accumulating ground water. When the ground is saturated, mold can begin to form outside and find its way inside.
- Remove damaged materials: If materials are wet and can’t be cleaned or completely dried, remove them from the building and replace them with new materials which may be more mold resistant.
If replacing drywall, consider selecting a board that contains mold and moisture inhibitors. Many people have sensitivities to mold and it can be a health concern. Make sure that you take extra care to check for mold especially if this is the first time you are dealing with water inside your home or building. Use a mixture of common sense and caution- if it smells or looks bad, assume that it is bad and take appropriate measures.