Immediate water damage cleanup crucial to avoiding mold amid recent flash floods in NC

Investigators

CARY, N.C. (WNCN) — The flash floods that hit the state earlier this week have now receded, but they’ve left behind a messy legacy for some homeowners who must now deal with water damage and mold. 

Once floodwaters have hit you, the cleanup becomes crucial and anything that’s wet can be the breeding ground for mold. 

Mark England, of AdvantaClean of Cary said mold can form quickly.

“It can begin growing within 48 hours if conditions are right,” he said.

Before mold becomes obvious on the outside of the walls, it will breed behind them.

“You won’t see it, but you’ll notice a very musty odor in your house,” he said.

Even if you only got 3-4 inches of water in your house, drywall acts like a wick–sucking up water several feet above the floor line. It will even wet the insulation behind the wall.

“In many cases some of the drywall will have to come out and be repaired,” said England.

Moist wall-to-wall carpet also needs to go.

“The carpet is wet and so is the pad underneath,” said England. It’s just like a sponge and it’s going to collect all that water.

He said, it’s impossible to dry it out, so you have to remove it.

If mold is in a very small and confined area, and you want to tackle it yourself, you will need to take precautions.

“While you’re working on it, you’re going to be stirring it up to a degree,” explained England.

So, do-it-yourselfers need to:

  • Wear an N-95 rated mask or respirator (but remember they are difficult to find right now.) 
  • Wear long pants, a shirt, gloves, boots and goggles 
  • Dispose of all porous items that have been in the water for 48 hours or more 
  • Use a commercial mold control solution. 

England says never use bleach to get rid of mold.

“It actually feeds mold,” he said. “Bleach will take out the mold stain but it’s 80 percent water so it doesn’t kill the spore. The water feeds the spore.”

You should also never paint over mold because that doesn’t kill it, just hides it temporarily.

Large mold problems require professionals who’ll come in, seal off the area, and do a complete remediation.

England says his company will come to your home and do an assessment to tell you if it’s a job you should tackle or if you need expert help.

“If it’s small enough, and you can do it yourself, we will tell you how to do it,” he said.

The EPA also has an extensive mold guide which offers you advice on prevention, cleanup and prevention.

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