Mold spores are in every house and building and in the air we breathe, but they need a food source and moisture to grow, says Gene Burch, senior project manager at RTK Environmental Group in Hartford, Conn. They can find both in a flooded or humid home. But homeowners can take precautions to minimize any damage:
● Burch recommends a thorough visual inspection of the house to make sure water can escape: Gutters not clogged, water lines properly sealed and the roof in good condition. Water should be able to leave the home’s foundation through drainage or sloped ground away from the house. Dave Ryan, a spokesman for the EPA, says water stains and condensation can indicate a problem.
● Because moisture control is the most effective way to prevent problems, Burch recommends homeowners use both a barometer and a dehumidifier to regulate moisture to keep a safe humidity level at about 50 percent.
● While musty odors may seem normal when it rains, they’re likely an indication of moisture and possible mold growth. Call a remediation service to investigate whether there is a serious issue.
● In an incidence of mold or flooding, Ryan says areas should be cleaned within 24 to 48 hours to prevent mold.
Be sure to wear an N-95 respirator and goggles, long-sleeved shirts, pants and gloves when cleaning up after any flood.
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