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Avoid Mold Growth after Water Damage

No one likes it, but it happens. Somehow, water got into your home from a broken pipe, a leaky ceiling or even extreme humidity. Whether it’s a slow leak or a gushing waterfall, mold can quickly grow within 24 to 48 hours if water damage is left unattended. Proactively protect your home from potential mold growth and resulting bacteria. Here’s how to do it:

1. Identify the source and fix it – It’s imperative to determine where the water is coming from and be sure that it is corrected. Otherwise, you are only postponing more costly repairs, especially if electric is involved. Be sure any electric is turned off before entering the area before attempting to stop the leak. If you are unable to stop the leak yourself, give a plumber or reputable restoration company a call to help identify and rectify the problem.

2. Remove any standing water – Until all water is removed from the area, it will continue to seep into nooks and crannies inviting mold growth, as well as permeate fabrics, carpets and upholstery. Use a wet/dry vac and towels to sop up any standing water you can see. If it is more water than you can handle, call a restoration company for quick service and extraction of all water in the area. With industrial size vacuums, air movers and dehumidifiers, it may actually save you money in the long run by minimizing the long-term damage to your property.  In most cases, it is covered by your insurance.

3. Remove any affected items – Any movable items should be relocated away from the affected area to halt any further damage. Items that show signs of mold growth should be disposed of immediately. Additionally, if sheetrock is wet and damaged, it needs to be cut out and disposed. Untreated, the wet sheetrock can affect the underlying 2x4s causing irreversible structural damage.

4. Dry out carpets, floors and upholstery -- Any items that cannot be removed (carpets, furniture, bathroom tiles, etc.) will need to have fresh air movement and dehumidifiers to extract any remaining moisture. Pay special attention to deep cushions on furniture that can grow mold and bacteria if all the moisture is not extracted. It is critical to have fresh air circulation in the area as well as industrial size dehumidifiers to removed deep-seated moisture from standing furniture, walls and floors.

5. When to use Microbial Sprays – Once the area is completely dry, it’s important to determine if using microbial sprays are warranted. Understand that the use of microbial sprays is serious (like using pesticides, it has oversight by the EPA). Microbial sprays should only be used when the water leak contained bacteria which is defined at Cat 3, and is dangerous to your health. Cat 2 water damage may contain unsafe microorganisms as well as organic matter that can cause sickness and may also require microbial sprays. Only Cat 1 water damage, which is uncontaminated, clean water, does not require the use of microbial sprays. Unsure of what your water category is? Call the professionals; it’s not worth the risk to your health and damage to your home.

Depending on the extent of water damage to your home, you can handle the mitigation if not too severe, just though you are aware of the risks. If the damage is more significant, ServiceMaster Apple Valley is here to help. With 24/7/365 Emergency Service, we can be there within 3 hours to help restore your home or business back to pre-disaster condition. And restore your peace of mind.