Preventing Mold

preventing mold

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What could be worse than water damage in a home? The resulting mold. A leaky water heater, burst pipes, groundwater intrusion, or flooding can cause severe water damage to your home, and mold can grow for a long time after you dry it out.

You can prevent mold formation after water damage by understanding mold growth, identifying water damage areas, and how to resolve it.

Why Does Mold Form After Water Damage?

Several factors are responsible for mold development, including a combination of food, water, temperature, and time, which create conditions that support mold growth after water damage.

Food: For mold growth, “food” refers to some organic product, like the wood content in drywall, dirt, dust, glue, and other loose debris.

Water: Whether in its liquid or gaseous state in the air, water is essential to mold formation. Mold will grow under high humidity levels from 80 percent and above.

Temperature: Mold usually forms when there is a temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit and above.

Time: Mold doesn’t form right after water damage. It typically takes a few weeks for mold to develop, given certain favorable conditions.

Oxygen: This is necessary to grow and prevent mold since you’ll require much ventilation to dry out the area.

How to Identify Hidden Water Damage Areas

Water damage is usually indicated by watermarks on a wall, standing water, or blistered paint. At other times, you may be unable to locate the areas of water damage if they’re more hidden.

Tip: Pay close attention to anywhere the water may wick since water also moves by capillary action. Absorbent materials, such as fiberglass insulation, can make the water seem higher than its actual flooding height.

Tips for Preventing Mold After Water Damage

Work Fast

Timing is essential for the prevention of mold growth after water damage. The quicker you act, the lower the chances that mold will form. Studies have shown that mold will usually develop about 5 weeks after the flooding under favorable mold conditions.

Remove Water

If you own a wet/dry shop vacuum, begin with it for large water situations. Then, rent an industrial wet/dry vacuum from your local home center or rental yard as soon as possible.

Dry the Area Using Fans

You can save time by starting with any available fans you have. Box fans send out air at just 1,820 cubic feet per minute, whereas 36-inch industrial fans can push over 5 times the amount of air and are rentable.

Continue Drying With Dehumidifiers

You can rent industrial-grade dehumidifiers to dry out the air more quickly. Even cheaper rental dehumidifiers can suck 18 to 20 gallons of water from the air daily. They also feature automatic pumps, so you don’t have to empty the water tank constantly.

Begin With the Worst Contaminants

Though clear water is clean to the eye, it still contains microbes. Gray water comes from showers, sinks, and washing machines and is dirtier. The dirtiest is black water, contaminated with animal or human waste. You can start with the damage from black water before proceeding to that of gray and clear water.


As much as possible, dispose of unwanted waterlogged materials. Proper disposal will ensure that it doesn’t develop mold after some weeks. Any leftover materials with even a small amount of moisture may grow mold.

Stay Alert

If you notice a musty smell around the area afterward, it could be that mold is developing. Beware of red flags that may indicate that mold is growing or water hasn’t been fully eliminated.

Tip: Biocides kill microorganisms, including those that aid mold growth. However, you won’t need biocides as long as the area is properly maintained and there’s no visible mold formation. Using biocides on cleaning materials won’t prevent mold growth.

Preventing Mold Growth After Water Damage

Secure the House

Switch off the power to the flooded area. Switch off propane or natural gas devices in the area – at the gas meter and on the devices. Open windows for proper ventilation of the house. Contact the gas company if you notice any gas smells after airing out the house.

Turn on Dehumidifiers and Fans

Position all available fans in a way that blows from the outside to the inside of the house. Do this until you can rent long-throw, high-speed fans. Ensure to keep the dehumidifiers running at all times.

Dispose of or Clean Black Water Damage

Wear eye protection, gloves, and an N-95 mask when cleaning or disposing black water-damaged items.

Properly dispose of any unwanted items damaged by black water. Use hot water and detergent to wash other contaminated items in a washing machine.

Clean Out Gray and Clear Water Damage

Remove standing and pooled water by using a deep bucket to bail it out or a wet/dry vacuum to suck it up.

Run extension cables from the closest power source if there’s no electricity in the area. Don’t run a generator in or close to the house or garage.

Pull Up Carpeting

Wet carpets, including padding, must be pulled back far beyond the wet areas. You may need to remove the entire carpeting where there’s severe flooding. If there’s water underneath the padding, it won’t dry out. So, you’ll need to position fans toward the subfloor, padding, and carpet.

Remove Drywall

Waterlogged drywall isn’t reusable, so you’ll need to pull out wet drywall upwards. Stop between 6 and 10 inches above the wet area for partly wet drywalls. Conveniently stop at the seam if the sheets of drywall were hung horizontally and there’s under 48 inches of water damage.

Dry Wood Framing

You can save wood studs after water damage by gradually drying them out. Don’t try to use heat guns or heaters to dry them out quickly. Instead, purchase or rent a moisture meter to know if the wood is fully dried before adding drywall.

Call us at (559) 940-0890