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Top Ten Tips to Avoid Structural Mold from Spring Flooding

Nonprofit Contact Person: Doug Hoffman
877.251.2296 ext. 876 mediaalert@normi.org

April 22, 2013 (Abita Springs, LA)

A few simple steps can save property owners thousands of dollars of damage due to structural mold growth, according to Doug Hoffman, executive director of the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors (www.NORMI.org), a nonprofit organization involved in providing training and certifications for mold and indoor air quality professionals.
Taking the necessary steps to avoid structural mold growth will not only preserve the integrity of a building but also the health of its occupants, further explains Kurt and Lee Ann Billings, authors
of the book MOLD: The War Within, which details lessons learned from Katrina. Disaster area residents must be proactive, act quickly, and use proper personal protection equipment when implementing the following ten steps:

  1. Remove any standing water-use a pump or a wet vac.
  2. Remove wet carpets, rugs, draperies and personal belongings. Clear mud and debris from floors and foundation walls to allow the subflooring and foundation to dry.
  3. Remove and discard water-saturated sheetrock and insulation-18 inches above the highest watermark to increase structural drying. Remove water-damaged flexible ductwork.
  4. Remove all mold growth on remaining structural building materials-by mechanical means or complete removal if necessary. The easiest and most effective way to initially clean mold from structural building materials is with the use of a commercial wet/dry HEPA vacuum, followed by wiping, scrubbing, scrapping or sanding for complete removal.
  5. Don’t use bleach to clean mold-it is an effective sanitizer but will not remove mold at its “root”. The mold will look like its gone but it won’t be.
  6. Use sanitizers-on any portion of the structure contaminated by sewage or flood waters.
  7. Dry the structure out as quickly as possible-as structural mold will begin to form in the first 24-48 hours. As soon as the above removal steps are completed, turn up the heat, circulate the air with fans, and use a dehumidifier to keep the indoor humidity below 60 percent. Hot, dry air dries things faster than cold moist air. If there’s no electricity, open windows and doors to get air moving to speed up the drying process.
  8. Check your attic-undetected roof leaks can become big structural mold problems later.
  9. Inspect windows on the outside of the structure-check for damaged caulking and seals that could lead to future water leaks.
  10. Don’t seal it up until its dry-siding, sheetrock, and flooring repairs should be done only after the substrates are completely dry. Confirm moisture content by using a moisture meter.

For more information on water damage and flood resources, please see www.Flood.NORMI.org or to locate a certified mold inspector or remediator in your area, log onto www.normipro.com or call 1.877.251.2296.

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From a Yellow Canary of the 21st century, living in our disabling biosphere

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