Why Mold is Enemy #1 After Your Home Has Water Damage

mold and water damageDon’t worry about keeping mold out of your home. It’s already there. Microscopic airborne mold spores exist everywhere in nature. Even in a house certified to be free of active mold growth, a spore count of 500-1,000 spores per cubic meter of air is considered normal. Exposure to dormant spores at low concentration seldom causes physical symptoms. When water damage enters the picture, however, everything changes. Here’s a typical sequence of contamination:

  • Whether from a ruptured plumbing pipe, outdoor floodwater entering the house, basement seepage, roof leaks or some other source, water is the triggering event. Dormant mold spores settling into moisture activate into growth mode.
  • Active mold growth releases reproductive spores. As little as 48 hours after exposure to moisture, the airborne spore count indoors begins to soar, up to 100,000+ spores per cubic meter. At this point a previously normal home is officially contaminated and professional remediation is required.
  • When inhaled at high concentration, toxic mycotoxins contained in reproductive spores of certain mold types can cause allergic reactions and illness in many people. Symptoms vary from respiratory illness to flu-like symptoms, vision problems, chronic fatigue and mental depression.
  • As active mold grows, airborne spores circulate on air currents and in the HVAC system, spawning contamination wherever contact with moisture occurs. Spore count in a house with chronic mold contamination may reach one half million per cubic meter of air.

Breaking The Contamination Cycle

The first priorities are removal of water and drying all wet areas. Where moisture persists, mold growth will continue to thrive. From that point, the remediation process follows these general steps:

  • Air samples are taken to confirm the type of mold as well as estimate extent of contamination.
  • Once active growing mold is located, containment is used to prevent further spread while the mold is physically removed and disposed. Disinfection of surfaces where mold occurred follows, using EPA-approved antimicrobial agents.
  • Monitoring spore count helps track the progress of remediation until results meet industry-standard goals that indicate full decontamination. One or more follow-up visits will include air sampling again to verify that there is no recurrence.


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