We at NAMM have put together a sensible list of what needs to be done after a flood. Before returning to and entering a flood damaged property, please read our Safety First page.
- The property needs to be dried as quickly as possible. Mold needs a food source, a surface to grow on and moisture. Moisture is the only element we can control in the mold world and the quicker you can get your property dry the better off you will be. Use water extraction units, high output fans, and dehumidifiers.
- If water from flooding has been standing for 24 hours or more, all floor coverings need to be removed and disposed of. Sheetrock needs to be removed one foot above any visible mold growth or water damage.
- If the property has a crawlspace, it will need to be dried out with the rest of the property. If the crawlspace is not dry before testing and mold starts to grow in the crawlspace, then the living space could be cross contaminated from the crawlspace mold. If the crawlspace has a moisture barrier in place, the barrier needs to be checked for misplacement and damage. If misplaced or ineffective because of the water, it will need to be corrected and fixed if possible. Otherwise, replace the barrier.
- If the property is on slab then the bottom plate will need to be checked to make sure it gets dry. Once the bottom plate board is dry, then the concrete has dried enough to start putting things back together once you have received clearance from the lab that it’s clean.
- Basements will need to be pumped out and dried. All water damaged sheetrock, floor coverings, porous items, and debris will need to be removed and disposed of.
- Once all flooring and sheetrock have been removed and the moisture level of the framing, sheathing, etc., has been reduced to 12%-14% moisture, then the property needs to be cleaned and remediated.
- It may be necessary to pressure wash the framing in order to eliminate any remaining flood debris. If this is the case, the drying process may need to be completed again.
Cleaning your Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) System:
- HVAC systems will need to be inspected, serviced, and cleaned. Bioremediation is recommended for HVAC systems because the enzymes will treat the entire system without the use of chemicals.
- If the HVAC system and/or ducting have been submerged, they should be removed and replaced.
- If ducting insulation was saturated, but the ducting was not submerged, the insulation should be removed and discarded. Once the HVAC system has been treated, new insulation should be installed.
Your Personal Items:
- GENERALLY, if mold is visible and there is water damage, personal items will need to be disposed of. Furniture and personal items that have been submerged for longer than 24 hours should be discarded.
- However, if you can get items dried out before they mold or there is not significant water damage there is a good chance many items can be saved. Just because personal items are located in a moldy environment it doesn’t necessarily mean these items need to be discarded.
- Keepsakes can, in many cases, be saved. This includes photos, CD’s, DVD’s, electronics, TV, stereos, appliances etc. Do not throw away anything of value until you have a certified mold remediator come and inspect your property.
- Furniture that is covered with fabric or porous material that has merely gotten wet will need to be dried out quickly. If there is no water damage and mold has not started to grow it is possible these items can be saved.
Mold Removal and Your Safety:
- NAMM recommends bioremediation to effectively and safely remove indoor environmental issues caused by mold. There are remediators who specialize in bioremediation.
- Merely removing mold from surfaces does not remove the dangers of mold. Mold spores are airborne and the entire property including the air and the HVAC systems needs to be treated using “Green” technology for health safety.
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and toxins are not identified in standard air sampling. Use of products that have been tested for effectiveness against these conditions is essential for a healthy indoor environment.
- Once the entire property has been treated, including the HVAC system, The HVAC system, if operational, needs to be turned on and running when air samples are taken during the testing period. This will identify the success or failure of the remediation process. An independent lab must always be used to analyze the samples.
- A clearance report will allow you to begin putting your life back together with confidence that your home is once again safe.
What Not To Do:
- DO NOT enter a flooded property until it has been deemed safe by inspectors!
- DO NOT enter a flooded property if the electricity is still on!
- DO NOT enter a flooded property without proper respiratory protection!
- DO NOT enter a flooded property if you have medical conditions that affect the immune system.
- DO NOT USE BLEACH! Not only is bleach ineffective at cleaning mold, but it can actually make the indoor air quality worse!
Please Contact NAMM if you have any questions or concerns. We are here to help you get through these tough times. Our advice, as always, is 100% free!