Water, Water Everywhere…Don’t Let It Lead To Mold
As I am writing this, several local schools have just opened for the first time this week, power is still out for almost 9,000 Westchester residents, and so far over 300 TONS of tree debris has been removed from Scarsdale streets alone, (with an estimated 600-700 MORE tons still to be removed)…wow!
Many of us found ourselves reminded of the power of the elements in a most abrupt and unpleasant way. While the damage of last weeks’ storm can’t be undone, mitigation, and preventative action for the future are center stage for most of us now.
If you were unfortunate enough to have water infiltrate your home, of course extracting it is of the first order. But just because a surface is dry does not automatically mean all is well. Mold is not just unsightly, it destroys property, can sicken, and even kill you.
Mold is tricky; it only needs 2 things to grow: water and cellulosic material (paper, wood) and contrary to some claims, one-size-fits-all solutions like washing with bleach, or using a mildew-resistant primer will not do the trick. Of the over 100K species of mold, roughly 10K of them are known to exist here in the northeast, and it is virtually impossible to know how harmful it might be just by looking at it.
According to Frank Petrullo,owner and President of Envirocare Air Quality Restoration in Jefferson Valley NY, after water extraction there are 4 steps to genuinely assure mold will be kept at bay: Containment, to prevent airborne spores from migrating to other parts of the house; Dehumidification; Treatment with targeted mold-retardant products and/or systems, and lastly Implementing recommended corrective actions.
And even if your home escaped the storm unscathed, you may be surprised to know how ripe conditions are for mold to grow under everyday circumstances…are you sitting down?
In a year, the average 2000 sf home can produce/develop enough moisture to fill 2 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Yes. As Joel Schachter PE, professional engineer and owner of Precise Home Inspections explains- a number of factors like cooking, showers/baths, and weather and overall ventilation combine and can play real havoc with a home, even one that appears to be in good repair.
More on preventitives at another time, but meanwhile wishing a speedy rebound to all those affected by the storm