Aerial POV view Depiction of flooding.

Post Hurricane Mold Prevention Guide

Clearwater, Florida is an area that sees a lot of hurricane activity, so mold prevention is likely something that you have concerns about if you live in the area. Mold can start to grow within 24-48 hours after water damage occurs in your home. Here is a helpful guide for you to use to prevent mold from growing in your home after a hurricane—or steps to take if mold is already present.

How To Prevent Mold After A Hurricane

If your home experienced storm damage that included flooding or water intrusion of any kind, time is of the essence when it comes to preventing mold growth. If you have evacuated your home due to a storm, do not return until it is safe to do so. When it is safe to return, here are some steps you can take to prevent mold growth:

  • Wear personal protective equipment to protect your eyes, nose, skin, and mouth—N95 (or higher rated) respirators, gloves, goggles, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants—if there is any chance of mold in the home.
  • Use a wet vacuum to remove water from floors, carpets, and hard surfaces.
  • Dry your home and everything in it as quickly as possible. Within The first 24-48 hours if at all possible. 
  • If there is no power, open all doors, windows, closets, cabinets, drawers, attic and basement/cellar access, and especially any interior rooms with no windows or doors to the outside. Do this as soon as you are able to safely re-enter your home to allow air to flow throughout the house and aid the drying process.
  • If power is available and safe to use, close all doors and windows to the outside (and open up all of the interior rooms, drawers, cabinets closets, etc) and turn on the air conditioner or heater to help assist with drying and dehumidifying.
  • If you see signs that mold has already begun to grow, do not use any fans to assist with drying out your house. Fans will spread microscopic mold spores to other surfaces and areas of the home. Dehumidifiers can be used and are strongly recommended.
  • If there are no signs of mold, use fans and dehumidifiers to help reduce the amount of moisture in the home.
  • If there are any holes in the roof of your home where water or rain can enter, have them covered with a well-secured tarp. 

Clearwater Mold Removal & Remediation 

If your home experiences Water Damage and mold growth following a hurricane or severe flooding, the best practice is to hire Mold Removal & Remediation Professionals. You want to hire a reputable licensed firm. Trained, experienced, and qualified professionals from Mold Removal Companies can safely clean up mold damage and help you prevent it from recurring. Able Restoration, Inc. is a longstanding, local building & restoration company based in Clearwater, and we have decades of experience with Mold Removal in Florida. If you need Mold Removal or Mold Remediation in Clearwater, we are here to help!

How To Clean Up Mold After A Hurricane

If a large storm event has taken place, many people will be contracting Clearwater Mold Removal Professionals. There are some things you can safely do to prevent mold from spreading before the professionals arrive!

  1. Always wear your protective gear when cleaning mold.
  2. Remove mold growth from hard, non-porous surfaces with a bleach solution (no more than 1 cup of household bleach in 1 gallon of water). Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners.
  3. Take an inventory of your damaged items for insurance before removing or cleaning anything in the home.
  4. Cover moldy material with plastic sheeting before removal to control the spread of mold spores.
  5. Moldy or soaked carpeting, carpet padding, upholstery, fabrics, mattresses, furniture, etc should be removed and discarded as soon as possible. Special throw rugs may be cleanable by a professional but should still be removed from the home. 
  6. Surface mold can be cleaned from your china, hard plastic, glass, and metal surfaces and objects. Solid wood can also be cleaned since mold grows only on its surface.
  7. If you discover mold on porous home materials, it is highly recommended that you call in Mold Removal and Remediation Professionals. This included plaster, drywall, insulation, wallpaper, ceiling tiles, flooring (that is not solid wood flooring) and any else that is absorbent or porous. 

Mold Removal Health & Safety

While taking precautions such as wearing protective gear is always a good idea, some people have a greater health risk than others from mold exposure. Children, seniors, and people with pre-existing respiratory conditions, who are pregnant, or have diseases that compromise the immune system should avoid mold exposure and cleanup activities. In these cases, it is important that you call your Clearwater Mold Professionals and have the mold cleaned up by a  trained and experienced team.

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Clearwater Mold Remediation & Mold Removal Able Builders, Inc

How To Tell If It’s Mold Or Mildew In My Home

In the Clearwater, FL area, mold can thrive in the warm, humid climate. As a homeowner, it’s important to know how to identify mold or mildew. Recognizing mold or mildew in your home can help prevent health complications or extensive damage to your property.

Mold And Mildew Differences

Mildew is a type of mold, but there are notable differences in their characteristics. Here are some ways to spot the difference and identify either mold or mildew in your home.

  • Mildew is low-profile, and starts out white or gray in the early stages before turning brown over time. Mildew can appear “powdery” and spread in a small dot formation. It tends to spread outward and stay on the surface of whatever material it is growing on. 
  • Mold has a higher profile than mildew and can appear fuzzy. Mold is typically darker in color, typically deep green, red, or black. Mold can eat into the base that it is growing on, making it harder to remove. Unlike mildew, it can move upward. 

Common Types Of Molds

These are some common types of molds you might in the Clearwater, FL area:

  • Cladosporium – a greenish-gray (sometimes black) mold most commonly found in homes. Rarely harmful, but can cause minor issues such as nail infections.
  • Penicillium – called “green mold” for its dark green color. Typically grows in large patches on walls. Used to make penicillin, but can be toxic to some humans and animals.
  • Aspergillus – raised, greenish-white in color, sometimes cloudy in appearance. Usually only harmful to those with weakened immune systems.
  • Alternaria – greenish-white with some black patches. Can be confused with “black mold.” Can exacerbate asthma, especially for people with mold allergies.
  • Stachybotrys chartarum (atra) (aka Black Mold) – black in color, this is the most harmful type of mold. It can release harmful mycotoxins into the air and compromise indoor air quality leading to a serious infection called stachybotryotoxicosis. Typically appears in circular patches, and is especially common in water-damaged homes.
  • Health And Allergy Issues From Mold Or Mildew

There are four types of health issues that come from exposure to mold: allergic illness, irritant effects, infection, and toxic effects. Allergic illness is the most common. Some people have no reaction to mold or mildew in their homes. Others, especially those with allergies or other underlying health issues, are much more sensitive to mold or mildew spores. Pets can also be affected by mold or mildew in the home. 

An easy way to tell if your allergy-like symptoms are due to mold or mildew in the home is to take note of whether your symptoms subside when you leave the home or go outdoors. 

What To Do If You Find Mold Or Mildew

You can clean a small mold patch with a few safety precautions. Wear protective eyewear, rubber gloves, and a mask so that you do not come into contact with the mold or inhale the spores. Use a bleach and water solution to carefully clean away the mold. Be sure to assess the cause of the mold growth and try to prevent it from returning by keeping the area dry and clean.

While this process may help with small mold patches, it is not uncommon for additional mold patches to be hidden—or for the mold to return. The best way to ensure total mold remediation for your house is to call in the professionals. They can assess the cause of the mold growth, provide removal services, and help you put further prevention in place. If you find mold in your home, contact the mold remediation professionals at Able.  Book a free mold inspection today!