If your home floods, here are steps you can take to address mold

Mold forms as soon as 24 hours after a flooding event and can be dangerous to breathe in.

By Sarah AschMay 15, 2024 12:09 pm,

Texas homes that experienced flooding during recent storms are at risk of developing mold because of the excess moisture and standing water. 

Mold, of course, can pose a risk to everyone entering a home with it. But it’s especially dangerous to people with asthma, allergies, and to those with compromised immune systems. 

So what can you do to make sure your home is mold-free? 

Ryan Nickerson, who reports for the Houston Chronicle, said a house only has to be flooded for about 24 hours before mold starts to form.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a home has 24 to 48 hours to dry out, or it’s assumed to have mold growth,” he said. “Humidity is a big factor, but also any sort of standing water can create mold growth as well.”

Nickerson said the best thing to do if your home floods is hire an expert to check for mold.

“If you do have water flood damage in your home, it’s best that you not go in it in the first place, and you get a qualified professional to check for mold growth,” he said. “But if you want to take it upon yourself, first you need the proper equipment.

You need to make sure you have gloves and protective eyewear, and an N95 mask, so you’re not breathing in those spores. So you should definitely check in between cupboards and inside your kitchen and in your bathroom as well, for any sort of mold growth or damage.”

Mold is most dangerous for people who are immunocompromised, especially in their lungs.

“If you have any sort of lung disease or anything that affects your immune system, when you’re breathing in those mold spores, you can get sick,” Nickerson said. “You get sick because the spores begin eating away at your lungs and create little cavities. So they’ll have problems breathing. And you’ll start feeling symptoms like the flu and related symptoms like that.”

Nickerson said checking with your insurance company or with a government agency is a good way to find a contractor who is qualified to do a mold check.

“The CDC also has a renters guide to see if you can find any qualified professional to investigate your home,” he said. “You definitely want to continue on with any sort of governmental (list), from county, federal or city wide websites to figure out how to find those qualified professionals, because you’re really dealing with a matter of life and death, especially if you have immunocompromised people in your home.”

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