Prevent Mold in Your Home After Disasters Like Hurricanes and Floods


Recover • Floods | Hurricanes

Disasters, hot weather, power outages, and home maintenance problems can create conditions for mold to grow inside your home. Mold can cause respiratory and other health issues, so it’s essential to stop mold before it starts.

Take these steps to reduce the chance of mold growth in your home before and after a disaster strikes.

Board Up Your Damaged Home

If your home sustains damage from wind or other extreme weather, board it up promptly to keep out moisture. Use materials like plastic tarps and plywood to cover any exposed openings and remember to save receipts because the cost is typically reimbursable through insurance.

Eliminate Standing Water

As the EPA says, "Moisture control is the key to mold control." The EPA recommends keeping your household relative humidity between 30% and 50%. You can monitor the level by using a moisture or humidity meter that costs $10 to $50 at most home improvement stores.

Check for adequate drainage around, and especially under, your home. Standing water under a home can cause high humidity levels inside and cause floors to warp and buckle.

Maintain Your Air Conditioning System

Perform regular air conditioning maintenance, including replacing filters frequently and cleaning drain lines. If you notice condensation around vents, your system may not be dehumidifying adequately.

Consult a licensed repair professional to schedule routine maintenance and address any concerns right away.

Never Turn Off Air Conditioning Systems

Your AC system does more than cool things down. It also dehumidifies, which is critical in warm and humid environments.

Turn up, but never turn off your AC, and make sure the fan is on. Well-circulated, dry air will prevent mold growth, so keep the relative humidity in your home between 30% and 50%.

Check for Leaks and Stop Them Quickly

Water can leak into your home in lots of ways: cracks in walls, gaps in window flashings, leaky roofs (especially near chimneys and vents), and any plumbing systems.

Perform routine checks for potential leaks in these trouble zones, and repair problems immediately.

If there’s a water leak, take swift action:

  • Shut off the water source and remove standing water and all moist materials.
  • Contact an emergency water removal company if you believe the amount of water may warrant expert attention.
  • Report any damage to your insurance company if the cause is sudden and accidental because it may be covered.

Ventilate Spaces

Mold grows quickly, especially in humid air. Ventilate rooms with a fan, particularly bathrooms and kitchens, and open windows to create airflow and dry out spaces.

Check and Replace Washing Machine Hoses

Stressed or cracked washing machine hoses often fail and flood homes, making this type of accident one of the most common insurance claims.

Always replace washing machine hoses at the first sign of wear and tear. This inexpensive maintenance step can help you avoid costly problems.

Replace Worn-out Water Heaters

Old and worn-out water heaters are infamous for flooding the inside of homes as rust on the inside causes them to leak.

Replace your water heater now if it is showing signs of deterioration. Install a drain pan, which can protect floors from leaks.

Open the Blinds

Mold grows best in dark, damp areas. Open window blinds and expose your rooms to sunlight to reduce the chances of mold growth.

Consult EPA Mold Remediation guidelines if mold is extensive.



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