The Hazards of Summer Storm Damage: Mold Growth

Summer storms can bring much-needed relief from the heat, but they also pose significant risks to our homes and health. At RTK Environmental, we understand the risks associated with storm damage, especially the development of mold in the aftermath. Summer storms can bring flooding, leaks, downed trees, and power outages that last for days. Here’s what you need to know to protect your home and family.

An Active Hurricane Season and Intense Summer Storms
The tri-state area has already experienced some intense summer storms, highlighting the need for mold awareness. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is also predicting an active hurricane season for the East Coast. With increased storm activity, the likelihood of severe weather events causing extensive damage is higher. This makes it even more crucial to be vigilant about the potential hazards, especially mold growth, following a storm.

The Mold Menace After Storms
Mold thrives in damp, humid conditions, which are common after summer storms. When a storm hits, it can lead to:

  • Flooding: Whether it’s from a swollen river, storm surge, or heavy rainfall, flooding can infiltrate your home, soaking floors, walls, and furniture. Mold can begin to grow within 24 – 48 hours on wet surfaces.
  • Leaks: Roofs, windows, and walls can develop leaks during a storm. Even small leaks can create the perfect breeding ground for mold if not addressed promptly.
  • Downed Trees: Trees falling on homes can cause structural damage, leading to openings where water can enter and create damp conditions ideal for mold growth.

Power Outages: A Perfect Storm for Mold
Extended power outages, common during severe storms, exacerbate the risk of mold. When power goes out, several factors contribute to mold growth:

  • Lack of Air Circulation: Air conditioners and dehumidifiers stop working during a power outage, allowing heat and humidity levels to rise and moisture to linger.
  • Standing Water: Sump pumps, which are crucial for removing water from basements, stop functioning, leading to water accumulation that can quickly lead to mold growth.

Addressing Mold Growth

If your home has been impacted by a summer storm, make sure to take these steps to address possible mold growth:

  1. Inspect for Damage: Check your home for leaks, flooding, and structural damage. Pay special attention to basements, attics, and areas around downed trees. Take photos of damage if safe.
  2. Remove Water Quickly: Use pumps, wet vacuums, and absorbent materials to remove standing water as soon as possible.
  3. Promote Airflow: Open windows and doors to improve ventilation. Use fans and dehumidifiers once power is restored to dry out the area.
  4. Discard Damaged Items: Remove and dispose of any items that cannot be thoroughly dried, including carpeting, insulation, and upholstered furniture.
  5. Clean and Disinfect: Clean and disinfect affected areas with a solution of water and detergent. Disinfect with a bleach solution to kill mold spores. DELETE
  6. Monitor for Mold: Keep an eye out for signs of mold, such as a musty smell or visible growth. If you suspect mold, contact a professional for testing and remediation.

While immediate action can mitigate some risks, professional assessment and remediation are often necessary to ensure your home is safe. RTK Environmental specializes in identifying and addressing mold issues following storm damage. Our team uses advanced techniques and equipment to thoroughly inspect your home and provide effective solutions. If you had flooding or a water intrusion from a storm and think you may have mold, or if you just want to be proactive, call and schedule a test today at 800.392.6468.

Stay safe, stay dry, and stay vigilant.

Past exposure to lead may be to blame for over 400,000 deaths in the United States every year (The Lancet Public Health.)

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