Flooding & Water Damage Mold

Tips for Tackling Basement Flooding

We did need the rain in the northeast – but not 2+ inches per hour! Unfortunately, when the rain falls at such a rate, the ground cannot handle the volume and rather than being absorbed, water pools near our homes. This causes many of our basements to flood, which can lead to problems very quickly. Damp and wet areas are prime locations for mold growth, which can blossom within 24 hours. Drying out the affected areas as soon as possible is very important. Here’s what you can do right away:

1. Mop, vacuum, or pump the water from the area. But be careful if the outside soil is saturated – If you pump out the area too fast, the pressure from the exterior water could damage your basement wall or possibly collapse it.

2. Remove all wet materials from the area.

3. Dry out residual moisture that is left in the concrete, wood, and other materials. If you have windows that open to the outside, mount fans in them.

4. Use a dehumidifier and ventilate the area well.

5. Remove carpeting and dry outside, if possible. If you can’t remove the carpeting, remove as much moisture as possible by using a wet vacuum. Then use fans to circulate air both over and preferably under the carpet. The carpet must be dried within 12 to 24 hours, or it will become infested with mold and need to be discarded.

If you are unable to take these steps quickly or are unsure as to whether you already have a mold problem, the best thing to do for the health of your family and your home is to call in a professional and to conduct a mold test. To learn more about what you can do to prepare for future storms, click here.



Unhealthy Mold and Its Horrid Consequences

Mold causes all sorts of headaches! It’s unsightly. It smells. And it causes allergies and asthma.

Testing by certified microbial investigators is the only way to find out where mold is lurking in your home or business. RTK Environmental Group’s investigators spend hours each day testing homes for mold. What follows are some of the frequently asked questions we get from our clients.

Q: Our home was flooded in the fall, and our plaster walls are now moldy. Do the plaster walls, like gypsum board, need to be ripped out?
Yes. If the plaster is moldy, chances are the wooden studs that support the plaster are moldy as well. Mold growing in the walls, out of sight, is a common occurrence.

Q: I bleached the mold that was growing on my basement walls. Will it still cause respiratory problems?
Without a professional environmental inspection, it’s impossible to tell if all your mold is gone. In most cases, bleaching alone is not enough to stop mold from spreading. Even one spore is enough to contaminate the area again. And a little known fact: Even dead mold spores can cause an allergic reaction, so be sure that the area is well ventilated.

Q. I am a really good housekeeper, yet no matter how hard I clean, I still get mold on my walls. Why?
Mold is everywhere, part of our natural environment. Outdoors, mold is an important part of nature, breaking down dead organic materials. Just look at what happens to fallen leaves; that’s mold at work. But indoors, mold is a huge problem. It doesn’t take much for mold to take hold, particularly if there is excess humidity in the home. Within 24 hours, if an area remains damp or wet, toxic mold can start growing. Mold reproduces by tiny spores, too small for the naked eye to see. And once these spores start floating through the air, they begin to latch on to other surfaces and multiply. Rest assured: Mold grows even in the cleanest homes.

Q. Since mold is everywhere, why should I care?
You have to care about mold, because it can make you and your family sick. The most common affect is an allergic reaction when mold spores are inhaled. Typical reactions include hay fever or asthma, and irritation of the nose, eyes, throat and lungs. Unfortunately, it is impossible to determine how you will be affected by mold until it attacks. And since allergic reactions can happen from both dead and live mold spores, killing mold with bleach is not a solution. It’s important to test for mold for two reasons: To find out where mold is lurking and to discover the type of mold in your home or office. Once you know those two facts, you can hire a remediation firm to remove the mold.

For more information, or to schedule a mold inspection, call RTK at 800.392.6468.


The four ‘Ds’ to fight mold

Water in the home is the biggest source of mold problems. Robert Weitz, a certified microbial investigator and principal at RTK Environmental Group, has devised what he calls the four ‘Ds’ to fight mold, a simple way for people to remember what they should do before and after water penetrates their homes or businesses to keep mold damage to a minimum.

Flooding & Water Damage Mold

Irene Left A Mess – Now What?

Even before Hurricane Irene hit, the Northeast experienced a record rainfall this August. Irene just added more problems to our already damp or flooded basements and high water tables. Now what? First off,  let’s not forget about mold, which can get a jumpstart anywhere water has seeped into your home. Within 24 hours, toxic mold can become a problem. You might not see it immediately, but within a few weeks, mold’s smell will tell you it has taken hold.  And that’s when the real problems begin, since mold can trigger allergies that cause headaches and coughing, as well as irritate the nose, skin, and eyes. For people with asthma, mold can make breathing particularly difficult.

There are immediate steps homeowners should take as soon as water enters their houses:

  • Take pictures of the damage, and remove the water immediately. Don’t wait for your insurance company to call you back. Waiting — even for a few hours — could accentuate the problem.
  • Mop, vacuum, or pump water out of the affected area as soon as possible. Remove wet items and materials.
  • Dry out residual moisture that is left in concrete, wood, and other materials. You can use a dehumidifier or ventilation. If basement or attic windows open, mount fans in the openings. Unplug electrical devices and turn off the circuit breakers in the wet area, if possible.
  • Anything that is not wet, bring to higher ground.
  • Some items, once wet, should be thrown away immediately, including cosmetics, medical supplies, stuffed animals, and baby toys.
  • Toss out materials that can’t be dried within 24 hours, such as mattresses, pillows, carpets, upholstered furniture, and items containing paper, including wallboard.
  • Put aluminum foil under the legs of furniture to avoid staining damp floors. Wooden clothespins can keep upholstered furniture skirting off damp floors.
  • Once the area is dry, bring in dehumidifiers and large fans to remove any excess moisture.
  • Have your home tested for mold by an accredited inspection company.