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How Fast Does Mold Grow After A Water Leak?

How Fast Does Mold Grow After a Water Leak? | Blog

Mold growth from flooding and water leaks has always been a nightmare for a homeowner. Not only is it difficult to remove, but it can also be costly for both finances and health issues. A water leak can happen in the home at any time of the year but is especially problematic after huge weather events like the winter storm of February 2021 in the southern US. Many people may be concerned right now about water damage and potential mold growth, mold spores, and how to prevent it in the home. Also, many people may not understand the importance of proper mold removal and the use of companies that fix water damage.

standing in flood waters in jeans - homebioticHow Long Does It Take Mold To Grow In A Flooded Home?

Unfortunately, after water damage or a water incident, it doesn’t take long for mold to grow in the home. If conditions are right, mold begins to grow aggressively within 24 to 48 hours (1). In the aftermath of a disaster or serious storm, cleanup and remediation within 48 hours might seem rushed but this is the critical period to stop mold from growing and damaging your home and personal property.

Unfortunately, after water damage or a water incident, it doesn’t take long for mold to grow in the home. If conditions are right, mold begins to grow aggressively within 24 to 48 hours Click To Tweet

What conditions need to exist?

Mold likes to eat fibrous material often found in home construction materials. Mold eats things like cardboard, paper, particleboard, bacteria, dust particles, and even furniture. However, it also requires moisture often from water leaks or water damage from natural disasters or a burst pipe. Anywhere there’s lots of humidity and moisture without airflow to dry it out you will see mold grow (1,2,3).

How soon after water damage do mold spores begin to grow?

Mold reproduces through the development and release of spores. As soon as it begins to grow, it also begins to reproduce fairly quickly. These spores are like tiny seeds that float in the air and settle on a surface. Wherever they settle, mold will grow in a new place. It’s very difficult to see spores with the naked eye and they do not become visible until they colonize and start to grow which is why it’s difficult to detect them early on. However, since mold is very opportunistic, most species will find a way to grow if the conditions are right (1-3).

black mold under wall paper - Homebiotic - how to get rid of moldDoes Water Damage Always Cause Mold Growth?

Mold requires food, space, and moisture in order to grow. If one of these things is missing, mold will have a harder time growing and reproducing (1-3). Although mold doesn’t always grow after moisture damage, it’s highly likely since many homes lack proper airflow, especially within walls. This is why home prevention and mold remediation strategies focus on these areas. A mold problem is only as bad as the conditions are ripe (4). Water damage restoration and removal of damaged materials are very important, but prevention is also needed.

Mold requires food, space, and moisture in order to grow. If one of these things is missing, mold will have a harder time growing and reproducing (1-3). Although mold doesn’t always grow after moisture damage, it’s highly likely since… Click To Tweet

Does water damage always cause dangerous black mold growth?

Black mold, or Stachybotrys, is one species of mold, but it is one of the most dangerous for the wellbeing of all living beings in the house. If this species is detected, it requires very skilled mold remediation and removal (1,5). Black mold can cause serious allergies, lung problems, immune issues, and exacerbation of pre-existing illnesses (5,6,7). Although black mold is dangerous, other species like aspergillus can also cause serious health problems (5). Although Stachybotrys is a risk, it doesn’t always grow with every incident of water damage.

leaking outdoors pipe - homebiotic - mold after water damageCan Mold Grow After A Leak Is Fixed?

Unfortunately, mold can still grow after a leak or flood damage has been fixed. Often this happens because the problem wasn’t fixed properly the first time. Occasionally, moisture is left behind or becomes hidden under floorboards or inside wall cavities. If this is the case, then spores can easily be deposited and cause a new colony of growth (1,2).

How to prevent mold after water damage?

The ideal is to prevent mold growth in the first place, but this may not always be feasible. Disasters like the recent ice and snowstorm in the southern US can happen, which greatly increases the amount of water damage and leaks in the house. Once moisture damage has taken place, it’s recommended to have a restoration company provide proper water damage restoration (1,3,6). Although many people believe they can do this on their own, it’s very easy to think the mess is cleaned up when it’s not. And without a proper restoration process, mold can begin to grow in a very short amount of time (1,7).

How to prevent further problems?

First, stop the moisture source! In the case of a pipe leak, shut off the main valve to cut off the water pressure.

Be sure that there’s sufficient airflow throughout the home to help the space dry out. Temperatures permitting, open up windows, or use fans, dehumidifiers, or air purifiers (1). The important thing is to move air through the home to dry out household objects, wall cavities, ceiling, floors, and furniture, and lower ambient humidity. This is especially crucial if there was any serious flooding. Be sure to remove and thoroughly dry any objects that were soaked. Personal property, drywall, or flooring may all need to be replaced if seriously damaged. Lastly, it’s highly recommended to work with a water damage restoration company that has mold removal experience to help repair any major problems after a water leak or flood (1,2,3).

Conclusion

Mold growth after water damage, leaks, and flooding is a serious problem that needs repair and remediation. This is especially important to consider after weather disasters and other climate issues. Mold growth can definitely cause health issues which can be deadly for specific people with compromised immune systems or existing health problems. The best way to deal with this problem is to prevent it in the first place, but once the water has leaked into the home, it’s important to find professional help in order to fix the problem and prevent mold before it takes hold.

The best way to deal with this problem is to prevent it in the first place, but once the water has leaked into the home, it’s important to find professional help in order to fix the problem and prevent mold before it takes hold. Click To Tweet

Lastly, fungus can’t grow in dry places void of food that has a good balance of other microbes to provide natural competition. This is why it’s not good to over-clean a home with antiseptic products. Instead, allow for a good balance of household, human, and soil-based microbes. Be sure to have good ventilation, remove clutter around places where water tends to leak, and consider investing in fans, dehumidifiers, and an air purifier.

References

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/mould-growth

https://www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs.htm

https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rspb.2015.1139

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1892134/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0013935115000304

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1471490615000022

 

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What Causes Mold: Winter Edition

What Causes Mold: Winter Edition | Woman holding a mug inside of foggy window

Mold can appear in any season, but in seasons where the moisture levels rise there is a higher chance of mold thriving within your home. Whenever mold is a possibility you can always ask yourself one question: What causes mold? It doesn’t take much to grow a large colony of mold microbes, often undetectable until it’s a much bigger issue. There are a few things mold requires to thrive: space to spread, food to eat, and warm moisture.

Whenever mold is a possibility you can always ask yourself one question: What causes mold? It doesn't take much to grow a large colony of mold microbes, often undetectable until it's a much bigger issue. Click To Tweet

In the winter moisture levels are high inside homes. A combination of people spending more time inside, tracking in moisture on boots, and other factors such as excessive condensation on windows all contribute to the perfect mold environment! Here are some great things to look out for in the wintertime that may be contributing to mold growth in your home:

condensation on a window - homebioticCONDENSATION CAUSES MOLD
Mold On Windowsills & In Bathrooms

For many people, their daily routine involved wiping the excess moisture off their windows in the morning. Why do windows collect so much moisture? This excess moisture occurs when the warm air inside the house meets against the window with the cold air outside of the house creating condensation that then drips down onto your window sill. Left unchecked this water sits in the sills, fostering serious mold growth and that black grime many of us dread cleaning.

Aluminum windows are commonly found in homes and tend to be more prone to condensation than their more modern vinyl counterparts. If upgrading the windows in your home is not a realistic solution keeping any mold growth in check is very easy! Just remember to:

  • Wipe up excess moisture regularly
  • Clean sills with hydrogen peroxide or vinegar often, especially in high moisture months
  • If not too cold allow some airflow through the window to help dry out the area & rebalance the area’s microbiome

Don’t forget about your bathroom! If your bathroom doesn’t have an extractor fan chances are those lovely, hot showers are creating serious condensation on bathroom windows, mirrors, and even in your cabinets. Be sure to always have at least one window open during your shower or bath, wipe up any excess moisture on surfaces afterward, and leave windows/doors open to encourage airflow through the room. Drying out as much moisture as possible, combined with regular cleaning measures, will keep your bathroom mold-free!

frozen pipes - homebioticFLOODING CAUSES MOLD
Snow Melting Or Burst Pipes

It is not uncommon for the effects of a serious snowstorm to be felt weeks after the initial fall. The surplus of water combined with cold temperatures can create chaos for homeowners. Many people with below-ground basement suites experience flooding as the snow melts and abnormally large volumes of water look for places to go.

Going toe-to-toe with mother nature rarely ends up as a win; however, there are some things you can do to help divert water away from your home:

  1. Remove any snow around it directly against the foundation of your home.
  2. Remove excess snow from your roof and gutters (also ensure your gutters are free of debris).
  3. Evaluate the drainage around your home in the drier months to ensure it is functional and moving excess water away from your home, ready for the winter.
  4. Closely inspect the foundation of your home for fractures or flaws that might make it susceptible to flooding.

Depending on where you live your plumbing may or may not be rated to withstand freezing temperatures. The snowstorm experienced only a few weeks ago throughout Texas was an unprecedented cold front that had catastrophic effects on citizens’ plumbing. When your plumbing is being serviced by an above-ground pipe, exposed to harsh cold this can cause parts of your plumbing lines to contract and potentially fracture, resulting in a burst pipe and flooding.

To prevent plumbing-related issues associated with extreme cold snaps it is recommended to leave the faucet dripping. This constant flow of water can prevent freezing in the line. If you notice a leak or any suspicious water coming from any area of your plumbing, use the water shut-off valve to terminate the water supply to your home and contact a professional to assess any potential issues. Smaller leaks on a frozen line are often a precursor for larger issues.

If you notice a leak or any suspicious water coming from any area of your plumbing, use the water shut-off valve to terminate the water supply to your home and contact a professional to assess any potential issues. Smaller leaks on a… Click To Tweet

These are two very serious sources of water damage, which is how a large number of mold issues begin. It takes as little as 24-48 of unattended water damage to allow mold spores to germinate and spread. Combine this with the fact that one of their main food sources is wood, water damage in your gold can escalate into a serious mold exposure situation almost instantly!

standing in flood waters in jeans - homebioticWET CLOTHING CAUSES MOLD
Water Seeping Into Carpets

Whether it’s snow or mud, kids or dogs, the wintertime is the season of wet outerwear. Once you come in from the cold it’s extremely easy to kick off those wet boots and leave them to drip into the floor. Whether you have hardwood, laminate, or carpet, water can easily work its way into all the nooks of your flooring without being noticed. This unnoticed moisture can result in undetected mold growth in your subfloor and undersides of carpets, all while exposing your entire household to toxic mold spores.

We are happy to report that this is an easy fix! For wet boots and shoes, we recommend utilizing a washable, absorbent rubber-bottom mat in doorways. This mat will easily catch the outdoor moisture, wick it away keeping your floors safe. Once it has become saturated or soiled, throw it into the washing machine to soak and wash with some vinegar, killing any present nasty microbes.

By monitoring these factors you can potentially stop a serious mold issue from happening! As always, we recommend working natural preventative measures into your cleaning routine. After remediating any visible mold with hydrogen peroxide and vinegar, use Homebiotic spray to create a probiotic barrier over surfaces to keep your home balanced and protected