If you already have basement water.
ASAP, make sure that there are no
electric wires that are under the water level. Also, make sure that you are
extra careful with electric devices in wet basements. If you have
standing water (flooding) in your basement, disconnect the main electrical
switch or call your local fire department to do it for you! Only, use
insulated and grounded vacuums and dehumidifiers. If you are in doubt about the electrical
safety of your basement, stay out of it! You can live through the water
damage MUCH better than you can being electrocuted.
to the next step is go get the basement dry, ASAP. As soon
as possible, suck up the water with a Wet-Dry vacuum and get some extra de-humidifiers running.
You can easily rent an industrial strength de-humidifier from a restoration
company for $100 - 200 a week. Your
air conditioner should also be running (it also de-humidifies). Add a
few fans to keep the air circulating. Keep
the windows closed, the air outside is usually humid after a rainstorm. The idea is to get all the air in the house, and especially
in the basement, as desert dry as possible as quickly as possible. This
dry air not only evaporates the standing water but will also draw moisture out of the walls, carpet and other areas.
Remember that this takes time (usually, 1 - 2 weeks) so take your time and do
it right. If the basement is dried quickly, the likelihood of
formation is lowered.
Take off the basement wall
baseboards and drill 1" holes halfway between the wall studs at the base of the walls, about 2" off the
floor. When you re-install the baseboards, they will cover these holes.
The holes will allow moist air from behind the drywall or paneling to be dried
as the de-humidifiers suck out the humidity.
Usually, if you get the basement
dry in 3 to 4 days, there will be little damage and minimal mold formation.
Even if mold does start to form, as soon as you dry out the basement the mold
will stop growing (mold requires moisture to grow). It is usually necessary
to rip out drywall and wood ONLY if there is a large mount of mold.
Most times, there will only be a little mold growth and this will be behind
the walls. If you keep the basement dry, the mold will not
start growing again. Mold can be a problem to those with sensitivity or allergies, but
mold only affects people because of the spores it puts out. If the mold is dead
and not growing, it isn't putting out any spores. Most types of mold are
harmless. If there is visible mold growth, there is no reason to have it
tested. If you see mold, you already know it is there and you have no
need to find out what kind of mold it is because the remediation will be the
If you do get mold growth,
DO NOT use bleach to clean or kill it. The EPA has determined that bleach is
NOT an effective fungicide for mold growth on drywall and wood and bleach puts out harmful fumes when used in
large quantities. There are much more effective (and less harmful to humans
and pets!) fungicides available at the
major home stores. Spray them
directly on the affected areas (following the label directions) and let them kill the mold. These
products will soak into the wood and drywall get to the roots of the mold,
killing it completely. When the wood in the walls is completely dry,
cover it with a mold encapsulating paint. This will seal up the mold and
keep it from growing further.
have extensive mold growth, DO NOT TRY TO GO ON THE CHEAP! Hire a
professional and certified mold remediation company to clean the
mess up. Sure, I know this can be expensive, but doing the cheap and
easy thing is ALWAYS more expensive, in the long run. Stay away from
handymen or the proverbial "Two guys in a white van". Mold remediation
is a complex and technical trade, requiring a great deal of specialized
training and certification. If not done properly, the mold will come
back, and much worse! Do it right. The EPA standards state that if
the mold is plainly visible, there is no reason to have the mold tested,
however, it is highly recommended that the affected areas be air sample tested
one week after the remediation is done by an independent mold testing
professional, NOT by the remediation contractor. This testing
will determine if the remediation work was properly completed. Remember,
test AFTER and have the testing professional be independent.
all is dry (keep the basement windows closed and run the de-humidifiers,
usually, for about a week or two to ensure complete dryness), it helps for
your to call a licensed and certified home inspector who is also specifically trained and certified to perform mold testing. If you can hire an inspector who is also specially trained in
that will help to verify that the basement is fully dry. Ask the
inspector for a
mold clearance test, which is an air sample that ensures that mold spores are not present in the air. Make sure
that the inspector does not also do mold remediation work, and that any mold remediation
company you hire does not do the testing. This is a conflict of
interest. If there are mold spores present, call a professional,
licensed and certified mold remediation company. When they are done
have the area re-tested by an independent mold inspector. For large or
long sitting (you were flooded while away on vacation, for example) it is also
wise to hire a licensed, certified and professional industrial hygienist to
evaluate the problem and prepare a clean-up plan. Most professional mold
remediation companies have industrial hygienists on their staff.