If your home has recently experienced flooding, your damp carpets are highly susceptible to mold and mildew growth. Mold produces allergens and irritants which can cause allergic reactions in some sensitive individuals. It also contains potentially toxic substances referred to as mycotoxins that can cause a variety of allergic responses, such as runny nose, sneezing, red eyes, and skin rash. In research conducted by the Institute of Medicine, there was sufficient evidence that linked indoor mold exposure to upper respiratory tract symptoms in otherwise healthy individuals. Carpets are especially vulnerable to mold growth as they hold moisture. Here you'll find the most common signs associated with mold growth in flood-affected carpets.
1. Musty Odor
One of the first things you'll notice if mold is starting to grow in carpet fibers is a musty odor. Don't ignore this mold-like smell, even if you don't actually see any mold. It's also important to note that not all types of mold present with a moldy odor.
If there is a musty odor, it may indicate that one or more colonies are growing in the carpet. Most of these odors are MVOCs, or Mold Volatile Organic Compounds, which permeate soft goods like carpets and can be difficult to remove.
2. Damp Carpet
If your carpet remains damp or wet for any extended period of time, mold can begin to grow. After a flood, the best thing you can do is to contact a mold and mildew remediation company or water damage restoration company that specializes in clean-ups of flooded homes
The carpet must be quickly dried and any dirt, mud and debris removed to adequately clean the carpeting. A carpet that is quickly dried and cleaned after a flood reduces the risk of mold growth. Items like fans, dehumidifiers and heaters can be used to quicken the drying process.
3. Discolored Patches
Mold may not show on carpet until it reaches an advanced stage. Once this occurs, the carpet may display patches of discoloration. These mold patches may be black, white, or various shades of green. Discolored mold patches are caused by multiplying mold colonies in the carpet fibers.
Visible mold growth does not generally occur unless the carpet is left to sit after a flood. It can be more difficult to spot these discolorations if your carpet is darkly colored or contains a complex pattern. These discolorations may also be visible on the underlying carpet padding or backing.
4. Allergy Increase
If your allergies are suddenly acting up while you're indoors, mold may be to blame. Carpet mold can cause a multitude of health problems, including allergies, asthma, breathing difficulties, bronchitis, and the flu.
If you notice that you are experiencing a higher rate of illness than usual, consider the possibility that mold is harboring in your flood-affected carpet. Thoroughly inspect your carpet for signs of mold or hire a professional to test the carpet for mold.
Preventing Carpet Mold Growth
- Reduce the humidity in your home. The use of dehumidifiers can help control moisture in the air and prevent spores from growing into mold.
- Switch to a high-quality carpet padding. Rubber-slab carpet padding offers more resistance against mold growth. Some options have anti-microbial properties.
- Choose wisely where you'll install carpet. Do not place carpet in areas that are prone to moisture, such as near the front entrance or in the bathroom or kitchen.
- Do not allow water to stand. Carpets that are exposed to water can become ruined quickly. If possible, dry and clean the carpet directly after the flood.
If you have experienced a flood in your home, it's crucial to be on the lookout for signs of mold growth. For more information about flood cleanup in your home, contact your local flood restoration company or look at a site like http://www.moldfireflood.com.