My House Was Flooded

Dear George,

My house was flooded with 4″ of water from TS Fay. I spent a week drying out the house with dehumidifiers and wanted to know when I should test for mold? How long will it take to know if our efforts are successful?



Dear Perplexed,

Mold testing at any time provides a baseline of comparison for any future testing.

Of course, if you had not recently undergone a flood, there would be no need for testing if none of the residents were smelling mold or experiencing symptoms of mold-spore exposure or mycotoxin exposure. But, since you have undergone a flood, it would be a good idea to test soon. A mold inspection (also referred to as a mold assessment) will be able to determine how effective your dehumidification efforts were, because mold growth can begin within twenty-four to forty-eight hours.

If there is lingering moisture or areas of isolated mold colonization, the sooner you locate the problem the easier it will be to eliminate it.

After receiving the lab results, the mold assessor will be able to compare your house’s internal readings to outside levels, and you will know if your indoor numbers are elevated. Even if they are not elevated, the numbers will serve as a basis for comparison for any subsequent testing. Bear in mind that even outdoor levels may be elevated after a flood.

There is not a cut and dried deadline we can give you that will tell you once and for all that your efforts have been successful. Even if your property is bone dry and mold free, no home is built in, or exists in, an absence of mold spores, which are ubiquitous. Because you are there and know your locale, and sound aware of the issue, use your best judgement for how frequently you should test.

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