Mold Hurricane Flooded Home Air Quality After Flood

As millions of people across the United States begin to rebuild after devastating flooding due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, residents may encounter serious indoor air quality issues as their homes dry out. In general, indoor air quality is usually worse than the outdoors, especially in the United States, where regulations help regulate outdoor air quality. However, at times such as this, that indoor air pollution can skyrocket. 

Anytime materials are wet for more than two days, mold and bacteria begin to grow rapidly. Once the water recedes and things begin to dry out, that mold and bacteria will dry as well and can often become airborne. In addition to mold spores and bacteria, there can be increased levels of viruses, dust mites, and even bugs, which leave behind waste. If the flood was bad enough to require new carpet and paint, the chance of high levels of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) also increases as the carpet and paint release their “new” chemical smells.

All of these irritants can cause severe asthma and allergic reactions, but what is a consumer to do? First, get your house clean and dry as quickly as possible. If items can be cleaned with bleach, do so, as it can kill the growth of mold and bacteria. Soft items that cannot be adequately cleaned should be thrown away. Once your HVAC system is able to be safely run, invest in a high quality air filter, such as Arm & Hammer Maximum Allergen. These filters reduce airborne irritants such as mold spores, dust, dust mites, viruses, bacteria, and more. In addition, the filter uses baking soda, carbon, and other proprietary ingredients to neutralize odor in the home.

Most filters are good up to 90 days, but in situations such as flood clean-up, Protect Plus recommends you change your filter every 30 days for the first three months. Consider purchasing 4 filters up front and setting a reminder on your calendar to change the filter monthly in order to bring down indoor pollution levels over time.