Standing water and wet materials are a breeding ground for micro-organisms such as viruses, bacteria and mold. They can cause disease, trigger allergic reactions and damage materials long after the flood occurs.
Water which originates from beyond the toilet trap, sewage, ground surface water and other contaminated water entering or affecting the indoor environment can contain pathogenic, toxigenic or other harmful agents. Even building materials soaked with clean water can be a health risk if not properly addressed within a week. If porous materials, such as drywall and cabinets, are not dried-down properly within a week, these items should be removed and discarded.
It’s common during my inspection process to see cabinet floors under sinks sunken as a result of being wet. It’s also common to see considerable damage to the drywall platform which a water heater sets on. If it appears these materials or any porous building materials have been wet for a week or so, then they should be removed and discarded - period.
Bleach should never be used as a primary means to remove microbial impact to porous building materials. In some cases the bleach solution may be more allergenic than the microbes themselves. Bleach may, however, be used to disinfect non-porous materials, such as tile or hard surfaces.
Between 2001 and 2004 in the United States there was an estimated average of over twenty million asthma cases, there were over twelve million physician’s office visits and over five hundred thousand hospital discharges with asthma as the primary diagnosis. Microbial contamination may not only be the cause of an asthma attack, but may be a contributing factor in actually becoming asthmatic. So, pay attention to your indoor environment and protect it from contaminants which result from a water loss. This is especially important if children, the elderly or anyone that may be immune compromised lives there.
For more on this or other home care subjects, contact Scott at www.scottsauer.com.