How to Avoid Mold Caused by Water Damage

WRITTEN BY: Mark Romero


Imagine this scenario; you walk into your house after a long day at work. You discover water flooding over your countertops, streaming down your kitchen cabinets, and forming a lake 3-inches deep across your floor.

As shocking as that is, the water can be the least of the problems you face from this catastrophe. If your walls and cabinets aren’t thoroughly dried, mold can invade your home after a few days.

Do you know what to do when faced with sudden and accidental water damage? Understanding what steps to take will help get your house back to normal.

To Prevent Mold, Get the Water Out!

The first thing to do is to stop the leak. This may require turning off your main water line or contacting a plumber.

Once that’s done, your next job is to get the water out. 

Choosing a Water Mitigation Company

Your best bet is to contact a water mitigation company for major leaks requiring an insurance claim. But which one? An online search will turn up dozens. It can be overwhelming. 

Option 1 – Ask Your Insurance Company

If you need a water mitigation company, you need them fast. It can be difficult to review a potential contractor on such short notice thoroughly. 

That’s where your insurance carrier can help. 

They always deal with claims like yours, and they may have a relationship with a local specialist who can protect your home. These particular mitigation companies give insurance companies special rates. This can save you from payment disputes and other headaches down the line and make sure your claim is processed quickly. 

You need to contact your insurance company ASAP if you plan to file a claim. 

While you’re on the phone, be sure to ask if there’s a water dry-out company they prefer to work with. It’s in the insurance company’s best insurance that your house does not sustain any more damage, so it’s in their best interest to ensure the water goes away!

Option 2 – Use Your Social Network

If you’ve had problems with your insurance carrier in the past, you may not want them to choose your water mitigation company.

A remediation company with a relationship with your carrier could be focused on resolving your claim cheaply instead of doing a good job with the cleanup. They may view your insurance company as the client instead of you.

If that’s the case, your best bet is to get a recommendation from a neighbor or friend. You can also search online to find a company with good reviews. 

You’ll still need to call your insurance company to report your claim, and they may send out a representative to inspect the work you have done.

What Will The Water Mitigation Company Do?

Since a water mitigation company’s business is all about emergencies, they should be able to arrive at your home within a few hours–no matter when you call. A water mitigation company will bring specialized equipment and trained technicians to dry the water. 

Most specialists aren’t trained to determine the cause of the water damage, but they can likely make an educated guess based on the location of the wettest areas.

However, a plumber or leak detection company is usually needed to find and fix the cause of the water loss. Stopping the cause of water loss is important to prevent more damage since even a small leak can lead to mold growth.

Drying out your home may take a few days since building materials such as floors and cabinets may have also been damaged. 

It is the water mitigation company’s job to remove standing water as well as dry out those building materials. This is important because mold grows on those surfaces.

The water mitigation company may leave fans around the damaged areas that are loud and inconvenient. However, it’s important to let the machines do their job. 

A few sleepless nights are worth avoiding the spread of mold caused by water damage. If the damage is extensive, you can also see if your insurance company will put you in a hotel for a few nights.

If your home is un-liveable, alternate housing may be provided if you purchased coverage for Additional Living Expenses (ALE) as part of your policy.

Kill the Mold If You Find It

Once the water mitigation company has completed the dry-out of your home, the company may recommend mold testing to determine if mold removal is necessary. 

A different company generally does mold testing; in many states, a license is required to perform this job. Mold testing is painless but can save you from spending more money down the road to remove mold you did not know was there. 

What Will the Mold-Testing Company Do?

A mold testing company will send one or two technicians who will take samples of the inside air in your home and swab surfaces in the areas of the water damage, as well as obtain control samples in areas where there was no water. 

These samples are sent to a lab to determine the amount and kind of spores in the air and surfaces. Unfortunately, there are all kinds of harmless mold spores floating in the air around us so that no one will have a zero spore count. However, an elevated mold spore count will mean you may need to file a mold claim

If there are elevated mold spores in your home, the mold testing company will develop a very specific plan to remove the mold from your home.  

What Happens During Mold Removal?

A mold remediation company will do mold removal. This may be the same company that did your water mitigation, or it could be a different company.

It’s very important to follow the mold removal plan. This usually entails the removal of loose furniture and creating a containment barrier in the affected area. 

There will be several rounds of industrial-grade mold removal and disinfectant treatments. Depending on the location of the mold, the mold removal may require cabinets, flooring, or even walls to be removed.

As a homeowner, this can be jarring, but rest assured that it’s for the greater good, your health, and your wallet. If soft surfaces are affected, such as upholstered furniture or curtains, these will be cleaned if possible.

If it’s not possible to remove the mold from these items, then you may need to dispose of them to prevent the spread of mold to other surfaces.

When the mold removal is complete, your house will be water-free and mold-free. It’s a process and will take patience and cooperation.

However, understanding what needs to be done is half of the battle. Being paralyzed with fear or indecision can be detrimental.

Whatever You Do, Don’t Ignore Mold!

The most important thing you can do to avoid the spread of mold caused by water damage is don’t ignore it! Mold can be toxic to your health and affect those with compromised immune systems or breathing difficulties.

Even though mold growth led to the development of penicillin, I do not think mold is a big deal. But having a plan and being armed with information can save your home from mold.

How to Get Homeowners Insurance for Mold Caused By Water Damage

A flood in your home can cause extensive and costly damage. If you’re dealing with the aftermath of a flood, take a deep breath and don’t panic.

You may be feeling overwhelmed, but we’re here to help. The first step is to get quotes online from qualified professionals who can help you restore your home to its former glory.

We know it’s tough when disaster strikes, but remember, you are not alone. We will be with you every step of the way as you rebuild your life and your home.