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Source: NH Department of Environmental Services

With all the recent rain throughout the state, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services wants NH residents to be aware that mold is a serious problem when the interior of a building becomes wet. Mold is a source of indoor air pollution and, in large amounts, may cause mild to serious health problems. Mold can cause structural damage to homes leading to costly repairs.

DES encourages residents to follow these steps in order to control indoor mold growth after water damage occurs.

First, make sure the materials that get soaked do not contain asbestos. If in doubt, they should be tested.

Second, dry out the materials that have been damaged by the water. Completely drying out the materials will take time, and you may have to remove ceilings, wallboard, insulation, flooring and other materials. Microorganisms will continue growing as long as there is moisture. When fumes aren’t a problem and if electricity is available and safe, you can remove moisture by closing windows and running a dehumidifier or a window air conditioner.

Third, if you see mold or if there is an earthy or musty smell, you should assume a mold problem exists. Once you have discovered the mold, any porous materials like sheet rock, insulation, carpets, plaster, ceiling tiles, and paper products with mold growth need to be bagged and removed. Non-porous surfaces like hard plastic, concrete, glass, metal and solid wood can usually be cleaned with detergent and water, and dried completely. A disinfectant may be used to eliminate any mold missed by the cleaning. Keep people with mold allergies out of the area while cleaning. Everyone should use protective equipment and techniques while cleaning up mold.