Water damage in homes is the major cause of mold growth. Mold growth not only destroys walls, furniture, carpets, flooring, and other stuff in the building but it can also result in poor indoor air quality. Inhaling airborne mold spores is known to cause respiratory problems including asthma, bronchitis and other mold allergy symptoms.
Mold smell after water damage
After water damage in homes, molds are likely to grow inside the building on or in wet materials. Therefore, even if you can’t see any visible mold but you detect a noticeable musty or earthy smell, you most likely have mold growth in hidden places.
Types of mold after water damage in homes
The types of mold caused by water damage depends on the amount of moisture available for mold growth. The “available water” is referred to as water activity and has a scale of 0 to 1. A scale of 1 means almost running water in the material. Based on water activity molds can be divided into 3 categories.
- Primary colonizers. Primary colonizers can grow at a water activity less than or equal to 0.80;
- Secondary colonizers. Secondary colonizers grow at a water activity level of 0.80–0.90
- Tertiary colonizers. Tertiary colonizers require a water activity greater than 0.90. Since tertiary colonizers will only grow well in presence of excessive water, they are used as indicators of serious water damage.
What is water damage
Water damage refers to losses caused by water when it comes into contact with materials. The damage could be direct or indirect by enabling attack of a material or system by destructive processes such as rotting of wood, growth, rusting of steel, de-laminating of materials such as plywood, etc.
Causes of water damage in homes
The leading causes of water damage in homes may include broken dishwasher hose, washing machine overflow, dishwasher leakage, broken pipes, clogged toilet, leaking roof, moisture behind walls, foundation cracks, plumbing leaks, slab leaks and other water sources such as flooding from melting snow and rain.