It wasn’t noticeable last summer until we pulled a file cabinet away from a wall in a basement, and then it was like a scene from a horror movie. Black mold was growing on the wall behind the cabinet. Further investigation showed that it was coming from some leaking water in an adjoining bathroom.
My first reaction was to evacuate the premises, move Tom and me and the kids to a hotel until the problem was resolved. Black mold is like a creature from the black lagoon that spreads through the house and sickens its unsuspecting victims.
Mold, especially the sight of insidious black mold, will trigger a panic reaction in many people because it is dangerous. Breathing in mold spores can cause severe allergic reactions, nausea, chronic coughing, headaches and worse.
Flooding Causes Mold Threat
The flooding in the last few weeks has made mold a threat for thousands of Nebraskans. Any time you have water in places it’s not supposed to be, including basements, furniture and belongings, you have the perfect habitat for mold. It’s said that mold can start growing on a wet surface within 48 hours of exposure. Experts say that the way to prevent mold is to quickly get the water out and then use fans so the environment isn’t conducive for the mold spores.
In the last house we lived in, our basement flooded and we spent days using a wet/dry vac to suck up the water. Then we propped up the wet rugs on chairs and blew fans on the floors for weeks. We still had to tear off and throw out water-damaged and warped wood paneling. Furniture was hauled out to hopefully dry, but most of it was thrown out as it’s hard to get a water soaked cushion to dry quickly and not have a musty odor.
I know many buildings have sustained major water damage in the last week, and it reminds me of all the work involved in getting basements back to normal. It’s got to be one of the worst things to happen to a homeowner — water in a basement with the damage to furnishings and risk of mold that comes with it.
In our case, we ended up ripping out the dry wall in our basement that had the black mold growing on, it knowing that no amount of scrubbing and bleach was going to make it go away.When things are finally dry, we can use mold resistant paint and a dehumidifier and keep the mold away. Still, best of luck to anyone fighting mold wars this spring.
Written by Diane Becker