Mold Remediation in HVAC Units: Dealing with Hurricane Flooding
Each year, residents in the Caribbean and the southeast coast of the U.S. brace for hurricane season. Some years, residents breathe a sigh of relief that the storms stayed off in the Atlantic. Last year, thousands in Puerto Rico, Florida, and even Eastern Canada did not have that luxury. Hurricanes Ian and Fiona left devastation in their wake. Current estimates put hurricane Ian’s damage at $114 billion. Hurricane Fiona stripped Puerto Rico of power for days. Together, the two storms resulted in over 156 deaths.
The effects of hurricane season are wide-ranging. Images of destroyed homes, neighborhoods, and cities fill the news. However, for some, they experience the devastation of a hurricane in a way that, although it doesn’t make the news, certainly makes an impact: Mold, the aftermath of flooding.
As hurricanes approach, many homeowners and business owners wisely evacuate the area to protect themselves and their families. However, being far from home gives mold plenty of time to grow. With an incubation period of only 24-48 hours, stopping the spread of mold growth after hurricane flooding is extremely difficult. More often than not, after hurricanes strike, the task at hand is dealing with mold that has already grown rather than preventing it. Contractors face the challenge of not only having to remediate mold visible to the naked eye but also mold that has grown in spaces like HVAC systems. Tackling this challenge requires expertise.
The above steps outline the process of mold remediation in HVAC systems. However, as with most things, it’s easier said than done. When doing mold remediation, look for experts with relevant certifications and a track record of success. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) provides industry standards for mold and flood remediation (S520 and S500, respectively). If a contractor isn’t familiar with these, find one who is.
Furthermore, make sure they’re equipped with the necessary air movers, dehumidifiers, HEPA vacuums, and more to do the job correctly. When it comes to mold, the principle of the tortoise and the hare rings true — slow and steady wins the race. Taking the time to do the job thoroughly always beats rushing through it and finding that the mold has continued to grow beneath the surface, creating an even more significant problem in the long run.MOLD REMEDIATION:Dry the building —Assess the mold growth —Contain the affected areas —Determine whether to replace or clean the affected HVAC materials —Remediate the mold —