When most people think about storm damage, they think about broken windows, leaky roofs, and basement flooding. However, storm damage also tends to produce a more subtle problem: bad indoor air quality. Exactly how does bad indoor air quality occur, and how does it affect your health?
Storm Damage and Indoor Air Quality
Poor indoor air quality is the result of various pollutants becoming airborne in your home through your carpet, furnace, air conditioner, etc. Common airborne allergens include dust mites, pet dander, chemicals from cleaners, pollen, and more. However, a damp storm tends to cause one major pollutant that reduces indoor air quality: mold.
Excess moisture in the walls, ceiling, carpet, or upholstery causes mold spores to release. Over time, ingesting the airborne spores leads to respiratory infections, allergies, and even chronic breathing problems.
How Can You Manage Your Indoor Air Quality?
Fortunately, you can take steps to manage your indoor air quality, even after a major storm. Make sure you follow these tips.
1. Change your air filters regularly.
Your air filter prevents allergens and pollutants from entering your home’s air circulation. However, a clogged or dirty filter contaminates the airflow (and decreases your HVAC system’s efficiency). Most manufacturers recommend changing your air filter every 30-60 days but check the package for specific directions.
2. Thoroughly dry carpet and furniture after major or minor flooding.
Spring and summer storms typically bring at least one minor leak to light. If your roof leaks or your basement floods, make sure you dry your flooring 100%. Not only does moisture cause permanent damage to your flooring, but it also encourages mold growth under wooden boards or inside carpet piles. Use towels, a wet vacuum, and powerful fans to remove all excess moisture.
3. Ventilate your home often.
Stale air is unhealthy air. To make sure that you and your family breathe fresh, healthy air, ventilate your home. Run a fan, open the windows, keep the screen door open, etc. If the weather is overly hot or cold, you don’t have to keep the windows open for long. However, allowing fresh air to replace stale air is vital when it comes to good indoor air quality.
4. Clean your ducts annually.
Did you know that you are supposed to have your ducts cleaned and inspected? Dust and droppings from pests pollute any air that flows through your ductwork. To keep your lungs happy and healthy, schedule professional HVAC tune-ups that include duct inspections.
5. Invest in a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air.
If you live in a particularly damp climate, use a dehumidifier to discourage mold growth in your home. Storm damage isn’t always visible. Sometimes, all it takes is a little extra moisture in the air to cause problems.
6. Receive a professional storm damage assessment to locate any hidden moisture.
Finally, it is incredibly important to schedule a professional storm damage assessment after every major storm. A professional assessor can test for moisture damage and the beginnings of mold growth. This allows you to nip any air quality problems in the bud.
Need a Storm Damage Assessment?
Disaster Management Recovery Group is here to assess your storm damage and determine the next step. If you need a roofing evaluation or have suffered exterior damage due to storms or other natural disasters, contact us and schedule a storm damage evaluation and start on the road to recovery.