And if these water damages are not enough, mold can also quickly start to grow inside your home which further increases the damage and makes the process of restoration harder, longer, and more expensive.
So, how fast does mold grow after a water leak? In ideal conditions with optimal humidity level and temperature, it only takes 24 up to 48 hours for mold to grow and germinate after a water leak. The spores usually start to grow and colonize in 3 to 12 days, becoming visible in around 18 to 21 days. The time will still vary for different kinds of mold.
This also depends on the home’s actual conditions, including the type of household materials and surfaces in the affected area, the ambient temperature, the amount of moisture, and others.
But still, letting more time to pass also increases the chances for mold to grow and spread to other parts of your home.
Excess water in your house, whether because of a leaky roof, a burst pipe, or flooding, always means trouble.
This can destroy your appliances and electronics, ruin furniture pieces, clothing, carpets, and other items in the house, and put the integrity of your home in jeopardy.
Water Damage and Mold Growth
Even when the water intrusion is just limited and didn’t cause any considerable damage, this may still lead to a mold problem.
It is because any amount of accumulation of moisture indoors can easily result in mold growth in a house.
Mold spores can be found everywhere in the surroundings, allowing mold to develop right away as long as the right conditions like moisture and organic food are present.
There are numerous porous organic materials that can be found inside a house, including paint, drywall, paper products, insulation, and others.
This means that mold only needs some moisture for it to start growing. Even a few inches or water or high humidity alone can form the ideal conditions for mold to grow.
It will then take just several days for mold to grow and damage your property as a result.
However, you can easily avoid this problem. All you have to do is to get rid of the moisture before mold gets the chance to develop.
How Fast Can Mold Spread Around Your Home?
Mold spread in just a matter of hours. Once a mold spore falls on a moist organic material, it will root into the porous surface and starts feeding off the organic substance.
In a few hours, the dangerous microorganisms will start to spread to adjacent areas with moisture and damage the structural material of the specific material they are attached to.
The moment mold gets a foothold on any surface in your house, it can quickly fill the air with thousands of harmful sores that can spread all over the building and affect more and more nooks and corners with each passing hour.
This means that the only best way to keep mold from infesting your house after a water leak or damage occurs is to dry the area within the first 48 hours following the water intrusion.
How Do You Spot Mold in Your House?
It is very easy to spot mold the moment it starts to grow. Mold looks like a small white or black speck.
But there are instances when mold can grow in hidden spots like behind the wall coverings or on ceiling tiles.
A musty odor often accompanies mold and this means that you can usually smell it even if it is not within sight.
Since mold often grows in humid places with high water usage, the most ideal spots to search for mold include the kitchen, basement, laundry room, and bathroom.
There are several ways for you to check for any water leak by yourself. These include identifying water leaks and mold by searching for the following:
- Stains in the ceilings or on the walls
- Sounds of rushing, trickling, or dripping water
- Damp or musty odors
- Sudden water pressure changes
- Wet or damp spots anywhere in the property
- A sudden increase in water bill cost
Homeowners must never forget to inspect these places for signs of water leaks and mold:
- Water heaters
- Areas of the property located near water features like fountains
- Areas of the property located near outdoor or indoor pools
- Rooftop or underground parking areas
- Laundry rooms
How to Prevent Mold Growth After Water Leak or Damage
Based on what is mentioned above, it is safe to conclude that there is a window time of 48 to 72 hours between the water leak or damage and the start of mold growth.
Once the flooded areas have been completely dried off during this time gap, there is very little possibility for mold to develop and grow.
However, it can be quite difficult to dry areas properly.
Water can easily find its way into all sorts of materials and even spread under floors, through ceilings, and into walls on its way to the lowest part of the house.
1. Extract any excess water
You cannot dry out the inaccessible spots in time if you just extract the excess water from the house and open a window or door to let air floor from outside.
If any moisture amount, no matter how small, remains lingering in the wall cavities, under carpet padding, or at the back of baseboards, mold will have more time to begin developing before everything dries up.
2. Let the area dry out
People often put all their efforts into drying the area that was flooded, neglecting those nearby areas wherein water may have also flowed hidden under tile or carpet or inside wall cavities.
Even if you think that your property has been dried out, there may be enough moisture left behind to allow mold growth.
For success removal of excess moisture from your house within the 48 to 72 hours window time when proper drying can still prevent mold growth, you will need to enlist the help of a professional drying service.