Flooding and Home Air Quality

Although water is essential to our lives, it can be devastating when it arrives in large quantities.  Many homeowners have experienced this as the victims of flooding.  When floodwater flows into the house, it normally brings bugs, debris, and micro-organisms with it.

A lesser-known problem accompanying flooding, however, is the damage it does to the air quality in a home.  When items become wet for over 48 hours, they tend to become moldy.  Mold spores are not limited to the areas upon which they rest.  They float throughout the air and are easily inhaled.

Additionally, floodwater is usually rampant with micro-organisms which may present a health hazard.  These organisms are likely to penetrate into porous materials and may later be released into air or other water.  High humidity and ongoing moisture provide an ideal environment for these organisms to grow.  As time goes on, long-term humidity may also foster the growth of dust mites, which are a major cause of asthma and allergic reactions.

Drying out the flooded house is not a quick process.  It can take several weeks.  Materials such as carpet cannot be adequately dried out and cleaned for future use.  These will need to be discarded.  Doors and windows should be opened.  Cabinet and closet doors should also be opened.  Cabinet drawers should be opened as well.  Otherwise, they will likely swell and be difficult to open later.  Dehumidifiers are very helpful in lowering the level of moisture.  If the air conditioner was under water, it should be cleaned before being run.  Otherwise, it will likely blow contaminants into the house.

Appliances which are affected by floodwaters should be inspected by a professional before being used again.

Homeowners who live in a flood-prone area should also store hazardous household materials on higher shelves, in an effort to keep them dry in the event of a flood.  If these products mix with the floodwater, additional health hazards may result.  Such products include:

-household cleaners -motor oil -pesticides -fertilizer.

If you are dealing with mold that resulted from a flood, we recommend that you consult a professional.  Mold Terminator, Inc. is proud to serve as a local provider of mold remediation services.  For more information, e-mail info@moldterminatorinc.com or call (901) 877-8855.


  1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  www.epa.gov. 19 May 2016
  2. National Safety Council.  www.nsc.org.  19 May 2016
  3. Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.  www.pca.state.mn.us  19 May 2016