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Mold and Toxin Prevention as Hurricane Season Approaches

By Justin Seay, Director of Environmental Services

hurricane approaches miami and southern fla

Summer is fast approaching and with that comes the dreaded “hurricane season.” Storm damage can cost a homeowner a fortune in repairs if they are not properly prepared. In particular, mold can cause major health issues such as CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome) also known as mold sickness and negatively impact your brain health with issues such as trouble finding the right words, brain fog, and difficulty concentrating to name a few. Biotoxins are a real threat when mold is able to grow in a home or business and can cause a host of physical and emotional symptoms. Luckily, there are several things you can do to prepare your home for a hurricane that can help prevent water intrusion and mold growth.

We at Rezilir Health are based in the Hollywood area just outside of Miami and Fort Lauderdale. However, all of these tips apply to homes up and down the east coast and throughout the gulf coast region. Let’s start with the outside of the home.

Any lawn furniture or decorations that are not bolted to the ground should come inside. Hurricane winds can turn these things into small missiles that can take out a window or damage a door. Additionally, you should walk around your home and look at the foundation. Small cracks or holes can turn into areas that wind-driven rain can penetrate and cause havoc under your home. Patch those areas up prior to storm landfall.

Another focal point outside should be the roof. If you notice loose or missing shingles, you should get them repaired/replaced before the storm moves in. Once wind and rain find a way into and under your roof’s building materials, it can cause major damage all throughout the home which could lead to health problems down the road.

Windows and door weather stripping/seals should be checked. Any gaps or damaged areas should be resealed prior to a storm. A small area will still allow for water intrusion which could lead to heavy water damage around a window. If your home has storm shutters, now would be the time to close them to protect your windows.

Now is also a good time to check the condition of your home’s gutters if you have them. Gutters full of debris will malfunction and allow for water to pond at your home’s foundation. This ponding will erode the soil at the foundation and lead to water entering under your home which can then well up and cause water damage to your home’s structure.

Once you’ve done a walk around the outside of your home to get prepared you can then move inside to further protect your home. The most obvious thing to do now is to lock all windows and doors in your home. Even though it seems simple, some people forget and eventually wind and rain force open these areas and allow water into the home. If you don’t have a deadbolt, it would be a good idea to get one in the future to further bolster your home’s storm defense.

If you have a garage, now is the time to make sure the door is shut. In the future, you can reinforce garage doors with both vertical door braces and horizontal support beams. Garage doors have a lot of give so these upgrades serve to stiffen the door and make it better suited to take the battering from wind and rain. Future projects to protect your home can also include impact-resistant garage doors and windows.

If your budget allows, having a generator to keep power on is a great idea. This can help keep the humidity levels in the home manageable, key items such as a refrigerator and freezer working, and power to get updates on the storm. If a generator is not available or in the budget, turning your refrigerator and freezer to the highest sitting prior to the storm will help to mitigate spoilage of food.

We also recommend buying something such as Damprid or even Eva-Dry wireless mini dehumidifier to hang in areas throughout your home to keep humidity levels down below 60%. Remember, water, a food source, and proper temperature and humidity are all mold needs to grow. However, it needs all three to grow so controlling those elements as best you can are an excellent way to help prevent an environmental disaster in your home and negative impact on your health.

Of course, sometimes things happen and despite your efforts, your home suffers storm damage. We are always available for environmental assessments and mold testing throughout Florida and the rest of the country should the need arise. We hope that this coming hurricane season is quiet, and the country can avoid major impacts. You can also get further information by visiting rezilirhealth.com/rezilir-home/. Getting your home ready now and being prepared are things you will be happy you did if a storm heads your way this summer.

Please contact Jessica Seay at iep@rezilirhealth.com for more information on home assessments or if you feel your home or environment could be a contributing factor to your poor health.

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