by Sarah Ashton, Broker Associate, Keller Williams Realty
Last Satuday and Sunday, for Sanibel and Captiva, Tropical Storm Sally packed a punch – not so much with wind but with rain – 12 to 15 inches of it. This amount of water in the 24 hours it fell, was enough to overflow into even the driest parts of the island. Roads were flooded, ponds overflowed their banks and we had walking catfish flopping down Tarpon Bay Road. It was epic.
Fortunately the islands are designed for water. Our conservation property took it. The sandy loam we are built on took it and, after the rain stopped the draining began. Unfortunately, any part of a house or condo that touches the ground was at risk of water intrusion and this happened to many properties on the islands. Ground level commercial properties on Sanibel had standing water in the parking lots that lapped front doors and was sucked into wood, wall board and carpet. Elevated homes with flooded driveways found water lapping at their garage doors and seeping into enclosed lower levels with it finding wood and stored items to seep into. Condos with ground level units had standing water in parking lots and water seeping into lanais with furnishings to take it in. This doesn’t count the properties that experienced roof leaks from the thunderous rain so they too had water inside where it didn’t belong.
Water on surfaces and in materials this time of year means Mold. This is something to be taken very seriously. Mold grows quickly and can lead to creating a “sick” building and subsequent health hazards. If you haven’t had someone check out your property since the storm, do it. If there was water intrusion, even in the lower level that isn’t lived in – get professional advice about the best course of action to ensure that your property is mold free.
Mold occurs naturally and is present in our air all the time. What you want to avoid is a mold count in your property that is higher than what naturally occurs in the environment. When properties are sold it is more and more common for the buyer to request a Mold Inspection to ensure this elevated level is not present in the property they are purchasing. As they say – Time is of the essence. Action is required.