Mold Prevention in the Home

 

                                                             

It’s important for homeowners and renters to take steps to prevent mold from infesting their homes.  If allowed to grow, mold can cause health issues in humans as well as sometimes costly damage to the home.  It is definitely a problem that should be avoided!

According to the Center for Disease Control, the types of mold number in the “tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more”, and though the spores can exist in dry environments, none of them can grow without water or moisture. 

Since mold cannot grow without moisture, the main focus of mold prevention is to control water in and around the home. 

– Roof gutters should be cleaned and repaired regularly to prevent standing water or leaks from entering the walls. 

– The ground around the outside of the home should slope away from the building’s foundation in order to direct water away from the structure. 

– HVAC units should be cleaned and maintained regularly so the system does not become contaminated and circulate mold spores.

– Clean refrigerator drip pans regularly.

– Make sure the attic is properly insulated and vented.

– There are many mold-resistant materials (like drywall and paints) available.  You may want to consider utilizing some of these products, especially in areas of the home (like the bathroom) where moisture is present.

– Be aware of the climate you live in, and what time of year mold is more likely to proliferate.  

Renters should report all plumbing leaks immediately.  Any leaks, spills, or burst pipes should be cleaned up quickly and completely. 

There are also steps that can be taken to reduce the amount of humidity in the home, which is a breeding ground for mold:

– Vent all appliances that produce moisture (washing machine, dishwasher, etc.)

– Use the AC and DE-humidifier as needed (many people leave a DE-humidifier running in the basement throughout the year).

– Run the bathroom fan or open a window when showering.

– Use exhaust fans when cooking or washing dishes.

Areas where condensation gathers can also invite mold to grow.  The following tips are helpful to prevent condensation:

– Cover cold surfaces (like pipes) with insulation.

– Increase air temperature to promote evaporation.

– Increase the ventilation in the home by using fans and opening windows.

– Reducing humidity also helps prevent condensation.

Small areas of mold can be cleaned up on your own (as long as the mold has not caused any damage), but beware of the potential health risks and always wear gloves and a mask.  If you know you have a mold allergy or reaction, please refrain from cleaning the mold yourself.  As a mold-allergy sufferer, just the thought of this makes my nose itch.

It’s possible to have the terrifying “hidden” mold within the walls of a home, under carpets, behind tile, etc.  Usually there will be an accompanying smell, or the presence of health issues in the occupants of the home. 

Larger areas of mold growth will most likely need a remediation specialist.  If the growth is extensive enough, the infected area of the home may need to be removed and replaced, which can be costly and time-consuming.

Remember to take precautions to prevent mold!

Submitted by Lacey Gabbard / [email protected]

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