How to prevent mold from growing in your home.
We live in Central Florida, where a typical day is hot and humid. Without taking proper precautionary measures, your home can easily become a breeding ground for mold. There are many great resources out there to educate yourself on mold, the dangers of mold, and how to grow it and how to prevent it. Mold can cause serious illness in some people. Those with allergies and sensitivities, the elderly, young children, and those with lung, sinus, or bronchial issues, and immune-compromised individuals are all susceptible to mold-related illnesses and health problems due to mold. Its something to be taken seriously. If you or family members suffer from these type health issues, make sure that you take the proper precautions and preventive measures. For those people just looking how to simply prevent the growth of mold in their home, we’ll break it down.
3 things that create a prime environment for mold to grow and thrive:
#1 Moisture levels are key. When in doubt, Think “Dry”.
The first step in controlling your home environment to help prevent mold is to keep the moisture level down. Think dry. Bathrooms are notorious for getting mildew and mold, due to the hot moist air from showers, baths and hot water. Its important to make sure that there is proper ventilation in your bathroom and throughout your home to allow dry air to flow freely. If you don’t have a vent in your bathroom, invest in a ceiling fan or floor fan and keep it running when humidity levels are high. Wipe down walls and floors after taking a shower and open shower doors or curtain to ventilate after taking the shower as well. Kitchens are also an area that tend to get moist. When cooking, steam rises from the stove. Also, dishwashers produce steam. Make sure to have plenty of ventilation when cooking or running a dishwasher. Investing in a dehumidifier is a great option to help keep relative humidity levels under 50% in your home. Another great investment is a hygrometer. This is an instrument that helps you measure humidity levels.
In addition to keeping normal humidity levels low, its also just as important to regularly check and keep an eye on major things that can cause wetness, dampness and moisture issues. Keep a watch for loose or cracked pipes, window leaks, roof leaks, and other suspicious water intrusion signs. If you have wet spots on your ceiling, there’s a good chance that you might have had a roof leak issue that was never addressed. If you see water puddling up on the floor or window sill, chances are you have a window leak. Take preventative measures to do a complete home inspection of your own on a regular basis to ensure that nothing is leaking and you are keeping your home dry.
If you ever experience any kind of flood or water damage, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends to dry water damaged areas and belongings within 24-48 hours to prevent the growth of mold. Generally speaking, with most insurance carriers, they expect you to do your duty as a homeowner to dry out, clean up, and restore water damaged areas within a short amount of time to help prevent further damage and to prevent mold from growing. A reputable, licensed and insured restoration company is often called upon to clean up major water damage. But the longer you wait to contact a water dry-out company, the shorter your timeframe gets and could possibly end up in a claim denial. To avoid further damage and potential mold growing in your home, and to lessen the likelihood of an insurance claim denial, contact a reputable restoration company as soon as the situation arises. Insurance carriers want you to be responsible homeowners.
#2 Food Source
You might ask yourself, “What does mold eat?” Organic substances like paper in drywall, oils, food, wood, and porous materials. Obviously, if you live in a house you cannot rid your home of the food source of mold. Most everything in your house, and the house included, is a smorgasbord for mold.
#3 Temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit are
If you live in Central Florida, or ANYWHERE in Florida for that matter, you are subject to high temperatures during most months of the year. Mold outdoors is inevitable. You can’t control outdoor temperatures. But you can control indoor temperatures. Keeping your home cooler is essential. Especially when outdoor temperatures are hot. However, do keep an eye out on your AC for any leaks or excess condensation. Remember, moisture and water offer a thriving environment for mold.
So, here is the simple plan…. Dehumidify and keep your home cool and DRY. Inspect your home for potential leaks on a somewhat regular basis. If you do find mold growing in your home, take precautions when dealing with it. Killing the mold is not sufficient. You must remove the mold to ensure its gone. There are environmental hygienists that can test your home if you’re not sure if its actually mold. Remediation specialists have the proper protective equipment to remove mold from a home. They will use plastic containment areas to keep the mold in one area and prevent spreading, and they will use a special, industrial Hepa-Vac. They’ll also use dehumidifiers to help lower the humidity while they remove the mold. If you have people who are elderly, immune-compromised, asthmatic, or young children, don’t mess around with mold. You cannot be too careful. If you try to clean mold on your own, remember that once the spores are disturbed, they can often become airborne and will then spread through your home via the HVAC system. Always take precaution. When in doubt, call in the professionals. But just like anything, prevention is the best medicine.