Mold. The very word is enough to make a person cringe.
Yes, mold can be good — it’s essential in making brie and penicillin, for example, and necessary for the decomposition of organic matter in nature — but it can also be very bad, especially when it grows undetected in your home.
Mold spores spread easily and can grow anywhere: on carpet, clothing, food, paper, and even in places you can’t see, such as the backside of drywall, areas inside walls around leaking or condensing pipes, and above ceiling tiles.
Not only is a mold problem difficult and costly to fix, but mold can also produce allergens and irritants (and, rarely, toxins) that may compromise your health. So what can you do if you’re concerned about mold growth in your home?
The best approach is preventing mold before it becomes a problem. The key to mold prevention is simple: moisture control.
Here are seven ways to curb moisture indoors, and the mold growth that thrives on it.
Dry wet areas immediately and call a professional. Mold can’t grow without moisture, so calling for help right away is necessary to address the root of the problem. Seepage into the basement after a heavy rainfall, accumulation from a leaky pipe, or even a simple spill on the carpet should be dried within 24 to 48 hours. If you’ve experienced a flood, remove water-damaged carpets, bedding, and furniture if they can’t be completely dried and schedule a time for a professional team to come out and evaluate the situation.
“The number one reason we get sent out for mold related jobs is because the water damage was not properly handled in the first place. Why call a plumber or a contractor to come dry your flood? Would you call an eye doctor to perform your heart surgery?” – Brandon Wright, UltraClean
Identify problem areas in your home and correct them. You can’t mold-proof your home, but you can make it mold-resistant. Do an audit of your home: where are the areas most prone to moisture exposure? Does the basement flood? Do you notice frequent condensation on an upstairs window? Is there a water stain on the ceiling from a persistent leak?
Preventing mold from growing or spreading might be as simple as ripping up carpet in a damp basement, applying mold-resistant products, or repairing damaged gutters. When not addressed fast enough, it may be a matter of major excavation and waterproofing. Whatever the case, address the problem as soon as possible. It might cost some money up front, but it will surely be more expensive down the road if mold continues to grow unchecked.
Prevent moisture with proper ventilation. It may be that your routine domestic activities are encouraging the growth of mold in your home. Make sure a simple activity like cooking dinner, taking a shower, or doing a load of laundry doesn’t invite mold by providing proper ventilation, like an open window or exhaust fan, in your bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and any other high-moisture area. Vent appliances that produce moisture — clothes dryers, stoves — to the outside, not the attic. Use AC units and dehumidifiers, especially in humid climates, but make sure they don’t produce moisture themselves by checking them periodically and cleaning them as directed by the manufacturer.
Monitor humidity indoors. We recommend keeping indoor humidity between 30 and 50 percent. You can detect high humidity by simply paying attention to potential problem areas in your home. Telltale signs of excessive humidity include condensation on windows, pipes, and walls. If you notice condensation, dry the surface immediately and address the source of moisture. For example, turn off a humidifier if water appears on the inside of nearby windows.
Direct water away from your home. If the ground around your home isn’t sufficiently sloped away from the foundation, water may collect there and seep into your crawlspace or basement. If there are any holes near your foundation, fill these areas to avoid water from pooling next to your home.
Clean or repair roof gutters. A mold problem might be a simple matter of a roof that is leaking because of full or damaged gutters. Have your roof gutters cleaned regularly and inspected for damage. Repair them as necessary, and keep an eye out for water stains after storms that may indicate a leak.
Improve airflow in your home. As temperatures drop, the air is able to hold less moisture. Without good air flow in your home, that excess moisture may appear on your walls, windows, and floors. To increase circulation, open doors between rooms, move furniture away from walls, and open doors to closets that may be colder than the rooms they’re in. Let fresh air in to reduce moisture and keep mold at bay.
Do you suspect you might have mold in your home? Or do you just want to ask us a mold question? Whether you want someone to come in and fix it for you, or you are a “do-it-yourself” kind of person, UltraClean can help! Give us a call at (208) 887-4740, contact us for advice or service 24 hours a day, or send us an email.