Household mold gradually destroys the things it grows on, and left unattended, can cause significant damage to your home and furnishings. It reproduces by means of tiny spores, invisible to the naked eye and can grow very quickly in wet or damp conditions. Because mold spores float through the air, they attach easily to wet surfaces.
Household mold can also cause minor or significant health problems. It produces allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances called mycotoxins. Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores can irritate your eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs. If you have allergies or asthma, you may experience skin rash and itching, running nose, eye irritation, cough, congestion, and asthma symptoms. If you have an immune suppression or underlying lung disease, you may be at increased risk of infections from mold.
Because indoor mold can cause so many problems, it’s always a good idea to prevent it, if you can. The best way to prevent mold growth inside your home is to reduce moisture. If you already have mold in your home, you should ask a mold remediation expert, like Tri State Restorations, to inspect your home and remove the mold as soon as possible.
Here are 12 tips to help you minimize the chances of mold growth in your home:
- When water leaks or spills occur, act quickly. If wet areas or damp materials are dried within 24-48 hours, mold will probably not have a chance to grow.
- Keep air conditioner drip pans clean and drain lines unobstructed.
- If you see condensation or moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes, dry the wet surfaces as quickly as possible. Condensation can be a sign of high humidity.
- Clean and repair your roof gutters regularly so that rain does not run down the sides of your house.
- Make sure the ground slopes away from your home’s foundation, so that water does not enter or collect around the foundation.
- If you have a flooding incident, such as a leaking roof or overflowing bathtub, mop up the water quickly and be very careful that it does not seep into walls or floors. Call a water cleanup expert if you do not have the tools or time to clean up the water yourself.
- Keep indoor relative humidity below 60 percent, ideally between 30 and 50 percent. Relative humidity can be measured with a moisture or humidity meter, a small, inexpensive instrument available at many hardware stores.
- Reduce your home’s humidity by using air conditioners or de-humidifiers.
- Always run the bathroom fan or open a window while showering.
- Use exhaust fans or open windows whenever cooking, running the dishwasher, dishwashing or doing any activity that creates indoor moisture.
- Vent appliances that produce moisture, such as clothes dryers, stoves and kerosene heaters to the outside, whenever possible.
- Increase your home’s ventilation or air movement by opening doors and windows and using fans.
The key to minimizing household mold and mold damage is to act quickly before mold has a chance to grow.