We recently asked the question, “Did your home get moldy this summer?” Out of the nearly 1,000 responses, 92% said “no” and 8% said “yes.” That’s good news for the majority but troubling news for those who experienced mold in their homes this past summer. It’s troubling because mold in your home can not only damage your home but also cause serious health problems.
We also sifted the survey results to determine any regional differences. What we found was the South ranking at the top with 34%. The Midwest was not far behind at 31%, the Northeast at 20%, and the West at 15%.
The important thing is what you need to do to prevent mold growth in your home—and if mold does develop, how to remove it.
Problems Caused by Mold
Mold is a microorganism that exists everywhere. It helps decompose organic material outdoors, like leaves and fallen tree branches. But it also tries to do the same thing indoors and often succeeds.
It develops into colonies on any damp surface within 24 to 48 hours. It grows on wood, cardboard, wallpaper, carpeting, drywall, insulation, ceiling tiles, and anything else that’s porous. Once it’s growing, it’s starting to damage the underlying material.
Mold can be found throughout your home. That especially includes any areas that are frequently exposed to moisture. That ranges from the bathroom to the kitchen and particularly a basement or crawl space.
The spores produced by mold also cause health issues. As we breathe the spores, they irritate the throat, sinuses, and lungs. They further cause allergic reactions including sneezing, red eyes, runny nose, and even skin rashes. They can also cause asthma. There are also toxic molds that can be very dangerous. In short, mold can be hazardous to your health.
How To Prevent Mold
Since mold needs moisture to grow, the best way to keep it from growing in your home is to reduce the level of moisture and certainly clean up any wet areas immediately. Here’s a good list to get you started on the right path.
- Dry wet surfaces within 24 hours to help prevent mold growth.
- Run the air conditioner to help reduce humidity.
- Increase air circulation with overhead fans.
- Make sure your kitchen and bath exhaust fans are working.
- Use a dehumidifier to reduce moisture.
- Clean HVAC vents and replace air filters on schedule.
- Add a particulate filter to your HVAC system to remove spores.
- Don’t overwater indoor plants.
- Remove wet clothes in the washing machine at once.
- Fix leaky pipes under kitchen and bathroom sinks.
- Insulate plumbing pipes to reduce condensation.
- Remove carpeting in areas prone to dampness. Replace with tile or use area rugs that can be washed.
- Check gutters, downspouts, and landscaping to ensure they are routing water away from the basement or crawl space.
- Waterproof your basement or crawl space.
It’s very important to address any mold problems in your basement or crawl space. That’s because the natural airflow in a home, called the stack effect, channels air from your basement or crawl space into the living areas and out through the attic. That means anything growing in your basement or crawl space is sending spores through your entire home.
How To Remove Mold
The EPA’s Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home offers sound instruction on removing small mold infestations including wearing masks, gloves, and goggles along with the clean-up materials needed.
But they are also very careful to point out how dangerous it can be to remove mold. As with many things, it’s best to bring in the professionals for mold clean-up and remediation.
It’s also best to work with professionals in identifying any foundation issues, including waterproofing that can prevent mold. A free inspection from the country’s leading basement waterproofing and crawl space encapsulation experts can help you identify what’s needed to protect your home and your family from mold.