Most homeowners (probably you too if you’re reading this) have had to deal with mold. Getting through mold infestation is worrisome and time-consuming. But fear not, learning as much as you can about mold will help you keep it out of your home. Here are 10 essential things to know about mold:
1. Mold is a fungus that is widely spread in nature, helping organic matter decompose. Indoors, however, mold can cause structural problems to buildings, as well as health problems.
2. The health effects of mold exposure include allergic reactions, asthma, flu-like diseases, pneumonia, and other respiratory problems. You can be affected by mold even if you’re not allergic to it.
3. Mold grows in moisture-prone areas, such as the basement and bathroom, and in flooded areas. Mold can also develop in hidden parts of the home, such as behind walls, under the floor, or in the HVAC system.
4. While indoor mold can’t be completely eliminated, there are ways to prevent it from growing in dangerous amounts. The way to do that is to control the moisture in your home.
5. To control indoor moisture and reduce mold growth, control the humidity, keeping it between 30-60 percent by:
- Using air conditioners and dehumidifiers
- Changing the HVAC air filter regularly
- Increasing ventilation by using fans, opening windows, etc.
- Venting moisture-generating rooms– like the kitchen and bathroom – to the outside
6. If you spot water leaks through cracks in the attic, basement, walls, or plumbing, fix them immediately.
7. Decrease the potential for condensation. Add insulation to windows, piping, roof, floors, exterior walls, and other areas on which condensation can form.
8. If your home has been flooded, clean and dry building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. Calling a water restoration company is the best way to deal with a flooded home.
9. To clean smaller areas affected by mold (less than 10 square feet), use water and detergent and scrub the mold off hard surfaces. Then, use fans and ventilation to dry completely. For larger areas, hire a mold restoration company.
10. Don’t install carpeting in areas where moisture can be a problem. These areas include the basement, bathroom, by sinks or drinking fountains, or on concrete floors. Learn more about preventing mold on carpets.