Preventing Mold In Your Home: Why It Grows and What To Do If You See It
The key to preventing mold from growing in your home is to control moisture. While you may think mold is the problem, it’s actually a symptom of excessive moisture. Mold will stick around as long as the moisture persists, even if after a thorough cleaning. The key to preventing mold entirely is to find and fix the water source.
What Is Mold
The uncomfortable truth is, mold exists all around us. Mold is a type of fungus that exists naturally in the air around us and is a common component of dust. Its primary purpose is to aid in the decomposition of organic matter, but mold is also used to produce some food, including cheese, dry-cured meats, soy sauce, and sake.
While it normally doesn’t pose a risk, it can thrive if there is a persistence source of moisture. Mold growth is common after floods or water damage. It usually grows in thread-like structures and may appear fuzzy. Although mold may appear blue, green, grey, or even black, it is difficult to identify the variety of mold by color alone.
Why Mold Grows
Most building materials contain organic matter conducive for mold growth. Wood, drywall, carpeting, paper, cardboard, paneling, ceiling tiles, insulation, fabric, upholstery, dust, lint, and even paint all provide the right nutrients to encourage mold growth in the presence of moisture. Once these items get wet, mold can move in and spread rapidly. Over time mold can cause building materials to decay, causing structural damage. The key to preventing mold is to limit standing water, moisture, humidity, and condensation.
Preventing Mold Growth in Your Home
The first step to preventing mold grow is identifying sources of moisture that may allow mold to grow.
- Look out for damp spots, condensation, and standing water and fix the source of moisture immediately. Contact a professional plumber if you are unable to resolve the source of moisture.
- Use exhaust fans that vent to the outside in kitchens and bathrooms. Contact a roofer, electrician, or HVAC company to have exhaust fans installed.
- Vent clothes dryers, furnaces, and other appliances that generate moisture outside.
- Avoid using humidifiers and appliances that generate moisture if you see condensation forming on windows, walls, or the ceiling.
- Use dehumidifiers and air conditioners in areas prone to excess moisture or when it is especially humid outside.
- After water damage, dry and clean all affected areas within 48 hours. Contact a water damage restoration company if there is significant water damage.
- Contact a mold remediation company if there is extensive mold growth. Mold may grow behind walls, under carpets and flooring, or in areas that you cannot access.
- If you live in a humid climate, you may consider monitoring humidity levels as well. According to EPA recommendations, humidity should fall between 30 and 60 percent.
Common Places for Mold to Grow
You should also check the following locations regularly to ensure there are no signs of moisture or mold.
Check under the sink and around the dishwasher for signs of water damage. Ensure the caulk work around the faucet and sink are in good condition. Make sure the room is properly ventilated and install an exhaust fan if necessary.
Check under the sink and around the toilet, bathtub, and shower for signs of water damage. Ensure the caulk and grout work in the tub or shower is in good condition. Make sure the room is properly ventilated and install an exhaust fan if necessary.
If you can see the underside of your roof, inspect it for signs of water stains and ensure all wood is in good condition. Check the chimney for damaged or deteriorating masonry. If you cannot see the underside of the roof, check materials for signs of water damage and deterioration. Ensure the space is properly vented and improve ventilation if necessary.
Moisture and mold are typically easy to spot in unfinished basements. Check for moisture and mold along the foundation, around windows and openings to the outside. Also, look near heating and cooling systems and hot water tank, by laundry facilities, and around plumbing fixtures. It can be more difficult to find in finished basements but look for water stains, damp spots, or signs of deterioration on drywall, carpeting or flooring, ceiling materials, and furniture.
What To Do If You See Mold
If you see mold, there are several steps you can take to deal with it on your own. Remember that moisture is the problem, so use fans and dehumidifiers to dry the area out. Clean hard surfaces with a mixture of bleach and water. Throw away porous materials, as they will continue to harbor mold spores.
Although do-it-yourself cleaning can be effective at treating the surface, you may not be able to permanently remove mold on your own. Even after a thorough surface cleaning, it may still be lurking behind wallpaper, drywall or paneling, underneath flooring or in carpet padding, or in the walls and ceiling.
If you have persistent or widespread mold issues, areas that are consistently damp or prone to moisture or humidity, or significant water damage, you should contact a water damage or mold remediation specialist.
Our local mold removal and remediation crews are experienced in resolving the originating source of moisture. After fixing the source of the water, they can then properly remove materials contaminated with mold and clean the area to ensure it doesn’t return. Call 1-888-443-3110 now to schedule a free estimate for mold remediation and removal services.