10 Tips For Preventing Mold!
Mold serves a purpose in our ecosystem: to consume dead organic materials. For this reason, mold spores are everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
These mold spores cause problems when they begin proliferating and growing indoors because mold growth can lead to the release of mycotoxins and other poisons in the indoor air that can result in health problems. The core problem with most homes is they provide the perfect food for mold to feed; homes are built using dead organic materials. For this reason, mold can grow anywhere in your home: 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.
One of the first signs you have mold is a musty odor. In addition to smelling mold, you may also see clues like watermarks on ceilings or walls which is a sign that you have moisture issues that could be causing mold growth. Other visual clues could also be actual mold growth in your home. Keep in mind, not all mold is black, but can be gray, orange, and green.
The primary goal of this article is to help guide you on preventing mold growth in your home by providing you with practical tips and advice that you can use to safe guard your home from mold growth and protect the health of your family.
Puritan Restoration, proudly serving residential and business owners in Norwood, Newton, Framingham, Cambridge, Needham, Brookline MA and surrounding areas, is passionate about helping our customers with their mold concerns. We specialize in mold removal. Our staff are highly educated and trained on all aspects of indoor air quality. We are experts at indoor air quality because your health and well being is our biggest concern. If you think you have mold, please give us a call, 617-527-2229 or send us an e-mail
3 Reasons Mold Is A Serious Concern!
- Mold can be difficult and costly to remove.
- Failing to remove mold will result in dry rot and structural concerns which will impact the long term value of your property.
- Finally, mold produces allergens, irritants, and mycotoxins that can compromise your health. Since mold spores are very small and can easily be inhaled into your lungs it can impact your health negatively.
The good news, mold growth can be prevented. The bad news, mold is everywhere, so you need to be diligent.
Keep in mind, in order for mold to grow, it requires moisture, warmth, and food. Depriving mold of any of these three items will stop it from growing.
The easiest way to prevent mold is to keep moisture at a minimum.
Listed below are the top 10 tips that can help ensure that your home and/or business is mold free.
#1 Inspect Areas Prone To and/or Cause Mold Growth!
You can take proactive steps to determine if you have problems that could lead to mold concerns by getting answers to these questions:
- Does the basement flood?
- Do you notice frequent condensation on windows?
- Is there a water stain on the ceiling from a persistent leak?
- Is your basement damp?
- Does water flow into your home’s foundation?
Addressing these questions may entail some upfront costs to fix, but it will be worth the investment in preventing future mold problems.
In portions of your home that are susceptible to moisture, use area rugs or washable floor surfaces rather than wall-to-wall carpeting. If you use area rugs, launder them periodically.
If you are considering a plan to renovate your home or building a new home, research mold prevention products, including mold-resistant drywall and sheetrock, and mold inhibitors for paints.
#2 Properly Ventilate Your Home!
Routine daily activities such as cooking, taking a shower, and washing laundry can create excess moisture in your home.
Prevent moisture with proper ventilation and increase the air flow within your home.
Without good air flow, excess moisture can appear on your walls, windows, and floors.
- Open windows to allow fresh air to flow indoors.
- To increase air circulation, open doors between rooms, move furniture away from walls, and open doors to closets.
- Vent appliances that produce moisture (clothes dryers and stoves) to the outside, not to the attic or crawl space.
- 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.
- Energy-efficient homes are prone to moisture issues because they are sealed so tightly. For this reason, it is important that you open windows or use exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom (especially when you are showering).
- If you don’t already have an HVAC system that has an outside air intake to bring in a steady stream of outside air, consider installing one.
#3 Prevent Seepage!
- One of the best methods to prevent seepage into your crawlspace or basement is to ensure that water around your home sufficiently slopes away from the foundation of your home.
- Do not put gardens or plants too close to your foundation so that watering them could cause water to flow toward your house.
- If you water your lawn with a sprinkler, make sure the water does not hit your house or the area next to the foundation.
#4 Dry Wet Materials Immediately!
Mold will begin growing within 24 to 48 hours if there is moisture.
- Don’t leave wet clothes or other items lying around the house, dry them outside if possible.
- Dry spills on carpet and floors.
- Dry your clothes after washing them by putting them in the dryer soon after the wash cycle is complete.
- If heavy rainfall causes seepage into your basement, make sure you dry the area promptly and contact a company to waterproof your basement to prevent future occurrences.
- If you experience a flood event, dispose of water-damaged carpets, bedding, and furniture if they can not be dried completely. If you are concerned that mold may begin to grow, contact Puritan Restoration for assistance.
#5 Check Plants For Mold!
- Plants help keep your indoor air clean. Unfortunately, mold grows in the soil of house plants and can also grow on the leaves, leading to higher levels of mold spores in the home.
- To hinder mold growth in plant soil, add some Taheebo tea to your house plant water in a mild solution. The oil of this tree, which withstands fungi even in rain forests, helps hinder mold growth in plant soil and can be found at natural food stores.
#6 Clean, Disinfect, and Dry Surfaces!
- Vacuum and clean regularly to remove possible sources of mold growth.
- Pay special attention to bathrooms and other areas of your home that are likely to generate a lot of moisture.
- Non-porous surfaces (tile, stone, laminate) can be cleaned well with disinfectants and other cleaners.
#7 Repair Water Leaks!
Repair water leaks in your roof, windows, or any other part of the home as soon as possible. Over time, constant leaks will cause moisture to buildup leading to mold growth.
#8 Control Moisture & Humidity!
- Clues that your home has excess humidity includes condensation on windows, pipes, and walls.
- If you notice condensation, dry the surface immediately and address the source of moisture, and invest in a dehumidifier if necessary.
- To measure the humidity levels in your home, purchase a moisture meter from your local hardware store.
- Ideally, the indoor humidity of your home should be between 30 and 60 percent.
- In the winter, it is recommended that humidity levels are below 40 percent to prevent condensation from appearing on the windows.
#9 Clear Debris From Your Gutters & Downspouts!
- Debris in your gutters or downspouts can block the flow of water from your roof.
- To prevent water accumulation, clean your gutters regularly and have them inspected for damage.
- Check your ceiling for water stains, particularly after heavy storms.
- Make sure the area under your downspouts is properly graded so that rainwater from the roof flows away from your foundation. If the water is not flowing away from the foundation, extend your downspouts.
#10 Inspect Your Crawl Space, Storage Room, Attic, and Basement For Mold!
Inspect Your Crawl Space!
- Mold growth in the crawl space is a particular concern because it will also impact the indoor air quality of your home.
- If you find excess moisture or mold issues in your crawl space, the area should be cleaned properly and the mold removed and properly encapsulated.
- Installation of a dehumidifier will also help control humidity.
Make Sure Your Storage Room Is Dry!
- Most homeowners have a room where they store materials such as books, clothes, camping gear, and other occasional use items.
- It is important that you check the humidity of your storage room and make sure that there is no excess moisture because most of the materials you are storing are ample sources of food for mold.
- Ideally, use your garage or a well built shed that prevents moisture intrusion, or a dry storage unit and not the inside of your home.
- Make sure there is air circulating in the storage area as well.
Check Your Attic
- Make sure that your exhaust fans are not venting into the attic because this will create excess moisture and lead to mold.
- Your attic needs ventilation as well, so check this.
- Insulation is important, particularly in cooler climates because snow accumulation on the roof can lead to ice damning issues which will cause moisture issues.
Prevent Basement Condensation
- The cool basement floor and walls can be a source of moisture build-up, leading to mold and that musty smell many encounter in their basements.
- To prevent condensation and future moisture issues, improve air circulation, run a dehumidifier, and install a foundation drain.
- Ideally, make sure the basement walls are insulated properly to keep the walls warm and limit condensation.
- If you find that there is moisture intrusion into your basement through seepage, consider hiring a contractor to water proof the area.