If you have moisture or water damage, surely you’ll have mold issues. Homeowners with water damage due to rain and floods that have soaked much should be on guard against molds. Recognizing the signs of mold early and knowing how to control them will prevent further damage.
There is always a little mold everywhere – in the air and on many surfaces. But what are molds, anyway?
Molds are a group of microorganisms that are part of the Kingdom fungi and reproduce by spores. Some molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins or specifically what we call mycotoxins. Not all molds release mycotoxins but can still be a health threat and are much more common in the home.
Molds attack where there is dampness or relatively high humidity. Mold growth which often looks like spots, can appear in a variety of colors, and has a musty smell. Color is not an indication of how dangerous a mold may be. Any mold should be removed and the moisture source that helped it grow should also be removed.
When mold is growing on a surface, it releases spores into the air. People can easily inhale those spores. If you’re sensitive to mold and inhale a large number of spores, you could experience health problems.
As molds grow on building materials they may become destructive. They may grow unnoticed, above ceilings, behind walls, in attics and basements or in crawl spaces. Molds can cause staining of walls and ceilings. They can begin to break down the studs and joists of buildings causing extensive property damage.
Tips to Prevent Mold Damage
The first step to prevention is understanding where mold likes to grow. Do I need to control the moisture if I want to control mold? Yes. You must control the moisture in your home. Again–the best way to avoid mold is to avoid moisture. The following are some tips to reduce moisture throughout the home.
Around the house
- Increase air circulation by opening doors between rooms and by using fans and moving furniture from wall corners.
- Reduce moisture in the air by using dehumidifiers and air conditioners, especially in hot, humid climates.
- Keep air conditioning drip pans clean.
- Dry wet areas within 24 to 48 hours to prevent mold growth.
- Fix leaks and seepage.
- Keep the house warm in cool weather.
- Add insulation to cold surfaces, such as exterior walls, floors, and windows to reduce condensation.
- Ask a heating and cooling contractor to check your heating and cooling system to make sure it’s operating properly to remove humidity. Also, ask the contractor to check your duct system for air leaks, and proper size and air flow to each room.
In the kitchen
- Check for leaks around the kitchen sink, refrigerator ice makers, and other sources of water. Repair if necessary.
- Empty and clean refrigerator drip pans if necessary.
- Use exhaust fans to move moisture outside and not into the attic whenever you are cooking, washing dishes, or cleaning.
- Turn off appliances if you observe moisture on windows and other surfaces.
In basements and crawl spaces
- Consider painting concrete floors and using area rugs instead of wall-to-wall carpet in basements.
- Use fans and install vents in outside walls if necessary to make sure that crawl spaces are well ventilated.
- If you want to put carpet over a concrete floor, use a vapor barrier. If necessary, over the concrete and cover that with sub-flooring to prevent moisture problems.
- Check your basement floor for leaks and repair them if necessary.
- Put a plastic cover over dirt in crawl spaces to prevent moisture from coming in from the ground. If there is standing water or the soil is wet, dry it out with fans before covering the floor.
- Make sure gutters are working properly.
- Make sure that your basement is really dry before you finish basement walls with insulation and wall board.
In the laundry room
- Make sure the vent is clear of obstructions and that there are no holes that leak air. If the vent duct is damaged, replace it with a metal duct. Have the duct cleaned at least once a year.
- Avoid leaving damp clothes in the laundry basket or dryer. Wash and dry them right away.
- Vent your clothes dryer to the outside.
- Check for leaks around basins and tubs and have them repaired if necessary.
- Use exhaust fans to remove moisture from the outside (not into the attic).
- Use area rugs, which can be taken up and washed often instead of wall-to-wall carpeting.
- Open a window when showering.
- Avoid leaving damp towels on the floor or in the laundry hamper.
Calling Mold Buster
Working with mold can be hazardous. If a mold problem is found, remediation is necessary to prevent further property damage and further exposure.
Our team at Superior Flood and Fire is fully trained, certified, and skilled in providing complete remediation. Please give us a call now.