Have you ever walked into your bathroom and smelled a musty odor or looked under the sink and discovered some type of substance growing? If the answer is yes, then you most likely have a mold problem. Majority of people will discover mold and try to kill it by using bleach or other household chemicals. The problem with using household chemicals, is that they contain water, which is what mold needs to survive. Essentially, they are just adding fuel to the fire. In many situations, people will try to get rid of the mold by scrubbing the affected area with bleach, but then two days later it has already grown back. If the mold doesn’t come back, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is completely gone. Without using the correct chemical, mold spores are left behind and can still travel through the air latching onto other moisture-rich areas and drifting into our bodies as we inhale. Mold is extremely dangerous for humans and may cause serious health issues if left unattended. Instead of waiting for mold to show up in your home, learn how to avoid mold growth.
Mold Food Source
If you are going to learn how to avoid mold growth, then you need to know how mold survives. There are tons of different species of mold, but they all have something in common; moisture is the main food source. As long as moisture is present in the right conditions, mold will certainly start growing. It only takes 24-48 hours for mold to start growing and spread from there. Mold also needs warmth, darkness and food to survive. Mold can grow in various areas in a home:
- Wood material
To avoid mold growth, it’s important to keep areas in your home dry where mold could potentially grow. Mold spores are found everywhere, indoors and outdoors. The spores travel through the air and spread when blown or when a surface they are attached to is disturbed. It’s impossible to kill all mold spores since they are floating throughout the air. Keeping areas dry and preventing potential moisture is the best way to avoid mold growth.
Tips to Avoid Mold Growth
Avoid mold growth by preventing moisture problems throughout your home. We sometimes forget how important it is to keep up on house maintenance. Especially tedious maintenance, like replacing old hoses or installing a new water heater. Well, the time and money you spend dealing with routine maintenance is worth the hassle you go through when dealing with mold. Mold can be extremely expensive and ultimately affect your health. Avoid mold growth by following these tips:
Prevent Water Leaks
Always stay observant of changes in your home. If you see discoloration on your ceiling or this month the water bill was a bit higher than it should be, chances are, it’s a water leak. Instead of putting it off, find the source of the leak immediately to avoid mold growth and costly repairs. According to Water Damage Defense, “leaks in a home can waste as much as 10,000 gallons of water per year.” Hidden water leaks are the worst but they are still avoidable. It’s crucial to stay aware and check certain areas at least once a week. Checking under your sink for a water leak or water damage frequently can be a great habit to form because the piping under the sink tends to leak often in homes. Also, check the basement regularly for water leaks because basements are prone to suffering water damage from several major issues. To avoid mold growth, stay aware of the signs of water damage. Water leaks can create discoloration or bubbling on the ceiling and walls, forge cracks in the tile, separate caulking, erosion of piping, create soft flooring, and much more. All of these areas are ideal surfaces for mold to start growing.
Constant air circulation is crucial to avoid mold growth. Leaving doors open inside the house, turning on fans, and moving ffurniture away from corners are great ways to increase circulation in the home. By doing so, it helps eliminate moisture and brings heat to cold surfaces. When the weather is dry, you can open windows but make sure to shut them during rainy days and nights in general because of humidity levels.
Clutter in your home can be a great food source for mold if there is moisture present. To avoid mold growth, reduce the clutter in all areas of your home. There is a high chance that items in the basement can endure water damage, so it’s best to organize and reduce clutter. According to Insurance Industry Research, “98% of basements in the U.S. will experience some type of water damage at some point.” Consider throwing out old furniture, clothes, boxes, paper, and other items that you don’t use anymore to avoid mold growth. Any items that are made of paper or fabric should be stored in a secure area because mold will destroy it without hesitation.
Properly maintain your air conditioner, appliances, water heater, hoses, piping, and gutters to avoid mold growth. All of these items can cause water damage, which in return can create mold. The air conditioner needs to be operating properly to reduce humidity and prevent condensation. Check to make sure that the cooling and heating is working properly and drip pans are free of obstruction. During cold weather, it’s important to keep your home warm to prevent frozen pipes, decrease humidity levels, and eliminate excess moisture on cold surfaces. During warmer weather, use the air conditioner to reduce moisture in the air. You can also purchase a dehumidifier to reduce moisture and avoid mold growth. All hoses connected to appliances like washing machines, refrigerators, ice makers, and dishwashers, should be maintained annually or as they begin to age and crack. It’s extremely important to check hoses throughout the year for any blistering or cracks because water damage from aged hoses is a regular occurrence for property owners. Water heaters are another cause of water damage and should be maintained annually as well. Check hoses for aging or other wear and tear signs, and drain the water heater quarterly to prevent water damage and avoid mold growth. Also, maintain faucets from water leaks and make sure the garbage disposal is secured tight to avoid leaking.
Moisture collected on surfaces and in the air should be eliminated to avoid mold growth. When humidity increases, sometimes it can make its way into the walls and mold can start growing in the drywall. Mold growth within walls is happening more frequently with newer houses because builders are creating new energy efficient homes with tight wall cavities which trap in moisture creating a whole host of problems. Avoid mold growth in bathrooms and in the kitchen by turning on exhaust fans to remove moisture to the outside. If you have a window in the bathroom, open in it while showering to reduce humidity.
Adding insulation to your home can reduce condensation and prevent water leaks. Piping during cold weather is prone to freezing and when this happens, the pipe will end up bursting from too much pressure. Insulating the pipes throughout your home can prevent frozen pipes and help avoid mold growth in those damp and dark areas.
Fix Foundation Problems
When the ground around your home slopes towards your house, it can cause serious issues for the foundation. As rainwater begins to build near the foundation, it can cause cracks and seep through the home foundation. Flooding may occur and if left unattended, mold will spread like wild fire because it is the perfect conditions for mold growth. Grading the slope away from the property foundation can prevent major water damage and avoid mold growth. It may even be necessary to take the extra mile and build a draining system for reassurance.
These tips may seem like a lot of work to some individuals, but it’s worth it when it comes to mold damage. The time and money spent dealing with mold damage is devastating, especially knowing it’s avoidable. For more information on how to avoid mold growth, please contact us.