5 Steps You Can Take to Prevent Mold in Your Home
Mold can develop in any warm environment that has moisture. It is common for homes to have areas where mold thrives. If undetected and untreated, mold in the home may increase susceptibility to illness, aggravate allergies, and make existing respiratory conditions worse. If your goal is to prevent mold in your home, here are five steps you can take to make your indoor living spaces healthier.
1. Fix Plumbing Leaks ASAP
Moisture and mold work together in perfect harmony. Even something as seemingly minor as a leak around the indoor part of an air conditioning unit can create a place where mold develops and grows. As soon as you spot any signs of a leaking roof or discover leaks in pipes in walls or ones in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, or basement, have the problem fixed as soon as possible to prevent moisture and the growth of mold in your home.
2. Reduce Humidity in Your Home
Even if you don’t have leaks to deal with, humidity can provide an ideal setting for mold to thrive. All it takes is sustained humidity levels around 55-60 percent or higher for mold to begin to grow in a home. The most effective way to combat excess humidity is to improve ventilation in your home, especially in the kitchen and bathroom. Don’t forget to close windows when it starts to rain to keep more moisture from getting inside and increasing the humidity level. A dehumidifier can be placed in areas of the home that are particularly susceptible to humidity, like the bathroom and basement, to prevent mold in your home.
3. Immediately Dry Wet Clothes
The high moisture content of wet clothes can easily facilitate mold growth. Prevent this from happening by placing clothes in the dryer as soon as they’re finished in the washing machine. If you or your family members bring in wet clothing after getting caught in the rain or spending some time enjoying the pool, allow those items to dry before placing them in a hamper. Also, if you are air drying clothes, always hang clothes outside to dry. Hanging clothes indoor can quickly increase the humidity and moisture level.
4. Block Sources of Condensation
Condensation occurs when water vapor in the air cools and forms a liquid. It’s most likely to happen in homes around windows, on concrete walls, around AC units, and on metal pipes. Reduce the risk of condensation by maintaining a comfortable and consistent temperature in your home. Bathroom vents can prevent condensation during and after showers and baths. With windows and doors, the solution is to make sure your insulation is sufficient and not damaged.
5. Maintain/Clean Your HVAC System
Mold in your home can become especially problematic if it has a way to travel. A common way for this to happen is with an HVAC system that’s not well-maintained or properly cleaned. Mold that has developed in parts of your ductwork or around the area where the blower is located can result in mold spores being sent throughout your home. Airborne mold spores can also present serious health risks for anybody living in or visiting your home, including children, the elderly, and pets. They can also get into carpeting, upholstery, bedding, and draperies. The solution? Schedule regular HVAC cleanings at least twice a year to prevent mold in your home.
If you are noticing a persistent musty smell or seeing other signs of mold in your home, a mixture of bleach and water may help in places where you can see it and remove it easily. Otherwise, it’s best to call on a professional mold inspector to identify the source of the problem and recommend an appropriate approach to removal.