Mold can cause people respiratory problems and allergic reactions. Children and elderly who have vulnerable immune systems can even have neurological problems when exposed to mold. Before mold settles in a home, it must be cleaned and removed. This can be expensive and time consuming. However, if the mold infestation is not attended to in a timely manner, it can cause the value of the home to drop. In some instances of severe mold growth, the home may be uninhabitable. Black mold and mold that has turned white are particularly important to remove.
Mold grows wherever there is moisture. It can begin to grow in the right conditions in as little as twelve hours. The rate of growth depends on both the strain of mold and the environmental conditions. Rather than having to deal with it later, it is better to prevent mold from occurring at all. Here are some specific suggestions to do this:
- Control humidity levels. Relative humidity (RH) levels should not be above 55%. You can buy a humidity sensor to test levels. A dehumidifier can help you get rid of excessive humidity.
- Prevent and correct leaks. If you hear dripping water, see moist spots, or notice a higher than usual water bill, start checking for leaks.
- Check your foundation and roof for leaks and cracks that could let water in.
- Use a sealant around windows to prevent condensation from getting inside.
- Keep gutters clear and clean so that they can remove water completely.
- Have your basement waterproofed by professionals. This is particularly important if you have issues with flooding in your area.
If you already have mold in your home, take the Environmental Protection Agency’s advice on how to clean up mold. You can clean non-porous surfaces with a solution of detergent and water. Porous surfaces like carpets, may need to be thrown away if they become moldy; they are too hard to clean, and may have the mold too deeply embedded. If a large area is affected you may need to call in a professional to make sure that the mold is completely out of the house. If you notice that mold keeps reappearing in a certain area, you will need to ensure that the space is well ventilated. You may be able to stop the mold from recurring, or affecting larger areas, by cleaning more often. The EPA also has guidelines for what to wear when cleaning mold, an image library, and links to other resources.
How to Prevent Mold from Taking Over Your Home.
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