Mold remediation can be very expensive. Preventing it in the first place will save you a lot of time, money, and headaches. Mold, in a weird way, is a lot like us! We need food and water; mold does too! We aren’t able to take away mold’s food source, such as drywall, upholstery, wood, fabric, etc., but we can take away its water source. Perhaps there is a leak, high humidity, or a lack of air flow that is causing mold/mildew to grow. Let’s examine some very common areas of concern in a home, and what can be done to keep the mold OUT.
We see mold in crawl spaces a lot. Vapor barriers, which consist of 6 mil plastic, can keep moisture from causing mold. Making sure the grade around the structure is properly sloped so that water does not penetrate the crawl space is important. If water is still getting into the crawl space, providing there aren’t active plumbing leaks, a sump pump or drain water management system may need to be installed.
Another foundation type (basements) can harbor this unwanted guest. Installing a dehumidifier, with a hose draining into the sump pit or existing drain will lower the moisture/humidity levels. Make sure you set the humidistat at 50 – mold will not be able to grow if the humidity level is below 50. The dehumidifier needs to be able to handle the humidity for the size of the room in which you are placing it. The directions on the box will help you determine what size you will need. As with crawl spaces, evaluating the grade around your home and making sure that the grading is sufficient is important in keeping moisture away from the structure. Cleaning out gutters and adding elbows to downspouts will help divert water away from the structure. People tend to use basements as storage. Make sure belongings aren’t shoved up against walls and unnecessarily crowded. The lack of airflow behind items can be another cause of mold.
Attics are the third major location we see mold growth most. A common problem is when bathroom exhaust fans aren’t vented outside. That moist, warm exhaust is a breeding ground for mold spores. A general contractor or a mold remediation company can repair this issue. Sometimes there are not enough vents to allow for sufficient air flow. A roofing company can accomplish this task and if there are any roof/flashing leaks, they can remedy that too.
More Prevention Tips
It is helpful to have your HVAC system regularly cleaned and checked, as well as having the air filter replaced regularly, especially if you have pets. Pet hair can quickly clog the filters. Turning your fan on your HVAC system in the “ON” position helps with airflow and doesn’t use any unnecessary energy. If there are cottonwood trees nearby, take care to hose off your air conditioner when you see those wispy seeds floating through the air in the spring.
Regularly check under all of your sinks for plumbing leaks. If you see any water stains, black, brown or yellow residue anywhere, smell musty smells, notice bubbling, cracking, or discoloration, those could indicate that there is moisture penetration or a leak somewhere.
Keep in mind that it only takes 12-24 hours for mold spores to germinate and 72 hours to colonize. Time is of the essence when it comes to dealing with mold, but it’s treatable. It’s better to be proactive so you don’t have to deal with a potential mold problem in the first place.
Article written by guest author Karen Dowdell with Residential Mold Services
Residential Mold Services — (317) 826-1700 — rmsindy.com