Mold is everywhere, and hundreds of types of these fungi have been found in homes across America. In fact, mold spores are lurking and multiplying, unsuspected, in more than half of American homes. While you can never do away with mold completely, here are some tips to help prevent excessive mold growth in your space.
How does mold affect me?
Exposure to moderate amounts of mold doesn’t affect most people. However, for people who are allergic to mold, mold exposure can cause reactions such as nose, eye, and throat irritation, infections, and respiratory disorders. Dampness and mold may also increase the risk of sleep disturbances, snoring and daytime drowsiness, contributing to various diseases.
Even if mold does not bother you physically, it’s not something you want to see. Mold damage can ruin your space’s walls, furniture, and household items. This could cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs and replacements.
How can I prevent mold from growing in my home?
Limiting conditions that encourage mold growth is the easiest way to keep mold from multiplying in your home. Mold needs moisture, a food source (wood and drywall), and a temperature higher than 32 degrees Fahrenheit, factors common in every Florida home. Fortunately, you can control mold with these strategies:
Out and away
Ensure your water flows down, out, and away from your home. Use weather-resistant materials on the exterior surface. Maintain shingling, drainage plane, and flashing to provide seamless coverage, so water doesn’t collect in vulnerable areas.
Check spaces that might be collecting water or condensation. Inspect windows, refrigerators, water tanks, and crawl spaces and address any drips. Take care of leaky roofs and pipes. Dry up spills, water-damaged building materials, or wet carpets within 24 hours of flooding.
High humidity often causes condensation and makes dampness take longer to dry, creating an ideal environment for mold. Set your indoor humidity levels below 50%, and control moisture in your attic. Avoid using carpet in spaces that tend to be humid, like bathrooms.
Treat hard surfaces with commercial mold control products or solutions with ammonia, bleach, or borax. You can also spray a vinegar solution on problem spots in areas with lots of foot traffic, like the kitchen or bathroom. Clean wood surfaces with soap and water to stave off mold growth.
Let in fresh air
Proper airflow prevents humid air from being trapped and helps mold to grow. Proper ventilation helps wet areas dry more quickly so that mold has less chance of gaining a foothold. Make sure that your HVAC vents are clear so that air can circulate well.
Use mold-resistant building materials
Did you know that building materials may help protect your home from mold? You can purchase mold-resistant drywall, carpet, paint, insulation, wood, and many other products. These can help make it easier to close the door on mold growth.
Is it too late?
If you suspect mold in your home, you may be able to handle minor damage on your own. Areas larger than 10 square feet may require the assistance of a professional mold remediation team, though. Review the mold guidelines published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for more information and guidance.