Ways to Prevent Mold Growth
The most effective way to control mold is to solve moisture problems before mold growth starts. Mold is a major problem for homeowners, especially those that live in areas where an abundance of air moisture is present. It can do substantial damage to your home while also potentially being toxic. Mold, mildew, fungus, and bacteria growing in your home can all have significant impacts on your health. These can trigger allergies, exacerbate respiratory complaints, and cause illnesses due to the presence of bio toxins. They can be especially dangerous to children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems.
The ways to prevent mold growth is achieved by removal of moisture within the first 48 hours. If water is removed and materials are dried within that time period, then mold abatement is usually not necessary. Mold can bloom anywhere in your home, whether it’s visible or not. That is why you should avoid mold in the first place. If you’ve got a mold infestation in your home, the good news is that it’s controllable — and preventable.
Paper based products, tiling, flooring, grout, and drywalls are examples of where Mold grows best. Having a dehumidifier in your home to keep moisture levels down is one of the most efficient ways of keeping your home dry. If you have plumbing issues, leaks, or floods, it is imperative that they are sorted and dried out immediately.
General mold prevention measures should include the following, but results will depend on specific site conditions:
Fix leaky plumbing and leaks in your home as soon as possible
This is most likely the source of your problem with mold growth. All of your effort in the cleanup will be wasted if the source isn’t fixed. Hire a plumber if needed to do the job right the first time. There are other sources, but the majority will be from these pipes.
Make sure HVAC drainage is not blocked
Spillage from HVAC drip pans can spill out and cause damage. Along with the damage, soaked material will be a good environment for mold growth. Water in drip pans mostly accumulates if drainage is clogged with algae. This can be prevented by pouring bleach into the pipe’s vent to kill the algae at least once a year. If it still occurs, then an HVAC technician will need to perform an inspection and maintenance.
Clean and dry wet or damp spots Immediately
Mold needs moisture to grow, so it is very important to dry up wet spots within 48 hours. Utilizing a dry vac and fan to dry up most carpeting after a spill is a simple way to accomplish this. If you can’t get furniture or carpeting completely dried after a flood or leaky pipe, you have to remove them. If your drywall or other porous building materials become saturated, you will need to replace it. It is also important to not leave wet clothes around the house.
Move Furniture Away From Vents
Is any of the furniture in your home blocking the vents? If so, this could prevent your HVAC system from properly circulating air, which can increase the risk of mold. Moving your furniture at least a few feet away from vents can help you avoid future mold problems.
Run An Exhaust Fan After Showers
The bathroom can get pretty steamy after a long shower. The humidity does not just feel uncomfortable; it can also promote mold growth. That is why it is a wise idea to run the exhaust fan as soon as you get done with your shower. This fan will remove most of the moisture from the bathroom and keep mold away.
Maintain low indoor humidity
One of the most important ways to prevent mold growth in your house is to remove the humidity from your home. The reason for this is that mold requires moisture in order to develop and spread, so if you eliminate as much moisture as you can from the air, the mold will be somewhat stifled, and you may prevent a mold outbreak entirely.
Signs of too much humidity include condensation on mirrors and windows and wet stains on ceilings and walls. This can be achieved by increasing surface temperature or reducing the moisture level in the air to prevent condensation that results when surface temperature is below dew point temperature. To increase surface temperature, insulate or increase air circulation. You can also run fans in multiple rooms of the house or open the windows (if it’s not raining or very humid) to air out your home. In addition, you can also consider buying a dehumidifier to reduce the moisture in the air. Humidity should be below 60% relative humidity (RH), ideally 30-50%, if possible. Humidity levels can be measured by hydrometers.
Consider Using Mold-Resistant Paint
Consider utilizing mold-resistant paint in those areas of your home that are most prone to developing mold, such as your bathroom or basement. This type of paint can coat your walls and prevent a mold outbreak from occurring in the first place, and it can block the expansion of any mold that might be in the area. However, it is important to note that you cannot put mold-resistant paint over a spot of mold and expect it to go away, you must apply the mold-resistant paint after the mold has been eliminated as the paint is intended to be a preventative measure rather than a curative one.
Make sure your attic is well ventilated
Well ventilated attics are the only way to prevent mold growth in that area due to the regularity of water and moisture accumulating on the roof during storms, and the nature of rising columns of saturated air within the home.
Reduce Storage in the basement if applicable
A good way to significantly decrease the risk of mold developing in your basement is to reduce the amount of stuff that you have stored in your basement. This is because large amounts of boxes and other items can trap moisture and block light, creating areas that are conducive to mold growth. This is especially true for large amounts of soft materials like clothes and bedding, which can hold on to moisture and can actually suffer from mold growth by themselves. In line with the above point, removing items from storage in your basement can also help improve airflow and ventilation in your basement.
Clean Your Roof Gutters and/or provide a slope
Gutter cleaning is not the most exciting job, but it must be done. One of the best ways to reduce the risk of water seeping into your basement or under your foundation is to ensure that your roof’s gutters are in good working order. You want to make sure that no organic debris is blocking the flow of water through them, as this can cause water to overflow and soak into the ground close to the side of your home. Further, check to ensure that there are no leaks in the gutters themselves and that the downspouts are carrying water far enough away from the sides of your home with a slope (if one isn’t present, then create one) so that water doesn’t seep into the ground surrounding your home. If you don’t have downspouts yet installed, purchase and install them. If you are not physically able to clean these gutters, hire a professional to do the job.
If you have identified mold in your home and need further information about remediation, please read our other blogs.