Controlling moisture and mold in your home can mean the difference between having a healthy house and one dangerous for you and your family.
It’s true that we often think of water problems in terms of floods and other issues that cause major damage, but even a little bit of consistent moisture can mean mold in places you may or may not be able to see.
Why is there mold in my house?
Water can enter your home in so many different ways. Often, as a result, it can cause mold to form. So, the key is to keep water and moisture out of your home, so mold doesn’t have the opportunity to grow.
Mold has its place in the world. When mold is outdoors, it has properties that are helpful to the environment. But not inside. When mold makes it’s way indoors, humans and pets can become very sick.
Unhealthy mold can grow inside anywhere and anytime tiny mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. All types of mold need water to grow, which is why ridding your home of moisture is so important.
Controlling moisture in your home
There are many ways for your house to get “wet”, so to speak. Most can be avoided by taking the proper steps.
Leaks and seepage
– One of the big culprits is water that comes in from the outside. This can happen for several reasons ranging from cracked foundations to landscaping or hardscaping that’s sloped incorrectly or gutters that aren’t working properly. It might take some investigation to figure out what’s causing the moisture, but once that’s determined, it’s essential to do the necessary repairs as soon as possible.
Lack of exhaust fans
– It’s important to use exhaust fans in bathrooms and even kitchens, where steam is plentiful. Be sure you’re venting moisture to the outside, not the attic. Check your dryer vent, and make sure it’s hooked up properly and venting outdoors.
Moisture from certain appliances
– Items such as humidifiers and kerosene heaters can cause moisture to build up on windows and other surfaces. Be sure they’re turned on only when they are needed.
– When you live in a very humid climate, air conditioners and dehumidifiers can do more than make it cooler inside. They can help keep moisture to a minimum. Relative humidity should be less than 60 percent indoors and can be measured with an inexpensive humidity or moisture meter, available at most hardware or home improvement stores.
Raise the temperature of surfaces where moisture collects
– For example, circulation carries heat to cold surfaces, so keep doors open between rooms and fans running for optimal circulation. You should even keep furniture out of corners because when it’s placed there, circulation is impeded.
Faulty or clogged gutters
– Clean your gutters regularly and repair them when you notice a problem. If you have them inspected a few times a year by a professional, you’ll likely be able to fix any issues before they create a problem inside your home.
Clean up spills pronto
– When you have a water leak (perhaps from a faulty pipe) or a major spill indoors, clean it up immediately, so mold doesn’t have time to grow. Damp areas and materials should be dry within 24-48 hours. If not, they should be removed, or you should make another mitigation effort.
Cover cold surfaces
– Pipes that can get very cold, for example, should be covered with insulation, so moisture doesn’t build up on them.
Remember, moisture and mold are sometimes very evident and are visible to the naked eye. But often, mold is hidden because the moisture isn’t easily spotted. It might be on the underside of carpets, the backside of drywall, the top side of ceiling tiles, or behind wallpaper or paneling.
Sometimes you can smell mold as it grows, and sometimes you’ll notice that you or your family members are having allergies or other respiratory problems. Don’t let it go that far! Mold exposure is no joke. The health of your family, especially anyone who is immunocompromised, can be severely impacted.
If you believe you have a moisture or mold issue, tend to it immediately by hiring a professional to investigate the problem. Experts in this field are skilled in properly handling mold and spores and own the right equipment to help keep their exposure to a minimum. They can instruct you on the proper methods to mitigate the problem so that your home is healthy again.