Mold Prevention & Information
Mold is an important part of nature. It’s almost impossible to not be around mold at least once in your lifetime as mold surrounds us in our homes, offices, and outdoor environment. Outdoor mold is responsible for breaking down dead organic matter, such as fallen leaves and tree branches. However the difference is, you never want mold to grow inside your home. Keeping that in mind, every house has mold regardless of how new, how old or how clean you keep it. It’s virtually impossible to have a mold free home, even if you live in a plastic bubble there is probably a chance that a spore got in there!
There are many types of mold, but none of them can grow without moisture. One of the objectives of mold remediation professionals is to determine what type of mold is present in a property. This is important because it will help the professional and the property owner determine the relative health risk that the mold poses and how best to remediate it. Unfortunately, not all molds are the same, in fact there are over 1.5 millions species of mold in the world. However, only about 100,000 have been identified.
Mold is a fungus, as are mushrooms and yeast, and has a biologicial function as nature’s recycler consuming dead organic matter. Understanding it’s biological importance is essential to understanding why it poses health hazards. For the purposes of mold inspections and remediation, one of our goals is to identify whether or not the mold is allergenic, pathogenic, or toxigenic.
Toxic molds produce mycotoxins that will make anyone sick. Possible reactions include immune suppression and cancer. Mycotoxins are chemical toxins present within or on the surface of the mold spore, which can be inhaled, ingested, or touched. An example of this is aflatoxin, one of the most potent carcinogens known to mankind. Aflatoxin grows on peanuts and grains, and on some other foods.
In order to determine the exact species of mold, mold inspectors will usually recommend that a tape or swab sample is taken. Sometimes, air quality tests may also be recommend because air borne mold spores are not visible to the eye; such a test will enable the inspector to report back on the concentration of indoor spores. Samples are then sent to accredited laboratories who analyze them to determine the exact species. Over the years, we have received many lab reports that have identified these five most common indoor molds.
In fact, tiny mold spores are floating through the air around you right now; you just can’t see them. The spores are harmless until they land on a damp surface and begin to grow. That’s when mold colonies form and expand, damaging your indoor air quality and causing your asthma and allergies to flare up.
Use these mold prevention tips to keep that fuzzy, slimy stuff at bay.
Prevent Standing Water
Rooms with standing water are the most likely places for mold to start growing. Use these tips to keep standing water at a minimum:
- Clean up spills quickly: Wet carpet, upholstery and blankets could harbor mold growth if you don’t act quickly to dry them. In 24 to 48 hours, damp materials become breeding grounds for mold.
- Fix leaks without delay: If you see mold growing under the sink, behind the toilet or in the attic, it means you have a plumbing or roof leak. Clean up the mold and fix the leak to prevent the mold from coming back. Plumbing and roof leaks can go unnoticed for a very long time, so be sure to check hard-to-reach place regularly.
- Wipe down the tub or shower: Mold growth is common in the bathroom where standing water abounds. To prevent mold growth on tub and shower tiles, wipe down wet surfaces with your towel after drying yourself. Hang the towel to dry instead of throwing it in the hamper right away to prevent mold growth on the fabric.
- Check the slope around the home’s foundation: Your property should slope outward so rain water drains away from the foundation, not toward it. If this isn’t the case, water could collect around the foundation or enter the basement and lead to high amounts of mold growth.
- Watch out for condensation: Condensation is most likely to occur in winter. When cold surfaces “sweat,” they become a potential location for indoor mold to grow. If moisture beads on windows, pipes or walls, act quickly to dry these wet surfaces. Then, find the source of the problem, which is most likely high humidity. Increasing ventilation, covering cold surfaces with insulation and increasing the indoor temperature are specific ways to combat condensation.
Reduce Indoor Relative
Humidity Mold can grow indoors any time of year if the relative humidity is too high. For better mold prevention, strive to keep indoor relative humidity at around 50 percent in the summer and closer to 30 percent in the winter. To reduce indoor humidity, follow these tips:
- Run the air conditioner in the summer: As you know, the A/C removes heat from indoor air, but it performs another function as well: removing excess humidity. This is the key to feeling cool and dry rather than cold and clammy when the air conditioner runs. A dedicated dehumidifier also removes moisture from the air. You can run this appliance separately from the air conditioner for a more comfortable, less humid interior on mild summer days.
- Vent moisture-producing appliances properly: The clothes dryer is the most common moisture-producing appliance found in the average home. Sometimes, the dryer is improperly vented to the attic or crawlspace. Warm, humid air accumulates in these areas and encourages mold growth, which can destroy insulation and compromise your home’s structural integrity. To prevent these situations, simply make sure the dryer vents to the exterior.
- Use exhaust fans year round: Showering and cooking are two daily activities that produce a lot of humidity. A good mold prevention tip is to run the bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans to draw excess humidity outside when performing these tasks.
Mold prevention is very important for maintaining good indoor air quality. If you think you have a mold problem, please got mold? Disaster Recovery Services to learn about our mold clean up and mold remediation services.