Nobody likes mold. It's bad enough when it's on your bread, but it's worse if it's in your walls or carpet. Once it gets a foothold, it's hard to get rid of. Mold can even cause health problems for those with allergies or respiratory issues.
Where does mold come from and how can you prevent mold in your home? Let's take a look.
Mold needs three things to survive and grow. Warmth, food and moisture. The easiest way to kill it and keep it from coming back is to take the moisture away.
Here are 4 ways to prevent mold in your home.
1. Find problem areas and fix them. If your home has a basement, that's definitely the place to start. Does the basement flood? When it does, is it cleaned and dried out thoroughly? Mold can feed off of organic components of drywall and carpet and keep growing out of sight until you start to smell it.
Do you see water stains on the ceiling or walls? That's a leak and an invitation to thirsty mold spores that are floating in the air.
Do you notice frequent condensation on a window or in the bathroom after a shower? Condensation is a sign of high humidity, which mold loves. The nice warmth of a bathroom after a shower or bath also encourages mold growth.
A basement that floods often is a sign that major work needs to be done. Ignoring it will only invite more mold and make the problem more expensive to deal with. In other areas, invest in mold resistant carpet or drywall to deny the mold a place to grow.
2. Dry wet areas immediately. Water inside your house should be dried within 24 to 48 hours if possible. Any water-damaged property should be removed if it can't be completely dried because it can become a mold farm.
Even everyday tasks can invite mold. Make sure to dry the floor and walls in your bathroom after a shower and don't leave a load of wet clothes in the washer. If you run a humidifier, make sure the room you have it in is not too small. That will prevent humidity high enough to produce condensation.
3. Use proper ventilation. High moisture areas like bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms should have plenty of ventilation to prevent high humidity. Appliances that produce moisture like clothes dryers and stoves should be vented to the outside instead of the attic. If you have invested in energy-efficient windows, make sure they are not holding the moisture in when you cook or wash clothes. The EPA recommends indoor humidity be kept between 30 and 60 percent to prevent mold. You can purchase a moisture meter from most hardware stores if you want to check potential problem areas. Also, one of the best ways to lower indoor humidity is to run your air conditioner. If it's a wall unit, make sure to monitor it for condensation.
4. Know your climate. Dealing with mold in Florida is much different than dealing with it in New Mexico. Higher temperatures and humidity will create mold faster and in more places, so be aware of how the local weather is helping or hurting your efforts to maintain a mold free home.