Breathe Easy at Home: Preventing and Detecting Mold Problems

Breathe Easy at Home: Preventing and Detecting Mold Problems

Mold is one of the scariest, hardest, and most expensive problems to deal with in the home. It’s a major health issue, and yet in many cases it’s also totally preventable. Here’s how to prevent and detect mold problems so you can fix them, pronto.

Check Common Areas

Common areas for mold include the bathroom, the basement, and the attic. In the bathroom, it’s obvious. It’s wet or damp, and with a hot shower it can become pretty humid. And, that humidity doesn’t clear out quickly.

Keep an eye on the tub, toilet, and baseboards.

The basement is another area where mold loves to grow. Check any place where there’s a history of water leaks, like around old piping or under the bathroom. Check the bottoms of walls and anywhere else that’s damp.

In the attic, you’re looking for areas where even a little bit of moisture may have accumulated on the rafters or the floorboards. Up here, it gets hot in the summer, and the moisture is trapped by the insulation.

Mold develops anywhere there is moisture and there are mold spores. Molds are part of the natural environment and are normally quite helpful since they help break down dead organic matter like leaves and dead trees.

However, indoors, mold growth can be dangerous and damaging. Spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through HVAC systems. The spores grow when they land on wet surfaces and are left undisturbed for long periods of time.

Fix The Problem and Keep Humidity Below 50 Percent

The major underlying catalyst for mold growth is time and moisture. When humidity is high, then it’s easy for mold to grow, so the solution is to reduce humidity in the home and make sure you keep a clean residence.

Use companies like Air Control to help you maintain a properly-functioning HVAC system, run a dehumidifier, and periodically run the air conditioner in the summer to cut the humidity level.

Because mold can be a bear to get rid of permanently, you often need to address it in stages. Once it’s started growing on walls, for instance, you may have to tear down the sheetrock/drywall and remove any trace of it behind the wall.

Many molds can grow behind walls and will never fully go away unless or until you remove a structure and replace it.

Sometimes, if you catch the mold early enough and if it’s just surface mold, you can use a primer like Kilz to permanently kill the mold. But you should always verify that the mold is only on the surface.

Hire a Professional To Clean The Mold For You

When in doubt, call a professional. Mold can be extremely difficult to deal with, even for an avid DIY’er. Some professionals find it difficult to treat, but an experienced contractor with years of experience in treating mold problems in the home can usually get rid of it for you within a week or two.

Stella D. McMaster is an air quality consultant. She likes to share her insights online. Her articles can be found on many home improvement and lifestyle websites.