How to prevent your exposure to mold and protect your family from possible symptoms…
- Wear a N95 face mask when raking leaves, dusting or entering an area that may contain mold.
- Stay out of areas affected by mold until professionals can restore it.
Something to consider…
Something many of us do not think about is that our homes are being built more air tight. More efficient, well built homes with lower air exchange rates means less moisture is leaving the home. The typical home produces moisture on a regular basis with laundry, steam from showers, dishes and occupant respiration. We generate 2-3 gallons of moisture a day. Heat pumps are in many homes now and can help with the reduction of excess moisture in the air.
Those learning how heat pumps cool and dehumidify will be surprised to find out that a heat pump has two modes for reducing relative humidity levels:
- Cooling mode – As the heat pump operates in cooling mode, it also removes moisture via condensation. This helps improve the unit’s overall efficiency while improving home comfort.
- Dry mode – This mode causes the heat pump to alternate between heating and cooling modes, allowing the heat pump to maintain a room’s current temperature while at the same time removing excess moisture from the area.
How do we prevent mold growth?
- If a water spill occurs, act quickly. Clean up within 24-48 hours.
- Clean and repair roof gutters regularly. Ice can back up and melt into your home. This can create many issues, such as water and mold damage.
- Make sure the ground slopes away from a building or foundation, otherwise water can pour into basements and into the home.
- Keep air conditioning pans clean. These pans can act as literal petri dishes for bacteria and mold.
- Keep indoor humidity low. A great example of too much humidity in your home is condensation on your windows. To keep the humidity in check simply run fans, air conditioning units or heat pumps.
- Use a dehumidifier and sump pump in basements to remove excess water.
How do I get rid of mold?
It is impossible to get rid of mold entirely. Mold is found in dust particles, floating through the air and comes in on your clothes and shoes. What we can do is keep it in check. If you follow the tips on how to prevent mold growth, then you are removing what the mold needs to grow…. moisture.
When should I call in a professional?
If the area is smaller than 10 square feet, you can probably deal with it yourself. If it is over 10 square feet, you should hire a professional. Water can travel within walls and under floors, so having a professional check for excess moisture will provide you with peace of mind that the issue has been properly taken care of. A quality professional will be able to tell you what needs to be done, how it will be done and what testing needs to be performed.
Why not just use bleach?
- Bleach doesn’t kill mold, it simply lightens the appearance of it.
- Certain molds react to the chlorine in bleach and produce an off gas and can damage your lungs.
- Bleach has a shelf life. If you are using old bleach, you are causing more harm than good.
- Bleach says on the bottle that it is only for non-porous surfaces. If you use bleach on a porous surface, the chlorine in the bleach will evaporate leaving behind moisture that will actually feed the mold that has rooted itself.
What can I use to clean small areas with mold?
IE: Small area in a bathroom.
In bathroom situations, it is typically improper ventilation and installation of a new system is needed.
Clean the area with simple soap and water solution. Spray the affected area directly with vinegar. DO NOT RINSE. The vinegar creates an acid base that prevents the mold from growing back. Keep in mind though, if you have not taken care of the extra moisture in the area, the issue will return. Remember,we bring mold spores in on our clothing and shoes every day.
Mold or mildew?
Mold and mildew are both terms used to describe growths of fungi. They vary slightly in shape, consistency and color. Mold comes in many colors. The color depends on the age of the mold and what food it has.
NOTE: Speak with your local insurance agent about your homeowners insurance policy. Not all policies include coverage for mold or they have a capped limit of coverage.