Note: This post was a guest contribution by Skylar Lewis
It’s not always convenient or necessary to call the big guns (i.e. Us) in to handle your mold situation. This is especially true, if you haven’t had any recent major water damage or recently had a problem solved by us.
While we recommend calling in professionals to handle any major mold issues, there are a few simple steps that you-the homeowner- can take to stop mold it its tracks…or at least hold it at bay.
Here are twelve simple steps to prevent mold growth.
Step #1 Never Leave Standing Water alone
This is probably very obvious to the more mold-conscious of us, however, there are some people who still allow standing water to remain for long periods of time. Mold grows very quickly; some molds can see significant growth in as little as 24 hours.
If you need proof, smell your wet laundry the next time you’ve left it out for a few hours without drying.
I know…gross, but we’ve all had rough weeks.
Back to the point. If you detect a faintly musty odor on your clothing, mold has already begun to grow in due to the moisture left behind.
Step #2 Regulate Your Humidity
This step may be arguably new to most of you since we rarely consider our humidity levels.
Humidity becomes a problem mostly during the summer and spring. The EPA recommends, maintaining humidity between 30 and 60% to prevent mold growth. Using a humidity meter, you can measure the humidity levels in your home. If they are above 55%, you may want to consider buying a dehumidifier or air conditioner to help maintain safe levels.
Step #3 Ventilate Your Homes
Mold THRIVES in homes that have poor ventilation.
This happens for two reasons. First, mold spores are transported by drafts and breezes, meaning they exist pretty much everywhere. Not having good ventilation means that mold spores brought in on the breeze, have more time to settle and grow in areas of moisture.
Second, poorly ventilated areas tend to allow condensation build up. Hot showers, venting dryers, cooking or even washing dishes with warm water, can cause condensation build up that could facilitate mold growth.
Step #4 Buy proper Air filters
Using a few filters spread out around the house, or a house-wide air filtration system can drastically reduce the number of mold spores flying around from room to room.
Step #5 Insulate your Ducts
Any ducts that carry air that is a different temperature from the rest of the house, can cause condensation build up if they aren’t properly insulated.
Because these things usually run in corners and dark places in your home, they can often create the PERFECT conditions for mold to grow and remain undetected for long periods of time.
Step #6 Stay on the Lookout for Stray Water
Being constantly alert for signs of any leaks can go a long way to preventing mold growth. Some signs of leaking are: persistent dampness, peeling paint, strange odors and discoloration of surfaces.
Step #7 Keep Your Fridge and Freezer in Check
Taking steps to maintain properly a properly functioning fridge can drastically decrease your chances of developing a mold problem. Fridge and freezer doors that fail to close properly and malfunctioning drop pans are potential sources of moisture for mold growth.
Step #8 De-clutter your house
Remember, mold loves dark, moist places. Having an overly cluttered home can cast shadows that then become a perfect home for mold to move in to. Clutter also blocks proper airflow, thus allowing mold spores time to find purchase on household surfaces.
Step #9 Try plastic plants
Yes, having indoor plants can be a great thing for your home. They bring oxygen and life to an environment. However, the soil that they need to survive, is ofte- no, DEFINITELY a breeding ground for various types of mold.
So instead of taking the chance, why not pursue some near-to-life plastic plants as replacements?
Step #10 Avoid Carpet floors
Carpets are perfect places for mold spores to get lodged in. They are also moisture vacuums and can create pockets that allow for moisture build up that can’t be seen with the naked eye. Know that musty smell you get in old houses? Yeah, it’s probably mold.
Step #11 Mold resistant products
If you’re building a new home or replacing parts of an older one, using products like mold-resistant drywall and mold-inhibitors in paint may be a smart decision. Especially if you live in a moisture prone area.
Step #12 Guide water away from your home
Rain and melting snow can cause problems for you, if the ground around your home isn’t sufficiently sloped away from your foundation. Try installing ground drainage to help prevent water build up in your yards.
Step #13 Don’t Go Too Crazy (Don’t worry, it’s an easy one)
Using just a few of these steps can dramatically lower your risk of developing a mold problem. While it may be better to use all of them (if they all apply to you), it’s pretty impractical. So don’t stress too much, choose a few and get started!
Always remember, if you discover a serious mold problem in your home, contact a professional team to let them handle it for you.
Skylar Lewis has built Superior Restoration into a dominant force in Southern California through a constant growth mentality. Follow Superior Restorations on Google + to get the latest water, fire, and mold damage prevention tips.