Summer is officially here and with it comes, heat waves, thunder storms, and high humidity – the perfect conditions for mold growth. Not only are the health effects of mold severe, but the cost of removing it can be incredibly high. At Xtreme Home Improvement, we believe in encouraging our customers to be proactive home owners. We want to make sure that you never have to deal with the ramifications of mold inside your home. You can’t do much about the outdoor climate that nurtures mold. However, it’s possible to control the indoor environment to reduce the likelihood that mold will gain a foothold and contaminate your house. Here are some season-specific suggestions to prevent mold growth this season.
Indoor Mold and How it Grows
Mold spores are all around us nearly all of the time. They float through the air and settle all around. For most of us, they only really become a problem when conditions allow them to grow from dormant spores to active colonies. Mold can be found almost anywhere and can grow on any surface or substance. All it needs to start growing is water, air, and time. You can assume that mold will grow in the areas of your home you rarely visit: the attic, the top of a closet, in between the walls, and other obscure places. Mold thrives in warm and moist environments and can grow very quickly. It can rapidly spread before you even realize it’s there. That’s why it’s so necessary to find out how you can prevent it from growing in the first place. It’s good to work on avoiding mold growth before you even see any signs of it. The key to mold control is moisture control. While we cannot guarantee you’ll be able to completely prevent mold from happening, the following tips may help to greatly reduce it from becoming a problem.
How to Prevent Mold
Avoid Condensation – Condensation can be a sign of high humidity. If you see it collecting on windows, concrete walls or metal pipes, act quickly to dry the wet surface and reduce the moisture source. Use fans as needed and insulate properly (windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, floors, etc.)
Encourage Good Airflow – In the summer, during the morning when it’s cool and dry, open windows to help increase the ventilation. This is a great way to level out a humid home and lower the carbon dioxide levels. If your home has been closed up due to the warmer temperatures, carbon dioxide can build up, especially in rooms where people spend the most time. Fresh air will also reduce odors and stuffiness – in addition to drying out those damp, musty areas. Eliminate clutter, which blocks airflow and make sure furniture is not sitting on the ducts.
Reduce Humidity Overall – Mold can begin to grow when humidity levels are as low as 56%. If possible, keep indoor humidity below 60 percent (ideally between 30% and 50%). Relative humidity can be measured with a moisture or humidity meter, a small, inexpensive ($10-$50) instrument available at hardware stores.
Refresh Your Bathroom – The bathroom is probably one of the best places to find mold but if you keep it well-ventilated you should minimize the problem. Crack open a window or utilize the exhaust fan when taking a shower so excess moisture moves out of the room. Keep the fan running at least 15 minutes after your shower ends. top leaky faucets and shower heads. Spread towels out after each use so they dry thoroughly. Wipe down the shower and tub after every use. Choose shower curtains that dry and clean easily or consider buying one that can be laundered in the washing machine.
Stop Water Leaks – When water leaks indoors, act quickly by cleaning it thoroughly, identifying the source and fixing it immediately. If wet or damp materials or areas are dried 24 to 48 hours after a leak happens, mold will not grow in most cases.
Temporarily Replace Indoor Plants – If you have a collection of house plants that have been over-watered and smell of mold or mildew, try temporarily placing them on the patio or in the garage. Plants are a great way to improve indoor air quality, but they can also add quite a bit of moisture to the air. If you are having issues with high humidity, temporarily removing them is a good way to help combat it. Make sure that the plants have not been over watered and that the soil doesn’t contain mold. If you find mold in the soil, re-pot the plants with new soil before bringing them back inside the house.
Use Air Conditioners and/or Dehumidifiers – A dehumidifier removes excess moisture from the air. You can buy a whole house dehumidifier unit that attaches to your furnace and connects to a drain so you never have to empty a tank, however, a portable dehumidifier will also suffice at a much smaller cost (typically between $150-$300). Most models have an automatic shut-off feature to prevent water from overflowing. Regular use of air-conditioning can keep your home cool and dry as well. Consider setting the thermostat at 78 degrees and properly size your air-conditioning unit for the size of your home.
Cleaning Up Mold
If you find a significant amount of mold has grown in your home, you must remove it as soon as possible. The certified technicians at Xtreme Home Improvement can help. Let us work to remediate mold growths and let you get back to the fun of summertime! Contact us for a estimate today!