Mold can also be harmful to your health, so mold prevention is very important. Mold uses tiny spores to reproduce, and inhaling those spores causes respiratory problems and other health problems, like headaches, depression and fatigue.
Mold is a type of fungus. In nature, mold eats dead plants and animals, serving an important purpose. Mold can grow indoors, however, where it does not serve a purpose but can destroy materials. It can damage materials in your home. It can ruin carpet, even walls. Preventing mold is important because if mold takes hold, you can spend a fortune replacing ruined items.
Mold prevention is also important because once it takes hold, it’s hard to get rid of it. If you see mold or notice a musty smell in your house, you have a mold problem and need to address it. If you don’t see or smell mold, you probably do not have a mold problem and you want to keep it that way. If you’re not sure if you have a mold problem, you can have a professional come in and conduct a test. Your home owner’s insurance may even pay for it.
Mold requires organic material and moisture in order to grow and thrive. There is usually plenty of organic material in homes and it’s almost impossible to get rid of it all, so the key to mold prevention is eliminating excess moisture. Water leaks, high humidity and condensation all provide moisture that allows mold to grow. If your roof leaks or water comes in around windows, fix it. If humidity is high, invest in a dehumidifier.
If you experience flooding or a leak, you need to dry things out thoroughly. Use fans and a dehumidifier (or two), take up all carpet and remove all soaked objects until they can be dried. Some items may need to be discarded and replaced.
Make sure your home has adequate ventilation in areas like bathrooms, laundry rooms and attics. Energy efficient homes may hold moisture inside, in which case opening a window or turning on a fan when showering and cooking will help with mold prevention.
You can purchase mold-resistant drywall or sheetrock, which are particularly useful in high-moisture areas like bathrooms and laundry rooms. Ask for mold-resistant products at your local home improvement store, or if you have a professional contractor handling your home renovations, ask him or her to use mold-resistant products whenever possible.
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends keeping indoor humidity between 30 and 60 percent. Purchase a moisture meter at your local hardware store and use humidifiers or dehumidifiers if necessary to keep the humidity at the right level to prevent mold.
Another key to mold prevention is directing ground water away from your home. If the ground slopes toward your home, you’re likely to have leaking in your basement or in a crawlspace, which will lead to the growth of mold.
Clogged gutters often lead to leaky roofs. Prevent mold by preventing leaks. Clean your gutters regularly and if you notice stains on your ceiling, check the gutters for clogs and check the roof right away for leaks.
If you suspect mold, have a professional test your home. A small problem now can grow into a large problem later if ignored.
For a list of licensed professionals in your area that can test your home for mold, follow this link.
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