Mold is present in more than 50% of U.S. homes, and it’s not just unsightly. Certain types of mold can lead to severe and life-threatening health conditions. That’s just one reason why homeowners should take precautions with mold. Depending on the extent of the contamination, you could also lose thousands in home renovation expenses. Thankfully, there are some surefire ways to help prevent mold from popping up in your home. If you want to protect your health and your wallet, here are seven tips and tricks to prevent mold that every homeowner should know.
1. Measure Indoor Humidity
Mold cannot grow without moisture. However, you should know that spills and leaks are not the only sources of moisture in your home. Humidity and gaseous water in the air are a leading contributor to mold growth. If you’ve discovered mold in your home, or you’re afraid of mold, you should purchase a hygrometer. These inexpensive devices measure the current indoor humidity in real-time. Set the device somewhere you won’t forget it, such as the living room or bedroom. Preventing mold is as easy as monitoring the day-to-day humidity levels of your home. The EPA recommends a humidity between 30 percent and 50 percent to inhibit mold growth. If your home’s humidity exceeds 60%, there is a good chance that mold growth will occur.
2. Open the Windows
Ventilation is the second most important factor to help stop mold in its tracks. Air can hold a limited amount of water vapor. Due to temperature changes, water may condense instead. If this happens, you’ll likely find water beading up on your windows and walls. You can prevent this with proper in-home ventilation. Keeping your windows open is a great way to keep the air circulating in your home. As an added bonus, outdoor air will regulate indoor humidity. You might not be able to open windows during the cold months. However, you can still keep air moving throughout your home with ceiling fans, standing fans and your home’s HVAC.
3. Use Household Exhaust Fans
Almost every home comes equipped with two exhaust fans: one for the kitchen and one for the master bathroom. These aren’t for show. In fact, they’re intended to help you vent smoke and moisture away. Keep your kitchen’s exhaust fan running when you’re boiling water. Otherwise, you’ll introduce new water vapor to your home. This can stick to walls in the kitchen, which promotes mold growth and increases indoor humidity. You should also adopt the same practice whenever you use your tub or shower. Without the help of the exhaust fan, the steam will condense on your vanity, walls and ceiling. Don’t give it that chance. As a rule of thumb, it’s also a good idea to wipe down wet shower walls. This can keep your tiles free of mold and scum.
4. Monitor Outdoor Drainage
Your landscaping knows how to keep mold away. Pay attention to the path water takes on your property. In an ideal situation, your home is situated on a small hill, which means the water will drain away. However, if the water pools around your home, that can lead to some serious mold issues. That’s because the moisture will trickle down into the foundation of your home and leak in. This is one of the key reasons why basements are notorious mold hotspots. Unfortunately, landscaping is not a cheap fix. You should have a contractor perform an audit of your property if you think drainage is an issue.
5. Keep Rain Gutters Clean
While the landscape should divert water away from your home, so too should your gutters. However, they can’t do their job when they’re in a state of disrepair. Foliage and detritus gather in rain gutters over time. This can cause spillover during a downpour. Instead of traveling through the downspout, water will run down your home’s siding. Needless to say, the water can infiltrate your home. Worst of all, this water buildup and mold growth will likely occur in the attic or behind the walls. Prevent this by keeping your gutters clean.
6. Don’t Ignore Wet Spills
It might seem simple, but keeping a dry home is the best way to prevent mold. When you spill water, mop it up. This includes mistakes in the kitchen, bathroom or anywhere else. The same goes for wet items. Did you get caught in a storm? Don’t leave wet clothing or umbrellas bundled up on the floor. This is especially important if your home is carpeted. Since carpets absorb moisture, it’s much harder to keep them dry. You might notice a funky smell a few days later once mold has started to grow.
7. Repair Leaks
It’s a good idea to keep tabs on your home’s plumbing. Even small leaks will eventually lead to a serious mold problem. Once or twice a month, you should check all the open pipes in your home since leaks are one of the main causes of mold in homes. Investigate the pipes under the sinks, behind the toilet and running through the basement. If left unchecked, you could have a serious health hazard on your hands by the time you discover the leak.
How to Prevent Mold: You Can’t Always Avoid It
Even though you know how to prevent mold, that doesn’t mean it’s gone for good. Some parts of your home are out of your sight and reach. A small leak in your home’s wall could lead to a mold infestation, and there’s no way to tell until it’s too late. Thankfully, you have options. Not only is mold difficult to remove for good, but it’s also dangerous to work with. When you discover mold in your home, rely on our professional mold remediation services to clean up the mess.