Mold is found almost everywhere, and we’re exposed to it in some form every day. In nature, mold plays a critical role in the balance of life by breaking down dead plants, trees, and leaves. But what exactly is mold? The CDC gives mold the following definition: “Mold is a fungal growth that forms and spreads on various kinds of damp or decaying organic matter. There are many different mold species that come in many different colors.” In small amounts, mold spores aren’t typically harmful, but if these spores get into a damp area of your home, it’s not a good thing. Mold spores grow quickly inside damp areas, and if they’re in your home and on common surfaces, they can be easily inhaled and cause a number of health problems
Nine Facts You Need to Know
If moisture is present, mold can grow. Here are nine facts that you’ll want to keep in mind as you watch for mold growth in your home:
- Do not install carpeting where there is a persistent moisture problem.
- Replace all absorbent materials that are showing signs of mold growth.
- Health concerns from mold exposure include asthma, allergic reactions, and respiratory issues.
- Add insulation to prevent condensation on cold surfaces.
- If there is a water problem or a leak, fix the issue at the source before addressing cosmetic issues.
- The only way to control mold growth is to control moisture.
- When cleaning mold off hard surfaces, use water and detergent and make sure it dries completely.
- If mold is present at your workplace, you must notify your supervisor and ensure the cleanup is thorough and eliminates the source of moisture.
- To decrease mold growth, reduce the humidity inside your home to below 60%.
Because mold is so common, it’s not practical to assume all mold can be eliminated inside. By controlling the exposure of moisture within your home, you will have the best chance of minimal growth. Mold will return if the source of the moisture is not addressed.
Controlling Mold Growth
If you have certain areas of your home that are more susceptible to dampness, you can still mitigate the dangers of dangerous mold forming. The Occupational Health and Safety Blog provides some great tips
for reducing moisture indoors:
- For hot, humid climates, use a dehumidifier to reduce the moisture in the air.
- Use a hygrometer to check that your humidity inside is below 60%.
- Dry wet areas withing 24 to 48 hours.
- Increase circulation in your home by using fans, opening doors, or moving furniture away from the wall.
- Check for leaks around sinks, refrigerators, bathtubs, etc. for sources of water leaks.
- Make sure crawl spaces are well ventilated. If you have dirt floors in the crawl space, ensure it’s dry and cover with a plastic tarp.
- Consider concrete floors and area rugs in basements.
- Check that your gutters are not clogged and that they’re working properly.
- Make sure your dryer vent discharges to the outside.
- Open windows while showering.
For solutions and repair information, please check out Part 2
of this blog.