Mold can have deleterious effects to the structure of your home and your health. Preventing mold growth is the best way to prevent any ill-effects from occurring. Once mold sets in, its spores will quickly spread and elimination can be difficult and expensive.
We want to help homeowners prevent this situation from happening by showing you how and where mold grows, and what homeowners can do to stop it.
How Mold Grows
Mold needs one thing to grow: moisture. There are many types of mold which can grow in both warm or cold temperatures. However, it all needs water or moisture to grow. So if there is a mold problem in the home, you must take steps towards mold cleanup and fixing the source of moisture.
Moisture Culprits in Your Home
One of the most common places for mold to grow is in the bathroom. The surfaces of the bathroom, like the tub and walls, are usually damp. Make sure you are checking your bathroom’s surfaces every few weeks, particularly if you notice any odd smells. Areas like behind toilets, underneath sinks, and around any tile near the shower are usual culprits.
However, there are also other moist places in your home, many of which are hidden. These places include the HVAC system, unit ventilator, and the roof, wall, and water pipes where water leaks can happen. Many of these areas can be hard to reach and require a professional inspection.
Control the Moisture
Controlling moisture requires preventing water leaks, controlling humidity, and preventing condensation.
Preventing Water Leaks In the case of water leaks, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) homeowner’s guidelines recommend cleaning up the leak as soon as possible, ideally within 24-to-48 hours. Typically, mold will not grow if the moisture dries out within this time. You must also fix the source of the leaks.
Being proactive is the best way to ward off any mold growth from water leaks! Do the following EPA-sanctioned steps to make sure your home is always protected from an emergency:
- Repair roofs and clean gutters
- Make sure water does not pool around your property’s foundation; make sure the ground slopes away from the building
- Clean and repair air conditioning drip pans and drain lines
In controlling indoor humidity, ventilation is key. Opening windows, running bathroom exhaust fans, and using de-humidifiers will help protect your home. Remember that the ideal indoor humidity environment is between 30% to 50% humidity. Pro tip: you can measure this using an inexpensive humidity monitor!
Condensation can accumulate on windows, walls, or pipes. It usually occurs when the indoor environment is very humid, or when there is a difference between surface and air temperature. For example, a hot steamy shower will cause condensation on (colder) mirrors. Cold water pipes may also accumulate condensation if the air around it is warmer. Once condensation accumulates, wipe and dry surfaces as soon as possible. Afterwards, prevent condensation by increasing ventilation, increasing air temperature, and covering cold surfaces with insulation.
Now that you know where moisture hides in your home, and what you can do to prevent it, your home will be significantly more mold-free!