Mold can be very important in certain circumstances. After all, it’s a vital part of natural decaying process and where would we be without penicillin (or blue cheese!) However, if it grows unchecked in your property, it could not only damage the structure of your home but even your health.
If you’re exposed to most types of mold, the result will be a minor allergic reaction with symptoms including watery eyes, sniffling or sneezing. These will subside after a few hours if you leave the affected area. However, there are some people with extra sensitivity to mold and their reactions may be much stronger. Such people may experience asthma attacks and respiratory problems.
There are some types of mold which are known to release mycotoxins, toxic substances which can lead to severe health problems like bronchitis, bleeding lungs and heart conditions. Therefore, it’s very important to identify sources of mold in your home and to eliminate them for your own and your family’s well-being.
Where To Look For Mold
Mold always feeds from organic matter. It also needs a moist place in which to grow. This is why you usually find mold in your kitchen, laundry room or bathroom as well as crawl spaces and basements. You might find mold in your air conditioning or heating systems, your ductwork and pipes, around your windows or in your attic.
How To Clean Mold
When you only have 10 square feet or less of mold in your home, it’s possible to clean it yourself. However, if you have a larger area of mold to deal with, a professional’s help will be needed.
To clean mold, follow these steps:
- Wear a pair of long rubber gloves. Neoprene are best if you’re using a stronger cleaning solution.
- Wear a respirator suitable for use when cleaning mold and a pair of goggles with no ventilation holes.
- If there is only a mild case of mold, scrub the affected area with detergent and warm water.
- If the mold is more severe add a cup of bleach to one gallon of water. Apply to the area and scrub well.
- Thoroughly dry the affected area to make sure that no moisture remains.
- Throw out any moldy carpets or porous surfaces.
How To Guard Against Mold
While cleaning up areas of mold is important, it’s also vital to prevent it from coming back. You can do this by removing any water sources that are causing the problem. Check your attic for any leaks in your roof and repair any damage you find. Caulk you leaky windows and weather strip them. Examine all your pipework for leaks and repair any you find and keep your downspouts and gutters clean and blockage free. Check your crawl space to ensure there’s no moisture there and, if necessary install a small dehumidifier that’s ideal for small spaces.
You should ensure the humidity level inside your home is between 30% and 50% at all times. Using a moisture meter or humidity gauge will ensure you can check this regularly and then you can install a dehumidifier if necessary to lower it. Ensure you gas appliances like fireplaces and heaters have been properly vented outdoors and never dry wet clothing inside your home.
Preventing Mold in The Long Term
Sometimes, mold can hide in your home in areas where you don’t expect it to be. If you’re still smelling that musty tell-tale mold odor or if you’re still experiencing health problems that are linked to mold spores, it’s possible that you have mold growing unseen under your dry wall, wallpaper, ceiling tiles or in your air conditioner or heating vents. If you think this is the case, contact a professional and ask for your home to be inspected. Avoid using your HVAC system until it has been checked by a professional.
Although mold is unpleasant it is a problem that can easily be sorted out. Detecting it quickly is the first step to preventing the problem from getting worse. The sooner you identify the problem the more quickly you can rectify it and take steps to prevent it from happening again.