4 easy steps to prevent mold from invading your home
Horror stories of household mold infestations and related illnesses have been prevalent in the mainstream media of late, but homeowners should be relieved to know that most mold contaminations are easily preventable. Although the legislative jury is still out to determine acceptable mold exposure standards, the scientific truth is that any household mold has the potential to cause adverse health effects.
In fact, long-term exposure to certain types of toxic molds has been linked with catastrophic and often deadly diseases. This fact highlights the importance for homeowners to be vigilant in diagnosing potential mold sources before a problem develops.
1. Light and ventilation.
Mold spores are able to establish colonies and cultivate on porous materials such as drywall, wood framing, carpet and fabric, whenever moisture levels exceed 15 percent or relative humidity within a room reaches 60 percent.
Many homes in humid climates are susceptible to mold growth on furniture, clothing and even structural walls if there is inadequate ventilation. Even minor surface mildew may develop into a structural damage scenario if left un-mitigated.
Preventative measures include installation of ventilation fans into bathrooms, opening windows when weather allows and making sure furniture such as couches and dressers are moved away from walls just enough to allow for nominal airflow. Light and ventilation are the enemies of mold and fungus, which thrive in dark, damp environments.
2. Leaky plumbing fixtures.
Most household mold damage is a result of water damage from plumbing leaks or other water damage events that go unnoticed or are not dried out properly or promptly. Common water damage sources that should be inspected regularly for leakage include: water heaters, kitchen and bathroom angle stop valves, toilet supply lines, air conditioners and filtration systems.
A simple visual inspection for condensation, dripping, corrosion or water staining around these potential problem areas may help catch a ticking time bomb before irreversible damage has occurred.
3. Exterior maintenance.
Many indoor mold allergies are a result of a mold contamination that has affected exterior walls of a home from outdoor landscaping negligence or deficiencies. Blocked crawlspace vents, clogged gutters, misaligned sprinklers or deteriorating stucco are all potential sources for moisture to penetrate the outside of your home.
Once the weatherproofing of your home has been compromised, you are at risk of damaging susceptible insulation, drywall, and even hardwood flooring within. A quick walk around your home may reveal obvious signs of required maintenance. Otherwise, consider consulting with a landscape or drainage expert to diagnose more technical problem areas such as inadequate drainage or over-irrigation.
4. Prompt, professional water damage response.
In the unfortunate event that you do fall victim to an unavoidable water damage event, do not hesitate to contact your local water damage experts immediately to professionally assess damage and begin dryout services.
Whether the water damage originates from a toilet overflow, burst pipe or roof leak, it is imperative to have the damage professionally assessed by a reputable restoration provider who can help you in determining if the damage is eligible for insurance coverage through your homeowner’s policy.
Even if the damage appears to be minor, professional moisture assessment can determine if the damage exceeds what is visible to the untrained eye. Remember that in ideal circumstances, mold growth can begin to develop in as little as 24 hours, so it is only a matter of time before unmitigated water damage becomes a dangerous mold contamination.
Diligence in following these steps may help homeowners avoid a costly mold remediation. However, if a mold problem is discovered or feared, do the right thing and contact a reputable, highly rated mold remediation expert to assess the damage for proper treatment.
Mishandling of a mold problem that may seem minor puts you at high risk of cross-contaminating your entire house, or even endangering your health. Remember, when it comes to mold and water damage, prevention may be possible and can save thousands of dollars in unexpected repairs to your home.