How to pre­vent mold growth in your home

The Prince George Citizen - The Citizen - Real Estate Weekly - - Real Estate Weekly -

Mold plays an im­por­tant role in na­ture. Mold breaks down dead or­ganic mat­ter, in­clud­ing fallen leaves, and speeds up the de­com­po­si­tion process so nu­tri­ents can re­turn to the soil as quickly as pos­si­ble.

But mold in­side a home can be a for­mi­da­ble foe, trig­ger­ing al­ler­gic re­ac­tions and in­creas­ing a per­son’s risk of de­vel­op­ing res­pi­ra­tory prob­lems. Mold can even cause dam­age to a home by at­tach­ing it­self to wood and break­ing down that wood.

Be­cause the con­se­quences of mold growth in­side a home can be so dire, it’s im­por­tant that men and women take steps to pre­vent mold growth in their homes and apart­ments. The U.S. En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency notes that con­trol­ling mois­ture lev­els in a home or apart­ment is the key to con­trol­ling mold as well.

Ad­dress spills quickly and prop­erly. Many in­stances of mold in­fes­ta­tions can be traced to leaks or spills that were not quickly or prop­erly ad­dressed. The EPA ad­vises that wet or damp ma­te­ri­als or ar­eas should be dried within 24 to 48 hours to pre­vent the growth of mold. Make sure spills are thor­oughly cleaned as op­posed to a cur­sory cleanup of only the ar­eas vis­i­ble to the naked eye. In­spect nearby crevices when spills oc­cur to en­sure the area where the spill hap­pened and all sur­round­ing ar­eas vul­ner­a­ble to mold growth are dry. In ad­di­tion, fix leaky plumb­ing fixtures im­me­di­ately, hir­ing a pro­fes­sional if nec­es­sary.

In­spect the ground sur­round­ing your home. Fac­tors out­side a home can some­times con­trib­ute to mold growth within a home. Make sure the ground out­side your home slopes away from the foun­da­tion. If the ground slopes to­ward your home, rain­wa­ter or runoff from sprin­kler sys­tems may di­rect wa­ter into your home, cre­at­ing con­di­tions fa­vor­able to mold growth in­side. Gut­ters and down­spouts also should be in­spected to en­sure they are work­ing op­ti­mally. If not, they can con­trib­ute to wa­ter dam­age on the roof that can ul­ti­mately lead to mold growth.

Mon­i­tor in­door hu­mid­ity. The EPA ad­vises that home­own­ers keep in­door hu­mid­ity be­low 60 per­cent rel­a­tive hu­mid­ity, which can be mea­sured with hu­mid­ity me­ters avail­able at many hard­ware stores. Home­own­ers who can keep in­door hu­mid­ity at lev­els 30 to 50 per­cent be­low rel­a­tive hu­mid­ity might be even more suc­cess­ful at keep­ing in­door mold growth at bay.

Dry wet sur­faces im­me­di­ately. Sur­faces can be­come wet even if a home has no leaky fixtures and no spills have oc­curred. For ex­am­ple, the sur­faces of bath­room walls, ceil­ings and floors get wet when a home’s in­hab­i­tants take hot baths or show­ers. That con­den­sa­tion is nat­u­ral, but such sur­faces are also sus­cep­ti­ble to mold growth. Make sure to dry wet sur­faces im­me­di­ately, and keep ex­haust fans on or win­dows open when bathing to decrease the like­li­hood of mold growth.

Mold growth can be detri­men­tal to hu­man be­ings and their homes. But many mold in­fes­ta­tions are eas­ily pre­vented.

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