As springtime weather brings more humidity into your home, mold can become an unexpected hazard. Because it is a living organism, there are certain requirements for mold to appear and survive in your home:
1 – Mold spores (they are just about everywhere)
2 – Nutrient sources such as dust, wood, drywall, cotton (all of which are ubiquitous)
3 – Proper environment: oxygen, darkness, warmth and, last but not least, moisture
Moisture is key to prevention. As long as you properly control the humidity, your home will likely stay mold-free. Some common sources of moisture in the home include:
Regularly inspect your home for even minor leaks that may not be obvious. Mold can grow in unsuspected places, such as under wallpaper and insulation, inside your walls, on the carpet or even on ceiling tiles. Your HVAC coolant lines likely run inside your walls, if your HVAC is in the attic – damaged insulation on those coolant lines can produce just enough condensation for mold to flourish inside your walls.
In the South, when you open the windows in the spring, humidity inside your home can quickly rise above the 55% threshold necessary for mold growth. Use a de-humidifier to keep humidity within the house low (especially the basement). Some home thermometers and home monitoring security cameras (such as Flir FX) have humidity sensors that alert you when humidity crosses a certain level.
Lack of Sunlight
A final general prevention tip is to keep sunlight exposure high. The ultraviolet light from the sun inhibits mold growth. If possible, open all the blinds and curtains to let the sun keep you safe!
In the case that you have already discovered mold, these common household items can help you remove it: bleach, borax, vinegar, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, detergent, baking soda, tea tree oil, and grapefruit seed extract. For detailed instructions on when and how to use each of the above solutions visit here.
Mold can lie dormant for long periods of time without completely dying so it is imperative that treatment and prevention is an ongoing process. With summer approaching, keep your family healthy by taking care of your home.