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Household Mold Prevention

Household Mold: Common Areas Of Growth and Prevention Steps

 

Mention mold and it’s likely to cause shudders from anyone hearing the word.  What is mold and what causes mold to multiply in your home?

 

Molds are a type of fungus. Outdoors, they are beneficial and break down dead organic matter.  Indoors, it’s an entirely different story. 

 

They reproduce by releasing microscopic spores into the air.  When conditions are right, spores grow into mold and can multiply quickly in just 24 to 48 hours. 

 

At the very least, mold can cause unsightly spots and damp, musty odors.  However, for people who are sensitive to mold, mold can cause serious health problems.  Even breathing the spores can trigger an attack. Symptoms include these:

 

  • Sneezing

  • Itching skin

  • Skin irritation

  • Watery and itchy eyes

  • Headache

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Household Mold Prevention - What Are the Causes of Household Mold?

All homes have the essential ingredients to be a giant petri dish for mold, like:

  • Mold spores (since they are airborne, they can be found anywhere)

  • Surfaces to grow on

  • Oxygen

  • Warmth

  • Darkness

 

Whether it’s from a water leak, flooding or high levels of humidity, the addition of moisture into the mix triggers mold to grow and multiply.

 

Household Mold Prevention - Common Areas Where Mold Can Be Found

The best way to protect your home against mold is to know where it can commonly grow and keep an eye on those places.  Armed with the understanding of the causes of household mold, you can take preventive measures before it brings damage to your home and affect your family’s health.

 

Bathroom

Often damp, warm and humid, the bathroom offers the perfect environment for mold growth. In particular, pay attention to the following specific places where mold can easily multiply:

 

  • Bathtubs and showers. Telltale signs are black spots on your grout lines.

 

  • Sink and toilet.

 

  • Walls and floors. Water leaks and overspray on the floors and walls are the usual causes of household mold in bathrooms.

 

Prevention of Mold in Bathrooms:

 

  • Check for leaky pipes and faucets. 

  • Make sure that grout lines are re-sealed every couple of years.

  • Ensure the sink, shower and bathtub area are consistently dry. 

  • Keep the bathroom well ventilated. Running the ventilation fan during showers or baths, and 30 minutes after prevents moisture from building up

  • As always, keep all surfaces dry and clean. This includes floors, walls and counter spaces.

  • If possible, when humidity levels are high, use a dehumidifier or keep the a/c on to keep humidity levels low, not only in the bathrooms but also all throughout your home. 

 

Kitchen

Another area where mold can take root is in the kitchen. It can turn humid when the stove is in use and with hot water running or boiling on the stove, as well.  Add in plenty of surfaces and you have the ideal environment for mold growth. 

 

In the kitchen, pay specific attention to these places:

 

  • The kitchen sink.  Leaky pipes and faucets are the usual suspects, so it pays to regularly check them to prevent mold growth under the sink. Also watch out for mold growth on grout lines, under wet sponges and dish caddies, and in the garbage disposal.

 

  • Appliances. Refrigerator drain lines and dishwashers are common sources of leaking. In addition, refrigerator drip pans and water dispensers collect water thus becoming ideal places for mold growth.

 

Microwaves and stoves, if not kept clean and dry are also ideal mold breeding grounds. The back of the stove where food crumbs can accumulate can likewise harbor molds.

 

  •  Windows and window sills. You can easily spot high indoor humidity through windows. Not only in the kitchen windows, but in the other parts of the house, as well, it is important to check for condensation. Where there is high humidity, then mold growth is sure to follow.

 

Prevention of Mold Growth in the Kitchen:

 

  • Check faucets, pipes, and supply lines for leaks.

  • Keep all surfaces clean and dry at all times.

  • Don’t let dishes pile up.

  • Check appliances for any signs of leakage. Check refrigerator drain lines, as well as drip pans.

  • Keep the interior of appliances always clean and dry.

  • Keep floors always dry.

  • Keep the kitchen well ventilated by using a fan or opening a window, especially during cooking and when washing dishes.

 

Attic, Basement and Garage

If there’s any place where mold growth in the home is highly probable, it would probably be in your attic, basement or garage. These offer the perfect breeding ground for mold - dark, damp, warm, and with poor ventilation. 

 

Attic.  The attic is where the home’s ventilation systems are located. And this poses a serious problem because mold can spread quickly throughout your home through the vents.  In the attic, here are the places to pay close attention to for mold growth:

 

  • Near the water heater or furnace. Look for any leaks that can provide food for mold to multiply.

  • Inspect the roof where leaks are also likely to spring.

  • In the insulation.

  • Near the vents from the bathroom, kitchen or laundry room.

  • Near the vents at the bottom of the roof that provide ventilation to the attic. 

 

Prevention of Mold Growth in the Attic

  • Check for roof leaks and repair as soon as you spot them.

  • Keep gutters and downspouts clear to prevent rain water backing up into the attic.

  • Keep vents clear to allow proper air circulation.

  • Use the proper type of insulation.

 

Basement. Basements are notoriously damp and if your basement smells musty, you can almost bet that there’s mold there somewhere. However, this need not be the case if you know where to look for possible breeding grounds. Here are the places to inspect for mold growth:

 

  • Near foundations. Look for possible leaks.

  • Around pipes and ducts. Again, examine for leaks and any sign of excess moisture or condensation.

  • Around the sump pump.

  • Windows or vents where condensation might build up.

  • If you keep your furnace or water heater in the basement, watch out for leaking from that as well.

 

Prevention of Mold Growth in the Basement

  • Ensure that there is good air circulation and adequate ventilation.

  • Use a dehumidifier to control humidity levels

  • Use waterproof or mold resistant paint.

  • Repair any leaks as soon as possible (leaky pipes, foundation leaks, etc).

  • Ensure that downspouts drain water away from your house so they don’t get into your basement.

  • Waterproof the exterior of your basement.

 

Garage. The garage is exposed to the elements and is most vulnerable to rain and flooding, and resulting water damage. It can also become damp with leaks coming from the roof and even moisture each time your car comes in from the rain.

 

If you store old items in the garage, or even cleaning supplies, this makes it more likely to harbor mold growth.  Here are the most likely places to look for mold:

 

  • Under or behind storage boxes, especially if you use cartons that can absorb moisture.

  • Garage doors and windows.

  • In areas where there may be stagnant water.

 

Prevention of Mold Growth in the Garage

  • Prevent water from coming into the garage by investing in weather stripping.

  • Use a dehumidifier to keep humidity levels low.

  • Like in the basement, use waterproof or mold resistant paint.

  • Keep garage floors always clean and dry. If necessary, use a squeegee to remove stagnant water from the floors.

 

Other Likely Mold Magnets

Ceilings and Walls. Undetected leaks may cause mold to form within walls or in ceilings.  If you observe a musty, earthy smell, there’s likely to be mold hiding in there somewhere. 

 

Watch out for water spots or stains as these are indicators of leaks.  If you notice these, it is best to call on the professionals to address the water damage.  

 

As mentioned above, mold can grow very fast and mold remediation may become necessary if water damage and ensuing mold growth is not addressed immediately.

 

Carpets, Fabric and Upholstery. Carpets can harbor mold even if there are no telltale signs.  Mold can be hiding underneath on the carpet padding. It is important that any spills or leaks be dried thoroughly to prevent mold growth.

 

Fabrics such as curtains, towels or furniture coverings are porous and can harbor mold within their fibers. It is important to keep these items clean and dry to keep mildew from forming.  And when mildew sets in, mold growth isn’t far away. 

 

HVAC System. It is important to ensure that your air conditioning and heating systems are carefully monitored for mold.  If your home’s ducts get moldy, spores can spread all throughout your home quickly. 

 

It is important to check your AC to ensure that it is draining properly. Filters also need to be inspected to make sure that moisture is not accumulating.

Household Mold Prevention: We Can Help

If you observe signs of mold or suspect mold growth in your home, FIVE STAR RESTORATION can help.

 

When you call us, we send out a member of our certified team l for a FREE mold inspection and help you determine what the best next steps are to protect your home and your family. Because a mold threat is a serious matter, we respond to these calls at anytime of the day. 

 

If health issues arise, call us for emergency service at (951) 368 2227.

Tags: household mold, mold dangers, prevent mold, mold health risks, mold prevention, mold causes

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