If there is one thing that we can all agree on, it’s the importance of protecting our health. And yet, mold and other indoor environmental health issues go overlooked in many homes across America- despite being a massive risk to those who live or work within them! Why the oversight when it comes to mold? It isn’t just about how dangerous certain molds may be; it’s because generally, mold problems aren’t actively sought out and are typically only discovered when the issue has hit critical mass. To better inform homeowners of the potential risks that mold presents to their well-being and their families, The Environmental Protection Agency recognizes September as Mold Awareness Month.
In order to prevent mold issues, you must understand what mold is and how it grows. Mold is a fungal growth that forms, and spreads, on various kinds of damp or decaying organic matter. Most homeowners find mold around roofs, windows, basements, bathrooms, or anywhere with flood damage. Because mold can form in a variety of places, it’s important to understand what it looks like on different surfaces and how it can impact materials in your home. For instance, mold can appear black, green, or white on brick, and it grows when moisture is present on the surface or between mortar joints.
This excess moisture is generally the cause of indoor mold growth, reproducing by releasing tiny spores that float through the air until landing in other locations. Mold spores are tiny “seeds”, invisible to the naked eye that travel in the air. Typically, mold spores do not pose any threats when inhaled in small amounts. However, if you’re exposed to large amounts of mold spores, given long enough it can lead to mold-related allergies or illnesses. When they settle on these wet surfaces, the spores form new mold colonies making the problem grow larger and larger. To learn more about how mold grows on surfaces, please read our blog titled “How Does Mold Form?”.
The next step is learning how to prevent mold from affecting your home and lowering the need for remediation. The first big part of prevention begins with moisture control. When water leaks or spills into your home, it’s imperative to act promptly as any water infiltration should be stopped and cleaned within 24-48 hours. Thoroughly clean-up, dry, and/or remove any water-damaged materials should commence immediately in order to prevent or limit mold growth.
- Some tips to consider include;
- Repairing plumbing leaks and leaks in the building structure as soon as possible.
- Looking for condensation and wet spots. Fix source(s) of moisture incursion problem(s) as soon as possible.
- Prevent moisture from condensing by increasing surface temperature or reducing the moisture level in the air (humidity). To increase surface temperature, insulate or increase air circulation. To reduce the moisture level in the air, repair leaks, increase ventilation (if outside air is cold and dry), or dehumidify (if outdoor air is warm and humid).
- Keeping HVAC drip pans clean, flowing properly, and unobstructed.
- Performing regularly scheduled building/ HVAC inspections and maintenance, including filter changes.
- Maintaining indoor relative humidity below 70% (25 – 60%, if possible). Vent moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers, to the outside where possible.
- Venting kitchens (cooking areas) and bathrooms according to local code requirements.
- Providing adequate drainage around buildings and sloping the ground away from building foundations.
- Pinpointing areas where leaks have occurred, identifying the causes, and taking preventive action to ensure they do not reoccur.
By taking these preventative measures, you will be taking a decisive step toward ensuring that mold will not become a source of financial distress or physical discomfort. However, if a major mold problem is discovered, be sure that professional remediators, like Mold Medics, become involved sooner than later. Although some mold problems are small and manageable, they can sometimes go far beyond a homeowner’s scope. You need mold removal services you can trust when this is the case. Mold Medics is proud to be a go-to source for many homeowners throughout the area. Our Pittsburgh, PA, mold remediation services are pet-safe, child-safe, and people-safe when used according to directions and applied according to our methods. We’re highly confident in our services, which is why we always provide a warranty on the treatment date. Call us to learn more about our effective and safe mold remediation solutions.