A Quick Guide to Tackling Indoor MoldPublished on: April 26, 2016
Mold is a big issue for a lot of South Carolina homes. It can damage furniture and walls and both create and intensify health problems. Mold can also be extremely persistent and difficult to get rid of once it’s gotten a hold on your house. If you’re battling a mold problem or want to take steps to prevent it, this quick guide to understanding indoor mold can help.
What Is Mold?
Molds are micro-organisms and a type of fungus that grow naturally in the environment. In that respect, they are actually a normal and necessary part of any major ecosystem. They break down organic matter like dead leaves and trees, making it possible for nature’s cycle of decomposition and regrowth to occur. Indoors, however, mold growth is problematic.
How Does It Get In My Home?
Molds replicate themselves through tiny spores that travel through air and settle into ideal places where they can create new mold colonies. Whenever those tiny mold spores land on wet areas indoors, they’ve found an ideal place to plant roots and settle down. If there’s a lot of moisture in your home, perhaps caused by humidity or water leakages, the moisture will act like a magnet for mold spores that are otherwise harmlessly floating through the air.
How to Get Rid of Mold
The key to eliminating mold is a combination of decreasing excessive moisture in your home and cleaning mold growth. You can’t get rid of all mold and mold spores floating through your house, but by getting rid of moisture, you can prevent it from growing and stop it from returning. Get rid of current mold growth by thoroughly cleaning the surface it’s growing on. If you don’t, it will continue to spread and eat away at the surface.
Can I Clean It On My Own?
If the mold area is bigger than a three-by-three-foot area, you may want to call in a professional to tackle the job for you. If the mold issue is within your HVAC system, you will need an HVAC contractor to assess and clear the problem. It is important not to run your AC while there’s mold growth in the system because it’ll spread mold into other areas of your home. If the mold problem is caused by a plumbing or sewage issue, call in an expert in water damage and contamination. If you have health issues related to mold, you should seek medical help and delegate mold cleanup to someone who isn’t sensitive.
Cover your nose and mouth with an inexpensive respirator or face mask to avoid inhaling mold or their spores into your lungs. Wear gloves to avoid contact with your skin and goggles to protect your eyes. Use detergent and water, or a stronger cleaning solution, to thoroughly scrub mold from surfaces. Then dry completely. If the mold has grown on absorbent materials like floor mats or ceiling tiles, it’ll be extremely hard to remove it completely. You’ll have to replace those items. If the mold is growing on a valuable item, such as an antique or precious keepsake, consult a specialist in restoration.
How to Prevent Mold
The most effective mold prevention is moisture prevention. Clean up water spills or leakages immediately, and get plumbing issues cared for as soon as possible. Make sure water runoff is directed away from the foundation of your home to avoid water creeping into the building. Keep your air conditioning drainage clear of debris to prevent water from backing up, and keep your indoor humidity level below 60 percent.
Your air conditioner, heat pump, or dehumidifier can help control humidity levels. Keep your home properly ventilated to discourage moisture. Periodically vent your appliances, open doors and windows when needed, and turn on fans to keep your HVAC system in good shape.
If you suspect that a mold problem in your home is a result of humidity or ventilation issues, one of our HVAC contractors at AC Southeast can evaluate your situation. We’ll help you manage the right combination of air flow, temperature, and humidity solutions that will decrease moisture issues and stop mold growth.