Tips for Dealing With Mold in Your Southeastern HomePublished on: April 21, 2014
In many areas of the Southeastern U.S., high humidity levels are a fact of life. However, there’s another problem that’s also commonplace in high-humidity environments: mold growth. Such growth can cause serious health problems for occupants, as well as expensive and hard-to-remedy damage to the home itself. Therefore, it’s important to deal with molds before they become a serious issue.
Where It Grows
Mold spores are a part of nature. After all, molds play a critical role in breaking down all types of dead organic matter. It’s no surprise these microscopic spores can be found in just about any area of your home. Fortunately, these spores usually lie dormant and pose little threat to health or home – at least until the conditions are right for their growth.
Most molds flourish at temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees, which is coincidentally the ideal temperatures for overall home comfort. But it’s more than just temperature that has to be in play. Moisture is also a key ingredient for mold growth. The ideal relative humidity for an average home is around 30 to 50 percent. Any higher and the excess moisture in the air can easily trigger mold and mildew growth.
There are plenty of ways that such growth can start to take hold:
- An oversized, undersized or poorly maintained cooling system can promote high relative humidity in your home, allowing molds to take hold due to excess moisture.
- Water leaking from windows, ceilings and burst pipes can soak into wood, drywall and carpeting, allowing molds to proliferate.
- Temperature differences can create condensation on windows and uninsulated or poorly insulated walls, inviting mold growth.
How to Deal With It
Dealing with molds is often a costly and time-consuming endeavor, but it must be done to prevent the mold from spreading and to prevent it from causing serious health issues in your home. You can use the following tips and techniques to mitigate most mold issues:
- Fix the problems that are causing water leaks and/or excess moisture first.
- Throw away any absorbent or porous material that’s come into contact with molds. These materials are often very difficult, if not impossible, to clean.
- Do not paint over moldy surfaces. You’ll simply cover up the problem, and the paint will likely peel away, exposing the mold once more.
- Use detergent and water to scrub mold growth away from hard surfaces.
While cleaning up molds, it’s important to limit your exposure as much as possible:
- Always wear a respirator to avoid breathing in molds and spores.
- Avoid touching or handling moldy items. Always use long gloves, preferably polyurethane, neoprene or nitrile gloves that can handle exposure to strong cleaning solutions and biocides.
- Always wear goggles to prevent molds and spores from getting in contact with your eyes.
When in doubt, your contractor may be able to help with remediation efforts. In some severe cases, a trained and certified specialist may be called in to deal with the problem.
Although it’s impossible to get rid of all mold spores, it is possible to prevent the conditions that spur their growth. The following measures can help you prevent further outbreaks from occurring in your home to help maintain good indoor air quality:
- Always act quickly to clean up spills and water leaks, and never allow materials or areas to remain wet or damp for more than 24 hours.
- Keep indoor humidity levels below 60 percent. If necessary, use a humidity meter or gauge to keep an eye on your home’s relative humidity.
- Consider installing a UV light system within your cooling system. Ultraviolet light can help inhibit molds and mildew growth within areas of your air conditioning unit where spores likely to flourish, such as near drainage trays, coils and crevices where condensed moisture is likely to collect.
- Keep air conditioning drainage trays clean and drainage lines clear of any blockages.
- Increase ventilation in areas that are often damp or generate moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens. In addition, proper weather-sealing can also help mitigate humidity issues.
If you have more questions about tackling mold growth, contact us to find a contractor in your area of the Southeast U.S.