Uncle Bobs Tips

The Day The Molds Moved Out

The Day The Molds Moved Out

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Molds are nasty little fungi that cultivate in moisture and cause damage to your home and your health. Often spores float indoors, land on a wet area, and reproduce rapidly, forming unsightly and hazardous colonies. Mold can grow anywhere, on any material and can leave permanent stain. Several factors can be contributed to mold growth. Leaky roofs or siding, previous flooding (mold can appear long after the flooding has been forgotten), HVAC coils, humidifiers are usual suspects. In general, a moisture level of 60 is too high (anywhere from 30-50 is good).

Molds can cause health issues such as allergies, respiratory issues, and asthma attacks, and generally cause irritation to the lungs, eyes, throat, skin and nose. In rare case, molds produce mycotoxins, a toxic substance than can cause neurological damage and, in some cases, even death. Mold allergies occur through contact and are frequently airborne.

When a problem occurs, you must clean away the mold and fix whatever water leakage or moisture-related issues are involved. Simply clearing away the mold will not solve the problem. Mold spores will damage whatever surface it grows on, so eradicate the problem as soon as you've found it.

At times, you will not see any mold, but may smell the distinct musty odor of growing mold. These hidden molds can form in any number of areas, including the backside of drywalls, above ceiling tiles, under carpeting, and behind furniture. A borescope as a nifty device that can detect mold growth behind drywalls (without having to tear up all your walls). Hidden mold is tricky to uncover and treat, and should be dealt with by a professional.

MOLD PREVENTION:

Check roof gutters frequently. Clean and make any repairs that are necessary. Shingles should also be cleaned of moss or other growths, repaired and replaced as necessary.

If the ground slopes towards your home's foundation, make every effort to redirect water away. Water collecting around the foundation is an easy way to create massive problems for yourself.

Fix plumbing leaks and other water issues. HVAC systems need to be monitored frequently. Drip pans should be maintained and lines unobstructed.

Siding, windows and doors need to be checked and caulked if any cracks or holes where water can leak in are present.

Dry away condensation that forms within your home (such as on glass window or door panes). Condensation is a sign that the humidity level in your home is getting high.

Insulating cold pipes will help prevent condensation (rust around the pipe is an indication that you've got condensation).

Increase ventilation in high moisture areas such as showers and sinks. This can be done by installing a small fan or simply opening a window.

Clean the above-mentioned areas more frequently than other areas of the home to keep moisture in check. If you notice leaks or cracks, you should repair and caulk up the area thoroughly.

When applicable, vent moisture-producing appliances, such as dryers and ovens, to the outside, not into the attic or house.

Use a dehumidifier when humidity is high to extract moisture from the air.

When flooding, leakage or other water issues occur, act fast. Moisture problems that are dealt with within 48 hours usually will not result in mold growth. For areas such as concrete, upholstery, and carpeting or other backings, use a wet vac to vacuum out the water. Turn on fans to move the drying process along faster. If items such as books, ceiling tiles, insulation, and drywall or gypsum board segments are water damaged, you are best off throwing them out and replacing.

Clean and maintain HVAC systems regularly. Condensation settles on these coil systems, and often causes mold. The problem is then exacerbated by mold being circulated around the house by the HVAC system.

Here's more on how to clean mold away for good.

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