Mold is a common occurrence in homes, but it can potentially cause health problems as well as damage to structures and surfaces if it is not controlled. Mold begins growing indoors when spores come in contact with wet surfaces or substances. Once established, mold can be very difficult to remove successfully – so prevention is the key.
Mold needs moisture to grow. Moisture can take the form of leaks, spills, condensation, and humidity, so controlling sources of moisture is the most important step in mold prevention. Here are some ways homeowners can avoid creating conditions in which mold will thrive:
- Be alert for signs of leaks in supply and waste lines for bathrooms, kitchens, utility sinks, and laundry areas. Have any leaks fixed and dry the area thoroughly.
- Check the condition of grout and tile on shower walls, floors, and around bathtubs. Repair damaged grout, and seal it to prevent mold from being absorbed. Caulking around tubs, showers, and sinks should be kept in good repair. If it isn’t, replace it with silicone caulk that contains a mildewcide.
- Increase ventilation to the outside by using exhaust fans, and be sure the attic is properly ventilated.
- Regularly empty and clean drain pans and hoses for air conditioning units and dehumidifiers.
- Check for roof leaks that allow water to enter attic spaces or build up under roof shingles. Even a small amount of moisture can cause big problems down the road.
- If possible, lower the overall humidity in the home to decrease condensation and create a less mold-friendly environment.
Places that tend to stay damp, such as showers, may be more difficult to keep entirely free of mold but it can be minimized. Diligent cleaning, opening a window and regularly using a ventilation fan are often enough to keep mold at bay.
Once mold has become established in the home it can be difficult to eradicate. Depending on the location and severity of the mold problem, a homeowner may need to engage a professional certified in mold remediation to remove it. A qualified professional will also take preventive measures to lessen the likelihood of recurrences.
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