Mold. The word strikes fear in your heart. Its scientific name, fungi, sounds even more frightening. Mold comes in several varieties including Acremonium, Cladosporium, Dreschslera, Epicoccum, Penicillium, Stachybotrys and Trichoderma. Try pronouncing those!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) isn’t too concerned about your pronunciation, but they do suggest you don’t allow mold in your home. In fact, the CDC claims you can control mold. We agree but we prefer a proactive approach. Learn more here about how to prevent mold in your home.
How Do I Know I Have a Mold Problem?
Your home’s environment puts out the welcome mat for mold with little effort on your part. It thrives in your home because of one of life’s essential elements: water.
There are few areas in your home most likely to harbor mold growth. Be cautious while on the hunt for mold. Certain people are sensitive to molds and exposure can trigger physical problems.
Start with the basement, one of mold’s favorite hangouts. Basements often smell stale because they’re below ground with the windows closed. It’s easy to mistake odors associated with a lack of fresh air for mold. Mold has a distinct sour, musty odor. The smell is often compared to rotting paper or dirty wet socks. Damp basements also attract mold. We’ll talk about humidity later, but if your basement floods, you’ve likely already noticed mold growing near the foundation.
Next, let’s look at the ceilings. If you see water stains, you’ve had a leak at some point. You could also have an active leak, which means you have a mold-friendly environment in at least one area of your home.
Finally, check around windows for signs of condensation. If you notice constant moisture on windows or around window frames, look closer. You might find a mold colony.
Get Moisture Under Control
Now that you’ve been on the hunt for mold, take a minute to learn about moisture in your home. Humidity is the most common form of moisture in your house. Normal activities like bathing and cooking contribute to humidity, as does drying clothes.
If you have plumbing leaks or a flood in your basement, the result is excessive humidity. The condensation we mentioned previously creates an imbalance in humidity levels. Humidity levels above 50% create an ideal environment for mold growth. Maintaining proper humidity levels in your home is one of the most proactive actions you can take to prevent mold growth. Keep your home’s humidity level between 30-50%.
Mold Loves Moisture
Mold can’t grow without moisture. Knowing that, think about all the ways you can prevent extra moisture in your home.
Don’t spill and run! Kids (and some adults) are notorious for spilling milk or juice on a rug and ignoring it. Ask people living in your home to clean up and dry all spills on floors and carpets.
Wet towels are a moisture breeding ground. We’re not sure why but it’s hard for some people to take 2 seconds and hang a wet towel on the towel bar.
Another area you can minimize excess moisture is in the laundry room. Instead of leaving clothes in the washer for days, get them in the dryer as soon as possible after they’re finished washing.
If you have a flood in your home, get rid of anything you can’t dry completely. Unfortunately, you can’t always salvage carpets and furniture after a flood. In fact, calling a company that specializes in water damage restoration may be your best solution so that you ensure the area dries quickly. Time is of the essence when it comes to mold prevention—mold starts growing within 24-48 hours.
Mold Growth from an Outside Perspective
Another way you can stop mold in the house is by preventing water from seeping into your crawlspace or basement. First, make sure any water outside your home slopes away from the foundation. You can check whether the soil has the proper slope by using a 2X4 and a carpenter’s level. The proper ground slope is a minimum of 6 inches over 10 feet.
Next, keep your gutters and downspouts free of debris. This prevents water from accumulating. As you know, mold loves water and standing water says, “hello, mold!” Check your downspouts and ensure rainwater from your roof flows far away from the foundation. You may need to add downspout extensions.
Finally, don’t plant gardens and flowerbeds too close to the foundation. That includes shrubs and potted plants that require a lot of water. Make sure you don’t allow your sprinkler to direct water onto your house or next to the foundation.
Explore the Dark Places
Another area of your home where mold grows, often undetected, is the attic and crawl space. If you’re curious about how to prevent mold, pay attention to conditions in these two areas.
In the attic:
- Exhaust fans venting into the attic create excess humidity.
- Inadequate ventilation encourages moisture on the roof.
In the crawl space:
- Check humidity levels—it’s not unusual to have 100% humidity.
- Open vents and loose doors allow outside air in, which increases humidity.
Upgrading insulation and re-routing exhaust fans reduce attic humidity. Cleaning and removing mold, and then installing a vapor barrier, can cure a humidity problem in a crawl space. Consider installing a dehumidifier as well.
Now You Know How to Prevent Mold in the House
If you’re like us, you don’t want any hint of mold in your home. Taking the steps we’ve shared on how to prevent mold in the home should reduce your risk for mold development. If you’ve taken the proper precautions and find you still have a mold problem, don’t give mold a chance to continue growing.
Here at Blackmon Mooring & BMS CAT, we’ve helped people recover from mold damage since 1948. Contact us today and let us help you too!