Nasal irritation through sneezing, congestion, and itching is a primary indicator of mold exposure for humans. These symptoms might not seem as uncomfortable or unpleasant for some, but they can exacerbate underlying health problems, especially for people who are prone to intense allergic reactions and those with chronic illnesses. Chest tightness is one of the more dangerous side effects of fungi and mold. (1)
On the structural end, mold can weaken the materials holding your property together. They’ll feed off your walls, carpet, and any other food source, particularly ones that are humid or damp. When ignored, they can lead to your floorboards caving in and your ceilings collapsing. To mitigate or eliminate the problems caused by mold it is best to contact professionals.
Check your home’s current condition
Fortunately, you can avoid all these problems by eliminating or, at least, minimizing the growth of mold in your home and thus reducing any potential damage. To accomplish this goal, you have to check the status of your home first.
1. Inspect your property
Go through each of the rooms in your home right now and see whether mold has already infiltrated your residence. By doing so, you’re getting an accurate assessment of the health status, so to speak, of your house.
Take a look at the places where mold is most likely to grow such as kitchens, bathrooms, attics, and basements. These areas are often damp or moist, so they provide a conducive environment for the fungi to breed. Organic materials like wood, paper, some carpet materials, food, and insulation are also other factors that can contribute to mold growth. (2)
2. Eliminate mold presence
Once you’ve figured out where mold is growing in your home, you should contact experts to remove them completely. While these professionals can’t promise 100% elimination of the fungi, they have the skills and experience to find the source and eradicate them, which reduces the chances of regrowth.
Nonetheless, even when virtually all physical signs of mold have been exterminated, you must ensure to prevent further damage caused by the fungi.
3. Monitor humidity levels
Mold thrives in moist environments. That’s why you should take note of your home’s humidity level and keep it as low as possible. Ideally, it shouldn’t exceed 50% during the daytime or nighttime. You can find various types of residential-use hygrometers in the market today. Make sure to place the device away from the kitchen or bathroom so you can get accurate results. (3)
4. Improve ventilation
Since you’re already monitoring the air quality of your home, you should also make sure that air flows freely. For instance, something as simple as opening your windows to let the breeze in and out can deter mold growth by preventing moisture.
Put up exhaust fans to vent smoke, steam, and other vapors outside, especially those that come from the kitchen and bathroom. Your clothes dryer should also vent air outside. If you’re living in humid climates, air conditioners can help reduce moisture in your home. You can also invest in dehumidifiers for this purpose. However, make sure they don’t generate moisture themselves. Check them regularly and clean them as recommended by the manufacturer.
5. Watch out for leaks
As you inspect the different rooms in your abode, look for signs of leakage. Again, this can lead to water drips, which serve as food and breeding ground for mold. Fix holes on the roof and repair plumbing issues so fungi won’t receive moisture, ergo doesn’t have anything to eat.
These are some ways you could find hidden water leaks:
- Observe your water meter – Try shutting off all faucets, showers, and appliances that use water, like dishwashers and washing machines, in your home and watch your water meter. Check if the numbers move. If it doesn’t change immediately, wait for about an hour or two and take a look at the water meter again. If the numbers increase, you may have a leak problem somewhere in your home.
- Check your toilet – You can also drop some food coloring into the toilet tank. Wait for about 10 minutes before checking it. If some color seeps into the bowl, then the tank might need repairing.
- Monitor outdoor plumbing – Checking your outdoor pipes, faucets, and sprinklers may be challenging. But you have to make sure that they aren’t causing any leakages that may contribute to mold growth.
6. Keep your home dry
Meanwhile, inside your home, make sure you dry areas that frequently get wet such as bathrooms, kitchens, or laundry areas. Do this right after using so that the water doesn’t dissipate and create humidity. Even everyday accidents like carpet spills should be cleaned up within the day.
Some other household situations that can contribute to mold growth include
- hanging wet items outside,
- allowing the floor and walls to dry after washing your hands or taking a shower,
- leaving newly laundered clothes in the washing machine, or
- not removing items that have been damaged by flooding.
These may seem negligible at first, but they all add up to the growth of mold or other contaminants in your home.
7. Choose mold-resistant products
If you’re still constructing your home or doing some major renovations, you may want to prevent mold growth through specialized products. You can find coated drywalls, Sheetrock, and paint that are come with mold-inhibiting compounds.
Drywalls are made mold resistant by eliminating paper materials. Instead of the regular gypsum core, modern drywalls are designed with fiberglass. This results in a water-resistant surface. You should opt for this type of drywall for areas that get wet frequently in your home.
Mold and moisture in your home are a problematic combination. Aside from the potential risks to your health and your household, these hardy fungi could also lead to structural damage, if left unchecked. Follow the tips in this post to ensure that you live in a mold-free home.
- “Mold in Your Home: What Causes It, and Is It a Health Risk?”, Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/mold-in-house
- “Mold Course Chapter 2: Why and Where Mold Grows”, Source: https://www.epa.gov/mold/mold-course-chapter-2
- “You Can Control Mold”, Source: https://www.cdc.gov/mold/control_mold.htm