Mold is a common problem in any home or building in San Diego. Since mold spores are everywhere in the air outside, they travel through buildings all the time and there is no practical way to remove all mold spores indoors. When the concentration of mold spores becomes significantly higher indoors than outdoors, there is an increased potential for issues from mold growth. Mold spores can enter through windows, doors, air ducts and can be transported inside when they attach to skin, clothing, hair, pets, and other fibers. Additionally, if any cellulose-based construction products moisture requirements are met through either leaks or elevated humidity levels, mold growth can begin within the building. These are amongst the many reasons that countless owners find themselves in search of mold testing in San Diego.
With so much additional moisture this time of year, the risk of mold growth in basements, closets and other locations increases and can lead to allergies and respiratory problems. Symptoms related to mold exposure include sneezing, stuffy nose, cough and itchy eyes.
To minimize mold growth and recurrence in your home, here’s some things you can do to create a healthy mold-free environment.
- Maintain a clean and ventilated bathroom. Mold grows and thrives in warm and moist areas. By maintaining a clean and dry home, you can stop mold from growing on walls and other locations. Cleaning common ‘wet’ areas, like bathroom tubs, sinks, floors, etc. with mold-killing products can help prevent mold growth and the spread of mold. If you don’t like to use chemicals, you can also use steam cleaners to safely disinfect the bathroom. It is also important to ensure these areas are dry once you’ve finished cleaning them. Additionally, you should always use a bathroom fan before and after showering. Hot showers trap moisture in the bathroom, making it easy for mold to grow and spread. Use an exhaust fan to reduce moisture and if possible, leave the door open when showering to improve ventilation.
- Make sure to dry wet items quickly and fix leaks. Plumbing leaks and floods are common causes of large-scale mold issues. If you notice a leak, you need to take care of it immediately. If you have a larger leak, you may need to purchase water damage restoration fans to make sure the area is completely dried out. You also want to make sure to dry wet items and immediately wash towels you’ve used to clean. Leaving wet areas unattended, particularly in areas like a basement, are easy ways for mold to grow and spread.
- Control humidity in the basement. Basements and crawl spaces are notorious for mold growth. If you smell a musty odor emanating from your basement or if guests complain of allergy-symptoms when they visit, you may have a mold problem. Mold can easily get trapped in basements, making it an ideal place for mold to grow unnoticed. By checking your basement floor, walls, and plumbing regularly, can keep mold from spreading if there’s an issue. A dehumidifier is perhaps the best way to avoid excess moisture in your basement or crawl space. Adding a dehumidifier and programming it appropriately will go a long way to prevent mold growth and mold-related illness. You should also be aware of the items you store in your basement since they can harbor moisture and mold. Ensure items are clean and store them, especially when you’re dealing with tents, sleeping bags and other items you tend throw in the closet and forget about. Leather goods tend to grow mold very quickly and easily.
- Preventing condensation prevents mold. Condensation leads to moisture, which can lead to mold. Condensation forms on cold surfaces when water vapor in the air cools and becomes liquid. Condensation often forms on metal pipes, concrete walls, water tanks and windows. Single-pane-windows are a leading source of condensation within buildings. By keeping the temperature warmer in rooms throughout your home you can reduce condensation. Another way to decrease condensation is to install insulation by doing things like putting coverings over metal pipes and keeping humidity levels throughout your home low.
- Avoid leaving wet clothes laying around. Believe it or not, wet clothes are a common cause of moisture problems in homes. You should avoid leaving any wet clothes lying around waiting to be washed and sitting in a wet pile for a long time. You should also ensure you dry your clothes immediately after washing them. If you are able to dry your clothes outside, you should. Drying clothes on a clothes line outdoors will dry clothes quickly. Hanging clothes on an indoor clothes line or clothes horse will not dry clothes as quickly and will raise the humidity level indoors. If you use a clothes dryer inside your home, exhaust the air outdoors whenever possible and make sure wherever you’re drying your clothes is well-ventilated.
Some other tips for avoiding the growth and spread of mold and mildew:
- Sunlight reduces the chances of mold growing. By keeping curtains open during the day and allowing natural light in, you reduce the chances of mold growth.
- Direct ground water away from your house, so it doesn’t seep into your crawlspace or your basement.
- Keep gutters clean and in good condition.
- When you cook, make sure you’re using exhaust fans.
- Increase ventilation and improve air circulation within your home. Add a vent to your crawl space, basement or attic, or open windows in areas with low humidity levels.
- Prevent indoor plants from collecting water.
- If detected, remove mold with soap and water immediately.
- Make sure to regularly check your crawl space. Look for leaks in crawl space ceilings and walls. You should also make sure to check your insulation and ensure it’s properly ventilated.
Mold testing is one of the best ways to determine whether or not harmful mold exists in your home and an easy way to prevent it from spreading. Only experienced professionals, like the professionals at Rarefied Air Environmental, can help you determine whether your building contains harmful mold levels and prepare a plan for mold remediation. Contact us today for a quote!