moldwall
Your home may be completely spotless, uncluttered and clean but still have mold problems. Molds are plentiful in the environment performing the necessary task of biodegrading organic matter.

Unfortunately, molds are also often found in high levels in our homes, can cause severe allergic reactions ,and can be a trigger of asthma attacks. As with other airborne contaminants, baby’s and children are at higher risk than adults to develop these symptoms.

A baby who is sensitive to mold may contract:

 

  • Runny nose
  • Scratchy throat
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Red or itchy eyes
  • A skin rash

    Babies who have serious lung problems are at greater risk from mold than other babies.

    Where does mold grow?
    Molds can grow on nearly any surface when moisture is present. Common building materials such as drywall, plywood, and particle board are particularly vulnerable to mold growth. Identifying mold problems is usually done by visibly seeing the growth on walls and ceiling or smelling a musty earthy smell in the home. Often by the time these obvious symptoms appear, your family has already been exposed and at risk for sometime. Unfortunately, it is difficult to discover mold before it becomes a serious problem. The best way to treat mold in the home is to prevent it entirely.

    Mold Prevention
    So how do you prevent mold from growing in your home? The answer to this question is relatively simple but implementing the solution is often not nearly as easy. Mold thrives in a moist environment on organic surfaces (though it can grow on nearly any surface) in your home. It is nearly impossible, not to mention impractical, to prevent 100% of mold and mold spores from entering your home. Mold spores can be carried in by air currents through open windows, vents, and doors. It is much more effective to control the growth and abundance of mold than to attempt on eliminating it altogether. The following are some basic steps to accomplish this goal:

  • Be aware of sources of moisture in your home. This includes the obvious sources such as leaking roofs and plumbing but also the not so obvious source such as cooking on the stove and outside irrigation. If you see or suspect a leaking roof fix it as soon as possible. Look for the telltale signs of moisture rings on your ceiling. Attic fans and proper roof ventilation can go a long way in preventing mold growth in your house. The other common source of moisture in the home is from leaking plumbing and showers. Be diligent in checking under your sink and around the tub and shower on a regular basis. A simple inexpensive water alarm in water prone areas such as under the sink and in the laundry room can save you from both the growth of mold and possibly significant water damage.
  • Humidity and moisture in the air from showering and cooking on the stove can also be a cause of mold in your home. Always use the hood fan in the kitchen while cooking and the exhaust fan while showering. It is strongly recommend that exhaust fans are installed in these locations if your home currently does not have one.
  • Another common source of moisture in the home that is often ignored comes from lawn irrigation systems and standing water along side your homes foundation. All home exterior surfaces are permeable to some degree whether your walls are made of concrete, block, rock walls, or stucco. It is essential that the ground around your home is adequately sloped away from the exterior walls. Standing water against your homes foundation is never a good thing, even if it is only temporary. Rain is not the only water source as excessive irrigation of your lawn, shrubs, and flowers around your home can provide a constant source of moisture close to the home. Be cautious when watering around your home and be sure to leave a proper distance between your outside wall and plants. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, make sure that it is properly adjusted and does not strike the foundation or wall of your home.
  • Install a hygrometer (humidity measuring device) in one or more locations within the home. These devices are commonly found in most general retail stores and are often a standard feature of electronic weather stations, clock radios, digital thermostats etc. Mold thrives in moist, humid environments when the humidity is above 60%.
  • Consider using a de-humidifier or running your air conditioning when humidity levels are in excess of 50%.
  • Be very cautious if your humidity controlling device has an on-board water storage tank or drip pan as this is a prime location for bacteria and mold to thrive. Your humidifier or de-humidifier has the potential of causing more harm than good if the water reservoir is contaminated with biological organisms. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on maintenance and cleaning of these devices.

    What if I have mold in my home?
    Mold is very difficult to completely remove and remediate. If your mold problem is severe, consider enlisting the help of a mold removing professional. This expensive service will be well worth it in the end with the security and the knowledge that your home and family are safe.

    Simply scrubbing mold with mild detergent and water will do for small outbreaks. Most “mold” products will do no better. This strategy works best on hard surfaces such as tile and concrete. This strategy will not work as well on softer or absorbent surfaces such as carpet padding and drywall. In these situations, the best solution is to remove the surface containing the mold and replace with a new section of wall or carpet. If you choose to do the work yourself, be sure to have proper ventilation and wear a respirator or mask