Reducing the mold nightmare in your home

In the past year, several News and Views articles have dealt with cleaning up household mold problems. Unfortunately, indoor mold problems in the area have grown worse due to the wet conditions we have experienced this year.

Several of the calls in the Fauquier office were heart-wrenching ... families whose homes were so inundated with mold that they were unlivable; families who had spent thousands of dollars hiring a company to clean the mold, only to have it return quickly; and families who are enduring a never-ending cycle of severe respiratory illnesses.

It is for this reason that today’s article focuses on reducing mold risks before they are problematic. Even if you do not now have a mold problem in your home, this article is relevant to you. Mold is everywhere, but especially prevalent in moist or humid climates, near trees, a stream, swimming pool or anywhere else moss may grow.

Since this describes most of Virginia, I encourage you to take few minutes to read this article and consider simple steps you can take to protect your home investment and your health.

Molds are part of the natural environment and can grow on almost any matter. It is impossible to completely eliminate mold and mold spores indoors, because they can be found in house dust or floating through the air.

There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture and temperature.

Recommendations from the Center for Disease Control:

  • Keep the humidity level in the house between 40 and 60 percent. Humidity in the home can be measured with a humidity sensor available at hardware stores. Use an air-conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months to further reduce humidity levels.
  • Be sure the home has adequate ventilation, including exhaust fans. Stagnant air can quickly become problematic in warm, moist conditions.
  • Add mold inhibitors to paints before application. But even if all the paint in your home has this mold inhibitor, you must properly maintain the humidity and temperature levels.
  • Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.
  • Do not carpet bathrooms and basements.
  • Remove or replace previously soaked carpets and upholstery.
  • Reduce condensation on cold surfaces by insulating. Examples of such surfaces include air-conditioning ducts, cold water pipes, etc.
  • Routinely check potential problem spots, such as the bathroom and laundry, for moisture and moldy odors.
  • Fix leaks in pipes, and investigate any damp areas around tubs and sinks.
  • Vacuum and clean surfaces frequently.

During this spring, when rains are frequent, pay special attention to mold prevention. It is an investment from which your entire family will profit.

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