Mold is an unfortunate and unwelcome reality that most homeowners will eventually have to deal with. The fungus exists everywhere, even in the air you breathe. The spores of mold travel quickly, landing on any hospitable surface it can find. Sometimes these hospitable surfaces are in our homes, where they land and grow and eventually form infestations. It’s important to take mold seriously and the best treatment for mold is prevention.
Mold In the Home
Mold’s best friend is a pesky thing called humidity. When there’s plentiful moisture in the home, mold thrives. To keep mold from growing in abundance, make sure the humidity level of the house never exceeds 60%. If you’re not sure the humidity level of your home, you can install a hygrometer. This device measures moisture levels. If your humidity level is too high, there are a few ways you can reduce moisture throughout your house.
1: Install a fan in the bathroom. The bathroom is the number one place for out of control moisture levels and mold growth. To reduce moisture in the bathroom, have a ceiling fan installed and run it every time you bathe or shower. The fan will whisk away the excess steam and moisture. Just make sure the fan vents outside so the excess moisture isn’t being deposited elsewhere in the house.
2: If you can’t install a fan, open a window while bathing. This works on the same principle as the fan. The open window allows for the extra moisture to escape instead of accumulating in the bathroom. If you don’t have a window in the bathroom, leave the door open and open the window closest to the bathroom. It won’t be as effective, but it’s better than letting the moisture build up.
3: Wipe down the shower after every use. Mold loves to grow in tubs and showers, so keep the moisture low by wiping it away after every bath and shower.
4: Clean up all spills as quickly as possible.
5: Don’t leave damp clothes lying around. Dry them as soon as they’ve been washed. If you have to line dry your clothes, never dry them inside.
6: Always empty drip trays. Some appliances, like air conditioners and refrigerators, come with drip trays that trap water. Make sure you clean these out regularly.
7: Fix leaks immediately. Leaks that are left to run can quickly lead to mold. Check for leaks regularly under sinks, near the toilet and shower, in the basement, and around the fridge. Always fix them as soon as you find them.
8: Update your insulation. Extra insulation can prevent moisture from accumulating in the walls of the home.
9: Run a dehumidifier. If all else fails and you’re still stuck with excess moisture, purchase a dehumidifier and run it in the dampest areas of the house. If you have a large house, you might have to purchase more than one.
Mold Outside the Home
Keeping mold at bay is just as important for the outside of the home as it is for the inside. Just like inside, the best way to prevent mold is to keep moisture from accumulating on and around the home’s exterior. To do this, follow these steps:
1: Drain water away from the house. Water can seep into the house from outside sources, so make sure to install gutters that point away from your house. Sometimes you might have to install extra gutters to keep the water in check.
2: Keep those gutters clean. Make sure you keep on top of regular maintenance for your gutters, cleaning them out to prevent clogs and checking for damage and wear. It’s especially important to check for damage following strong storms.
3: Trim the bushes. Bushes that are too close to the house can trap moisture and allow fungus to grow. Keep the bushes in check or relocate them several feet away from the sides of the house.
4: Trim the trees as well. Overhanging tree branches can drip water onto the roof or siding of your house, allowing moisture to build up and inviting mold growth. Just like with the bushes, keep the trees neatly trimmed and remove any overhanging branches. Consider removing trees that are too close to the house to keep properly maintained.
5: Check your sprinkler system. Sometimes the sprinklers end up wetting the house more than the lawn. Keep an eye on the sprinkler system and make sure that none of the water sprays onto the siding rather than the lawn.
6: Keep the exterior clean. Pressure wash the exterior of the house at least once a year.
7: Don’t let leaves accumulate near the foundation. Piles of leaves can trap moisture and also prevent sunlight from reaching the house. Sunlight is important to prevent the growth of mold.
8: Line the crawl space. Unfortunately, crawl spaces tend to gather moisture and accumulate mold due to the lack of available sunlight. A good way to manage the moisture levels in the crawl space is to line the floor with plastic sheets.
9: Invest in a spray treatment. There are a few spray treatments, like FortiCel, that can be applied to the exterior of the house as well as the interior structure to prevent mold from forming.