Mold growth in homes is a common problem that can cause health issues and damage to structures. The key to mold prevention is moisture control. This comprehensive guide covers causes of indoor mold and detailed steps you can take to prevent mold from growing in your house.
What Causes Mold In Houses
Mold is a type of fungus that spreads through tiny spores in the air. It grows by feeding on organic materials and needs moisture to thrive. Common causes that allow mold to grow in homes include:
- Water leaks, flooding, or high humidity
- Poor ventilation in kitchens, bathrooms, and basements
- Condensation on windows, walls, and surfaces
- Wet building materials during construction or remodeling
- Overflow from appliances, pipes, and roof leaks
If indoor humidity levels exceed 55%, conditions become optimal for mold growth. Preventing leaks and excessive moisture is crucial to controlling mold.
Maintain Low Indoor Humidity
The most important step to inhibit mold growth is controlling moisture and keeping indoor humidity low. Ideal indoor relative humidity is between 30-50%. Use these preventative measures to maintain lower indoor humidity:
- Vent bathrooms, dryers, and kitchens properly to outside
- Use air conditioning and dehumidifiers during humid months
- Avoid over watering indoor plants
- Use exhaust fans when showering or cooking
- Install and use bathroom fans when showering
Proper ventilation through fans, air conditioning, and dehumidifiers is vital for preventing mold. Use hygrometers to monitor humidity.
Quickly Fix Any Water Leaks or Spills
Fix any water leaks or flooding issues immediately to prevent mold. Remove any items or surfaces in the home that got wet within 24 to 48 hours.
- Repair leaky roofs, pipes, or cracked foundations promptly
- Wipe up spills right away and thoroughly dry affected areas
- Replace water-damaged surfaces like drywall or carpets
- Prevent overflow from appliances like dishwashers or washing machines
Fast remediation prevents long-term moisture issues that allow mold colonies to grow.
Properly Insulate and Ventilate Cold Surfaces
Surfaces where condensation forms encourage mold growth. Ensure proper insulation and ventilation to minimize condensation.
- Insulate exterior walls, attics, basements and crawl spaces adequately
- Seal around windows, doors, electrical outlets and lighting fixtures
- Vent air to attic and crawl spaces to reduce surface condensation
- Install and use bathroom and kitchen fans
Proper sealing, insulation and ventilation maintains circulation and reduces condensation on cold surfaces most susceptible to mold.
Be Careful During Remodeling or New Construction
Carefully manage moisture during new construction or remodeling to avoid mold issues later.
- Store building materials like drywall and wood properly
- Allow new cement, concrete or plaster to fully cure before insulation
- Have adequate ventilation for enclosed areas
- Carefully inspect for leaks or moisture during each construction phase
Closely monitoring for any moisture during construction prevents mold from growing into new building materials.
Clean and Disinfect Regularly
Regular cleaning helps prevent mold growth and removes existing mold before it spreads.
- Use mold killing or hydrogen peroxide based cleaners
- Clean bathrooms and kitchens at least weekly
- Dust and vacuum regularly, especially around vents
- Disinfect places like basements and shower tiles monthly
- Replace musty smelling HVAC air filters
Consistent cleaning and disinfection removes mold spores before colonies start growing.
Hire a Professional Mold Inspector
If you already see mold growing, hire a professional Certified Industrial Hygienist to test and identify all affected areas. They can ensure proper and complete mold remediation. Trying to remove mold on your own can actually make problems worse by spreading spores. Professionals have specialized equipment to contain and cleanly remove mold.
Materials and Tools
1. Sealants and Caulks
High-quality sealants and caulk products play a vital role in preventing water intrusion. Regularly inspect and replace old or damaged sealants around windows, doors, and other vulnerable areas.
2. Mold-Resistant Paints
Opt for mold-resistant paints for interior walls. These paints contain antimicrobial agents, inhibiting mold growth and promoting a healthier indoor environment.
3. Moisture-Resistant Building Materials
When renovating or constructing, choose building materials such as moisture-resistant drywall and flooring. These materials deter mold growth and contribute to a mold-resistant home.
Practical Tips and Lifestyle Changes
1. Proper Cleaning Techniques
Employ cleaning agents to eliminate mold spores and prevent their recurrence. EPA-approved mold cleaning solutions and professional cleaners can ensure thorough mold removal.
2. Mindful Storage Practices
Store belongings in well-ventilated areas and consider using moisture-absorbing packs or silica gel to prevent mold on stored items.
Preventing indoor mold involves stopping moisture and keeping humidity low. Quickly fix all leaks and spills while properly ventilating bathrooms and kitchens. Monitoring with hygrometers allows catching high humidity early. Insulate cold surfaces prone to condensation like exterior walls and basements. Carefully manage moisture during remodeling projects or new construction. Consistent cleaning and disinfection also inhibit mold growth. Following these best practices protects your home from destructive mold damage.
If you’ve got indoor mold lurking in your house, contact Southeast Water Restoration for immediate mold remediation!