Preventing Mold Growth in your Home this Spring
As the warmer weather of the spring is moving in to replace the frigid air of the winter, many homeowners across the country are breathing a sigh of relief. However, it is important to remember that new seasons bring new potential problems and while the spring weather is much more pleasant than the winter, it can still cause problems for homeowners, especially concerning mold. The thaw of the last bits of ice and snow from the winter along with the higher concentration of moisture in the air create ideal conditions for mold to grow. So as you open up and clean out your home this spring, make sure to be aware of high moisture or humidity that could cause mold growth.
If you control the moisture, you control the mold.
Mold growth can occur just about anywhere when the right conditions are met, and moisture is a major factor in creating the right conditions. For mold to appear in your home, the following must be present:
- Mold spores: Mold spores have a natural presence in the air and there is always a certain concentration of mold spores in the air within your home.
- Food source: Mold uses organic materials as its food source. Cellulose is a common food source for mold, and it is found in household materials like wood, drywall, and insulation. Mold can also use dust as a food source.
- Moisture: Moisture is the main trigger of mold. The mold spores and food sources are always present within a home, but it is the presence of moisture that causes mold to grow. Moisture from water damage, indoor flooding, condensation, and humidity can lead to mold growth.
This is why controlling the moisture level in your home is so important for preventing mold growth, especially in the spring when moisture levels are higher. High moisture levels can cause mold spores which are ever present in the environment to latch onto surfaces such as wood, drywall, or insulation and start growing.
It is best to maintain a moisture level of 30-50 percent. Moisture levels above 50 percent create conditions that are favorable for mold growth but allowing the moisture to drop below 30 percent can impact your health. Make sure the areas of your home that produce a lot of moisture, such as the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room, are well ventilated to reduce moisture buildup. You can test the moisture level in your home yourself with a hygrometer or call a professional for a more thorough moisture test.
If mold growth does occur in your home, it is important to identify it immediately because it can cause property damage and health issues for those with a sensitivity to mold.
Finding Mold Growth
While the sight of mold is an obvious indication of mold growth in your home, mold might not always be visible. It can grow within walls, behind molding, and in hidden corners throughout the home which can be more difficult to discover. One way to find hidden mold growth is to smell it. Mold can produce a musty odor and if there is a strong musty smell in your home, there is a good chance it could be caused by hidden mold. Try to locate the source of the smell the best you can to find the growth.
Another way to find hidden mold growth is to check areas prone to water damage. Kitchens and bathrooms as well as areas around doors and windows are susceptible to water damage so make sure to check these areas for excessive moisture or mold growth.
You should also check areas near pipes, plumbing fixtures, air conditioners, and anything else that is prone to condensation buildup. Pipes with leaks or condensation buildup are a major cause of hidden mold growth within walls. Make sure you check your basement, attic, and crawlspace often as these areas may experience moisture issues and they typically have poor ventilation.
Preventing Mold this Spring
If you discover mold in your home, the extent of the mold growth will determine whether it should be handled by a mold removal specialist or if you can remove it yourself. Unless the growth is very minor, it is best to hire a professional to remove it. Attempting to remove mold growth without the proper techniques or equipment can make the problem worse. Mold colonies will respond to being disturbed by releasing their spores which will spread the mold growth and increase the damage to your home. Improper cleaning methods will also put you at a much higher risk for related health effects. Mold removal professionals are trained and equipped to contain the mold and remove it effectively without allowing it to spread.
Because mold is a dangerous substance and very difficult to remove, mold prevention is the best action you can take. The following tips will help you keep your home mold free this spring:
- Clean out your gutters and keep them in working order.
- Fix water leaks from plumbing fixtures or pipes as soon as you find them.
- Wipe off condensation that may be found on windows, pipes, plumbing fixtures, and walls.
- Water spills and leaks should be dried up immediately before mold has a chance to form.
- Minor mold growth can be scrubbed off of walls and other hard surfaces with water and detergent.
- Clean out the drip pans of your air conditioner.
- Try your best to keep the humidity level in your home below 50 percent.
The spring season is an exciting time that brings pleasant weather, but the weather conditions of the spring are often wetter than those of other seasons. This is why it is important for homeowners to pay attention to the moisture level of their homes and watch out for mold growth during the spring. Taking the right precautions can help you avoid mold but if you do discover mold growth in your home, it is best to contact a mold remediation professional to handle the problem. You must address any mold problem quickly because the resulting damage and risk of negative health effects will increase until the mold is removed.