Summer is coming, and so is the heat and humidity that can cause mold and mildew in your home. Studies conducted by the EPA have found that our indoor environments are often two to four times more toxic than the outdoor environment. In some instances, air measurements taken indoors are up to 100 times more toxic. In many cases, the culprit affecting your home’s air quality is mold.
In areas of high moisture, like bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and crawlspaces, mold can grow undetected for months or even years. Even a small leak in your roof or plumbing system can promote the growth of mold and mildew. One of the worst places for it to appear is in your HVAC system allowing mold spores to be spread throughout your home.
Airborne mold and mold spores can have serious health effects. Mold is known to cause respiratory distress in otherwise healthy people. Symptoms can include coughing, wheezing, asthma attacks, and other upper respiratory symptoms. The health effects of exposure depend on the type and amount of mold present in your home.
Mold is a fungus that is often a common component of household dust. When mold is present in large quantities, it is a significant health hazard. In some instances, certain species of mold can cause neurological problems or even death. Mold is distinguished from mildew by its appearance. The color can vary, ranging from green to red, blue, or black and the texture is typically slimy or fuzzy.
There are several steps you can take to prevent mold growth. These include preventing water infiltration and keeping your home clean and dry. If mold is found in your home, quickly clean the area with a commercial disinfectant and fungicide.
Here are some additional steps you can take to prevent mold growth in your home.
• Keep Humidity Low
Mold and mildew require moisture to thrive. So it’s important to keep humidity levels under control. Ventilate areas prone to excess humidity like the kitchen, bathroom, or basement.
• Let In Fresh Air
Opening the windows can increase ventilation and is a great way to lower indoor carbon monoxide levels and other indoor toxins. Fresh air can also help to dry out damp areas and reduce odors.
• Use Green Cleaning Products
Cleaning products, especially those artificial pine and lemon products, can be a source of volatile organic compounds in your home. When you use these products, you are basically trading one contaminant for another. When cleaning mold, stick with cleaners that are water-based and non-toxic.
• Dry Any Wet Areas Immediately!
Mold can’t grow without water. Make sure to dry wet areas in your home immediately. That includes wiping up spills in the kitchen and drying your bathroom surfaces.
Taking these simple steps can help you to prevent mold and mildew from taking hold in your home. It’s also important to schedule regular maintenance for both your HVAC system twice a year and plumbing maintenance annually.
If you’re unsure where to start, or feel you may already have a mold or airborne toxin problem, contact a professional. A professional can help you understand your options, including air filtration systems and ultraviolet light solutions. Both of these options are particularly effective at removing and preventing mold growth in your home.
Mold can be a nuisance or worse a potential health problem. Keeping your home mold-free is the best way to protect your family’s health and well-being. If you’d like to learn more, you can find additional information on the EPA’s website.