There are thousands of different types of mold all around us. Some are beneficial to us, like molds that are used to make yogurt, cheese, beer and wine, and especially penicillin. Whereas others can kill us, like the nasty black molds you hear about in the news that release poisonous mycotoxins.
Molds are very good at surviving in all conditions, which makes them so hard to get rid of once they start growing. All mold really needs to grow and thrive are food and water and they don’t need any sunlight. For food they especially like cellulose or wood which makes parts of your home, like the sheet rock or wood floors, a veritable mold buffet. Once you add in water, mold will start to take hold and within 48 hours it will produce spores that will spread out and find new places in your home to grow. The spores are what cause that nasty moldy smell and the health problems and allergies in many individuals.
Water for mold growth can come from several different sources, including a crack that will allow outside moisture to seep into your home, from a leaky pipe, or from high humidity. Humidity is moisture in the air and is measured in terms of relative humidity. When relative humidity levels go above 50% things start to become very uncomfortable for you. If you’ve experienced a warm summer day, especially along the Southern coast of the US, then you know what I’m talking about with that hot, muggy feeling, where you are sweating all the time and it’s hard to breath. As the humidity levels rise, condensation will form on surfaces in your home. This looks like sweat on walls or windows. This excess water is just an invitation for mold to move into your home and start breeding. The only way to reduce humidity levels in your home is through the use of a high quality dehumidifier. You can check out this top 5 list (outside link) to find one of the best models.
What are some important things you can you do to prevent mold growth? You can’t eliminate the mold’s food sources because that is essentially the main structures your home. So, one of the best ways to prevent mold growth is to limit its water sources. Here are the steps you need to take to eliminate excess water.
- Check for cracks
If you have any cracks in the foundation of your home, then water will easily seep in from the outside. Basements are especially vulnerable. You should inspect all around the inside and outside of your home at the foundation to check for any cracks and patch them up using cement. Waterproofing the inside of your basement with specialized coating is also a good idea if you have a persistent water problem.
- Check for leaks
You may have a leaky water pipe that is causing a moisture build-up. Many times you can repair the leak yourself using plumber’s putty and silicone caulk. In other cases, where the pipe is difficult to access, or you simply can’t stop the leak yourself, you’ll need to call a plumber. It may cost you a bit up front, but it will save you from a very costly long term problem.
- Test humidity levels
You can do this using a humidistat, which you can find for about $10 at any hardware store. If humidity levels are above 60% for several days, then you have a humidity problem and a potential mold problem. The best way to lower humidity levels is through the use of a high quality dehumidifier.
- Purchase a dehumidifier based on the size and conditions of the wet rooms.
You’ll need to measure the size of each room and match it up to a dehumidifier that can handle that size space. Generally large 70 pint portable models have enough capacity to handle 1,400 square feet. You can read dehumidifier reviews (outside link) to find out which models stand out.
The bottom line is that the best way to solve a mold problem is to prevent it from happening. That means eliminating the sources of moisture that allow mold to thrive. By planning ahead today and taking preventative measures you can save yourself from potential health problems and a very costly mold cleanup in the future.
This guest post was contributed by Will Turnage of DehumidifierAuthority.com, a site dedicated to providing resources and recommendations to help folks choose the right dehumidifier.