How to Prevent Mold
We here at SERVPRO of Palo Alto know the kind of problems mold can cause to both people and property. Not only is it unsightly, but uncontrolled indoor mold can cause health problems ranging from mild to serious, depending on the extent of mold and on the health and/or ages of a home's occupants. If you have mold remediation needs, give us a call. SERVPRO of Palo Alto technicians are highly trained and certified in mold restoration, mold remediation, and mold cleanup. To help prevent mold in and around your house, read the tips below.
First, what is mold, exactly?
Mold is a type of fungi that lives everywhere. There are at least 300,000 mold species that can spread by disbursing spores that lie dormant until conditions are right for growth. As a homeowner, mold prevention means controlling the conditions that promote mold growth, which means keeping things dry. Mold multiplies where conditions are wet or damp, such as in a bathroom or after a flood or water leakage. If you control the moisture in your home, you hold the key to mold prevention.
How does mold affect your health?
People sensitive to mold, especially those with poor or underdeveloped immune systems (infants, the elderly, those with autoimmune disorders), may suffer minor to serious conditions such as: nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation when exposed to mold. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Some people with chronic lung illnesses may develop mold infections in their lungs, requiring long-term medical care.
Mold thrives and grows where conditions are wet or damp, so as a homeowner, the key to mold prevention is controlling the moisture in your home. With a little effort, you can help prevent mold in your basement, crawlspace, or common areas like the kitchen or bathroom. Here are some tips to keep mold in and around your home at bay.
- Control indoor humidity – the ideal relative humidity is at 30 to 50, but if you live in a high humidity area, you probably need a portable dehumidifier, which can remove up to nine gallons of water a day from the air of a basement or house. However, this can cost quite a bit in electricity, so look for models with an Energy Star seal.
- Ventilate humidity-producing appliances such as your clothes dryer and stove to the outside. It’s obvious with the clothes dryer, but stoves also produce water vapor and will increase the humidity unless vented to the outside. When buying a new stove or renovating your kitchen, a gas stove with a hood is preferable.
- When you take a long, hot shower, keep the bathroom fan on or open the window. Use exhaust fans or open windows when cooking or washing dishes.
- Insulate cold water pipes to prevent condensation that will add moisture to the environment.
- Fix plumbing leaks as soon as possible and dry things like any flooring or carpeting thoroughly. Use a dehumidifier if necessary.
- If you spot mold inside your house, clean it from hard surfaces with commercial mold removal products or a bleach solution of 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water. CAUTION: Never ever mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners because the toxic fumes will create a severe health hazard.
- Keep mold prevention in mind when remodeling or decorating by avoiding the use of carpet in bathrooms and basements where they are likely to absorb moisture.
- Make sure the ground slopes away from the building foundation, so that water doesn’t seep into the basement or crawlspace. If water puddles around the foundation after a heavy rain, you may have a problem with leaks and potential mold formation.
- Clean and repair roof gutters regularly. Clean gutters at least every six months--more if you live in an especially rainy area. Make sure the gutter downspouts direct water away from the house.
- Keep air conditioning drain lines flowing well and away from the house.
Do you still have problems with mold? SERVPRO of Palo Alto can help! SERVPRO of Palo Alto technicians are highly trained to properly clean and restore your house so that it feels like home again. We are experts at mold remediation. We can make it "Like it never even happened." Call us at (650) 800-3448 for a free estimate and fast service.