Here at AnswerLine we receive many calls about mold in the home. It’s very common especially in the humid midwest summer months. Mold exposure may cause health problems; it’s not safe to live in a house with high mold levels.
Molds can usually be detected by a musty odor, and discoloration of surfaces is common with mold growth. Colors can include white, green, brown, black or orange. If you see or smell mold, you have a problem. Reliable sampling for mold can be expensive since it requires special equipment and training. Testing is not generally recommended as a first step, but instead finding the source of the moisture and controlling it and cleaning existing mold to remedy the problem.
Molds need moisture to grow. Water leaks, flooding, high relative humidity and condensation are all situations that increase the growth of mold, and it can develop almost anywhere in a home. There are measures you can take to prevent mold growth in your home. Most of these steps involve moisture reduction.
- Cleaning, disinfecting and drying surfaces prevent mold growth. Mold will grow on damp surfaces within a couple days at normal temperatures.
- Reduce moisture levels in the bathroom by running an exhaust fan during and after showers.
- Fix plumbing leaks and seepage to prevent the buildup of moisture and prevent the growth of molds.
- Store clothing dry and clean to prevent the growth of mold on clothes.
- Reduce humidity levels with the use of dehumidifiers and air conditioning when humidity levels are high.
- Increase the flow of air within your home. Moving furniture away from walls and opening closet doors to permit air circulation limits the growth of molds.
- Prevent condensation. Insulating walls and installing storm or thermal pane windows keeps walls warm and limits condensation.
For more detailed information on mold prevention in the home check out NDSU Extension Service’s Keep Your Home Healthy website.
Stay tuned next time – we’ll discuss mold CLEANUP in the home.