How to Prevent Mold Growth In Your Home

Mold in a petri dish

Mold.  It grows in the shower and basement, on old fruit and steps, in windowsills and almost everywhere. What we call mold is actually a variety of different fungi.  But they all have common factors.  Some molds are fairly benign, and others are hazardous to your health.  If a piece of fruit or bread gets moldy, you can just throw it out.  But if mold starts to grow on the walls and structural materials, you can have serious problems.  The good news is that you can prevent mold growth.

The Single Most Important Thing To Know:

All mold needs water to grow.  If you can control water, you can stop mold growth.  Common sources of water can include (but are not limited to) plumbing leaks, foundation cracks, excessive humidity, and condensation.

How to Prevent Mold from Plumbing and Structural Issues

- Proper grading and a watertight foundation. Your home’s foundation must be water tight.  Make sure the ground slopes away from the foundation and that draining systems such as weeping tiles and sump pumps are fully functional.
- Gutters. Make sure roof gutters are clean and in good repair.  Roof gutters are key to keeping water away from the inside of your home.  Stopped up gutters can cause water to gather on the roof or leak into the foundation and lead to mold growth.
- Leaks, broken pipes, or spills. Make sure any type of water spill or leak is cleaned up and dried ASAP. Damp materials MUST be a dried within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.  This can include sudden flooding from a broken washing machine pipe, burst water heater, overflowing bathtub, or slow leaks from pipes or faucets.

How to Prevent Mold from Humidity

- Vent appliances that produce moisture.  Dryers, hot water tanks, stoves, and kerosene heaters should all be vented to the outside where possible.
- Use air conditioners: they reduce humidity in the air
- Vent bathrooms. When showering, open a widow or use a fan to vent steam.
- Increase airflow in your kitchen. Use exhaust fans whenever cooking, running the dishwasher or dishwashing, etc.  If you do not have a fan, open windows.
- Use fans to increase airflow and ventilation all over your home.
- Use a dehumidifier to keep humidity under 50%.
- Keep furniture a few inches away from the walls.

How to Prevent Mold from Condensation

- Reduce the humidity.  Condensation forms because of humid air.  If you can reduce humidity, you can avoid condensation.
- Increase ventilation or air movement by opening doors and/or windows, when practical. Use fans as needed.
- Cover cold surfaces, such as cold water pipes, with insulation.
- Increase air temperature.
- Properly insulate attics in cold climates to prevent condensation.

By controlling water, you can keep mold from growing in your home or workplace.

Superior Cleaning & Coit Cleaning and Restoration in Woodinville, WA holds a Construction Contractor, General license (SUPERI 973KR).

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