Molds, mildews and fungi can be found everywhere, indoors or outdoors. They can be found in just about any household object and even in the air we breath. Molds love humid and dark places that lack circulating air, they can grow rapidly in such environments.
Many types of molds, mildews and fungi are not very harmful. In the case of Penicillium they have even been life saving. There is a dark side though. A number of molds can be dangerous to your health. The EPA estimates that there are about 50-100 types of household mold that can potentially create health problems.
These problems include; allergic reactions, asthma attacks, flu-like symptoms, migraines and much more. Some studies have shown that mold can even be linked to nervous and immune system complications that have resulted in death.
Mold is a serious problem and preventative measures may be the best way of ensuring your health. These 5 tips will kick start your mold defense.
1. Use a Dehumidifier - Dehumidifying units are reasonably priced these days and should be used in the damp areas of your house. If you have a humidity in the 60% range (or higher) you should consider using a dehumidifier. It will help clear the air of moisture, and mold needs moisture to propagate. If you decide to use a dehumidifier remember to change the water frequently, and disinfect the unit to make sure it doesn't become mold infested itself.
2. Stay on Top of Your Cleaning - Anywhere that is dirty, moist and dungy is a good breeding ground for mold. If you have spots like this around your house, make sure to diligently clean them. A quick wipe isn't enough - scrub with a water and bleach combination to really prevent mold from forming. Make sure you are properly ventilated when using such chemicals.
3. Improve Air Circulation - Certain areas in your house traditionally suffer from poor air circulation. Places like the attic, basement and closets are the most likely spots. There are ways to make sure the air keeps circulating. Install ceiling fans in the basement, install vented doors on closets and make sure you have an adequate number of roof vents in the attic. Make sure the air keeps circulating all over your house. This can help stop mold from beginning to grow.
4. When Spills or Leaks Occur: Act Quickly - One of the most effective ways to make sure mold doesn't begin forming in your house is to act quickly when leaks, floods or spills happen. If wet materials or areas are dried within 24-48 hours, it is most likely that mold wont even begin to form! Dry areas quickly and properly. If some object or material isn't going to dry quick enough, remove it or replace it.
5. If All Else Fails: Call in a Pro - Most towns have some sort of cleaning and/or restoration company that is designed to deal with these problems. If you suspect a serious mold problem in your house - contact them. They have the tools, knowledge and safety equipment to deal with serious mold problems. They can properly assess and treat the threat. Make sure you get recommendations and that the company is insured.
If you follow the first four steps, you may never need the fifth. If mold does become a huge problem though, don't ignore it. If you see a lot of mold, that is a sign there may be A LOT more that you can not see - that is when you need to have a professional come in.
Mold can be prevented, and in worst case scenarios it can be removed and your house restored. For More Info on the Dangers of Mold: