Saturday, March 26, 2011

10 Common Reasons for Mold in Your Home

Mold can be a serious health issue, especially for infants and children. It is major source of allergens and can be the source of many respiratory symptoms. For mold to grow in your home it always needs its key ingredient, which is excess moisture. Therefore, the key to preventing mold growth is preventing that excess moisture buildup.

Poor bathroom ventilation. Homes which do not have ventilation fans in the bathrooms are very susceptible to mold growth in the bathrooms. If you do have ventilation fans in your bathrooms, it is important to use them, especially when the shower or bathtub are being used.

Use of a humidifier. Humidifiers add moisture to the air. It is important that you do not over saturate the air in your home by using a humidifier more than is necessary. It is also important that the humidifier is not located close to absorbent items such as drapes that might collect and trap the moisture.

Flooding. This is a major cause of mold problems in a home. When a home is flooded, much of the construction material absorbs the flood water. It can be difficult to dry out the home quickly enough to avoid the growth of mold in materials such as sheetrock and enclosed wall cavities.

Roof leaks. Moisture from roof leaks can pool in attics or ceilings. If the moisture is not evaporated quickly from the construction materials, the warm moist air in the ceiling cavities and attic space can easily develop into a hidden mold problem.

Plumbing leaks. Slow plumbing leaks in the walls of your home can be another cause of mold growing unseen. These problems can be difficult to detect and expensive to correct.

Firewood. Storing firewood inside your home will dry your wood and help it burn faster. Unfortunately, as it is drying, it is also putting the moisture from the wood into the air of your home.

Dryer not vented to the outside. Allowing a dryer hose to vent into the inside of the home, instead of extending it to the exterior of the house, may seem harmless, but it’s not. That warm moist air from the dryer will create exactly the type of environment that mold thrives upon.

Wet clothes or towels in a hamper. Placing wet towels or clothing in a hamper instead of allowing them to air dry first creates a nesting ground for mold to breed in. This is one of those cases where you are likely to smell the mold developing even before it is visible on the fabric itself.

Improper venting of furnaces. Any type of combustion appliance will create moisture as a byproduct of the combustion. If a furnace, or any other combustion appliance, is installed properly it will allow for this moisture to be vented out of the house.

Condensation. When warm moist air hits a cold surface it will condense on that cold surface. This happens often with windows in cold climates, and frost will often develop on the interior of the window pane as a result. However, this can also happen inside of the walls of a home when moisture is attempting to escape the home through the wall cavity and hits the cold exterior surface. The frost of winter can become a moist area within the wall in the spring when it thaws, creating a place for mold to grow.

If you do find mold growing in your home, it is very important that it be totally and carefully removed from the house. Mold sends invisible spores into the air, and it is these spores that individuals breath in, affecting their respiratory systems. Cleaning surfaces where mold has been found with a strong disinfectant will help prevent a recurring of the growth. Mold issues in the walls and ceilings of your home are a much more serious matter and will usually require the demolition of the affected materials. As always, prevention is the better route.

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