Tips to help keep mold out of the house
Nobody likes to see unsightly mold in their home or work. Below are some tips to help keep mold from growing in your home.
Maintain proper ventilation in areas that can be moist at times such as kitchens, showers and laundry rooms. Vent appliances that create moisture to the outside.
Monitor indoor humidity. The EPA recommends keeping humidity at 30-60 percent. You can purchase a moisture meter at your local hardware store.
Dry wet areas immediately, especially after water seeps into a basement after a rainstorm, don't keep wet items in the house and also use mold resistant products.
Clean and repair roof gutters if needed.
Improve air flow of your home. Best way is to get fresh air in through windows, if the weather permits in your area.
Mold can grow anywhere and can often grow where it cannot be seen - behind tiles, behind drywall, just to name a couple examples. Moisture control is the best way to try to keep mold out of your home as much as possible.
Ways to Keep Mold Out of the House
Mold. The very word is enough to make a person cringe.
Yes, mold can be good — it's essential in making brie and penicillin, for example, and necessary for the decomposition of organic matter in nature — but it can also be very, very bad, especially when it grows undetected in your home.
Mold spores spread easily and cannot be completely eradicated.
Mold can grow anywhere: on carpet, clothing, food, paper, and even in places you can't see, such as the backside of drywall, areas inside walls around leaking or condensing pipes, and above ceiling tiles.
Not only is a mold problem difficult and costly to fix, but mold can also produce allergens and irritants (and, rarely, toxins) that may compromise your health.
So what can you do if you're concerned about mold growing in your home?
The best approach is preventing mold before it becomes a problem. The key to mold prevention is simple: moisture control.
Here are ways to curb moisture indoors, and the mold that thrives on it.
1. Identify problem areas in your home and correct them. You can't mold-proof your home, but you can make it mold-resistant. Do an audit of your home: where are the problem areas? Does the basement flood? Do you notice frequent condensation on an upstairs window? Is there a water stain on the ceiling from a persistent leak? Preventing mold from growing or spreading might be as simple as ripping up carpet in a damp basement, installing mold-resistant products, or repairing damaged gutters. Or it may be a matter of major excavation and waterproofing. Whatever the case, address the problem now. It might cost some money up front, but it will surely be more costly down the road if mold continues to grow unchecked.
2. Dry wet areas immediately. Mold can't grow without moisture, so tackle wet areas right away. Seepage into the basement after a heavy rainfall, accumulation from a leaky pipe, even a spill on the carpet should be dried within 24 to 48 hours. If you've experienced a flood, remove water-damaged carpets, bedding, and furniture if they can't be completely dried. Even everyday occurrences need attention: don't leave wet items lying around the house, and make sure to dry the floor and walls after a shower. Don't leave wet clothes in the washing machine, where mold can spread quickly. Hang them to dry — preferably outside or in areas with good air circulation.
3. Prevent moisture with proper ventilation. It may be that your routine domestic activities are encouraging the growth of mold in your home. Make sure an activity as simple as cooking dinner, taking a shower, or doing a load of laundry doesn't invite mold by providing proper ventilation in your bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and any other high-moisture area. Vent appliances that produce moisture — clothes dryers, stoves — to the outside (not the attic). Use AC units and dehumidifiers (especially in humid climates), but make sure they don’t produce moisture themselves by checking them periodically and cleaning them as directed by the manufacturer. Your energy-efficient home may be holding moisture inside, so open a window when cooking or washing dishes or showering, or run an exhaust fan.
4. Equip your home with mold-resistant products. Building a new home or renovating an old one? Use mold-resistant products like mold-resistant drywall or mold-resistant Sheetrock, and mold inhibitors for paints. Traditional drywall is composed of a gypsum plaster core pressed between plies of paper. Mold-resistant drywall is paperless — the gypsum core is covered in fiberglass, making the surface highly water-resistant. Moisture-resistant drywall is especially valuable in areas prone to wetness, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements, and kitchens. Not only is traditional drywall more susceptible to mold than the paperless kind, but it is also difficult to rid of mold, and removal and replacement can be expensive. Mold-resistant gypsum board is also available; the core of the drywall is developed in such a way to prevent moisture absorption, and thus prevent mold growth.
5. Monitor humidity indoors. The EPA recommends keeping indoor humidity between 30 and 60 percent. You can measure humidity with a moisture meter purchased from your local hardware store. You'll also be able to detect high humidity by simply paying attention to potential problem areas in your home. Telltale signs of excessive humidity include condensation on windows, pipes, and walls. If you notice condensation, dry the surface immediately and address the source of moisture (for example, turn off a humidifier if water appears on the inside of nearby windows).
6. Direct water away from your home. If the ground around your home isn't sufficiently sloped away from the foundation, water may collect there and seep into your crawlspace or basement.
7. Clean or repair roof gutters. A mold problem might be a simple matter of a roof that is leaking because of full or damaged gutters. Have your roof gutters cleaned regularly and inspected for damage. Repair them as necessary, and keep an eye out for water stains after storms that may indicate a leak.
8. Improve air flow in your home. According to the EPA, as temperatures drop, the air is able to hold less moisture. Without good air flow in your home, that excess moisture may appear on your walls, windows and floors. To increase circulation, open doors between rooms, move furniture away from walls, and open doors to closets that may be colder than the rooms they’re in. Let fresh air in to reduce moisture and keep mold at bay.
9. Keep mold off household plants. They're beautiful and help keep your indoor air clean — and mold loves them. The moist soil in indoor plants is a perfect breeding ground for mold, which may then spread to other areas of your house. Instead of getting rid of your plants, try adding a bit of Taheebo tea to the water you give to your houseplants. The oil of this tree, which withstands fungi even in rain forests, helps hinder mold growth in plant soil and can be found at natural food stores.
Finally, educate yourself on your region's climate — be it the cold and wet Northeast, the hot and wet South, the hot and dry Southwest, or the cold and dry West — and how it responds to moisture. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to mold prevention. Knowing what works for your climate and your home is an important first step.
Call our team of highly trained professionals at SERVPRO Scripps Ranch Mira Mesa Rancho Penasquitos for your mold remediation needs. 858.270.5234
Tips on Keeping Your Washing Machine Clean
Step 1: Clean the seal
Your first step in decontaminating your washer is checking the seal around the door.
The seal catches lint, coins, paperclips and all manner of pocket fodder. If you don't clean it out, that junk can mold or, even worse, it can make its way down to the trap. Just swipe your hand around the seal and remove any junk. Then, wipe it down with a damp cloth.
Step 2: Clean the trap
When items don't get caught in the washer door seal they go to a place inside the washer ominously called "the trap." (It's also called a filter.) These items languish and mildew until you either remove them or the washer stops draining water.
My washer had to stop draining water before I even learned that the trap was a thing. My husband deftly took apart the washer and found that our washer trap was full of Legos and about $5 worth of change.
Here is how you can clean your own trap:
- Unplug your washer.
- On the front or back of the washer there should be a little door.
- Place a small bowl by the little door to catch drips.
- Pry open the door using a flathead screwdriver or a coin.
- There will be a black tube inside the door. Gently pull the top end of the hose out and pull off the plastic cap.
- Drain the hose in the bowl.
- Place a towel in front of the door.
- Beside the black hose will be the trap cap, also called the filter cap. Twist it to the left and pull it forward.
- Clean out the trap and replace the trap and hose.
- Close the little door and you're done.
These directions may vary depending on the year and model of your washer. Be sure to check your owner's manual before attempting to clean your washer's trap.
What is Mold?
Most people are keen on the idea that there are a few types of fungi that are worth appreciating — mushrooms, anyone? However, if you were to ask most homeowners about the most common type of fungus they would like to never see again, then the resonating answer would most likely be, "Mold!"
Mold is a type of fungus that sprouts form tiny spores that float about in the air. Unfortunately for homeowners, there is not a pilot sitting in the cockpit of these spores. Instead, the spores do the choosing of where they should land. Pair that with the fact that they often choose to make their home in moist places and you are bound to see mold spring up in that area.
Mildew is a common type of mold that sits on the surface of damp walls, doors, shower grouting and more. This type of mold looks like tiny black spots, and it can easily be scrubbed away with a cleaning brush and store-bought mold killer.
Other types of mold can be a bit more damaging to a home, depending on the size of an infestation. You may begin to notice a damp, must odor in a specific area of your home. This means you should check for damp walls, carpet, flooring and any other spaces that may be breeding grounds for mold. The key is to treat a mold problem immediately, before the infestation becomes worse or causes permanent damage.
What you need to know about Mold in the Workplace
Mold can grow virtually anywhere and generally is not a problem. However, issues arise when mold grows indoors.
An OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletin states that being exposed to mold can result in health problems and can cause significant damage to a workplace.
Scientific research on the health effects of mold exposure is ongoing, but some facts are known. Mold exposure may cause allergic reactions; skin or mucosal infections; asthma attacks; and skin, eyes, nose and throat irritation, according to OSHA.
“If left unchecked, mold can eventually cause structural damage to a wood-framed building, weakening floors and walls as it feeds on moist wooden structural members,” OSHA states. “If you suspect that mold has damaged building integrity, consult a structural engineer or other professional with the appropriate expertise.”
To help prevent mold growth in buildings, be on the lookout for water damage, leaks or excessive moisture, and be sure to clean up all spills immediately.
If you suspect mold in your workplace, ask yourself these questions:
- Is there visible water damage anywhere?
- Are there building materials around that have been wet for more than two days?
- Does the building have pre-existing moisture issues?
- Are workers complaining of musty or moldy smells?
- Is anyone reporting health problems that could be associated with mold?
OSHA recommends a number of tips to help prevent mold in your workplace, including:
- Repair any plumbing problems immediately.
- Keep your building’s humidity level below 70 percent.
- Regularly inspect your building’s HVAC system.
- Ensure adequate drainage is around your building.
- Keep vents for moisture-creating appliances on the outside of the building.
Call SERVPRO La Jolla or SERVPRO Scripps Ranch Mira Mesa Rancho Penasquitos if you need help with possible mold in the workplace.
Source : www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com