If you live in a hot and humid area of the country, then mold, mildew, and other types of moisture problems are probably well-known to you. In states where summers are boiling hot and the air is not moving, such as Florida, Georgia, or the Carolinas, dealing with such issues is part of daily life.
It might be surprising for you to hear, but according to many researchers, the indoor air we breathe every day is about five times more toxic than the outdoor environment we’re exposed to. And one of the biggest polluters inside our homes is, in fact, mold.
Surprisingly, mold can grow without you seeing it for months, and even years, in all areas of your home where moisture gets trapped, such as:
Additionally, leaks in the plumbing systems can cause mold to grow on ceilings and walls. Even your HVAC system isn’t safe, as sometimes mold develops there, and removing it is a nightmare.
Unfortunately, mold is not only bad because it looks ugly or because it has a funky smell. It’s also not safe for us. In fact, it can cause spores in the air and, in some cases, lead to health issues, including asthma exacerbation, as well as coughing and other problems with the respiratory system, even in people that are completely healthy otherwise. That’s why you need to consider what kind of mold you have in your home and how to deal with it.
Mold & Mildew in Your Home
We all assume we know what mold looks like, but is that really a fact?
Mold is a type of fungus, and it’s a common component of the dust we have at home. It can cause not only asthma but also all kinds of allergic reactions and, for some people, even neurological problems. What makes it different from mildew is its appearance. Mold is typically either black, blue, green, or red, and it feels slightly slimy or fuzzy to the touch.
On the other hand, mildew is also a type of fungus, and it’s usually found on flat surfaces. It often appears white or powdery at the beginning, and it appears on organic materials such as paper, wood, leather, walls, ceilings, and even textiles. It can be either brown, yellow, or black.
Both of these fungi have a specific smell, and both can lead to potential health issues.
How to Prevent Mold and Mildew in Your Home
Even if you live in a hot and humid climate, there are still steps you can take to protect your home from mold and mildew. Let’s talk about the three most vital ones.
1. Try to Maintain Normal Humidity Levels
As we mentioned, both mold and mildew love humidity. And so, the best way to prevent them from appearing in your home is by keeping the humidity levels low. In areas such as the kitchen and bathrooms, it’s vital to ventilate as they’re prone to excessive moisture. So when you’re cooking, taking a shower, or cleaning either room, it’s key to turn on the vent fans.
Your HVAC system can also help you take care of humidity levels. Air conditioning helps circulate the air and dries it out. A closed room in the summer with little air movement and with no air conditioning easily becomes the ideal environment for mold to develop. If you haven’t bought an HVAC system yet or if you’re looking to replace your old AC, search for one that has enhanced moisture removal and a minimum SEER rating of 14.
2. Let Fresh Air In
Open your windows and let fresh air in. Not only will it improve the air circulation in the room, but it will also reduce carbon dioxide levels, making the overall environment much healthier. If your home is closed up for months on end, carbon dioxide can build up, especially in the living room and other areas where you spend more time, and this can have a negative impact on your brain as it hampers your oxygen flow. Additionally, fresh air will reduce odors and air out musty, damp areas.
If you are concerned about mold, a good tip would be to open a door or window for up to 15 minutes, at least once per day, and ensure your HVAC system is circulating air properly.
3. Dry Wet Areas
You should regularly clean the surfaces in your home, which we all do. However, along with cleaning all surfaces, you should also get into the habit of drying them. Especially in moist areas such as your bathroom and kitchen – that’s one of the best ways to prevent mold and mildew from appearing.
If you have a leaky pipe that’s causing your walls or floors to get flooded with water, you should address that problem immediately. The longer it goes on, the more damage it can do – even if it seems like a minor thing. Some of the things you can do to “waterproof” your home are:
- Improve drainage by cleaning or unblocking drain lines
- Seal windows and foundation leaks
- Clean and repair gutter and downspout systems
These things, along with making repairs as they’re required, will help protect your home from mold and mildew.
4. Get Indoor Plants
Taking care of some indoor plants is a terrific way to improve the air quality of your home. Live plants can help remove VOCs (volatile organic compounds) from the air, including benzene and formaldehyde. Along with that, they give your rooms a more finished look and are a fantastic way to add some style, even in the most boring rooms, such as the hallway.
How to Get Rid of Mold and Mildew
Before you go on to call mold inspection and cleaning services, there are a few things you can try to prevent mold in your home. These tips are only effective if the mold has not yet become a problem and you are focused on maintaining a healthy home. In all other scenarios, it’s best to call mold assessing specialists immediately. Fortunately, mold can be removed with the help of some household items that most of us keep on hand. The list includes:
- tea tree oil
- hydrogen peroxide
Using these products can help you remove small amounts of mold and mildew that may start on the edge of the sink or on shower tiles. Bleach and hydrogen peroxide are super effective, but they’re also pretty strong chemicals, and bleach has an awful smell. On the other hand, using tea tree oil is a more natural solution that also smells good at the same time. Treating the mold in your home with any of these materials will produce results if the damage is not too serious. However, if mold has spread onto areas of your walls, floors, and ceiling, then it’s best to call a professional team to deal with the issue. A licensed public adjuster can also help you assess the extent of the damage in your home and determine if you need to file an insurance claim to help cover the cost of hiring a mold remediation company.
When is a Mold Inspection Needed?
Obviously, if you’re seeing mold on your walls, floors, or ceiling, it’s probably too late to call a mold inspection company. Instead, you should contact a mold cleaning service and ensure that you get rid of the problem quickly. Not sure which one to call or invite into your home or business, call our office and we can recommend several reputable and licensed companies in your local area.
However, there are scenarios where you don’t see mold, but you have cause for concern. Those include:
- When there’s no visible mold but you can smell it, a mold inspection can reveal whether there is indeed mold and where exactly it’s located.
- You know that you had plumbing issues or water damage, and you suspect mold might be growing in your home.
- If you’ve already had issues with mold in the past and you want to do a check-up and ensure you’ve completely solved them.
- If you or a family member is facing respiratory issues or has developed allergies. In this situation, a mold inspection can help determine what kind of mold (if any) is present in your home and whether it has led to the aforementioned health problems.
Another scenario for which you’d want to consider calling a mold inspection company is when buying a new home. Unfortunately, a lot of sellers simply cover up mold issues and never actually solve them, which can add additional costs to you as the future owner when you discover the issue.
Even if everything looks great from the outside, checking twice and with professional help can prevent you from facing more serious issues later on. That’s especially necessary if you happen to live in a hot and humid climate or if the area the home is in has been recently struck by a natural disaster.
In cases where the sellers refuse to allow a mold inspection to happen, that’s already an indication that there’s a potential issue they don’t want you to know about. And so, you can get your answers, even without paying for the actual service.
Unfortunately for us all, mold and mildew are a part of every homeowner’s life. Especially if you happen to live in a climate that is predisposed to fungi growth – namely, in places where it’s hot and humid for most of the year. And so, we hope that this article has helped you better understand how to take care of your home. Fortunately, we live in a time where preventing mold from appearing is possible, as long as you take the necessary steps. And if it has already crept into your house, we can help you connect with the right professionals to get rid of it.