The EPA designates September as Mold Awareness Month:
Perfect time to Prevent Mold Growth!
Though homeowners should always be on the lookout for potential sources of mold growth - damp fall weather, peak hurricane season on the Atlantic coast, and winter months fast-approaching - it is an important time to ensure you can prevent mold growth.
Mold Awareness Month: Best Tips to Prevent Mold Growth
- Fix leaks. You should check for leaky roofs, cracks in your foundation, or dripping faucets and pipes on a regular basis. Have pipe or roof leaks repaired immediately after discovering them.
- Remove excess moisture. Be sure pooling water and condensation/extra moisture is not accumulating around windows, in drip pans, and other areas. Leaks should be fixed as soon as they are found. Don't forget to keep down showers and bathtubs dry, and remove wet laundry from the washing machine to prevent mold growth.
- Keep humidity under control. Your home's indoor humidity should be kept below 60%. Ideally, it should be between 35% and 45%. Placing a dehumidifier in the room can lower moisture levels enough to prevent mold growth.
- Check for odors. If you have had a leak, then the first sign of mold may be musty odors in the area surrounding the leak. Keep in mind you do not want to sniff mold growth, or touch mold spores - if you suspect a mold problem contact a certified mold specialist.
- Let walls breathe. We tend to close up our homes once it starts getting colder; and with all of the latest energy efficiencies we have today, our homes become too tightly sealed. This can trap moisture and raise humidity levels. Tactics intended to keep moisture out of a home often provide an easy way for moisture to become trapped (i.e. within a wall, attic insulation, or crawl space joists), providing a perfect environment for mold growth.
- Remove wet materials as soon as possible. If your house floods or is affected by water damage, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends removing all permeable items, (such as carpet, upholstery, drywall and ceiling tiles) within 48 hours. If an area larger than 10 square feet has been affected, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends hiring a qualified mold specialist to remove mold growth.