You head down to the basement and your nose wrinkles because of the musty odor. You wonder if there’s any damage you should know about and worry that your home may be making you sick.
These concerns are valid
Moisture in your home can cause mold and various health problems, along with damaging everything from your foundation to the ceiling and walls.
What should you know about moisture in your home, and how can you prevent it? If there’s mold, what can you do? Here’s what you need to know.
What Causes Moisture in Your Home?
Given that your home is well-built, you might wonder how moisture gets in. There may be leaks from the outside, such as gaps in siding, roof problems, or even issues with your home’s foundation.
However, there doesn’t have to be leaks for there to be moisture. Everyday activities increase the humidity in the air inside and can cause dampness. Taking a shower, washing the dishes, running the laundry, and even some heating appliances add water to the atmosphere.
When there are cold surfaces, such as windows or walls that aren’t fully insulated, the humidity can condense into droplets and run down the walls or windows. This creates pockets of water that are ideal for mold to grow.
While you can’t keep all moisture out of your house, you can take steps to prevent water from building up and watch for signs of mold.
The Impact of Mold
All mold needs moisture to grow, and all of us have humidity in our homes. That means there’s a good chance that you’ll see mold inside at some point.
Untreated, molds can grow and cause a variety of health problems. They may produce allergens and even toxic substances. When you inhale or touch mold, it can cause allergic reactions such as sneezing, watery eyes, fevers, and rash. Molds can even cause asthma attacks.
If there’s a problem with mold in your home, it’s essential to not only clean the moldy area but to track down and fix the water problem that gave it a place to grow.
How to Clean Mold Safely
Given how dangerous mold can be, it’s important to know how to safely and effectively clean up the area. In most cases, you can’t simply wipe the wall and call it good enough — mold spores can enter the air, land again, and resume growing.
If the area is smaller than three feet by three feet, you can clean the problem yourself if you follow specific guidelines. However, larger issues are best solved by a professional cleaning service experienced in mold remediation.
You’ll want to wear an N-95 respirator mask, which costs $25 or less. You’ll also need gloves, long pants, and long sleeves. If you choose to wear goggles ensure you have some with no ventilation holes so that your eyes will be protected as well.
Use a disinfectant to kill the mold and scrub it off hard surfaces. If the mold is on absorbent materials, including fabric, pillows, or ceiling tiles, they will have to be thrown away and replaced. If the item is valuable or sentimental, a specialist may be able to remove the mold.
If the mold is near an air intake or vent, you will probably need to have your air ducts cleaned as well. Otherwise, it can spread mold spores in every room of your home.
Dry the area fully before painting or replacing drywall or other materials. Of course, finding and fixing the water problem is essential before you can consider the cleaning job done.
Finding and Fixing Moisture Problems
Some water problems are obvious, from a sink overflow to a flood. If you have a big water event, clean and dry everything thoroughly to avoid having mold become an issue. Don’t overlook small cracks and crevices, as these are places mold loves to live.
Sometimes you discover mold first and have to hunt for the problem. You might call a plumber to work on detecting a leak in your plumbing, for instance, or a roofer to find a leak in your roof. Once the problem is patched, the affected area needs to be thoroughly cleaned and dried.
Keeping up with regular maintenance will help avoid moisture problems. Clean gutters regularly, have your roof and plumbing inspected once a year, and dry any areas of your house that collect moisture. Keep indoor humidity between 30 and 50 percent to discourage mold from growing.
Make sure appliances vent to the outside rather than into the attic. Insulate cold surfaces and keep air moving even when you’re not home.
Do You Need Help With Mold or Moisture?
If you’ve seen mold in your home or simply notice a musty smell, it’s time to take action. At Paradise Cleaning, we know exactly what it takes to remove mold safely and effectively. We can assist with water damage and mold remediation and help your home feel like paradise again.
Call (401) 849-6644 or click here to request help.