Mold can be a big problem for many homeowners on the Eastern Shore. Many cases are never completely fixed because people don’t know the proper steps to take for treatment and removal. It is important to understand what mold is and how it thrives in order to properly protect your home.
Molds are forms of fungi that are found naturally in the environment. They produce tiny spores to reproduce which waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When these spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.
When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, or in your crawl space, mold growth will often occur, especially if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or un-addressed. This can be a big problem for those living in the Rehoboth, Ocean City, Bethany Beach and Salisbury areas where moisture and high humidity is often present. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the only way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
It is important to dry water-damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. If mold is a problem in your home, clean up the mold and get rid of the excess water or moisture. Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water. Wash mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely. Absorbent materials that become moldy may have to be replaced such as ceiling tiles and carpet. Have your crawl space inspected annually to detect plumbing leaks, clogged condensate lines, or damaged duct work.
Crawl space moisture often goes undetected for years. This client had annual HVAC services and was never told the condensate line should drain to the exterior.
Water in your home can come from many sources. Water can enter your home by leaking or by seeping through basement floors or foundation walls. Showers or even cooking can add moisture to the air in your home. Reduce indoor humidity to decrease mold growth by venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.
Open doors between rooms to increase circulation, as circulation carries heat to the cold surfaces. Increase air circulation by using fans and by moving furniture from wall corners to promote air and heat circulation. Be sure that your house has a source of fresh air and can expel excessive moisture from the home. Proper attic venting is a key in allowing your home to breathe.
With out proper attic venting moisture can become trapped in the building envelope. In the cooler months condensation occurs and bio growth may follow.
Living with mold can be detrimental to your health. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints. It is important to regularly check for signs of mold and immediately address any problems you may find.