Residential mold is never a welcome sight, especially when you consider the ramifications. It can wreak havoc on property values, lead to complex and costly cleanup operations, and seriously affect the health of anyone exposed to it — including pets.
The problem is, homeowners have enough to think about already. Mold is one of those subjects that rarely comes up until it becomes an issue — and by then, the infestation may have progressed substantially.
So the operative question is this: How do you prevent residential mold from starting in the first place? Here are five ways.
1. Control humidity
Excess moisture and humidity is the number one underlying cause of all mold infestations. Where there is humidity, there is usually mold. Using dehumidifiers will bring the humidity down to acceptable levels and prevent mold from grabbing hold. Air conditioners also serve the purpose of dehumidifying, although in many areas of the country, they can be used for less than half of the year.
2. Improve ventilation
Stagnant air is another leading cause of mold infestation. In particular, mold loves the combination of stagnant air and excess humidity or moisture. Using a standalone ventilator — or better yet, integrating a ventilator into your central HVAC system — can make a big difference in terms of long-term mold prevention. When stagnant air is routinely ventilated, cleaned and replaced with fresh air, mold spores have a much more difficult time grabbing hold and forming problematic colonies.
3. Clean regularly
Keeping your home clean is a good way to stay on top of things. Regular cleaning agents won’t do much for serious mold infestations, but it can help you identify problems, and a generally clean environment is less likely to produce mold. Be careful about cleaning up visible mold, because what you see isn’t always what you get — there is likely to be hidden mold. Mold cleanup is generally something better left to professionals.
4. Inspect regularly
Conducting routine inspections of your home — including out-of-the-way areas such as basements and attics, is an important step to identifying and preventing serious mold issues. Mold can have many different appearances, and educating yourself about what to look for can be hugely beneficial. You can also outsource this task to a qualified pro who can make a much stronger determination about the state of mold in your home.
5. Call a professional
Mold is a tricky customer, and it tends to grow unseen in hard to reach places. That’s why so many mold infestations get out of hand before homeowners notice them — but often times, by then, the damage is done. A full-scale mold remediation will be necessary. If you think mold might be a problem in your home, but aren’t completely sure, a professional mold inspection is the best way to find out. Using thermal imaging and scientific lab testing, a professional mold inspector can make the unknown known — and give you the correct steps to address the problem.
Just make sure you find a reputable, experienced mold specialist whose information and results are 100% reliable. Good luck!