What if you could break the mold on mold? You can! The key to controlling mold is preventing it from arriving in the first place. We’ve all heard horror stories about mold-infested homes that have had to be completely gutted. Obviously, if your home is already infested to this point, these basic steps will be too little, too late. But for the rest of us, paying attention to drips, leaks, and condensation can make a huge difference.
Why pay attention to drips, leaks, and condensation? Because water is mold’s best friend. If you can control the water, you have the upper hand in your battle against mold. Keep in mind that mold spores are everywhere. All they need to set up a colony is water and a food source. When mold spores find a water source, they thrive and grow, eating the surface material that it has landed on whether it be paint, drywall, carpet, material, insulation, or wallpaper. Since you can’t rid your home of its building materials and furnishings, and since you’ll never be able to eradicate mold spores, your only practical choice is to control the water on which mold flourishes.
Let’s take a methodical approach and start with controlling drips. Even if you don’t consider yourself handy around the house, fixing drips is one of the easiest do-it-yourself jobs you’ll find. Go room-by-room through your house and examine all water sources for drips. This includes faucets, shower heads, hose bibs – anywhere water comes out. Repair any drips that you find. This may require a quick trip to the hardware store for replacement aerators, washers, or other plumbing items.
Leaks are similar to drips. While drips typically come from faucets, drips come from cracked pipes, worn out lines, loose hose connecters, poorly sealed plumbing components, cracked windows, and other broken or damaged parts. This time, instead of going room-by-room in search of water, start at the top and work your way down. Start with the roof and work your way down to the basement in search of water leaks.
Look for stained ceilings and walls, wet carpets below windows, water damage around appliances as clues that a leak may be present. While you’re at it, make sure to check drip pans, condensate reservoirs, and other water collection devices and empty any collected water. Depending on the nature of the leak, the repair may require professional help. For example, if your roof is leaking, you may need to hire a roofer to repair the leak. On the other hand, if the refrigerator is leaking because of a small hole in the icemaker’s water line, you may be able to replace the water line on your own.
Condensation, which is moisture in the air, often forms in bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens. It also forms on walls and windows in poorly ventilated homes under certain conditions. It can also form in between the panes of double-paned windows. One of the easiest ways to control most condensation problems is through ventilation systems. Your home may have an adequate ventilation system in place that is no longer doing its job efficiently due to a clog or it may not have a decent system in place at all. For example, dryer vents can become clogged with lint which can lead to problems exhausting moist air out of the home when drying your clothes. Unclogging the vent can solve this problem. On the other hand, you may need to install an exhaust vent in your kitchen or bathroom if your home is not currently equipped with these crucial devices. Once installed, make sure to use them to remove moist air from these areas after showering or cooking.