Preventing Mold Growth In Your Home

Ick! You’ve found mold in your basement, crawlspace, walls, or other area. You may be wondering how this could have happened, and what you could have done to prevent it. Here are a few tips on how to prevent mold growth in your home before it happens.

mold growth in flooded home

[“Mold in flooded home” by ©carlpenergy on Flickr, used under creative commons license – click photo for source and license information.]

1. Keeping good air flow prevents mold growth.

Mold loves stagnant air. It allows its spores to settle onto surfaces and grow, which creates a big problem for homeowners. A good way to deter mold growth is to make sure your home has good airflow – including in the basement, attic, and crawlspace.

Poor airflow also prevents damp surfaces from drying out quickly, and as we’ll see in the next section, moisture is another thing that mold can’t do without. Ensuring that your home has good airflow is an important step that is often overlooked until mold becomes a problem.

2. Controlling the humidity prevents mold growth.

Mold requires three things to grow: the correct temperature, a food source, and moisture. The ideal temperature for mold happens to also be the ideal room temperature for humans, which is why mold growth in homes is so very common. It is similarly impossible to eliminate all food sources for mold from the home, since it can grow on drywall, insulation, joists – we’ve even seen mold growing on a thick layer of dust. The one element you can control is moisture. Mold is unable to grow in dry conditions, so pay close attention to the humidity in your home. This includes the crawlspace and basement areas. Whether you use these areas or not, ignoring them can be a recipe for disaster.

We highly suggest placing a dehumidifier in areas that are prone to high humidity. In particular, we recommend using a dehumidifier that drains continuously into a sink, toilet, shower, or sump pit. Some dehumidifiers are available that collect water in a tank, however once this tank fills, it needs to be dumped before the machine can continue removing moisture from the air. Because of this, it will only be effective for about a day at a time without constant supervision – meaning that if you leave town or forget about it for a day, it will stop working.

We also recommend checking into purchasing a device called a ‘thermohygrometer’. This device will run you about $15 at a Radio Shack or similar store, and is used for measuring air humidity. This will allow you to make sure that: a) your dehumidifier is functioning properly, and b) the humidity is staying at an appropriate level. We get many calls about mold growth in an area where there already is a dehumidifier placed that simply was not functioning properly or was not drained frequently enough to be effective. These problems can be avoided by monitoring the humidity with a thermohygrometer. Generally, relative humidity over 60% is cause for concern.

If you’re doing everything right and still having problems with mold and/or high humidity in your home, it may be time to call a professional. CleanWorks can put our decades of experience in the industry to work for you. Mold removal doesn’t have to be a headache!