Your home is a place for you and your family to gather, relax, and live – but when mold and mildew are present it can jeopardize the safety of your space. Here on the west coast, high moisture levels and plenty of rain create the perfect conditions for mold and mildew to grow. Some of the most common areas for moisture to build up to include bathrooms, kitchens, basements, crawlspaces, and attics. You should take extra care in these areas to make sure that mold isn’t allowed to grow. But how? Below are some ways to prevent mold and mildew in your home.
What Is Mold & Where Does It Start?
It is a common component of regular household dust, in larger quantities, it can be dangerous and should be taken extremely seriously. Mold grows in a range of colours from black to blue to green, and it often looks fuzzy or slimy. Mildew, another type of fungus, also grows in a variety of colours. Both mold and mildew can also create offensive odors. But remember: just because you can’t see or smell fungus in your home, it does not mean it isn’t present.
There are three key conditions that need to be met for mold to grow: heat, moisture, and a food source (organic material such as wood or paper). These conditions are often found in spaces such as around HVAC ductwork, under sinks, around faucets, near dishwashers or washing machines, or around household exhaust systems. Anywhere that a potential leak can happen is also a high-risk area for mold growth.
Not only can mold and mildew cause damage to walls, ceilings, floors, foundation, and furniture, they can also impact your indoor air quality and lead to health concerns such as headaches, congestion, breathing difficulties, and chronic coughs.
How to Prevent Mold and Mildew
Here are our top tips on preventing mold in your Vancouver Island home:
1. Check Your Humidity Levels
Mold loves to grow in humid environments, so controlling humidity levels in your home is key to prevent mold and mildew. In areas where moisture levels are high (such as bathrooms, areas with saunas and tubs, or kitchens), ensure that proper ventilation is present.
This includes installing and using ventilation fans and ensuring that exhaust pipes fully exit your home and do not end in your attic or basement. You can also manage humidity levels in more humid months using dehumidifiers placed throughout your home.
2. Circulate Fresh Air
One of the best ways to air out damp or musty areas of your home is to circulate some fresh air every day. This allows any damp areas to dry out, as well as flushes out any harmful carbon dioxide that may have built up over time. You can make a big difference to the air quality in your home just by opening a window for 5-10 minutes every day.
3. Keep Surfaces Dry
Aiming to keep surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom clean and dry is a great way to reduce potential mold growth. This also includes other areas where moisture may build up, including spots near a leaky pipe, damp basement, or even a spill on the carpet. Always dry these areas as soon as possible, and never leave damp cloths or towels lying around for too long.
4. Use Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products
When you use chemical-heavy cleaning products to remove grime, bacteria, mold, and mildew from your home, did you know that you are just replacing one contaminant for another? Heavily scented cleaning products (especially pine or lemon scent) contain high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can decrease your indoor air quality. When choosing your household cleaning products, opt for natural, water-based, non-toxic alternatives instead.
5. Get Some Indoor Plants
Another inexpensive and aesthetically pleasing way to increase air quality and filter out harmful spores is to incorporate indoor plants into your home. House plants can remove a wide variety of harmful pollutants from the air, and they don’t have to be difficult to keep! Choose a variety of plant that matches your lifestyle, decor, and gardening skills.
6. Use HEPA Air Filters
High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters can help to remove mold spores around your home. You can use HEPA filters in vacuum cleaners to eliminate mold from carpeting and flooring, or even in air purifiers in areas of your home that may not have good ventilation.
7. Schedule Regular HVAC and Plumbing Maintenance
Scheduling regular maintenance on your HVAC and plumbing systems helps you detect and remedy any potential leaks or moisture build-up before it becomes a problem. We recommend scheduling inspections and tune-ups at least once a year.
8. Clean Up Your Home
Some easy ways to reduce the chance of mold growth in your home are to clean up potential problem areas. Remove any organic material such as paper, cardboard, or fabric from high moisture areas of your home, and toss away any clothing or items that smell moldy or musty and are not salvageable.
If you think you may have mold or mildew in your home, it is crucial to address the problem as soon as possible to avoid further damage and health risks. In the right conditions, mold can spread quickly and become an even more costly problem. If you need help determining if your home has mold or need help removing the problem, contact professional who offer comprehensive air quality testing, mold testing, and mold removal services.