It’s summertime once again. The perfect time for vacations, to shut the house up for a couple of weeks or more at a time, and time to turn the HVAC up or off to save money while you’re gone. When you leave your home like that, you may return from those vacations to find mold growing in your house. Although it seems like a good idea to turn your air conditioning way up or even off when you’re gone for several weeks during the summer, what you are really doing is providing a perfect environment for mold to grow and thrive.
Mold and mildew in your home can be annoying, unsightly, and in some cases even deadly. Keeping your house free of mold requires prevention, quick action, and sometimes the help of a trained professional. With a few precautions ahead of time, you should be able to come home to a mold-free house.
Control humidity with your HVAC
Lacking the vital help of your HVAC to control the humidity in your house combined with elevated temperatures can cause mold to quickly spread in your house. The thermostat should be set at a level that will cause the HVAC system to run for a long enough time to dehumidify the house. With most systems, setting the thermostat to the high 70s should work the system sufficiently.
For $15 – $40 you can get a humidity gauge to measure the moisture level in your home. Ideally, you will want to maintain the humidity in your home to below 50% relative humidity to deter the growth of mold. If you find that the humidity level in your home especially in the summertime, or anytime in a basement, is above about 50%, then you should consider getting a dehumidifier to reduce the water content in the air in your home.
This tip is specifically for the bathroom. After showers, turn on an exhaust fan or open a window in your bathroom. Places like the bathroom that are often damp need to be well ventilated in order to avoid mold growth. A constantly wet bathroom shower curtain for example, is simply the perfect spot for mold to grow, and will need to be cleaned or replaced frequently.
Regularly clean your bathtub and shower walls
Damp bathtubs and showers are a breeding ground for molds. Therefore at least twice a month you should use a commercial mildew cleaner and scrub brush to give your tub and shower walls a thorough cleaning. When performing this task, take care to pay special attention to the area surrounding your shower grout, as it is particularly susceptible to mold.
What if it’s too late and you suspect there is mold growth in your home? Even if you can’t see mold, it does not mean it is not there. If areas of your home smell damp and musty, then the mold is hiding somewhere. Some common places are the back side of the drywall, wallpaper, paneling, inside ductworks, or in roofing materials above ceiling tiles. If you can smell it, but can’t locate where the mold actually is, then you should call in a professional.
Who should do the cleanup depends on a number of factors. One consideration is the size of the mold problem. If the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet, in most cases, you can handle the job yourself. However, If you already have a mold problem, act quickly. Mold damages what it grows on. The longer it grows, the more damage it can cause.
Although, it’s best to call in a professional when it comes to mold, if it’s just a small area, less than 10 square feet, you may be able to handle the problem yourself. Using vinegar for small mold clean ups can be very simple and successful. Vinegar is an effective way to clean mold from just about any household surface. Mix 3 parts of white distilled vinegar with 3 parts water. Use a sponge with the solution and soak the moldy area and let it set for a few minutes. Wipe down with a dry cloth afterwards.
Damage from mold can be very expensive and potentially dangerous, and it is best to take routine preventative measures such as monitoring, reducing and controlling your home’s humidity levels. And if you do find any mold in your home, if it is a small area you can treat it yourself, but it if is a large project, it is best to call in professionals who are trained in how to control mold from becoming airborne and spreading throughout your house.
At Georgia Pro Inspection Company we serve all of Metro Atlanta with reliable home inspection services. We perform detailed home inspections and provide easy to read information with illustrated reports regarding your home. Call us today at (770) 655-0536 for your more information.