People often ask us, “how do you prevent mold?” The answer is pretty straight forward: the secret to preventing mold is to control moisture in the environment.
Here are 9 Basic Tips to Prevent Mold:
- Thoroughly dry wet areas as soon as possible. After a water event, mold can grow in as little at 24-48 hours.
- Waterproof or re-direct water and moisture away from your home. Are your gutters properly functioning and clear of debris/clogs? Do you need to add additional grading or swell to the exterior of the home to divert away from the structure?
- Check basements and crawlspaces after heavy rains, and at the turn of each season. Has anything changed? Does it have a musty smell or experiencing any dampness? Typically mold does not flourish in the cold, dry winter however it still may in crawlspaces and other areas that remain warm and moist during winter months. But it sure can unpack its bags at the first sign of a hot humid North Carolina spring day.
- Keep things properly ventilated. Running the exhaust fan during and 30 minutes after bathing/showering will help remove the humidity. Also turn the fan on when using the cooktop on the stove and make sure your clothes dryer is properly ventilated and clear of lint and debris.
- Your air conditioner acts as a dehumidifier as well and it’s important to keep it running especially when outside temperatures and humidity are higher than normal. Check the fan setting on your thermostat. It should be in the “AUTO” position, rather than the “ON” position. The reason being is if the system is not energized, and only the fan is running then the fan may be reintroducing moisture from the condensation back into the environment.
- Use Mold Resistant materials in your home. Building products have come a long way and now offer resistant drywall and sheetrock. They have removed paper and substituted it with a fiberglass material, on some drywall types, that is more resistant to fungal growth. Several companies also offer mold resistant paints and lacquers as well.
- Inspect indoor plant leaves and its soil. Damp soil is a perfect breeding ground for growth. Add some Taheebo Tea Oil to the water when watering them. It has natural antifungal component to keep fungus at bay.
- 80% of molds can grow on dust. Clean and vacuum on a regular basis and use a vacuum with a HEPA filtration system (High Efficiency Particulate Air). HEPA is a type of air filter that captures dust mites, mold, pollen, dander and even smoke. Clean non porous surfaces with a mixture of 50/50 white vinegar and water to eliminate using harsh cleansers and bleach. White vinegar is also a natural antimicrobial and fungicide. Add half a cup to each load in the washing machine to keep clothes fresh and inhibit growth inside the machine itself. This is an inexpensive way to combat that icky, musty smell you may struggle with especially if you have a front loader.
- Increase circulation and let the sun shine in! Occasionally in this area we can actually open windows and doors when everything is not smothered in pollen or stifling from intense heat and humidity. But fresh air and circulation is always a great option when it can be warranted and UV light kills bacteria, which can hinder mold growth. So open blinds, shades and curtains and let some natural light in.
If Mold Develops, Seek Experienced Professionals
Mold situations can be delicate and need to be handled by trained, certified and experienced professionals. Remediation can be costly and you want to have it done correctly the first time and hopefully not ever have to deal with it again. High relative humidity or a water source is often what creates the mold/ fungus. Then they need a substrate (food source) to thrive and rapidly reproduce. When spores are airborne, this is when people can be affected by its health effects. Respiratory issues, headaches, fogginess, skin infections/rashes and malaise, just to name a few. There are many molds that area considered toxic to humans and pets. In some instances they can be carcinogenic.
So now you have discovered the mold. What next? You need to find and hire a professional, however not all remediation companies are created equal. Unfortunately there are no federal guidelines in North Carolina that register, monitor or issue licenses. Therefore if a company says they have a mold license, skip to the next one, it doesn’t exist. Since there isn’t an industry standard for companies like us, qualified companies acquire certifications by National Associations, such as NAMP (National Association of Mold Professionals) and IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification). There other organizations that certify firms in associated fields such as NADCA (National Air Duct Cleaners Association). The proper certifications are issued to companies who have the training, knowledge and have passed a series of tests and classes. Some certifications require more expertise and experience than others.
Since this can be a daunting task to deal with it, the consumer needs to educate themselves. Our company consults with our clients and walks them through the entire process, advising them on what to look for, and what to ask for to protect themselves from over paying for a job that wasn’t done right the first time. And that in itself is a costly nightmare. Also it never hurts to inquire with the Department of Health and Human Services in your area to see if they have dealt with the company before, and if they are on their preferred vendor list for HUD projects.
If you need mold removed in your home or place of business, contact Atlantic Corp. for a free estimate today.