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Ew. Mold. Ways to Avoid It in Your Home

Mold. According to the definition of mold is: a growth of minute fungi forming on vegetable or animal matter, commonly as a downy or furrycoating, and associated with decay or dampness. Mold is gross, whether it is on that cucumber in the back of the fridge you forgot about or it is in your bathroom.  Not only is it gross, but mold can also bring with it some negative health side effects.  According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.”  Therefore, when mold exists it is best to get it out of there.

In your home, the major cause of mold is moisture.  Hence, the drier your home, the less likely there is for mold.  Yet, too dry of a home leads to itchy skin and cracked hands which we also do not want.  Balance is key.  One way to know if there is too much moisture in your home is by checking the windows.  Is there a lot of moisture on them? The colder temperatures of the windows cause the moisture to condense into water droplets.  This could be due to having a humidifier set too high or to hot showers.  The EPA offers some ways to reduce the moisture in your home, including:

  • Leaks, especially around sink or tubs can be a cause of mold growth.  Therefore, it is necessary to fix and seal those.
  • Take advantage of the exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathrooms.  I always use the bathroom exhaust fan when I am in the shower, otherwise my glasses get too foggy and I can not see for a while.  Be sure that these fans are not vented to the attic, but are vented to the outside.
  • In hot, humid weather dehumidifiers and air conditioners can help with the amount of humidity.
  • Allow air to move throughout the home so that there is not one area of the home that is colder than others.  Keep closet doors open and install storm doors and windows in order to warm up these areas of the home.  If you remember from elementary school, water condenses when it gets cold.  By allowing the temperatures to be even throughout the home this will decrease condensation and therefore build up of liquid.
  • On concrete floors, it can be better to use rugs than carpet.  Carpet soaks up water and rugs are easier to wash to make sure that there is no growth.  Depending on your home, it might be a good idea to put a plastic coating between the floor and the carpet.

This is a simple summary and comments of a few ideas from the EPA.  For more information, please visit their Mold Resources website (where I received all of the above information) or contact FLAME for information about plumbing and indoor air quality.

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