5 Tips and Tricks for Preventing Mold in Buildings
Containing Moisture Issues and Water Damage
It’s a slippery slope from moisture to mold. Without the correct prevention measures, you could quickly have mold problems throughout your building.
Mold spores can grow in hard-to-reach spaces like your HVAC system or show up in bathrooms that haven’t been properly cleaned.
If problems get too out-of-hand you can end up needing to hire professional cleaners. Especially if mold is growing in places that require specialized care such as your air ducts.
For those hoping to handle mold in-house, you’ll have to be prepared for intense scrubbing and possible bleach usage. Some mold damage goes beyond cleaning with many items such as ceiling tiles and carpets needing to be thrown out completely if the fungus has started to grow.
Lastly, no amount of cleaning is worthwhile if you haven’t first solved the issue causing your mold in the first place. Leaks, humidity and poor construction can all contribute to mold.
Save yourself the cleaning, fees and concerns by preventing growth from the start. EHS recommends taking the following five steps towards stopping this dangerous fungus in its tracks.
1. Manage Your Humidity to Mitigate Mold
Do you know what the humidity levels are in your home or workspace? Chances are you may have never checked.
If your humidity is too high, it could be creating an environment for mold to thrive. If there is too much water vapor lingering in your air, it could be enough for mold to grow.
In order to keep mold at bay you should keep your humidity below 60%. The EPA recommends that ideally your humidity levels are between 30% and 50%.
You can also increase ventilation and air flow to prevent damp air from lingering in your building.
2. Address Moisture Issues Before They Become Mold
Don’t let your leaks loiter. If you’ve found a leak in your pipes, roof or gutters you should address the problem right away. Water can build up and soak through flooring or ceilings creating opportunities for mold to grow.
Other moisture issues that can lead to mold include:
- Landscaping draining under your home or workplace
- Poorly ventilated appliances
- Condensation-coated pipes
- Unnoticed water spills
Your moisture issues don’t have to become mold. You can stop mold before it starts by addressing problems within 24-48 hours.
3. Inhibit Mold with Cleaners and Paint
Your bathroom is one of the most likely places for mold growth. Hot showers, pipe condensations and sink splashing can all spread water and moisture around your restroom.
One of the best ways to ensure your bathroom doesn’t become covered in mold is to use a mold fighting cleaner. You could use one with bleach or without. But if mold has already settled in, one of the best ways to remove it is using a bleach and water mixture.
There are also paints designed to resist mold growth. You can coat your walls with color paints that contain antimicrobials designed to hinder mold. However, these paints do not magically remove existing mold. If you use them to paint over moldy walls you can just end up trapping the mold and allowing it to grow even more.
4. Maintain a Clean and Draining HVAC System
The last place you want mold is in your air ducts or HVAC drain pans. When it comes to the air you breathe, it’s crucial to keep it clean. If your HVAC drainage isn’t regularly removed, mold can grow around your system.
In addition, this fungus can fester in your air ducts. Once it’s in your ducts, you can end up regularly breathing dangerous mold-contaminated air.
5. Cleaning Up and Clearing Out Water Damage
Unfortunately, many things like carpets and ceiling tiles cannot be recovered after a flood, large spill or utility leak. If you don’t remove absorbent items quickly, they can become homes for mold.
Significant water damage also calls for an efficient drying and dehumidifying process. If your home has flooded in some way, it’s best to bring in fans and dehumidifiers to quickly address the problem.
Bonus Tip: When in Doubt, Test it Out
If you’re unsure if there is mold in your building, you should pursue professional mold testing. This is the best way to ensure you’re not inhaling mold.
Mold is one of many hazards that EHS helps businesses, schools and families test for. Our comprehensive lab can process multiple kinds of mold samples including:
Don’t risk the respiratory issues, fatigue and headaches regularly caused by mold. Follow prevention tips and if you suspect you have mold, contact EHS for the test kits you need.