How to get rid of mold in your home
When it comes to owning a home, any home inspector will agree that water is the enemy. While water can be damaging in and of itself, the real danger comes with prolonged moisture. This is when mold spores can begin to grow, bringing with them a myriad of detrimental health effects for occupants as well as additional threats to structural integrity of the home.
Before getting into best practices in mold removal, it is important to discuss some preventative measures that homeowners can take to mitigate the growth potential of mold spores. Proper drainage around the home is key to keeping the inside dry. Make a habit of routinely inspecting your gutters to ensure they are clear of debris and draining properly. Attach downspout extenders to ensure gutter drainage is sent at least six feet away from the foundation. Ensure that the ground around your foundation is graded away from the home, and that the landscaping does not allow standing water to accumulate.
Even with all of these preventative measures, disaster can still strike in the form of a heavy storm or burst pipe. After the repairs have been made and standing water removed, read this article for tips on how to get rid of mold and keep it away for good.
Assess the affected area
Signs of water damage should be easy to spot. Discoloration and/or rings of residue around the affected areas are common signs of potential mold growth. If this affected area is greater than 10 square feet, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises contacting a licensed mold abatement specialist to properly address the issue and prevent any risk of lasting health effects.
Inspect air ducts
Mold that is present inside your air ducts can be difficult to spot. In certain circumstances, where water has clearly come into significant contact with the air ducts in a home, getting them professionally cleaned should be put on your to-do list ASAP. However, there are situations where mold can grow in your air ducts more surreptitiously for reasons such as an excessively humid basement or sweating pipes in close proximity to the ducts.
It is therefore important to use your nose to help determine if mold may be growing in your ductwork. If you detect a particular musty smell when running your HVAC system, the EPA recommends shutting off this system and contacting a mold abatement specialist to properly address the issue. As a preventative measure, consider getting a duct cleaning on an annual basis, alongside a standard HVAC inspection and tune-up in the fall before colder temperatures arrive.
Use proper gear
If attempting to clear a small area of mold yourself, ensure that you are clothed so that no skin is exposed. Long sleeve shirts, socks over pants, goggles and N-95 respirator masks should be used when working around an area of mold growth.
A vacuum with a HEPA filter can help remove mold spores and secure them safely. Keep in mind that simply removing the mold doesn’t reduce the danger of the spores themselves, so ensure that anything that is vacuumed is disposed of safely. Also, consider investing in a dehumidifier that can help keep your home at a humidity level that prevents mold from thriving.
Choose whether to clean or replace
Certain hard materials can be cleaned using specialized detergent and water, but softer materials such as carpeting should be removed and replaced. In addition, if you know that water has damaged areas of your home that contain asbestos insulation material, it is strongly encouraged that you consult with a professional instead of attempting to clean those areas yourself.
At Towne & Country, we help home buyers and sellers in Milwaukee and surrounding communities with expert home inspection services. We know that mold in a home is one of the biggest deterrents to a potential buyer, as it is dangerous and expensive to abate. If you’re considering selling your home, a pre-listing home inspection will alert you to a mold issue before you put your home on the market. Give us a call to get started today.