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How to Grow Mold in Your Home

How to Grow Mold in Your Home: Avoid These Situations

Mold is an organism that is capable of growing indoors as well as outdoors. It is part of our environment, everywhere and anywhere we happen to go. For mold to grow, it requires a porous material for food, oxygen, moisture, warmth, darkness, and time for it to be left alone.

Mold found in indoor environments, however, is not a serious issue until the home is humid or has a lot of moisture. When mold starts to appear in a certain place, it will start growing and feeding on porous materials in the home, such as wood, drywall, carpets, and padding. Once it grows, mold becomes damaging to the home’s structure and dangerous to live with.

How to Grow Mold in Your Home: Avoid These Situations

Here are some of the most common reasons mold appears in the home, even though you may think your living situation is adequate.

Leaky Pipes

You might have a water problem in your drywall. When there is water dripping somewhere inside your wall, it creates an enclosed dark, porous environment with lots of moisture for mold to grow in. Water leaks can either be major or minor, and you won’t be able to hear water running in most instances, so it often takes a while to notice your wall growing mold. In such a situation, people generally discover the mold because they smell it.

Leaky Roofs

If you notice mold growing from the ceiling of your home, you might have a leak in your roof. When it rains, and your roof has a weak point, the water will get inside your home and into your attic or insulation. Over time, this area will become humid and an excellent spot for mold to grow. To prevent mold from growing on your ceiling, have regular maintenance done on your roof and, if damaged, be sure that your roof is repaired right away.

Wet Clothing

If you leave clothes wet for a long period of time without drying them, you can grow mold on not only the clothes, but other materials it touches. If damp or wet clothes are cast aside and left unwashed, you will notice that mold will start to appear. To keep this from happening with your clothes, do not let dirty clothes pile up for long lengths of time and make sure to dry clothes quickly after washing.

Lack of Ventilation

A home with poor ventilation collects the moist air that mold thrives in. As water evaporates, it must exit your home through an open window, door, or vent to outside to maintain a certain level of humidity in the home. Open your windows on a regular basis.

Tips To Protect Your Home From Disasters

Tips To Protect Your Home From Disasters

There’s never a good time for a disaster to strike your home. You can, however, be prepared for when the unexpected happens. Here are action steps you can take now to better protect your home from disasters.

Routine Maintenance

When it comes to fire damage, most fires are caused by electrical malfunctions. Prevent fires from ever happening by making sure all electrical cords are in excellent condition. This is one thing duct tape can’t fix.  If you have exposed wires, call an electrician to take care of the problem. Additionally, check to make sure all major appliances are plugged directly into wall outlets and not power strips or extension cords. For smaller electronics, invest in power strips that have surge protection.

Get your roof inspected regularly to insure that your roof is in excellent condition before bad weather hits. Keep your trees properly trimmed. Make sure branches are not hanging precariously over your roof.  Keep your gutters clean as they help prevent foundation issues caused by oversaturation.

Regularly check for leaks in your pipes. If there’s a leak, call a plumber to take care of it. A little leak can cause a lot of damage over time. If you will be away from your home for an extended period of time, consider shutting your water off altogether and draining the water present in the pipes. You can also invest in covers for outdoor faucets and tube pipe insulation for exposed pipes inside of the home. Both are handy for preventing pipes from bursting due to frigid conditions.

Be Prepared

No matter how well you maintain your home, disaster can strike. Here are a few supplies and strategies to have on hand when those happen:

  1. Have a water and fire-proof safe for important documents.
  2. Know where the main water valve is for your home and how to properly shut it off.  There’s nothing like coming home to water flowing from a burst pipe. It would be even worse if you didn’t know how to take care of it.
  3. Invest in a wet/dry vacuum. Having one of these on hand in the event of flooding decreases the chance of damage and mold. You’ll want to get to work right away pulling the water out of your home.

No one wants a disaster but there are ways to lessen the effects. If you keep your home properly maintained and have a few tools on hand when disaster comes knocking on your door, you’ll be prepared.

Mold Likes To Hide

This Is Where Mold Likes To Hide

Ah, all those moist little hidden nooks and crannies in your home–mold loves those areas! While it is hard to completely eliminate mold growth and mold spores in your home, knowing mold’s favorite hiding places can help you wage your battle and act proactively. Mold often can’t be seen but you will usually be able to smell it, particularly if you’ve been away from home for a while and your home has been closed up and airtight.

Moisture And Mold

Where does it hide? As a fungus, mold likes damp, warm locations, and it can survive year round, indoors or out. Mold releases spores into the air, and when they land on a humid spot, the mold grows like gangbusters.

Showers And Baths

Showers and bathtubs are the usual culprits, and any leaky sink or pipe can be a haven for mold, so be sure to look in these moist areas for any mold growth.

Closer To The Outdoors, Farther From Living Spaces

Basements are always a mold breeding ground. Be sure to inspect walls, floors, pipe areas and crawlspaces where mold loves to hide.

Also be sure to look around windows, not just in your basement, but in your entire home. Moisture condenses around windows, and mold can easily grow in the crevices and on windowsills.

Attic spaces are another breeding ground for mold.

Look around hot water heaters, piping and exposed insulation for mold.

Mold In The Laundry?

You probably think of your washing machine as a clean machine, but think again. Mold can easily grow inside. Leave the washer door open to dry out, or run a bleach cycle or washing machine cleaner through a cycle to prevent and/or eliminate mold.

Not The Fridge!

Refrigerators are another mold magnet. Look on the gaskets, drip pans and water dispenser for mold, particularly if you have a refrigerator in a non-climate controlled area like a garage or outdoor space.

Carpet

Carpeting can also be a breeding ground for mold, particularly carpet in wet areas like bathrooms, mud rooms or outdoor sun rooms where there is more moisture. Mold can easily grow underneath a carpet or even the carpet pad. If you have allergies, think about non-carpet flooring for these wet areas and even for your bedroom.

In The Walls

Mold can easily hid on drywall, particularly on the backside of drywall that is facing a wet area or exterior exposed wall. Likewise, mold can get behind paneling or wallpaper in wet rooms, and can even form on inside walls and wood framing where condensation is a problem. Mold can particularly get inside ductwork very easily and spread throughout your entire home.

You can sometimes see mold, but when you can’t, you can smell it – it’s that musty odor that gives you the first clue. If you suspect mold, give a professional a call. A professional test is the only way to determine the exact mold you have. Then, we will help you get rid of it.

What Is A Sump Pump? Do You Need One?

What Is A Sump Pump? Do You Need One?

Any homeowner will tell you: water is no friend. When you have running or standing water of any sort outside of your pipes, sinks, and tubs, that usually signifies a problem of some sort. While it often takes a plumber to sort out why the water is there in the first place — and it’s important to do that — you also need to worry about cleaning up that water. Small leaks or spills are one thing, but if you have a lot of standing water, it can wreak havoc on your home. In many homes, the basement is a frequent source of standing water, often caused by poor drainage during storms, the basement itself sitting below the water table level, or other house-related plumbing issues. In any case, it’s not unusual for a basement in a house like this to collect water at its lowest point, and when it does, that’s could lead to water damage, among other problems, if precautions aren’t taken. In most cases, the answer lies in the form of a sump pump.

What is a sump pump?

Simply put, a sump pump is a pump that is placed in the lowest point of a basement (known as the sump). This sump is typically a basin put into the floor of the basement to make sure that all water flows into it. When enough water is collected, the sump pump turns on, and then pumps the standing water outside and away from the house. This action keeps the basement dry, and helps to prevent any damage to the house and its systems.

Why is this important?

As mentioned above, free-standing water is no friend to your home. Without an adequate drainage system, the lower points of your house run a real risk of flooding, and — more `importantly — staying flooded. This can lead to several problems. Obviously, all that water can lead to damage in the form of mold, mildew, and rot. None of those are good for the structural integrity of your home.

In addition, mold and mildew can lead to health problems as you breathe. Asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory issues can often occur in houses with these problems, with children, the elderly, and those with already compromised systems being the most vulnerable.

All that standing water can also cause other problems in your house, such as electrical shorts, damaged appliances, and destroyed furniture.

For all these reasons, a sump pump is pretty much a necessity, especially if you know your basement or low-lying areas are prone to flooding.

If you have more questions about sump pumps, how they work, or what pump is best for you, please don’t hesitate to call us today!

The Worst Time of Year for Mold

The Worst Time of Year for Mold

Mold is an unwelcome guest anytime of the year. It has the potential to harm your health – particularly if you suffer from mold allergies – and ruin parts of your home or the items in it. And while there are particular conditions that help mold to flourish, it’s unfortunately a problem you need to watch out for throughout the year.

Fall Mold Bloom

The fall climate in many areas of the country has certain atmospheric qualities that foster mold growth outdoors. Musty piles of leaves and other decaying matter are hotbeds for mold growth, and disturbances to these areas generate a lot of airborne spore activity. Allergy sufferers are warned to take care to avoid disturbing natural mold growth areas and take other proactive measures to prevent significant exposure.

Yearlong Threat

Indoors, mold activity is a problem any month of the year. Moist areas are particularly attractive to mold blooms and can attract spores at any time. If you have leaks in your home, you must repair them as quickly as possible to minimize the likelihood of mold.

Additionally, humid homes attract mold more quickly than do non-humid homes, as mold flourishes at humidity levels of 30% or higher. If you live in a humid climate, there is little you can do to reduce the humidity, so keeping your home clean and as dry as possible is essential.

Keeping your home well ventilated – particularly in areas like the bathroom and basement – will provide essential air flow to keep things nice and dry. You can use exhaust systems for large dank areas, like the basement to facilitate the best air flow. Even making simple changes, like moving large furniture and bookshelves away from exterior walls will make a difference when it comes to moving the air around.

Regular Maintenance

Keeping your home clean is the best way to fight mold, and there are some big tasks that should be done on a yearly or quarterly basis. Thoroughly clean your carpets and upholstery regularly, and clean up spills or wet spots as soon as they happen. Also make sure that your bedding and sheets are regularly cleaned and stored in a dry linen closet to keep mold growth at bay.

By following some simple steps for prevention and addressing mold issues as soon as they occur, you can keep your home and life mold-free.

Keeping Your Home Mold Free

Lately, your home has begun to smell of mold.  That musty odor permeates all through your house.  You have no idea why, or how, the smell is there, you only know that it’s there and you want it gone.  The odor isn’t so bad during the winter months, but when it rains, or during the summer, the musty odor is really strong.  Where did it come from?

Mold is normally caused by an accumulation of water that has leaked through a broken window, a roof, or a leaky pipe.  If you’ve recently had a flooded basement, mold is almost sure to develop. It can grow on practically any surface that can absorb and hold moisture. 

Many health problems can be attributed to mold growth in your home.  It could be a stuffy nose, coughing and wheezing, or something as serious as a lung infection (for those who have chronic lung disease). 

To avoid health problems associated with mold growth, and to keep your home from smelling musty, here are a few tips for keeping your home mold free.

  • *Make sure that the humidity levels in your home are kept low.  50% or lower is considered a low humidity reading.  By running an air conditioner or dehumidifier, you can help keep  humidity levels low. 
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  • *Purchase a humidity meter to better monitor your home’s moisture level.  Through the day, the humidity level in your home will vary, so make sure you check the meter on a regular basis.
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  • *Try to keep constant airflow through your home.  Exhaust fans that vent bathroom and kitchen steam will help to keep your home’s level low.  Always have your clothes dryer vented to an outside location.
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  • *Leaks anywhere in and around your house can be an accelerant for mold growth.  Fix any leaks that allow moisture to enter.
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  • *If your home becomes flooded, cleaning and drying it out as soon as possible (within 48 hours) can stem the formation of mold.  Remove carpets or rugs that have become soaked by flooding. 
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  • *Keep bathrooms free of mold by using mold-killing cleaning products.
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  • *When painting, add a mold inhibitor to the paint before you begin.  They are available at paint and hardware stores.

Once it has begun to grow inside your home, mold can be very difficult to eradicate.  It can grow between walls, in the smallest of corners, even in your attic.  With proper maintenance and vigilance, it is possible to keep your home mold-free.  If you notice a musty smell that won’t go away, call a mold removal specialist right away.  The health of you and your family depends on it.