Protecting Your House From Mold
In your fight to keep your home free from mold, your best defense is a strong offense. To prevent the growth of mold, keep moisture out of your home. Watch out for the first signs of mold growth, including musty smells and watermarks on your ceilings and walls.
If you catch it in its early stages, you can typically remove mold by washing it thoroughly with a solution of water and bleach. To keep mold from growing back, you must attack it at the source: moisture. Eliminate all moisture by promptly drying the areas you wash as you clean (you may need to repeat this process several times). Be sure to bag up and throw away all materials that have moldy residues after cleaning, like paper, rags, and debris.
Mold, just like insect infestations and rot, isn’t often covered by homeowners policies. Your homeowners policy probably covers accidental and sudden disasters. These policies don’t cover the costs of home cleaning and maintenance. However, if your mold resulted from a covered event like a burst pipe, you could be compensated for the expense of eliminating your mold.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) say that mold exists everywhere. It grows throughout the year and is found indoors and out. Outdoors, mold often grows in damp, shady areas (and in the ground). Indoors, mold grows in humid and moist areas like kitchens, basements, and bathrooms. It’s often found on ceilings and the insides of walls; water from leaking pipes, windows, or roofs can gather in these places. Most kinds of mold don’t harm humans; however, the CDCP says certain types of mold produce allergies with symptoms similar to hay fever. If anyone in your family has mold symptoms, see your physician immediately. Remember –mold exposure symptoms could also be caused by other illnesses.
Experts suggest you take these steps to prevent mold from growing in your house:
Lower Your Home’s Humidity
- Keep your home’s humidity level between 30% to 60% with air conditioners and dehumidifiers.
- Install bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans.
- Don’t put carpets in moist areas like bathrooms and basements.
- Don’t allow water to accumulate underneath your house plants.
Buy Mold-Reducing Cleaning Products
- Clean your bathrooms with a bleach solution or use mold-killing cleaning products.
- Before application, put mold inhibitors in your paint.
Keep Your Belongings Dry – And Your Home!
- Inspect your pipes, fittings, and hoses. Most water hoses cost only five to ten dollars. Replace all water hoses connected to your major appliances (especially clothes and dish washers) every 5 years:
- Water Dispensers and Ice Makers in Refrigerators
- Water Heaters
- Clothes Washers
- Bathroom and Kitchen Sinks
- Bathroom Toilets
- Clean your gutters regularly.
- Maintain and inspect your roof, so water doesn’t seep in.
What to Do After Flooding and Other Types of Water Damage
- To prevent mold growth, thoroughly dry out or remove your soaked carpets, carpet pads, and any affected upholstery in the first day or two after flooding. If you can’t dry an item out, you must throw it away.
- Get rid of standing water immediately. Standing water breeds many microorganisms; if they become airborne, you could inhale dangerous fumes.
- Wash and sanitize all flooded areas, including floors, walls, closets, and shelves. Also, check for moisture in your air-conditioning and heating systems.
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