Fungus Among Us: How To Prevent Mold in Your Home

Ask any homeowner around and they’ll likely tell you that proper home maintenance is a never-ending battle. In any Green Building and in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards from the US Green Building Council.

Some things, like mold, can be a nightmare to deal with – particularly because it has the tendency to take root in the dark and damp nooks and crannies seldom seen by the human eye. Mold is not something to be taken lightly – prolonged exposure can have a significant impact on your environment and on the health of your loved ones. There is however some steps you can take to drastically reduce your chances of having to deal with this organism.

Check Your Plumbing
Dripping pipes act as a veritable dinner bell to mold spores. It’s always a good idea to have a qualified plumber or home inspector examine your home regularly for signs that might point to a leaking pipe behind the walls or beneath cabinetry.
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Mold is a Naturally Occurring Phenomenon
Remember, mold spores are all around us, just waiting for an optimally moist environment to present itself before they take root. One of the best ways of preventing a mold outbreak in your basement, kitchen, or bathroom is to purchase a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers remove excess moisture from the air which makes it less likely mold will take up residence in your home.

It’s generally recommended that a room’s humidity level should be around 50% in the summer and 30% in the winter. A hygrometer is an easy to use device that allows you to measure a room’s humidity. There are other tell tale signs that you can use to determine if a room in your home is too humid. For example, if you notice condensation building on the inside of your windows or peeling wall paper, it’s safe to say that the room in question may soon be faced with a mold problem (if it isn’t already).

Materials That Can Prevent Mold Growth
There have been a number of advancements in the composition of building materials that can make your home less at risk of contracting a fungal infection. Paperless wallboard is an ideal building material in rooms that are prone to moisture, namely bathrooms, kitchens, and rec rooms. When traditional wallboard gets wet, it provides food for mold to propagate. Paperless wallboard is made up of inorganic materials so even when it does get damp, there is nothing for the mold to ingest. Best of all, there’s no visual difference between traditional wallboard and paperless wallboard, so it doesn’t require any extra work to conceal.

Use Energy Efficient Ventilation Fans
During the summer you can always throw open the doors and windows to allow the air in your home to circulate. But in areas where nefarious weather is a constant, the chances that you’ll be able to open your home regularly in order to cycle the air aren’t great. For that reason, consider installing ventilation fans in your bathrooms and kitchen to help draw out the moist air generated by a hot shower or a marathon chili cooking session.

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If You Already Have Mold
There are a number of ways to treat your home for mold contamination. For those of you who may feel adversely to using harmful chemicals, there are a number of natural products for you to try – provided you catch it early enough.

Tea tree oil is natural fungicide that packs a punch. Trees secrete this oil to deter fungus from penetrating the wood. Many homeowners have been able to treat minor mold issues by adding approximately ten drops of tree oil to a spray bottle filled with water.

Another common household item used to combat mold problems is white vinegar. Because vinegar is an antimicrobial, you don’t even need to mix it with anything else. Many people have turned to vinegar to be their all-purpose cleaner, so it only makes sense to give it a try on mold. Just spray, let it do its thing, and wipe away.

There’s nothing more disheartening to a homeowner than spotting mold in their home. While it can be costly to remove, if you’re diligent about inspecting your home regularly you should be able to resolve the issue before it requires a financially significant repair.