The air naturally contains mold spores, which are part of the natural environment. Outdoors, molds help break down decaying organic matter. But when molds grow indoors, it can cause serious health problems.
How does mold move indoors? When circulating mold spores land in damp, moist environments, like insulation around a leaking pipe, they start to reproduce.
Once indoors, mold can cause or expedite heath problems, especially in people already prone to asthma or allergies. Ailments associated with poor indoor air health include respiratory problems, fatigue, headaches, pneumonia, greater susceptibility to other infections, sinus congestion, skin problems, and ear, nose and throat irritation.
Once mold begins to grow, it can never be fully removed. Certified professionals can discover whether or not you have mold and identify the type of mold growing in your home. Still, the best way to stop mold is to prevent it in the first place. Environmental Service Professionals, a company that provides certified environmental home inspections, offers these tips to homeowners looking to keep their homes healthy and mold-free:
- Vacuum and mop frequently. Frequent cleaning can help remove mold spores before they have a chance to find moisture and grow. Pay special attention in kitchens, bathrooms, basements and laundry rooms.
- Look for leaks. Make sure that your home plumbing system is in tip-top shape -; leaking pipes create the moist environments that facilitate mold growth.
- Use your exhaust fans. Steam from hot showers or cooking can allow mold spores to grow, so open windows or use exhaust fans whenever you create steam. Make sure that exhaust fans carry moisture outside and not into an attic or crawlspace.
- Watch your humidity. In most areas, keep indoor humidity at 60 percent in the summer and at 40 percent in the winter. Consider putting a dehumidifier in the basement -; basements often become cooler and wetter than other parts of the house.