If you live in Florida, then chances are, you know that mold is a common concern among homeowners and buyers. Even new construction that has been vacant for some time is not immune to this unwelcome guest. And as much we enjoy the enviable Florida lifestyle, the combination of moisture and warm temperatures provide excellent conditions for mold growth. So it’s understandable why our state has persistent problems with mold.
Unfortunately, mold is a significant threat to property and buildings. If not caught early, it can spread quickly, providing damage and significant health issues. Simply touching mold or breathing air that has mold spores can cause a variety of reactions. For some, it may include coughing, runny nose or skin and eye issues. For others, the effects can be more dangerous.
A brief rundown: Mold occurs when you have moisture, nutrients and warmer temperatures. Once mold spores find their way into a home or property, mold can settle and grow quickly. The question is not how to get rid of mold spores from entering a home as they are not visible to the naked eye and exist virtually everywhere, both indoors and outdoors. Rather, the issue is how to discover and remove mold once it has been discovered.
1. Maintain moisture control in air:
Moisture can come into our homes or commercial property in a variety of ways. Whether it be through damp air or water, it can arrive through windows, doors, cracks, as well as through dishwashing, showering, laundry or cooking. Leaks and plumbing problems are also popular ways for water to get inside. In fact, likely culprits are washing machine hoses and water heaters as being the top two sources of expensive water damage, which can then result in mold issues.
2. Eliminating Nutrients:
Mold will quickly settle and spread when it has a food source. Natural fibers, found in furnishings, clothing, paper products, books and other materials are popular feeding grounds. Mold also grows on walls, closets, clothing and showers. In fact, soap scum found in shower stalls provides nutrients for mold growth. The best way to eliminate this pest is to keep a clean home, which will discourage mold from spreading.
3. Temperature Control:
Again, with warm summer months just ahead, its good to remember that hot weather encourage mold growth. Mold makes itself right at home in temperatures between 75 – 87 degrees. While air conditioning certainly helps, if the air is more humid, then it is unable to prevent mold from growing. Pay particular attention to areas where the air doesn’t flow, such as inside cabinets, closets and under kitchen or bathroom sinks, as these areas are usually the warmest in a home.
So again, the best way to eliminate mold growth is to do the following:
- Regularly clean and sanitize your home.
- Clean shower stalls to remove soap scum as well as moisture.
- Keep fans on, as it will circulate the air.
- Keep an eye out for any wet areas, standing water or condensation.
- Don’t ignore any leaky faucets or plumbing problems.
- Don’t allow foundations to stay wet. Make sure there is drainage and the area is properly sloped away from foundation.
- Make sure air conditioning is properly maintained and HVAC drip pans are thoroughly cleaned, flowing correctly and unobstructed.
Despite all best preventions, it is not surprising when owners are unaware they have a mold problem with their home or commercial property. In fact, most are genuinely shocked to hear that their home is infested with mold. Often, mold is hidden, may be covered or the leak is behind walls, or other locations that are not clearly visible. That is why it is necessary to inspect any property for mold, especially if:
- Owners or tenants have allergic reactions, such as itch eyes, sneezing, runny nose with being in a certain area or room of house or building.
- To determine that source of moisture has been stopped with no mold growth.
- To verify there is not a mold issue or moisture that is often associated with new construction, building or property that will be rented or purchased.
Finally, there are some important things everyone should know in regards to mold inspections. The most important facts are:
- It is necessary to hire a professional, qualified and experienced mold inspector.
- A mold inspection should include looking for current and past mold problems.
- Mold is not often known or visible, so good inspectors utilize specialized equipment such as moisture meters and infrared cameras. This equipment can often detect moisture which is not visible to the naked eye.
- Mold inspections should always be on the look out for moisture.
It is recommended that anyone who suspects a mold problem, to have a complete and comprehensive inspection. Mold related illness, particularly in our area of Florida, is not uncommon and should be treated immediately.