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Mold At Home & Your Health

House mold problems

UPDATED :  

Mold needs to eat to survive, and its perfectly happy eating your home - if you allow it!

Although we enjoy the sunny skies, beautiful beaches and warm oceans of the State of Florida, we are also subject to high humidity, severe storms, hurricanes, and flooding, all fueled by the weather we otherwise enjoy.

As a state licensed Mold Assessor and Remediator, I am often called in to investigate or remediate mold at a home, condo, or office. While mold is ambiguous (found everywhere), it is a problem if too much or the wrong kind of mold is found growing inside of your home or office.

Mold/Fungi need certain essentials to grow: suitable temperature, availability of water, organic substance for energy, and oxygen for respiration. All can be found inside of your living or working space, but all can be prevented with a bit of knowledge.

The number one cause of mold growth found inside of dwellings in Florida is air conditioning related! The air conditioning system is considered the biggest dehumidifier you will possess inside your dwelling. Properly running and maintaining your air conditioner can reduce your chances of mold growth by 70%.

The ability of air to hold water vapor decreases as the air temperature is lowered. Basically, warmer air holds more moisture. Thus turning off your AC, or turning the thermostat too high, will allow for warmer air and the ability for that air to contain a great deal or moisture or humidity.

Because our homes and offices all contain dust and dust particles, with the introduction of higher humidity we are now providing mold a castle in which to reside: warm air, moisture and a food source (dust, or dust particles).

In addition to maintaining a proper temperature by leaving your air conditioner on and set no higher than 78 degrees, it is also vital to properly maintain your air conditioner. Since your air handler carries air to all parts of your home or office, it is important; to know the air it is carrying is clean.

Changing your filter regularly is important, it is also important to have a professional check your system every season to insure your evaporator coils are free of mold and dust. Having your system cleaned once a year by an experienced, licensed AC technician cost a fraction of what a mold remediation to your home would cost.

The other areas of concern would be any water intrusion to your home. Water intrusion can come from rain or flooding, but most often comes from a leaking or broken pipe, a washing machine or dishwasher overflow, a commode overflow, or a leaking ice maker hose.

While you may not think much water has escaped, or you mopped up all the water, it is a good idea to have a professional check your walls (drywall is a favorite food of fungi) and floor coverings for moisture content. If material remains wet for a certain length of time (as little as 36 to 48 hours) mold can grow.

These are some of the ways in which to prevent the opportunity for mold to grow inside of your dwelling. However, should you find mold growing inside of your home, call a professional. The State of Florida requires a Mold Remediator or Assessor to be licensed by the state in order to perform any type of work. Protect yourself and protect your home to insure you receive a Clean Bill of Health.

Professional Mold Prevention Tips

DAY TO DAY

  • If you're only leaving for a week or two, set your thermostat at 78 to 80 degrees.
  • Turn off the hot and cold water.
  • Dry wet areas, such as a basement or lower level, after a heavy rainfal
  • Dry a wet carpet within 24 hours.
  • If you don't have a dryer, hang wet clothes from the washing machine.
  • Dry the floor and walls of the bath room after a shower.
  • Vent appliances that produce moisture, such as a stove or clothes dry ers, to the outside (not the attic).
  • Check AC units and dehumidifiers to ensure they are not producing moisture.

LONGER ABSENSE

  • If you plan to be away for a month or longer, close your windows (especially in bathrooms and bedrooms).
  • Seal sliding glass doors.
  • Clean blinds and curtains, then close them.
  • Clean or replace your air conditioner filter.
  • Turn up bedspreads. Pull up area rugs, and dust ruffles on couches and chairs. Stand your couch cushions on end.
  • Open cabinet drawers and closets (especially in bathrooms and bed rooms). You want air to circulate.
  • Turn off the hot and cold water.