8 Steps to Protect Your Family From Mold Risks
Should you really be concerned about mold risks in your home or business? Yes. You should.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Medical Association and other health organizations warn of potential severe health risks associated with mold spores and toxins. The verdict is in:
If you have mold in your home or business, remove it!
Even if you don’t have mold, use these tips to help minimize mold risks and potential health hazards:
1. Control humidity
– Air conditioning doesn’t just cool the air, it condenses moisture, lowering humidity and reducing mold risks. It’s good to control energy costs by setting your thermostat to 78 or higher. But before you just turn your AC off completely, check the humidity. If it’s higher than 50 percent, consider leaving the AC on to reduce mold risks.
2. Ensure ventilation
– Make sure exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens operate properly and vent outside. Also routinely check your clothes dryer vent to ensure it is not clogged and is venting outside (also a good fire prevention tip).
3. Perform good maintenance
– Your home or business is wrapped in a cocoon of water pipes and plumbing. In addition, your property is equipped with structures designed to manage water, channel it to drainage and protect it from water damage that can result in increased mold risks and infestation. Regularly inspect your walls, ceilings and flooring for signs of plumbing leaks, and promptly repair any problems you find. Check gutters, sumps and drains for clogs. Make sure sump pumps operate properly.
4. Use anti-fungal primer
– Apply mold inhibiting primers when you paint. Ask an expert at your paint or hardware store for tips on products that help prevent mold. Make sure you read and follow product safety precautions and instructions for proper use.
5. Clean with mold killers
– Clean bathrooms, kitchens and other areas where moisture can collect with products specifically formulated to kill and prevent mold. Make sure you read and follow product safety precautions and instructions for proper use.
6. Clean up water damage immediately
– Clean up and dry out flooded or water damaged structures within 24 hours if possible. If temperatures are warm, mold can inundate the site soon after that.
7. Remove water-soaked material
– Remove waterlogged rugs, furniture and other porous materials that you can’t dry quickly. Avoid placing rugs or absorbent furniture in areas where moisture can collect, such as bathrooms and basements.
8. Always work safely
– Remember that water and electricity are a potentially lethal combination. Turn off circuit breakers to flooded or water damaged structures. Use protective gear such as gloves, goggles, respirators and protective garments when using chemicals that may produce fumes or be hazardous on contact. Be aware of hazards that could produce slips, trips and falls. Remember that flood water contains chemical and biological contaminants. Consider consulting a mold remediation specialist.
Learn more about preventing mold. Get the Environmental Protection Agency’s publication: A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home.