Most people may find it hard to believe that summer can help mold grow. As a mitigation and restoration company, however, we have first-hand experience of how fast mold builds up in hot and humid summers.
Summer humidity and warm temperatures are the perfect conditions for mold to expand throughout your home. Once established, mold creates unsightly discolorations on walls, furniture, and floorings.
This, however, is the least of your worries. Extended exposure to mold spores may cause allergic symptoms such as sneezing, itching, coughing, watery eyes, runny nose, headache, fatigue, and more. Left untreated, mold can even increase a person’s sensitivity in the long term, causing health problems and allergic reactions.
If the problem has already spread, you need the help of mold experts like Valley Restoration and Construction to mitigate the problem and eradicate the mold. When mold has taken hold of an area, simple homemade cleaning methods are not strong enough to clean out the mold spores.
Prevention, though, is always better than remediation. Now that summer is upon us, here are a few useful steps you can take to help your home remain healthy, dry, and mold-free.
What Does Mold Need to Grow?
When thinking about mold, it’s good to remember that mold spores are everywhere. You can’t eradicate all the mold spores around you, simply because it’s impossible.
You can, however, make the surrounding conditions unfavorable to their development:
Mold needs warm temperatures, moisture, and something to grow on. The perfect temperatures for mold spores to grow are between 77 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, which are pretty much the temperatures we have in most of the US in the summer.
Mold also requires humidity. Puddles, humid air, steam, and other sources of humidity help mold spores thrive.
Finally, mold needs something to feed on. That is usually paper, wallpaper, cardboard, insulation materials, and wood. Very often, mold settles on dust and dirt.
Summer Heat and Humidity
Warm summer temperatures are great for outdoor activities, BBQs, and other fun events. Unfortunately, they are also perfect for mold.
Summers in the US are often accompanied by high relative humidity. When the outside air is too humid, it inevitably enters our homes. Together with warm temperatures, these are the perfect conditions for mold to spread.
How Can I Prevent Mold Buildup in the Summer?
Ventilate Your Home
Proper ventilation allows air to flow in and out of your home. You should be particularly careful about ventilating rooms that, by nature, produce a lot of steam and humidity, such as bathrooms and kitchens.
Make sure your fans work properly and turn them on when you are cooking or taking a shower. If you don’t have any exhaust fans in your home, perhaps it’s a good idea to install them to help air circulate freely.
Use Your A/C
Your A/C unit will bring down the temperatures in your home and lower the humidity levels. These together will make the conditions harder for mold to grow.
You shouldn’t run your A/C too low, though. It is generally recommended to have a home ambient temperature of around 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
Install a Dehumidifier
A dehumidifier will take away excess humidity from your home. Pleasant internal relative humidity levels hover between 30% and 50%. Anything above these levels feels uncomfortable and stifling—and is also a great breeding ground for mold spores.
You can install a central dehumidifying system to maintain a steady humidity level in your home. A more economical solution may be to buy a portable one, which captures water in a tank.
Don’t Dry Your Clothes Inside
You should either use a dryer or air-dry your clothes outside if possible. When you dry your clothes inside, the air that evaporates lingers in your home and increases the overall relative humidity of your home.
When using your dryer, make sure the area is well ventilated so that steam doesn’t stay trapped inside.
Improve Your Insulation
Good insulation will ensure that all your rooms and areas have a relatively constant temperature. Attics and basements are particularly vulnerable to hot temperatures in the summer and cold temperatures in winter.
Mold loves to grow in inaccessible parts of your home such as behind the bathtub, in the attic, the basement, the crawl space, or behind cabinets. Good insulation will provide consistent temperatures and low humidity levels.
Should I Open a Window?
It is a great idea to open a window and let fresh air flow in as long as the external relative humidity is not above 60%, otherwise you are simply bringing humidity into your home.
As a rule, you should keep your windows closed when it’s raining, as excess humidity will enter your home. Alongside warm temperatures, excessive humidity will make mold spores happy.
Make Sure All Leaks Are Fixed
Mold buildup gives you an extra incentive to be diligent with your roof, spouts, and drains. Check your gutters regularly for leaks and fix any blockages so that water doesn’t enter your home. Also, check your downspouts. Once a year, you should check and fix your roof as well, to avoid water leaks in the winter.
Valley Restoration and Construction for Mold Mitigation and Remediation
If, despite your best efforts, mold has taken hold of your home, contact Valley Restoration and Construction online or call us at 970-964-4437 and we will be there to remedy the problem. We are available 24/7 and serve all the areas on the Western Colorado Slope, including Montrose, Gunnison, Grand Junction, Delta, Telluride, and Durango.
Mold is inevitable. Most homes have mold spores, and it’s almost impossible to completely eradicate them.
A little bit of mold is usually harmless. But if your home becomes a breeding ground for mold spores, they’ll start growing and colonizing areas you might never have thought possible.
Cleaning up mold spots immediately is a safe way to take care of the problem. But mold can squeeze into and survive in places that go unnoticed until it’s too late.
If you notice any suspicious smells, stains, or signs that suggest mold has taken residence in your home, our mitigation and remediation company is here to take care of your mold infestation.
But mold can be clever at hiding itself. How can you notice it if you don’t even know it’s there? Let’s take a look at the most unexpected places it can grow, to ensure your home is safe and clean.
What Does Mold Need to Thrive?
Mold needs five things to thrive: mold spores, oxygen, warmth, moisture, and a dark environment. If these conditions exist, mold will start expanding and settling in various areas of your home, often hidden.
Kitchens, Bathrooms, and Mold Go Hand-in-Hand
Kitchens and bathrooms are particularly susceptible to mold, as they are often damp and warm: two prerequisites that favor mold survival and growth.
Dark and Damp Spaces
Kitchens and bathrooms have several dark spaces where mold can hide, including under the sink, in closets, in cupboards, and behind counters.
If there is even the slightest pipe leak under your sink, water will stagnate. Combined with residual heat, this will create a perfect breeding ground for mold.
Showerheads and curtains stay wet for long periods of time, which favors the buildup of mold. A bathroom mat stays humid and wet after every shower. Even a toothbrush holder stays damp and can attract mold.
Refrigerator and Washing Machine
Refrigerator drip pans can attract mold if water, dirt, and bacteria stay stagnant. Mold can also grow on a washing machine’s door seal, as it stays damp and humid between washings.
If you put away your towels before they dry thoroughly, you might be asking for trouble: mold could grow between your towels, with the potential to spread into the rest of your linens.
To avoid the buildup of mold, the best thing you can do is dry your kitchen and bathroom as much as possible:
If you have a window, open it up to ventilate the room and let out the humidity.
Clean your refrigerator’s drip tray regularly and open your washing machine’s door to let it ventilate and dry between washings.
Check under the sink for pipe leaks and fix them immediately.
The most effective advice is to try and keep your belongings dry and clean to stop the development of mold.
If your carpet smells musty or has stains and discoloration, you probably have a mold problem. Mold spore growth is helped along by dust, dirt, and skin cells found in carpets, which act as a source of nutrition for them. Also, carpets lock in humidity thanks to their fuzzy composition.
Carpets need to be vacuumed regularly to suck away bacteria, dirt, dust, and pet dander. This will leave behind less food for mold to feed on.
Cleaning your carpets with an appropriate carpet detergent can be helpful, as long as you dry it thoroughly: any residual humidity will help the mold growth cycle. Likewise, if there is a water spill, dry it immediately to stop mold from growing.
Walls, Drywall, Wallpaper, and Floors
Close-up Of A Shocked Woman Looking At Mold On Wall
Walls, drywall, and wallpaper can hide mold.
If your wall is displaying discoloration and swelling, it probably means you have humidity and mold behind.
Likewise, wallpaper can hide mold. Mold feeds on the cellulose found in wallpaper. If your wallpaper is peeling, you probably have a mold growth problem.
Be careful when you remove the wallpaper! You may be releasing mold spores into the air. It’s best to leave it to experts, who will clean the area first and disinfect it.
Any water leak can go undetected under your floorboards. As water accumulates, mold does too. It’s difficult to check under your floor for any leaks. By the time you notice a problem, the damage has been done, and you’ll need a mitigation and restoration company to take care of your water and mold problem.
Attic: Be Careful What You Store
Our attics are filled with items we haven’t touched in years. Toys, important papers, and furniture can all become infested with mold.
Paper—just like wallpaper—is made of cellulose which mold feeds on. If your attic is too humid, mold spores will develop and will find cellulose to feast on. Books are particularly susceptible to this. Similarly, toys and furniture can become overrun with mold if they aren’t cleaned regularly.
Make sure your attic is cleaned frequently and well ventilated. Ensure it is properly insulated, and that there are no roof leaks or other humidity issues.
Doors and Windows
Condensation can build on window sills and around doors, especially in winter. This condensation offers a perfect humid environment for mold to build up.
The best you can do is clean the condensation. If you can afford it, invest in good insulation, which will prevent condensation and help keep humidity and cold from entering your home. If you see mold developing on your window sill, clean it immediately.
If you see the problem persists and expands, it’s time to call in the experts.
Stopping Mold from Building up
The only way to stop mold is to give it as little space as possible to grow. For homeowners, this means keeping your house clean and dry.
A dehumidifier will not solve your mold problem, but will take away the humidity that mold spores love. By having relatively dry ambient air, mold will find it harder to develop and expand. Dehumidifiers don’t kill mold, but they do prevent its growth.
When you are cleaning, make sure to dust and vacuum so you don’t offer mold any breeding and feasting grounds.
If, however, you see serious mold damage, it’s best to call an experienced mitigation and remediation company, which will sterilize and disinfect the area, fix the problem, and provide you with a clean and healthy home environment.
Have you noticed any suspicious mold stains? Call 970-964-4437 or contact us online and we’ll be there in a flash to decontaminate and remediate your mold problem. We are here to assist you, 24/7!
It’s unsightly, fast-spreading, and potentially dangerous: mold is a problem that can occur to anyone. Upon first spotting mold in the house, homeowners often act on their first instinct and start cleaning it with bleach or some other detergent.
While it makes sense that homeowners would want to get rid of this dangerous intruder, the presence of mold often signals a deeper problem of lingering humidity. An expert restoration company will examine the mold situation and solve it with the appropriate equipment and knowhow.
What Is Mold?
Mold is a fungus. Fungi have been on Earth for over a billion years and will likely continue living with us for billions more. There are many beneficial types of mold: think of blue cheese for instance. And when your vegetables and fruit are composting, it’s mold that is doing part of the job.
However, mold can be detrimental to our health. According to the CDC, exposure to mold can cause or exacerbate several health issues, including throat irritation, nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, cough, wheezing, asthma attacks, skin irritation, and more.
Also, mold in the house is a symptom of larger problems such as humidity or leaks. Mold and mold spores will always fly around our homes; it’s just the way nature works. What matters is the mold quantity and the colonies it builds that need to be taken care of.
Let’s take a look at 5 myths about mold that need debunking.
1. Mold Is What You See on the Wall
Although we like to think that mold is the ugly, black spots we see on our walls, this is not the case. The visible mold spots are usually just the tip of the iceberg—mold colonies may have spread underneath the surface. Cleaning the visible part will not eradicate the problem, which will likely return soon.
The spots you see are usually the flowering part of the fungus. Under the plaster, mold has already spread its roots and created colonies. It then spreads its spores on more surfaces.
That is why killing visible mold usually fails to eliminate the problem. If you have found mold damage in your house, you should call a mold restoration company. They will examine the problem, determine the extent of the problem and the actual spread, and use the appropriate equipment to eradicate the entire mold colony, not just the parts you can see.
2. Most Homes Have Mold
As with most myths, this one is grounded in reality. It’s true that most homes have mold. The air surrounding us is filled with mold spores; this is just natural. The problem occurs when mold is starting to build up in particular places such as bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and attics. The combination of heat and humidity are the perfect mix for mold to develop.
A little mold may be easy to clean with some bleach. And areas under 10 sq. feet can be dealt with using just water and detergent, according to EPA guidelines.
However, this doesn’t mean that there is no lingering mold problem underneath. If the problem persists, it means that there is a lingering humidity issue that needs fixing. This usually requires a specialist who will examine the area to determine what causes the issue. Possible causes include leaking water pipes and drains, both of which can result in more serious damage and even flooding if left unchecked.
3. No Smell, No Mold
Smell is not synonymous with mold, although we are all used to identifying mold because of its characteristic, musky odor. Mold is often visible before it develops its smell. That’s because the smell is due to the fungus’ spores. By the time mold has released them, it has spread into your walls and has formed colonies that are breaking down the plaster and destroying your house.
In any case, it is best if homeowners who see and smell mold in, for example, the bathroom, the kitchen, or under the sink, get in touch with a reputable mold restoration company that will identify the problem and implement a mold remediation strategy.
4. Bleach Kills Mold
Bleach will kill the visible mold spots but not the spores. Also, bleach can’t kill the mold colony under the surface. And the underlying cause of mold—such as a leak—will not be resolved by bleach.
In order to get rid of both mold and its spores, you need to apply specific cleaning products that suck the humidity from the surface. This is the only way for the entire colony, including the roots and mold spores, to die.
More importantly, you need to identify the underlying problem: was it a leaky pipe or drain? Is there too much humidity in your house? Only after sorting out this problem can you defeat mold infestations.
5. Once Gone, Mold Won’t Come Back
Mold is persistent. Even small increases in humidity allow mold to develop and expand. Humidity and warmth are the perfect breeding grounds for mold.
If you already have a serious mold problem, you need to take care of it with expert advice to make sure the problem doesn’t come back a few weeks later. Killing the well-hidden mold roots is the only way to destroy mold colonies.
Mold is around us and no home can be mold-free. However, the safest way to make sure that a mold infestation in your house will never come back is to make sure that humidity levels are low throughout your property, properly ventilate your house, and fix any leaks or broken pipes.
Also, remember that mold is often a symptom; not a cause. By the time you have to throw away items with a porous surface because mold has seeped through, it’s usually too late. Consider mold an early-warning system for your house’s condition.
Can You Live with Mold in the House?
If you have a visible mold problem or suspect a mold infestation, it is always best to call a reputable mold restoration company that will tackle the problem with expert know-how and the proper equipment and detergents.
They will also check for the underlying cause and fix any problems before these can further damage your house.
In order to avoid mold problems in the future, ventilate your home, make sure humidity levels are low, and fix any water-related problems.
We are here to respond to your call on a 24/7 basis. Our experienced teams will remove the mold, mitigate the mold damage, and fix the underlying cause. Contact us now online or call us on 970-964-4437 because we are always ready for an emergency!