Mold isn’t something you want in your home. It damages whatever it grows on, it causes health issues, and it’s just plain unsightly. The dangers of mold are real, especially during the winter, but mold growth in your Los Angeles home is entirely preventable if you know how.
Dangers of Mold
In nature, the function of mold is very important and necessary. Mold growth eats through dead organic materials, decomposes them, and recycles nutrients. However, this is not what should be happening in your home. Mold growth can damage organic materials in your house, such as window sills, grout, caulk, and wallpaper. If left unchecked, mold will continue to spread, damaging your home as it grows.
Mold growth can also cause health problems. Many people are allergic to mold and will experience allergic reactions, such as a runny nose and red eyes, in the presence of mold. People who have both asthma and an allergy to mold are at risk of asthma attacks. These allergic reactions can appear immediately after mold growth occurs or happen some time afterwards. Even if you’re not allergic to mold, it can still irritate your eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs.
There’s still a lot that we don’t know about mold and its effects on our health. Research on mold is still ongoing.
How Mold Grows
Mold growth happens when three things are in contact with each other: mold spores, organic matter, and moisture. Mold spores are everywhere in the air and there is no real way to remove them, but they are harmless as long as they don’t have access to food or moisture. If there is a area of moisture that doesn’t dry up, a mold spore can land in that area and then feed on organic matter and end up as mold growth.
The conditions of winter makes it easy for mold to grow in a home. The cold outside air and heated air indoors can result in condensation, particularly on uninsulated exterior windows and walls. Condensation can drip down and collect and become food for mold. The attic is another spot where it is common for mold growth to happen, especially when the attic is kept at a too-warm temperature.
Prevent Mold Growth
The single best way to ward off mold growth is to control the amount of moisture in your home. Immediately wipe up any spills or leaks and fix whatever problem is causing the leak. Wipe down windows when condensation builds up, run bathroom fans for at least 30 minutes after showers, and run ventilation fans whenever you cook. As long as wet areas are dried up within a 24-48 hour period, no mold growth should occur.
The relative humidity of your indoor air can exacerbate mold growth. To find out the relativity humidity, you can get an inexpensive moisture or humidity meter at most home hardware stores. The ideal relative humidity is between 30 and 50 percent. If you find that your indoor air is more humid than what is ideal, a dehumidifier might be the right choice for your home. Running the air conditioner and increasing ventilation are other ways to lower the humidity levels of your indoor air.
Another simple way to reduce the risk of mold growth is to regularly clean and dust your home. Dust is full of organic matter that can act as a food source for mold spores.
If you find mold growth in your home, you can clean it yourself if the size is less than 10 square feet. Mold growth that extend beyond this measurement can be cleaned up by professionals.
Use detergent and water to clean mold growth off hard surfaces. Absorbent surfaces, such as carpet and ceiling tiles, will be harder to clean and might have to be thrown out if contaminated with mold. Wear gloves to protect yourself when cleaning mold.
Pay special attention to the windows in your home and make sure to clean the window sills of any mold growth. If left alone for too long, the mold growth can rot your window sill.
For more tips on controlling and removing mold, contact us at Bryans United Air Conditioning. We serve the Gretna, New Orleans, Luling, Metairie, Hahnville, Marrero, Harvey, St. Rose, and Laplace areas.
Written by Zach Mouton
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