Newer houses and homes that have been in New England towns for generations all are at risk for mold damage. The climate in our area provides a supportive environment for microbial growth year round. Understanding the mold life cycle is essential for homeowners. Putting that knowledge into practice can help avoid mold growth and damage in residential properties.
Mold spores are in the air and settled on surfaces both indoors and outdoors. They rarely cause any difficulty when in this state. Add a little moisture, however, and within 48 hours a few invisible mold spores explode into a full-blown colony, growing and producing many more spores. The key to preventing mold from populating a house is to control moisture.
Once you identify familiar places that moisture lurks in homes, you can take steps to minimize or eliminate the dampness. Some of the following are well-known hints; others may be surprising. Doing your best to manage excess moisture through these efforts significantly lowers the probability mold finds your home welcoming.
Vent Warm, Humid Air
Kitchens and bathrooms are notorious for creating and containing high levels of airborne moisture. Cooking, showers, baths all raise ambient humidity. Install exhaust fans venting only to the outside and use them consistently. Dryers must also vent to the outside. Be sure any preexisting vents that route air into the attic or another interior recess are removed or completely closed. Mold does not need light, so growing between walls or above a ceiling is entirely possible.
Condensation — Clean, Drain, Wrap, Insulate
Air conditioning and refrigerator and freezer coils and intakes can pool water if dirty or clogged. Keeping them free of debris and well-draining reduces excess moisture. Water and waste pipe and HVAC ducts create condensation when their relatively cool exteriors come in contact with warmer, humid air. Even small drops of water can activate a mold outbreak. Insulate or wrap to reduce moisture.
Even interior walls and ceilings condense moisture if there is insufficient insulation keeping the colder outdoor air separated from the heated air inside. This same warning also applies to poorly insulated or improperly caulked attics that create ice dams during the winter when the warm interior air meet the snow and ice on the roof.
Dehumidify And Install Vapor Barriers
Basements or crawl spaces can be problems, with high humidity and a tendency to wick moisture from the surrounding ground. Using high-efficiency dehumidifiers maintained consistently reduces the moisture content in the air. Installing vapor barriers keeps the water out, particularly helpful in areas where venting is difficult.
Mold finds it hard to take hold inside if homeowners follow these tips. If mold proliferates despite precautions licensed and certified mold remediation companies can abate a mold infestation in your New England home, their highly skilled technician well trained by the IICRC for the task.