Indoor Mold : Keeping Moisture and Mold at Bay

Toxic Black Indoor Mold growth in La Mesa CA

The musty smell, the slick black spots on the shower curtain, the fuzzy white patches on the basement floor, and that sordid orange film on the kitchen drain… mold isn’t just nasty, it’s a health hazard as well.  Indoor Mold can make you really sick especially if you have asthma or allergies.

Just how much of a health hazard is Indoor mold?

For some people, simply inhaling or touching mold spores is enough to cause serious allergic reactions – skin rashes, red eyes, runny nose, sneezing. In individuals with asthma, breathing in spores can trigger asthma attacks.  For those with serious mold allergies, severe reactions can include shortness of breath.

In addition to those with asthma and allergies, others who may be sensitive to indoor mold include:

  • Babies
  • Young children
  • The elderly
  • Patients with chronic lung disease
  • Individuals with compromised immune system ( due to cancer, HIV, liver disease, chemotherapy)

What is mold, exactly?

It’s a type of fungus consisting of small organisms. It can be seen as green, white, black, orange, or even purple.  Mold plays a pivotal role in nature because it breaks down dead plants, trees, and leaves.  It thrives on moisture and reproduces via tiny spores that travel through the air.

We are exposed to mold on a daily basis. In small amounts, mold spores are harmless.  When mold grows, spores are released into the air and are easily inhaled.   Inhale a large number of spores, and health problems can set in.

Mold grows anywhere where moisture is found – bathrooms, kitchens, laundry areas, basements, crawl spaces, as well as walls, floors, carpet, furniture, and even appliances.

How to Control Indoor Mold

  • Hot and humid climate? Use air conditioners and air dehumidifiers.  This helps reduce moisture in the air.
  • Invest in a hygrometer, an inexpensive instrument that measures relative humidity. (available in most hardware stores). Try to keep indoor humidity below 60%.
  • Make sure that drain lines are clog-free.
  • Keep your house warm in cool weather. As the temperature drops, air tends to hold less moisture. When this happens, moisture condenses on cold surfaces and mold begins to thrive.
  • Insulate cold surfaces to reduce condensation.
  • Wet areas must be wiped and dried within 24 to 48 hours to prevent mold.
  • The grounds outside your home must slope away from your house. If water enters your house from the outside, fix your landscaping and consider waterproofing.
  • Have your heating and cooling system professionally checked for efficiency and leaks. Incorrect airflow affects humidity.
  • Increase circulation by opening doors between rooms. Increase circulation further by periodically using fans and mobbing furniture away from wall
  • Take advantage of exhaust fans to move moisture outside the house. Do not exhaust into the attic.
  • Be diligent with checking for leaks around the kitchen sink, ice makers, and other appliances that use water.
  • Regularly empty and clean refrigerator drip pans.
  • Cover crawl spaces with plastic to prevent moisture from coming in from the ground.
  • Ventilate crawl spaces by installing vents in outside walls.
  • Waterproof concrete basement floors with a vapor barrier (plastic sheeting) over the concrete. Then top with sub-flooring (insulation encased in plywood) to prevent moisture.
  • Ensure that gutters work properly and that water runs AWAY and not toward the house.
  • Avoid leaving damp clothes in the laundry hamper
  • Check for leaks in the bathroom sink, basin, and tub
  • Leave a window open when showering.