Mold grows quickly and usually without notice because the spores are everywhere in the air, just looking for moisture and food. Once mold forms, those who are exposed could experience a range of negative health reactions. Symptoms of mold exposure include coughing, nasal congestion, and eye irritation as well as more serious infections. Since it’s impossible to completely avoid mold, follow these tips to limit its impact.
1. Keep track of mold levels. Watch the mold levels and avoid outdoor activities when they’re at their highest. Fortunately there are several weather apps available for Android and iPhones that will give you current mold levels. If you don’t have a smartphone, the Weather Channel’s (weather.com) has an allergy tracker tab.
2. Think before you run errands. Some locations are natural breeding grounds for mold and other allergens, such as greenhouses, construction sites, flower shops and antique stores. If you plan to stop at a place that you know will aggravate your allergies, take your medication in advance and/or bring a dust mask to prevent mold allergy symptoms.
3. Avoid allergy “hot spots” when you can. When you need to do yard work like mowing, raking leaves, or digging in the dirt, wear a dust mask and be sure to shower and change your clothes as soon as you come in. See if a younger family member or teenage neighbor is interested in earning some cash in exchange for yard work.
4. Lower the humidity in your home. Mold needs moisture to grow, so keep the indoor humidity below 60%, ideally between 35-50%. Dehumidifiers remove excess moisture from the air and air conditioners keep the overall temperatures comfortable without opening windows and letting in humid air.
5. Keep things clean. Mold grows on dirty surfaces, so clean up spills immediately. Watch for mold growth in refrigerator drip trays, trash cans, and recycling containers and clean them with a household cleanser. Clean out the refrigerator weekly and throw out food before it can become moldy.
6. Monitor the basement. This is one of the dampest areas of a home, so use a dehumidifier to control moisture levels in the air. If possible, choose one with a continuous setting so the bucket won’t need to be emptied frequently.
7. If you do find mold, take action immediately. See https://www.servicemaster-ncr.com/mold-critical-act-now/ for details.
8. Use air conditioning in the summer instead of opening windows. A unit with a HEPA filter will trap mold spores before they can come inside. Change filters regularly and make sure drain pans and drip lines are clean.
9. Take care of things before they get worse. Mold grows within 48 hours of water damage, so fix leaky pipes or clean up water immediately.
10. Help keep your basement dry by keeping the foundation dry. Don’t let leaves accumulate along your home’s foundation and make sure rainwater drains away from it.
If you find mold in your home or building in Franconia and Newington, VA larger than 10 square feet, it’s important to call ServiceMaster NCR immediately. Our highly trained technicians use the InstaScope testing system to find mold, even in hidden areas, before it can damage your health and your property. Our unique Trifect mold removal system eradicates all traces of mold.