Missoula Mold 102: Causes and Prevention
If you don’t have visible or suspected mold growth in your home, you probably don’t want to think too much about the topic. After all, out of sight out of mind. But the truth is, the best time to think about mold is when you don’t have a mold problem. That way, you can pinpoint potential mold danger-zones in your home, and take preventative action!
In a previous blog (Mold 101: What is it? Where is it?) we talked about steps you can take if you discover visible mold growth in your home. But what about steps you can take to get ahead of mold growth? Those all come down to understanding what causes mold. Like we said in that previous blog, mold “can grow anywhere moisture, oxygen, and organic material are present.” Well, that’s pretty much your entire home. But don’t be discouraged—the key is to limit excessive moisture as much as possible. Excessive moisture occurs when a dwelling is overly humid—the EPA recommends that homes maintain 30-60% humidity—and/or has poor ventilation, so that moisture-causing activities such as cooking, bathing, and washing clothes increase the indoor humidity level. Of course, excess moisture can also be caused by a leaking pipe, a roof leak, or flooding.
Luckily, taming excess moisture indoors can by done with simple actions at-home. Open windows to let steam outside when you’re showering or cooking on a stovetop, and vent clothes dryers to the outside. To facilitate air flow through your home, so that moisture doesn’t settle on surfaces, leave doors open between rooms and use ceiling fans if available. To monitor humidity, you can purchase an inexpensive hygrometer at most hardware stores, and of course, clean up leaks and spills as soon as they occur. If you live in a particularly humid area, or have recurring mold problems, you may want to consider more serious actions like purchasing a dehumidifier. Luckily, here in Missoula we don't tend to have high humidity, so the above steps should go a long way to lowering the risk of mold growth in your home!