Today’s topic isn’t exactly an appetizing one, but it is an important one. Why? Mold is everywhere. How do you know? Just think of what happens when you don’t finish off that loaf of bread soon enough. Where did the mold come from? Not the food, but rather from the air because mold spores are everywhere. That’s not necessarily a problem, unless... it starts growing in your home. So the team here at GAMA Air wants to explain to our friends and neighbors in and around Beverly Hills, Culver City, Mar Vista, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Bel Air, Westwood, Downtown Los Angeles, Vernon, Huntington Park, Sherman Oaks, Encino what you should know about mold.
Basic Facts About Mold
- Mold spores can grow on nearly any substance if enough moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.
- Exposure to mold can result in allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory problems.
- Mold and mold spores cannot be completely eliminated from your home environment, but indoor mold growth can be controlled by controlling moisture.
- If you have a problem with mold in your home, it must be cleaned up.
- To keep mold from growing, or coming back, you must eliminate sources of moisture by fixing water problems or leaks.
- Indoor humidity should be reduced to 60% or lower to decrease mold growth.
- If building materials or furnishings in your home get wet, clean and dry them within 48 hours to prevent mold growth.
- To clean mold off of hard surfaces use water and detergent, and then dry them completely. However if absorbent materials such as cushions or sheetrock wall board are growing mold, replacement may be your only option.
- Reduce the potential for the moisture that accumulates inside your home due to condensation on cold surfaces. You can do this by adding insulation to piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors.
- Do not install carpeting (or replace carpeting with another flooring material) in areas where moisture is a repeating problem, such as in bathrooms, kitchens, or on concrete floors with frequent condensation.
Common Places Where Mold Can Grow
Walls and Ceilings
Hidden leaks in the roof or exterior walls can cause wet spots and also lead to mold growth in many places, even behind walls and in the attic. Evidence could be seeing the paint buckle and peel. Don’t ignore wet spots even on interior walls. Do not just paint over moldy spots. First, fix the water problem, clean up the mold growth, and then paint.
Constant condensation on windows provides enough moisture for mold growth on the window frames or window sills. The cause of this condensation is usually high indoor humidity, which can be due to various factors.
Bathrooms are a regular source of water from washing, bathing, showering, etc. Running the exhaust fan or opening a window prevents moisture from building up and promoting mold growth.
High humidity levels in your bedrooms can cause mold to grow not just on walls and furnishings, but also on clothing that is not used often.
Cooking and washing dishes is also a regular source of moisture that, if allowed to accumulate, can promote mold growth. Use your stove's exhaust hood to draw moisture out of the kitchen. If your hood simply blows the air back into the room, consider installing one that is vented to the outdoors.
Leaking pipes under the kitchen sink or water that that gets behind or under the countertop can lead to mold growth in the walls or cabinets.
Clothes dryers that are not vented properly to the outdoors will increase the humidity in the room, which could lead to mold growth.
Rooms that are partially or entirely below ground often have higher humidity levels. Using a dehumidifier can reduce moisture levels to help prevent mold from growing. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions regularly.
Water that pools up around the foundation can lead to indoor moisture problems. The ground near a house should be sloped downward away from the foundation. Make sure your roof’s gutters and downspouts are clean and are getting water at least 5 feet away from the foundation of your house.
Do you have a question that’s been bothering you for a while? Visit our “Ask an Expert” page, fill out the form, and the central heating and air conditioning expert here at GAMA Air will respond quickly.