Home Maintenance Mistakes That Can Lead To Indoor Mold Growth

July 30, 2019 • Maintenance Tips, Prevention

maintenance mistakes cause mold growth

Understanding Mold Growth In Order To Prevent Mold Growth

Airborne mold spores can travel, spread and contaminate virtually any any surface if afforded the right conditions. With an adequate moisture source, mold can begin to germinate and spread to contaminate you building materials without notice. Like mold, moisture buildup can be subtle and take time to become visibly apparent and incredibly problematic. We often make the mistake of neglecting minor dampness or underestimate its capability to create serious issues down the line.

It is important for Cleveland homeowners to pay close attention to indoor vulnerabilities to excess moisture buildup and address any dampness immediately to prevent future mold growth. While most moisture control and mold prevention can be quite simple and relatively inexpensive, we often make the mistake of not taking the time to understand the impact that even minor dampness can lead to more significant problems. Our daily activities put a great deal of moisture into the air. Moisture that could contribute to mold growth, if we are not careful. Despite better intentions, we unknowingly make a lot of seemingly minor maintenance mistakes that can lead to bigger problems down the line.  

common mold maintenance mistakes

Most Common Maintenance Mistakes That Cause Indoor Mold Problems

  1. Dismissing minor leaks and plumbing problems- No matter the size or severity, ALL leaks and plumbing problem need to be properly addressed immediately upon discovery. Unfortunately, that is not always entirely possible — whether the leak is hidden and not entirely possible to find, or we are simply too encumbered by other priorities and forced to leave the leak repair at the bottom of our to-do list. It is important to understand that even the most minor of leaks can leave your home vulnerable to serious mold contamination.

  2. Neglecting to use proper ventilation & humidity control in moisture-prone spaces- It can be easy to underestimate the damage that elevated humidity can have on your Ohio home. Humidity buildup and condensation can seem deceptively harmless. After all, how much damage can a little bit of water vapor really do? Answer: A LOT. Neglecting to use proper ventilation and effective humidity control in moisture-prone spaces like kitchens and bathrooms can lead to serious, widespread mold contamination over time. You need to run the exhaust fan and/or open the window in your bathroom to facilitate ventilation. Activities like cooking and cleaning can increase moisture levels in the air. Homeowners should run exhaust fans and/or open windows during and after cooking or cleaning to ventilate the space and encourage air circulation to reduce moisture buildup.

  3. Not drying damp areas right away- Whether it’s a spill that you did not have time to clean up right away or the condensation build up on your walls and shower door after a shower, it needs to be dried up immediately. If it is damp, wipe it up and make sure the area is dry. If you ignore wet areas and allow the moisture to soak into your porous building materials, you are putting your home at risk for mold development.

  4. Ignoring window condensation- If you notice condensation forming on the interiors of your windows, it is likely the result of elevated indoor humidity levels, especially during the winter months. This does not seem like much of problem, and it is often ignored. However, window condensation is a sign that the moisture level of your home is elevated which increases the risk of mold growth. If you are experiencing window condensation, you should take steps to reduce the moisture levels within the space.

  5. Turning the air conditioning and/or heat off- Often times, when we leave our homes, we get into the bad habit of turning off the heat or air conditioning. While this may seem cost effective at the time, it can be incredibly problematic in the long run. Maintaining a conditioned space is important to preventing indoor mold growth. Instead, if you are absent during the warmer months, set your air conditioner to a higher temperature (80°F-85°F). If you are going away during the cooler months, set your heater to a lower temperature (55°F- 60°F). This way you will be able to cut back on energy costs, while still prevent moisture buildup from humidity and maintain a conditioned environment. Unheated spaces during the winter months can lead to frozen pipe bursts, condensation from the cold air in your wall voids, and a number of other problems. Unconditioned spaces during the summer months can trap warm, humid air, restrict air circulation and countless other issues.

  6. Using bleach to “kill” mold- Bleach is NOT an effective cleaner against mold. Despite the widely believed myth, bleach does not “kill” mold. The active ingredient in bleach is a stain remover, which means it is effective for removing the visible staining of mold. The active mold roots are still present and still capable of spreading. The active ingredient in bleach, sodium hypochlorite, is merely a stain remover that cannot permeate beyond the surface of porous building materials to destroy the mold roots. The mold appears to be gone after a bleach application, but as long as the roots are intact, the mold will return. Significant mold growth needs to be actively removed by a mold remediation professional.

  7. Neglecting to conduct regular maintenance checks- Routine maintenance checks of the interior and exterior structure are so important. Regular checks allow you the opportunity to spot problems early so you can fix them right away. Routine maintenance tasks like cleaning the gutters, assessing your foundation, changing your HVAC filters, assessing for leaks and inspecting your roof are so important to keeping your home mold-free. It’s easy to put off these tasks for tomorrow, next week, next month or even next season. Set up a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Schedule maintenance checks at least twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.

While mold prevention and moisture control can be pretty easy and relatively inexpensive if you know what to look for, unexpected mold problems and water damage can be inevitable. If you uncover a potential mold problem in your Cleveland property, you should contact a trained mold inspector to conduct an assessment, determine the full extent of the problem, and prescribe an effective scope of work for a safe mold remediation.

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