You may not believe that of mold actually does serve an important purpose outdoors. Molds play a key role in the breakdown of leaves and other plant debris. Unfortunately indoor mold can play a key role in making a room, or in severe cases, a home uninhabitable. Mold create tiny spores to reproduce and when spores are released and become Airborne they can settle on inside surfaces. If the inside surface is damp the spore can begin to grow and multiply. In addition to moisture, unfortunately for homeowners, mold spores are particularly fond of cloth, wood, wallboard, and insulation. (In reality mold can grow on almost anything. Lack of water or moisture is the key factor in limiting mold growth).
It is important to prevent mold growth because of its potential to cause health problems. Mold produce substances considered allergens (particles that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances called mycotoxins. Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions including symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, red eye, and skin rash. Mold can cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold.
While there is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores indoors, indoor mold growth can be controlled by controlling moisture. It is best to identify and eliminate leaks in walls or the roof, to keep mold from taking hold on drywall or other interior surfaces. Ways to do this include;
- Making sure the ground slopes away from the building foundation, so that water can’t enter or collect around the foundation.
- Keeping indoor humidity low. If you’re not sure of the indoor humidity, it can be measured with a moisture or humidity meter, found for around $20.00 at most hardware stores.
- Preventing condensation by adding insulation around cold surfaces such as windows, piping, exterior walls, roof and floors.
- Increasing indoor ventilation by opening doors and windows, and using a fan or dehumidifier as needed.
- Venting appliances that produce moisture (such as the dryer or stove) outside.
- Running the bathroom fan or opening the window when bathing and showering, and using the exhaust fan or opening windows when cooking, or running the dishwasher.
- Inspecting, cleaning and repairing roof gutters regularly.