Mold is a common cause of outdoor allergies, but it can also pose a health hazard inside your home. Allergies and asthma can be triggered by mold, and mold can also worsen respiratory diseases and cause illness in young children, the elderly and immunocompromised individuals.
How do you keep mold from making your family sick? Here are four steps every homeowner can take to prevent mold:
Prevent Standing Water
Standing puddles of water are a great environment for mold to grow in and can also harbor bacteria and mosquitoes. Appliances like water heaters, washing machines, dishwashers and air conditioners are common sources of standing water. Mop up standing water immediately and address the source of the leak if it reappears.
Waterproof Your Basement
Damp basements are a common source of mold, and mold in your basement is especially hazardous because furnaces can collect the spores and blow them into your home through the heating ducts. Basements become damp when the water table around them rises and leaks in through cracks, joints and porous concrete. Waterproofing your basement is the best way to avoid mold and moisture by sealing all the little places that water can enter.
Dehumidify the Air
If you live in a wet or humid climate, the moist air in your home may be the cause of your mold problem. You can't change the weather, but you can control the amount of moisture in the air inside your home. The easiest way to remove moisture from the air is with a dehumidifier, but there are also some effective natural methods to reduce humidity. Leave a container of coarse salt out to absorb moisture, or use Himalayan salt lamps to dehumidify and illuminate your home at the same time.
Maintain Home Plumbing
Leaking pipes are a common cause of mold. Small leaks often go unnoticed and provide the slow, constant source of water that mold thrives in. If you can't resolve your home's mold infestation, your plumbing may be the culprit. You can check for leaks yourself by turning off all faucets in your home and observing your water meter. If the meter moves, call a plumber.
Remember, mold can sometimes be invisible. Mold growing inside walls, below floors or in cracks can be difficult to see. If someone in your household has symptoms of mold exposure, such as coughing, fatigue or headaches, consider having your home inspected for mold.