Mold Prevention Tips for Homeowners
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Keep water and moisture out of your home to avoid mold problems.
Over the summer, some West Michigan communities saw record rainfalls—like the 10.66 inches that saturated Kalamazoo in June. All that moisture created problems for many homeowners, including mold. In cases of flooding, it’s difficult to avoid mold, but in other cases preventive action can keep this menacing fungus from taking hold. Here are tips for protecting your home and family’s health from mold—and what to do if mold does appear.
Keep water in its place to prevent mold
Many mold problems can be avoided by taking preventive steps, such as:
- Fix plumbing leaks as soon as they appear
- Use ventilation fans in the kitchen and bath to exhaust moisture-laden air
- Keep sump pumps in working order. The average lifespan of a sump pump is 10 years, but they may wear out sooner with frequent use.
- Waterproof leaky basements and crawlspace walls.
- Keep gutters clear and make sure downspouts move water at least 4 to 6 feet away from your home’s foundation.
- If you don’t have gutters, consider installing them.
- Repair roof leaks as quickly as possible.
- Correct drainage around your home by regrading the soil so water flows away from the foundation.
- Use a dehumidifier to eliminate excess moisture from the air.
If you rely on a sump pump to keep your basement or crawlspace dry, consider adding battery backup or a backup power generator in the case of a power outage.
Act quickly when mold first appears
If your home floods or has excessive humidity, mold can develop within 24 hours. That mold can aggravate allergies and asthma and lead to other health problems, so it’s critical to address it as soon as possible.
For small areas less than 10 square feet, scrub the mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water. Some staining may remain. If the surface needs to be repainted, allow it to dry completely. Don’t skip the scrubbing step and just paint over the mold; paint applied over mold is likely to peel, and the mold will continue to grow and spread.
Textiles like drapes or rugs with mold can be laundered following the manufacturer’s instructions.
It may not be possible to get all the mold out of porous surfaces such as carpet, padding and ceiling tiles–these items may have to be thrown out.
For areas larger than 10 square feet in the case of flooding, you may want to hire a professional that specializes in mold cleanup. These service professionals can bring in pumps, vacuums and fans to dry out your home more quickly. They also hold in-depth knowledge of mold remediation techniques.
Invest in keeping your home dry
Some measures for preventing mold in your home can be done at little cost if you’re a DIYer—such as keeping gutters clear or fixing minor leaks. Hiring out other work can run from several hundred dollars, like purchasing a new sump pump, to several thousand, for basement waterproofing or new gutters. If you don’t have the cash on-hand, a Consumers home equity loan or HELOC can help you invest in the things that keep your home dry and your family healthy.
Consumers helps more than 2,000 members finance land, first and second homes, and home improvement projects each year. We’d love to help you with a mortgage or home equity line of credit; contact us online or call us at 800-991-2221.