Household mold has been linked to a number of health problems, including a significant increase in risk of lower respiratory problems in infants under a year old, according to the July 15 issue of American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Take this simple quiz to find out if your home may be growing moldand then find out what to do about it!
Give yourself 1 point for every “yes.”
1. Does your bathroom lack an exhaust fan?
2. Is your home located on a site with poor drainage?
3. Is your house near a river, lake, or ocean?
4. Does your basement ever get wet or have standing water in it?
5. Is your basement unheated?
6. Do you have any of the following in your house: swimming pool, steam bath, large fish tank, large fountain?
7. Do you have uninsulated cold water pipes?
8. Does your roof or flashing leak? Any plumbing leaking or “sweating”?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may have a mold problem in your home! Here are some suggestions for things you can do right now to help.
1. Install an exhaust fan to remove mildew-causing humidity from your bathroom. Be sure the fan has enough air movement to remove the moisture, and be sure to exhaust the fan all the way up through the roof or out a wall to the outside.
2. Poor drainage around your home will contribute to the overall humidity level and corresponding mold growth. Dig drainage ditches or install drainage pipes to correct the problem.
3. If you live near a significant body of water, you may need dehumidifiers to correct the corresponding humidity increase in your home.
4. If your basement gets wet, consider sealing it with something non-toxic, using a B Dry system, installing a sump-pump and/or using a dehumidifier.
5. Condensation happens when the temperature of a surface is below the overlying air (such as would happen in an unheated room of a house, for example). You may want to install a small heating unit in your basement to avoid the increase in relative humidity that happens in unheated spaces, and not close off rooms in the winter.
6. If you have a standing water source in your home, use a dehumidifier.
7. Uninsulated water pipes can create “sweating” and thefore condensation problems. Insulate them.
8. Fix your leaky roof or flashing to avoid worsening mold problems. Always fix a plumbing leak immediately.
Other quick fixes: Mold dislikes light, so consider leaving a light on in areas that are prone to mold. Change bathroom towels and rugs frequently to avoid moisture build-up.
By Annie B. Bond