Every year, thousands of people develop severe allergies and even respiratory infections because of household mold. Some species of mold, like Stachybotrys (or black mold) and Penicillium can even cause hearing and memory loss as well as other serious neurological problems. Fighting house mold is an ongoing battle for most homeowners, particularly those who live in warm, humid climates. Fortunately, there are effective strategies that can be used to minimize the potential for mold growth in your home.
Recognizing Mold-Prone Areas
The following are four places, and specific spots within each, that you should check out in your search for household mold.
- 1. Bathrooms All mold, even black mold, thrive in dark, humid environments. Since bathrooms are constantly exposed to wetness (from showering, steam, leaky toilets and faucets, and other plumbing problems), they provide the ideal conditions for mold growth. Make sure to check around bathtubs, sinks, toilets and faucets for signs of mold growth. Also check the shower curtains and underneath rugs and bathroom mats.
- 2. Basements Basements are another common area for house mold since they get little to no sunlight. Typically, basements are also poorly ventilated and prone to different types of moisture intrusion such as floods and leaks. Basements that have mold problems tend to give off a musty or earthy smell, so watch out for this. To prevent toxic mold from taking over your basement, you may want to consider getting it waterproofed or fixing any previous water damage.
- 3. Closets Have you ever taken out your winter coat from your closet after months of storage only to find out that it smells funny? If this sounds familiar, you can blame house mold. Closets are dark, humid environments that often get minimal air circulation and ventilation. Furthermore, if after a rainy day, you leave your coat in the closet without fully drying it, don’t be surprised at the stinky, moldy mess you find the next time you pull it out. If at all possible, keep a dehumidifier in your closets and air out your coats every now and again to reduce the likelihood of house mold.
- 4. Air conditioners Mold is frequently found growing inside of air conditioning units, where it grows undisturbed, getting everything it needs: food, moisture, and the perfect temperature for growth. What’s worse, when the air conditioner is turned on, the mold can be circulated and dispersed into the air we breathe. As such, it is important that you regularly check your air conditioning units for mold. This is particularly true for older units that may be housing years of accumulated mold.