Avoid Mold by Controlling Moisture
Moisture levels within a home can elevate the risk for mold growth. Whether the water comes from a leak, high humidity or the varying temperatures that can be found in different areas of the house, your best solution is to reduce these moisture levels as much as possible. If things are not taken care of in a timely manner then it could spell disaster for those in your household who suffer from allergies, asthma or other health related issues. SERVPRO of East Riverside City is here to help with just a few tips for you to keep in mind when dealing with any water-related issues in your home:
Dry Up All Moisture You Find
Unfortunately, even the smallest water leaks can turn into a major mold problem if they are not dealt with immediately. Make sure to check the pipes under all of your sinks for a leak. It is also good to check the water lines that connect the washing machines and refrigerators to the wall. Any leaks should be fixed right away.
Also keep in mind that water can spill from a pot when watering an indoor plant. Make sure to add a dish underneath any pots containing plants in case of a leak. It is also advisable to never leave a plant pot on a carpet, rug or other household item that contains fabric. These fabrics can be perfect for mold growth if moisture seeps into them.
Monitor Hot-Water Heater & Moisture Levels of Below Ground Areas
Monitoring your hot-water heater and the area around it on a regular basis can save you from a major headache in the event of a leak. One way that this can be done is with a floor-water alarm that can be purchased and installed near your hot-water heater or can be tied in with your home's central alarm system if it has one.
Make sure to monitor areas that are below ground, such as basements and crawl spaces, for their relative humidity (RH). Not all mold growth requires standing water so use a thermo-hygrometer to measure the RH of these areas. You want the RH to be between 50-60%. It may also be a good idea to buy a dehumidifier for the less-dry months. This can help prevent mold growth and keep the RH at a consistent and safe level.
Keep Warm While Controlling Humidity
Don't allow humidity levels to climb for any above-ground areas. This can be especially true during the colder months when windows are less likely to be opened. Turning on the exhaust fan above a cooking area can help mitigate RH levels. After showering or bathing, make sure to use the exhaust fan to draw out the moisture in the air. Leaving the bathroom door open afterwards can also reduce RH levels.
Make sure to also keep any closets that have walls facing the exterior of a structure warm. These walls can develop mold growth. Also, make sure not to over stuff your closet with personal goods as this can prevent the heat from penetrating into the closet. Also make sure that the closet does not contain any carpeting as carpet can capture biodegradable dust and matter which can further encourage mold growth.
Keep All Rooms Warm During Winter
Though Southern California only experiences a brief time where it is cold, it is still advisable to keep all of the rooms at a comfortably warm temperature. Yes, it may make economical sense to only heat those rooms that are in use more often, but with colder temperatures comes higher RH levels even for those rooms that are above ground! This can lead to serious mold growth so keep your house warm.
Isolate Crawl Spaces & Monitor Moisture Levels in Attached Garages
Any crawl space should be isolated from the outside and should regularly be dehumidified. If your home contains a crawl space then it should be covered with a mesh-reinforced vapor barrier or even be completely cemented over. This will limit the evaporation from the underlying soil.
The moisture levels within an attached garage should also be closely monitored. Make sure not to introduce any unnecessary moisture. Though rare for Southern California, monitoring should be done especially for humid or inclement weather as the RH levels can rise. Keeping these levels of an attached garage under 70% should be sufficient.
These are only a few tips to help you keep your house safe from mold growth and should only be applied to small amounts of water. If your home experiences a major water loss, such as burst pipes, toilet or dishwasher overflow or any other major water source then make sure to give SERVPRO of East Riverside City a call. We will help navigate you through any of your major water loss needs!