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A Landlord’s Guide to Mold Prevention

On March 27th, 2018

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For a landlord or homeowner, mold can be quite the horrifying task to tackle. Mold spores can breed rapidly and may be difficult to get rid of. There are also a number of health issues surrounding an outbreak of mold in the home. It is stated by the Center of Disease Control that mold contributes to respiratory issues like coughing, wheezing, and a stuffy nasal passage. For those who are particularly sensitive, there can be throat, eye and skin irritation. Also, bigger problems associated with rampant mold growth include asthma, chronic fatigue, loss of cognitive abilities and hemorrhaging. Once the problem of mold growth has begun, it can be a great challenge to complete eradicate.

Mold growth may or may not be easy to discover depending on where it is located. It can look like spots or discoloration and can have a musty smell. It can be found indoors or outdoors, anywhere that there is a high accumulation of moisture that is not promptly ventilated. We are generally aware that it grows in damp and dark environments like basements. It can also form on everyday items like paper, clothing, dust, paints, and more commonly food. Mold growth is also likely to spread in hidden places such as: beneath carpets, on insulation, on window sills, behind drywall, or in areas around leaking pipes. It can be very easy to spread. Its high prevalence is the reason that the prevention of spore growth is essential. The biggest key to mold prevention is observing, monitoring and controlling the level of moisture in your home. This can be accomplished through a few simple practices.


Start the Work Dry

The first practice to control the amount of moisture in your home is to notice where it accumulates through observing condensation buildup and being sure to dry those surfaces immediately and to vent out the room. Check around your home to discover the problem areas where there may be flooding or excess condensation. Are there water stains where flooding has occurred in the past? It may be a good idea to rip out old carpeting in these areas and replace it with mold-resistant products. Make sure to take that step after the initial problem of flooding has been resolved. You may need to take major steps in the beginning of home occupation to excavate and renovate problem areas. This may be a costly option in the short run but will save you the bigger headache in the future.


Making it Simple

Be sure to do simple things like cleaning up water spills on carpets entirely within 48 hours. If there has been a flood, throw away the items that have been damaged by water and cannot be completely dried out like mattresses, carpeting and furniture. Don’t leave wet clothing items laying around. Quickly take clothes from the washing machine to the dryer after it has been washed. Do not place wet clothing or towels in a hamper without hanging them to fully dry first.


Keep the Air Flowing

A great deal of mold outbreak is caused by the person occupying the home. Keeping a home tightly shut creates a high level of humidity. A home needs to regularly allow for natural air to flow through. Not allowing air to flow through the home may create excess moisture to accumulate on walls, on the floor and windows. A simple way to prevent this issue is to keep doors to rooms open creating a natural flow of air movement. In colder weather, open the door to closets that tend to be colder than the rest of room they are located. Also, slightly open windows for a short while to allow a fresh flow of air to enter the residence. You can also move furniture away from walls to open the flow in a room. These are some simple practices to prevent moisture accumulation in colder weather.


Pass it Through

Ventilation is another basic measure to prevent mold spores. Places like the bathroom, laundry room and kitchen where moisture is sure to accumulate through daily practices like cooking and showering must have a clear ventilation system that allows for unstifled flow of moisture in the air. Appliances should be vented toward the outside of the home rather than toward the attic. Preventing moisture accumulation can be as simple as opening a window while you cook or shower to encourage the water-filled air to move outside. Being mindful of where moisture is likely to accumulate will allow you to arrange the room in a way that prevents mold from ever producing.


Add the De in Dehumidifier

Placing a dehumidifier in an area that is more likely to experience excess moisture is an easy solution for a room that does not have great natural ventilation. As long as the dehumidifier itself is dried out regularly, this can be a great idea to control the amount of moisture in the air. Using the exhaust fan in rooms that have them is another easy step in controlling moisture. You can also observe and manage the amount of water in the air with a moisture meter purchased from your nearby hardware store or online. These devices make moisture management more convenient.


Moisture Misdirection

Water may seep into your residence and collect there if you live at the bottom of a slope. Take measures to redirect water away from your home to stop a problem before it occurs. In addition to that, pay attention to backed up and damaged gutters. Have them cleaned out if needed and replace any sections that are leaking or useless.


Monitor Household Plants

As lovely as they are to look at, household plants are common places for the growth of mold. The moistly packed soil is a natural breeding place for mold spores. You do not have to get rid of your plants to prevent this growth. Taheebo tea added to the water you feed to your plant friends can do the trick. The oil from this tree can withstand fungal growth preventing the formation of mold spores. You can purchase this tea at your local health food store or online.


Clean it Up

If you choose to clean up the mold growth that you find in your home, there are simple solutions for that as well. You can use a ratio of one cup of bleach to one gallon of water as a bleach solution that can be used on hard surfaces. Never mix bleach and ammonia as this mixture produces toxic fumes that can be very dangerous. Keep windows and doors open for fresh air. Wear non-porous gloves, eyewear and a face mask to prevent personal exposure and inhalation. Keep your safety in mind and if the damage is more than you are equipped to handle, do not hesitate to call a professional for help or for a consultation to create a plan for effectively handling the issue.


Win the Battle before you Fight It

A great way to prevent mold growth before it begins is to use mold-resistant products to replace older and outdated products. If you are building a new home or remodeling an old one, you can use mold-resistant drywall and sheetrock along with mold-resistant wall paint to arm yourself against mold before it can ever become a problem. These products can be especially useful in rooms like the basement, bathroom or laundry room. Mold-resistant drywall is paperless with its gypsum core covered with water-resistant fiberglass. As opposed to paper constructed traditional drywall (that makes it quite difficult to remove mold), mold-resistant drywall is designed to prevent the growth of mold spores in the first places so that you don’t end up breaking the bank to replace it.


Knowledge is the key part of prevention. Mold growth can be a complete nightmare to a landlord or homeowner if not handled properly and efficiently. A hugely important aspect of prevention is knowing the area in which your home is located. Find out ways to control the growth of mold spores by studying the climate of the local environment and creating solutions based on that. Treating mold issues will not be the same for every home. Therefore, it is very important to know your home and create a plan for prevention that fits with your particular situations and needs. Understanding the climate and the inclinations of the home itself is half the battle in preventing and eradicating mold issues. Contact a professional at Take2, if necessary, to get on top of the issue before it grows into a bigger and more costly problem.

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