Mold plays an important part of nature’s cycle of breaking down organisms, but no one wants it inside their home. Mold grows in moist, oxygenated areas such as walls, carpets, and ceilings. If your home has been damaged by water from a leak or burst pipe, your home could be in danger of a mold outbreak. Even without an unexpected water disaster, an environment with high humidity can cause mold to grow inside. So what are some ways homeowners can prevent mold from growing in their home?

How does mold get inside?
We all want to protect our home from damage but sometimes accidents happen. Leaky pipes go undetected until wall rot or collected pools of water are eventually discovered months later. Hurricanes and severe storms can damage roofs and cause moisture to enter into an attic and slowly permeate insulation and drip down into drywall. Even the most steadfast homeowner can still be exposed to mold in their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. Condensation in humid environments can cause HVAC ductwork and air vents to remain moist inside even when the system is not running. Mold can grow and thrive in the ducts and on moisture lingering in the vent outlet. Each time the system turns on, dangerous spores can potentially spread through the air. Allergic reactions with flu-like symptoms and respiratory complications can easily occur and the homeowner may not be aware of the source of the problem.

Stopping Mold Before it Starts
The way to prevent mold is by controlling moisture. Sounds simple, right? This is one of those times where it is easier said than done. Mold is present almost everywhere and cannot be completely removed from the environment, but it can be treated and controlled.

If you see a wet area from a leak, spill, or are that is gathering of condensation, wipe it up immediately and dry it out. The shower and bathroom are especially susceptible to mold grown, so wipe off any moisture on your tiles and shower curtain or door with a washcloth before you leave the bathroom. This may sound excessive, but it’s a simply way to prevent mold and mildew growth in a matter of seconds. Make sure your home has proper ventilation. Circulating air can wick away moisture that may gather in the oven vent from cooking on a stove. Monitor the humidity in your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. Many units come with a thermostat that has a humidity reader on a digital readout. Home maintenance and hardware stores also sell an inexpensive moisture meter anyone can use. Humidity inside a house should be less than 60 percent to prevent moisture from gathering around air vents and windows.

The key to reducing mold is controlling the moisture in your home. Keep the air flowing, wipe off excess moisture anywhere you see it, and be aware of any home damage that may occur with storms or flooding with heavy rains. Even houseplants that are overwatered can be a bed for mold, so remain diligent about moisture and keep your home safe and healthy.