Have you ever had the unwelcoming experience of finding that piece of pizza that you shoved in the back of the refrigerator and forgot about for a few weeks, and it developed a green fungus on it? That green fungus is often mold and mold can also find a place(s) inside your home.
Mold, by broad definition, is a type of fungus that sprouts from microscopic spores floating in the air.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mold can cause many health effects.
Health risks associate with indoor mold growth include:
- Runny Nose
- Red Eyes
- Skin Rashes
- Asthma Attacks
These risks are especially harmful for children, elderly people, and those with pre-existing respiratory illnesses.
Where Does Mold Grow Around Your Home?
Showers and bathtubs are one of the most common places you may find mold. The sink and toilet can also be growth areas, as well as walls and on the floor. A hot shower often produces steam, and that steam and dampness creates an environment that is ideal for mold growth. Bathrooms that lack proper ventilation (window, a fan, or ideally, both) are especially prone to attracting mold.
The kitchen sink can be a busy place – dirty plates, food that is scraped into the garbage disposal (if you have one connected) and that sponge, or towel, you use to scrub the dishware. All these spots contribute to the potential for mold growth, so check in these areas often if you want to prevent mold.
Appliances can also contribute to mold growth. Your refrigerator, microwave and stove all have direct contact with food. Food, especially if it’s expired, can cause mold. Remember that piece of pizza that was shoved towards the back of your refrigerator? In addition to those evident places, fridge drip trays and water dispensers collect water and provide an ideal place for mold to grow.
In addition, cutting boards, trash cans and areas behind the appliances that are not often cleaned are rich environments for mold to grow in your home.
In your Bedroom
It’s horrific to think about, but finding mold on your mattress is a real thing and mold can sneak into your bedsheets.
Many homeowners first spot black mold on windows when they open them up for spring weather after having them shut during Fall and Winter. Mold around windowsills is commonly caused by dampness trapped in small crevices in or near the perimeter of the window, creating sports of mold and mildew.
Air Conditioning and Heating Vents.
Your Living Room
Couch and Curtains. Fabric and upholstery do a great job of collecting mold spores. Indoor Plants, if not monitored and taken care of can also cause mold. Fireplaces and Chimneys are cool, damp, and dark, making them a hot bed for mold.
All the areas listed above can be ecosystems for mold to grow. Other areas where mold can be hiding is your attic, in the basement, and your garage.
All areas listed above can provide the food that mold needs to grow. The one ingredient all mold needs most is moisture and all homes have the key ingredients needed for mold growth: the presence of mold spores, a surface for it to grow on, oxygen, warmth, and darkness. So, you’re likely to see mold in damp places such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, basements, and crawl spaces.
Signs Mold is Growing in Your Home
Mold can be caused by several things, including a flooded basement, burst pipe, and rain damage. It can also hide in carpets, walls, and ceilings, making it almost impossible to detect. As described above, mold in the home is dangerous and it might be tough to spot and detect it, unless you know what you are looking for. Below are some key warning signs that you might have mold in your home.
- A musty, earthy smell. If you smell a persistent musty odor, then there might be mold in your home.
- Visible signs of mold growth. Some mold appears white and thread-like. Others appear in clusters of small black spots. Mold might be gray-brown, black, gray-green, or white. Mold that grows behind vinyl and wallpaper might be orange, pink or purple.
- Condensation. If you notice condensation on your doors and windows, it’s a sure sign of moisture in your home which will inevitably lead to mold.
- Mold sickness. This can be a common sign of mold exposure and it can be severe in some cases. Especially if you suffer from allergies or asthma, mold can enhance your symptoms to the point that you feel sick.
Luckily, there are preventative measures that you can take to prevent mold from forming and growing in your home.
How Do You Prevent Mold?
Reducing moisture in your home is the best way to prevent or eliminate mold growth in your home. A blog we wrote earlier this year, Humidity Levels in Your Home can be an educational piece that describes how your humidity level in your home can influence mold either growing or not appearing.
Described below is some advice for reducing moisture throughout the home, preventing mold growth, and specific tips for the areas most prone to dampness and mold growth:
- Use dehumidifies and air conditioners, especially in hot, humid climates, to reduce moisture in the air.
- Keep indoor humidity below 60% if possible. You can measure relative humidity with a hygrometer, an inexpensive instrument available at many hardware stores.
- Keep the house warm in cool weather. As the temperature goes down, the air is less able to hold moisture and it condenses on cold surfaces, which can encourage mold growth.
- Dry wet areas within 24 to 48 hours to prevent mold growth.
- An Air Exchanger can help reduce overall moisture in your home, if set properly – read our informative blog about Air Exchangers and the Importance of Their Maintenance.
- Open doors between rooms to increase circulation. Increase air circulation by using fans and by moving furniture from wall corners. Using exhaust fans to move moisture outside (not in the attic) whenever you are cooking, washing dishes, or cleaning.
- Monitor all areas described and keep consistently clean.
At Kura Home, we focus on Routine Home Maintenance and specifically taking preventative measures to ensure your home is running both efficiently and effectively through our Routine Home Maintenance plans. We encourage you to read our other educational blogs at: kurahome.com/blog/.