Reducing Moisture to Prevent Mold and Mildew in Your Home

Mold, mildew and other fungi can ruin household items, compromise building components and affect indoor air quality. Homeowners ought to pay particular attention to these environmental hazards, especially since this damage is not always covered by household insurance. Fortunately, such problems can be avoided with proper planning and maintenance.

Mold is a living organism! It requires moisture and a food source to thrive and unfortunately, most homes provide both. Although there are thousands of kinds of mold, few produce toxin, but household molds can trigger symptoms in allergy sufferers. Avoiding mold can help you avoid eye irritation, congestion, and other allergy-related symptoms — and the best way to avoid mold is to avoid moisture. However, with mold enjoying the same temperature climate we do, as well as humidity levels of around 70%, preventing it can be a challenge.

Here are a few household tips to reduce the risk of moisture build up in and around your home that can cause mold & mildew:

  • Keep the house dry — don’t let water build up anywhere and be sure all rooms are ventilated properly to reduce moisture build-up.
  • It is important to constantly monitor the home’s exterior and ensure that interior areas around plumbing fixtures, drains and pipes are kept clean and dry.
  • Don’t forget to fix any leaks or seepage in the house, inside and out.
  • Don’t leave wet clothes in the washing machine where mold can quickly grow.
  • Ensure you wipe down the shower walls and doors/curtains after use and clean the bathroom regularly with mold-killing products.
  • Use exhaust fans/windows in the kitchen and bathrooms. **exhaust fans should be run for 15 – 20 minutes after using the shower to ensure all moisture is pulled out of the room.
  • Don’t have too many indoor plants — especially in the bedroom; mold can grow in plant soil.
  • Blot spills on carpets right away and use a wet/dry vacuum.
  • Repair faucet and appliance leaks as soon as possible.
  • Inspect closets, under sinks, and pull back the edges of carpet to look for mold growth if it is suspected.
  • Turn off humidifiers if you see condensation on windows.
  • Use dehumidifiers and air conditioners in basements and other areas of the house where mold tends to grow, especially in hot humid climates.
  • Clean dehumidifiers and humidifiers every week.
  • On concrete floors, remove carpet and use area rugs that can be lifted and washed, or install a vapor barrier over the concrete.
  • Put plastic over dirt in crawlspaces and keep them well ventilated.
  • During major renovations, be sure to guard against unwanted moisture entering the home — that means that roofing and attics, walls, windows and doors, foundations and crawlspaces, as well as air conditioning and air circulation systems need to be ventilated and/or sealed.

You can read through this article on the CMHC website for a more detailed explanation of mold and how to ‘mold-proof’ your home room by room!
Fighting Mold — The Homeowners’ Guide


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