Warm, Wet Summer Weather Brings With it Risk of Mold
The summer weather in southwest Michigan is shaping up to be much different than in past summers. According to local meteorologists, the colder-than-normal summers for the past years will give way to a warmer, wetter summer.
With all the recent rain we’ve had lately, that prediction looks to be accurate. Warm, wet weather brings another threat: mold.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), molds are part of the natural environment. Outside, they help by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores that float through the air. Thus, waiting for the perfect conditions of high humidity and appropriate temperatures to grow.
The mold may begin growing indoors when spores land on wet surfaces, which has the potential to cause health problems. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), some mold can cause an allergic reaction in people. This includes nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing or skin irritation. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma or other upper respiratory problems.
Molds can be found almost anywhere and can grow on any surface or substance, providing moist weather is present. The key to mold control is moisture control. While we cannot guarantee you’ll be able to completely prevent mold from happening, the seven tips below may help to greatly reduce it from becoming a problem this summer:
STOP WATER LEAKS.
When water leaks indoors, act quickly by cleaning it thoroughly, identifying the source and fixing it immediately. If wet or damp materials or areas are dried 24 to 48 hours after a leak happens, mold will not grow in most cases.
REDUCE HUMIDITY OVERALL.
Mold can begin to grow when humidity levels are as low as 56%. If possible, keep indoor humidity below 60 percent (ideally between 30% and 50%). Relative humidity can be measured with a moisture or humidity meter, a small, inexpensive ($10-$50) instrument available at hardware stores.
USE AIR CONDITIONERS AND/OR DEHUMIDIFIERS DURING THE SUMMER.
A dehumidifier removes excess moisture from the air. You can buy a whole house dehumidifier unit that attaches to your furnace and connects to a drain so you never have to empty a tank, however, a portable dehumidifier will also suffice at a much smaller cost (typically between $150-$300). Most models have an automatic shut-off feature to prevent water from overflowing. Regular use of air-conditioning can keep your home cool and dry as well. Consider setting the thermostat at 78 degrees and properly size your air-conditioning unit for the size of your home.
ENCOURAGE GOOD AIRFLOW.
Ventilate your home with fresh, outside air. Open windows, turn on ceiling fans and utilize the exhaust fans in bathrooms or kitchens. Eliminate clutter, which blocks airflow and make sure furniture is not sitting on the ducts.
MAKE SURE THE GROUND OUTSIDE SLOPES AWAY FROM THE BUILDING’S FOUNDATION
so rainwater does not enter the building or collect around the foundation.
Condensation can be a sign of high humidity. If you see it collecting on windows, concrete walls or metal pipes, act quickly to dry the wet surface and reduce the moisture source. Use fans as needed and insulate properly (windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, floors, etc.)
FRESHEN YOUR BATHROOM.
The bathroom is probably one of the best places to find mold but if you keep it well-ventilated you should minimize the problem. Crack open a window or utilize the exhaust fan when taking a shower so excess moisture moves out of the room. Keep the fan running at least 15 minutes after your shower ends. top leaky faucets and showerheads. Spread towels out after each use so they dry thoroughly. Wipe down the shower and tub after every use. Choose shower curtains that dry and clean easily or consider buying one that can be laundered in the washing machine
According to the EPA, standards for airborne concentrations of mold, or mold spores, have not been set yet. And, there are currently no EPA regulations or standards for airborne mold contaminants. The EPA recommends that mold sampling is conducted by professionals who have specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods, and interpreting results as recommended by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), and other professional organizations.
No matter the extent of the damage, Anderson Brothers Cleaning & Restoration is ready to assist. Our technicians are IICRC-certified and monitor all phases of mold remediation, including inspection and evaluation, establishing and reaching drying objectives, contents cleaning and restoration (electronics and documents), clearance testing and more.
Once the area has passed environmental testing, your home or office is then ready to be turned over to our highly trained construction crew (ABS Construction Services) who can take the necessary steps to stabilize and repair your property to the way it was.
With offices in Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, Michigan, Anderson Brothers Cleaning & Restoration provides emergency services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to respond to water, fire and smoke damage for residential, commercial and industrial clients. Every phone call is returned in less than 30 minutes and someone can be on-site within an hour in most cases. Call us today!