6 mold prevention tips for a healthy home
Mold. It’s one of those things homeowners dread. Not only is it unsightly, but also if left, mold in the home can affect your health, producing allergens and irritants. Thankfully mold prevention isn’t some form of dark art but actually quite preventable and the technique to avoiding mold in the home is: moisture control.
How does mold develop?
Mold always arises from moisture in the building. Humidity, sweating and steam from the bathroom or the kitchen increase the humidity. It only takes 24-48 hours for mold spores to develop, so if the humidity rises above 60-65% then you might start seeing the signs within 24 hours. Mold can grow anywhere: on clothing, carpets or on your walls; to prevent mold keep the humidity below this level.
Conversely in the summer if it’s warmer outside than inside the home you’ll begin to see the signs of condensation too. There is a simple mold prevention solution; to avoid mold each room needs to be sufficiently heated.
Structural defects causing mold
Sometimes structural defects are the reason for mold growth. Unfortunately problems only become noticeable when the mold has already set in.
Regular inspections of your home for maintenance issues such as loose roof tiles or broken guttering may help you avoid mold in your home. You may even notice other issues that can be easily solved such as moisture collecting on pipes in bathrooms.
1. Keep your property properly ventilated
Airing is an excellent way to prevent the signs of mold appearing in your home. It’s not always practical to keep your home properly ventilated which is why experts suggest using a dehumidifier. One with an automatic sensor is even better, which means as soon as your home reaches above 60% humidity it will switch on.
Other options include installing vents in your windows, although this isn't an effective way to avoid mold. Keeping your windows open is impractical in the winter months, but if you can, try to open them several times a day for a few minutes.
Tips for airing your home
Airing your home requires managing the circulation, so it’s best to open all windows and doors at the same time when it’s cool outside, like mornings and night. Experts also suggest to leave your windows open when it’s warmer inside than outside but not to do this when the heating is on.
2. Preventing mold through heating
It makes sense that people want to save on heating cost, but one of the best mold prevention techniques is keeping your heating on.
If you seriously want to avoid mold in your home then avoid rooms cooling completely. Experts recommend that the ideal temperature for living rooms is 20°C, 23°C for the bathroom and children’s rooms, and 16C for the bedroom and kitchen. It is recommended that you never let the temperature of your home fall below 14°C.
3. Drying wet areas
If mold can’t grow without moisture then make sure that any water that has developed from leaks, heavy rainfall or a spill are managed quickly. Even drying walls and tiles after a shower or bath can help you avoid mold growing.
4. Avoid drying clothes on radiators
Not always practical for people living in flats or during the wet, winter months. However, drying clothes on a radiator can cause you problems. The flash increase of moisture in the air will certainly create damp spots in your home.
It’s best to dry your clothes immediately after washing by hanging them on a washing line. An alternative would be to use a tumble dryer but they can often produce condensation, increasing humidity.
5. Consider using mold resistant products
One of the best ways to prevent mold is to use mold resistant products during home renovations. For example you can now buy mold resistant plasterboard and insulation, likewise paints are available with mold inhibitors.
Summary of mold prevention
- Mold is favored by a high humidity – keep your property below 60-65% humidity.
- Keep an eye out for water leaks in your property and clean them up straight away.
- Be mindful that opening windows isn’t always the solution to venting your home.
- Keeping your home at a set temperature is critical to preventing mold from growing.
- If you spot wet areas, mop them up straight away. Spores can develop within 24 hours.
- Avoid drying clothes indoors if you can.