News & FAQ

How to Fight Mold

9/25/2015

Valerie Johannsen People & Brand Manager

Last week we showed you the benefits of using a humidifier to lower energy costs. One issue with increasing humidity levels is that it can promote mold growth if not carefully controlled.  There’s no mistaking the fact that mold growth is always a problem.  Mold spores, along with dust and pollen, aggravate asthma and allergies.  As mold grows on a surface it eats away and destroys the object underneath.  While all strains of mold should be gotten rid of, some are especially dangerous.

Additionally, mold can grow in hidden or hard to see areas such as behind wallpaper or in ventilation ducts. Mold is a problem and should be dealt with swiftly.

Clean Up

Before you begin:

  • For large areas of damage, call a professional
  • DO NOT attempt to cleanup mold if you have severe allergies or asthma, call a professional
  • If you suspect black mold, call a professional immediately
  • If mold has infested your HVAC system, call Service Legends for professional duct cleaning – do not turn on your HVAC system

Whenever you’re working with mold you should avoid breathing in any spores.  Wear a breathing mask to filter out the mold, wear non-ventilated goggles to protect your vision, and use gloves while cleaning (especially when using a strong disinfectant).

Mold grows in damp areas. Try to find whatever has raised relative humidity such as a water leak or condensing surface.  You need to stop the cause of the mold to ensure you won’t be cleaning up mold in the same place a few days later.  Fix leaks or insulate surfaces as needed to prevent water buildup. You can’t completely remove mold, but reducing humidity will prevent it from growing.

Once you’ve found the source of the problem, you can begin to clean up the mold.  Use detergent and water to scrub the surface.  Discard all waste water outdoors.  Use this for hard surfaces only.  Items that are porous (think wood or stone) may need to be discarded, as mold can grow in small cracks and crevices and cannot be cleaned out.

A professional cleaning surface can handle a much larger variety of surfaces and problems.  If you aren’t sure whether or not an item can be cleaned safely, consult a professional immediately.  Rooms that frequently see water (kitchens, bathrooms, etc) should be cleaned regularly to prevent mold growth.

Prevention

Since mold growth is caused by spores landing on damp surfaces, you can prevent mold growth by removing damp surfaces and reducing overall humidity.  Small fixes such as running the bathroom vent fan while showering can reduce humidity in rooms where mold is common.  There are a few other places where homeowners and renters alike should be wary.  HVAC drip pans accumulate water when the drain lines are not clear.  If the drip pan overflows it will leak water out, leading to mold and mildew.

Likewise, if the indoor level of humidity is too great, water vapor can condense on the sides of ventilation ducts, eventually seeping into walls and insulation.  To prevent this, if your humidity levels are too high you can install a dehumidifier to help lower relative humidity. If you see condensation forming on windows regularly, then the humidity level inside your home is far too high.

For additional information, along with health concerns, please read the EPA’s guide to dealing with mold in the home.


Heating and Cooling Des Moines Since 1997

At Service Legends, we take pride in heating and cooling Des Moines and the surrounding areas. Our HVAC services include furnace and air conditioner installation, repairs, maintenance, and tune-ups. Our lineup of Indoor Air Quality solutions includes whole-home humidifiers, air purifiers, and air filtration systems. We can even help with HVAC financing.

Call 515-657-6634 to contact our Home Comfort Heroes today. We’re standing by 24/7.

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