Keeping Current Matters

National Association of Realtors

Friday, July 18, 2008

Break The Mold!

Break the Mold
Summer’s here. The
temperature is climbing,
and so is the humidity.
And when humidity levels
exceed 70 percent, it can
create prime conditions for
mold growth in your home.
Outdoors, molds are an important part of the ecosystem, breaking down dead leaves, trees and branches. But indoors, it has no rightful place. Indoor molds, often called black mold, can cause health problems, such as asthma and allergic reactions, and can irritate the eyes, nose, throat and lungs.
In some cases, mold is simple to spot — along windowsills, in the shower or on damp wood. Finding it throughout the rest of your home, however, is not always as easy. It can be hidden behind walls that might have suffered previous water damage, under old flooring or carpets, or within the HVAC system. If you walk into a room that smells especially musty, you’re probably smelling mold.
Determining who should do the cleanup depends on the extent of the mold. If the moldy area is smaller than 3 feet by 3 feet, you can usually handle the job yourself. However, if it’s larger than 3 feet by 3 feet, if there’s a lot of water damage or if you suspect it’s in the HVAC system, hire a contractor who has experience in cleaning mold.
Take precautions if you do the cleanup yourself. Avoid breathing in mold or mold spores. Many hardware stores carry N-95 respirator masks, which catch most mold spores before they enter your breathing space. Wear long gloves that extend to the middle of the forearm to avoid touching the mold with your bare hands and use protective goggles with ventilation holes.
To prevent mold buildup in the future, fix plumbing leaks and other water problems as soon as you notice them, and be sure to dry everything completely.

Source: Environmental Protection Agency