Not too long ago, a friend of mine ordered some out-of-print magazines she wanted for a collection she maintained. Several hours after unpacking them, she started having all sorts of coughing and respiratory distress. It turns out the old magazines were saturated with mold. The mold spores were released into the air as soon as she disturbed them. She is fine now and fully recovered, but it just goes to show you that mold can get you when you least expect it!
The Triangle of Mold Growth
I remember a lecture in grade school about the dangers of fire. It showed a simple triangle of what was required to start a fire. All you need is fuel, oxygen and heat. In almost all cases, fuel and oxygen are available. Think of your home or the dry vegetation in a forest. All it needs is a heat source to ignite. Mold is no different. Mold spores are everywhere. The only place you probably will not find them are in special laboratory clean rooms or totally sterile lab environments. How many of these places do you visit daily? I know I have never been in one!
Mold needs just three things as well to thrive, survive and propagate: food, desirable temperatures and water. Just about everything around us seems to be a food source for mold. Certain molds eat dust. Others eat wood. Some love drywall paper. Certain molds thrive on the natural oils found in some highly advertised deck sealers. That is why I love to use synthetic resin deck sealers that do not support mold growth. You name it, a mold will eat it. Did you know that trees and bushes produce a fine mist of sugar spray at certain times of the year? Outdoor molds thrive on this food. This is one reason your deck, patio or other outdoor furniture gets covered with mold and you wonder what it might be eating.
Stopping Mold Growth
The only thing we can do to stop mold growth is to cut off its water supply. Think of mold as grass seed. If you keep the grass seed dry and in your garage, it will not sprout and grow.
To eliminate mold in your home, keep it dry. Prevent roof leaks or side wall leaks. If you have a wet basement, install a Linear French Drain.
- Keep bathroom humidity low by opening shower doors and curtains.
- Leave the bathroom door open when you are not in it.
- Squeegee water from shower walls when you are done if possible. Shake shower curtains before stepping out of the shower.
- Get as much water down the drain as soon as possible.
- Use your head and do whatever is possible to keep bathrooms dry.
- Don't allow water to build up in attics.
- Use great ridge and soffit ventilation.
- Make sure clothes dryers vent to the outdoors.
- Never allow them to vent into an attic or crawl space.
- Fix plumbing leaks immediately.
- Simply use some common sense to keep your home and possessions as dry as possible.
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