It’s a problem man has battled since the dawn of time—controlling mold. It lurks in the corners and can cause major damage and nasty health issues. As long as moisture and oxygen are present, mold can grow indoors or out on virtually any organic substance, including wood, paper, carpet, insulation and food. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur, especially if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed.
It is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. However, mold growth can be controlled by keeping moisture in check. Moisture control is key—mold cannot grow without it.
Left untreated, mold gradually destroys the material on which it is growing. Because molds produce allergens, irritants and toxins, they have the potential to cause a variety of health problems and can exacerbate existing conditions, such as asthma.
If mold is a problem in your home, clean up the mold and get rid of the excess water or moisture. If an area becomes water damaged, it is important to dry that space and any damaged items within 24–48 hours to prevent mold growth. Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water to prevent recurrence. Wash mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water and dry completely. Absorbent materials (such as ceiling tiles and carpet) that become moldy may have to be replaced.
For more information on how to clean up residential mold problems and how to prevent mold growth, download the Environmental Protection Agency’s free publication, A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home at www.epa.gov/mold/pdfs/moldguide.pdf.