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Controlling moisture in a home is a critical step to preventing mold. While your plumber should be your go-to professional for managing any type of water leaks, vigilance in a few key areas can make a big difference. It takes just a matter of hours for mold to begin growing once water saturates furniture, carpeting, drywall, or other surfaces. Unless you are routinely monitoring for moisture, your home is at risk for mold growth.
To keep your home mold-free, you’ll want to control moisture. Here are some key tips to help you. Ask your plumber for additional recommendations based on your home’s areas of concern.
Use a Dehumidifier
Ideally, a whole-home dehumidifier will provide excellent control of moisture buildup. You can set the proper level of humidity within the home, based on your comfort level. Your plumber can help to install a whole-home dehumidifier and program it to manage your home as you would like.
If you choose to keep costs lower, consider a smaller, portable dehumidifier. Place these in locations where moisture is a concern, such as in bathrooms and basements. It’s essential to monitor them, empty the water that collects in them, and move them around as moisture concentrations change.
Have a Plumber Check for Leaks
If you haven’t had an inspection of your home for potential water leaks, hire a plumber to provide one. This is especially important if there are signs of leaks. Those may include:
- Ceiling tiles with dark marks or water spots
- Drywall that’s crumbing
- Mold growth along baseboards or floors
- Warping floorboards or drywall areas
- Beading water on window ledges
In all cases, leaks are the biggest culprit to mold growth in homes. Ensure your plumbing team spots any areas of potential moisture and fixes the underlying cause of the leak. This can sometimes be a complex problem, especially if leaks are behind walls.
Let the Fresh Air In
Air circulation can also help to reduce mold-growth by eliminating moisture buildup. Opening the windows on a nice day allows for fresh, dry air to come into the home. This helps to dry out the unseen moisture throughout the area. When you cannot open the windows, turn on a fan for a few hours in various areas of the home. This helps to keep air moving.
Keep Bathroom Moisture Limited with Fans
Having a fan in your bathroom helps the area to dry out fast. These dehumidifying fans work to pull out moisture (along with odor) and push it out of the home through a vent. Whenever someone takes a shower or bath, ensure the fan is going. The sooner you can get it on, the more moisture it will remove from the bathroom.
Monitor for Changes at the Foundation
If you have a basement, walk along the walls to spot for areas of concern. If you don’t have a basement, walk along the outside area of the home and look for signs of damage in crawl spaces. Your goal is to spot signs of water buildup. Many homes have sump pumps and drainage tiles that should work to pull water away from the foundation, keeping it dry. However, problems can occur, including failures of the pumping mechanism.
Look for signs of foundation damage that could be related to moisture such as:
- Cracks, especially larger cracks or ones you have not noticed before
- Crumbing cement
- Moisture beading up on the wall (touch it – if it’s wet, you’ll feel it)
- Changes in the way doors and windows close (uneven frames are an indication of foundation changes
- Any flooding after rain
If you have any of this type of damage, it’s critical to take action. Plumbers can help to determine why moisture isn’t draining properly. Most often, they can fix the underlying cause. However, more extensive foundation repair may be necessary in some cases. That may require a specialist.
Ensure Your Air Conditioner Is Working Well
While your plumber may not handle air conditioning systems, they will help you with drainage problems related to them. Air conditioners help pull moisture out of the air. On a hot, summer day, using the AC will help to make the air quality more comfortable by removing that humidity. When the days are damp, such as a hot and rainy day, running the air conditioner will help to dry out the home.
Be careful about running the air conditioner if there is mold already present in your home. For example, if you’ve had a flood and mold growth developed, don’t use the air conditioner. Turning it on will allow mold spores to enter into the HVAC system. They can then easily spread to every room of your home. Instead, work to remove the mold from your home before using your air conditioner (or your furnace).
Keep Outdoor Drainage Top of the Mind
With the help of your plumber, consider just how well water is draining away from your home. Sewers and outdoor water lines tend to be the biggest problems here. For example, if there is a spigot near your garden that’s leaking, even a very little bit, this is going to increase the amount of moisture near your foundation.
If water builds up along the outside of the foundation, it’s time to talk to your landscaping team (not just your plumber!) You’ll want to grade the property so that the highest point is against the home, allowing gravity to move water away from it.
Fix Plumbing Problems Fast
Perhaps the most important step in keeping your home mold-free is to get repairs taken care of by your plumber as soon as possible. If you notice a dripping faucet, call your plumber right away. This prevents problems from worsening. Tell them about slow-moving drains or backed up sewer lines. They can safely fix the problem, minimizing mold growth.
If you have mold growth present, talk to your plumber at bluefrog Plumbing + Drain about the source. Most of the time, they can track down the water issues causing it, giving you a solution to help resolve the unwanted hassle before it turns into a bigger mess.