Both mold and mildew need a damp, moist environment along with organic material to thrive. Homes are rife with such locations. Your roof, the foundation, nooks and crannies–you name it and if the conditions are right, you’ll more than likely find mold there.
Mold and mildew reproduce fast so it’s best to deal with it as soon as the symptoms arise. Today, we’ll be discussing common breeding grounds for mold and mildew and simple solutions for them.
Location: Leaky air-conditioning duct joints–those running through a hot attic.
Solution: Seal all duct joints with the special flexible mastic available at heating and cooling supply stores.
Location: Impermeable vinyl wall coverings. These can trap moisture from the air as it moves from the warm exterior to the cooler interior. Mold can degrade the drywall and the adhesive behind the vinyl wall coverings.
Solution: Make use of paint or wall coverings with permeable paper backings that don’t trap moisture on exterior walls.
Location: Service rooms where the washing machine or dryer is placed. Service rooms where water runs through pipes but has no point of exit.
Solution: Always make sure there is a floor drain near the washing machine. Install an overflow pan directly under the machine or install a one inch lip at the doorway to contain overflows in main-level or second-story laundry rooms.
Location: Water-resistant drywall used as a tile backer. This can quickly degrade once subjected to moisture.
Solution: Install a cement backer board. This should remain structurally sound even if repeatedly subjected to moisture.
Location: Poorly ventilated bathrooms.
Solution: Install a bathroom fan in order to exhaust moisture. If mold or mildew already exists, you can clean the area using a 1/2 percent bleach and water solution. When the are is dry, rub it with an alcohol-based solution. For the walls, you can make use of paint containing mildewcide or something of the like.
Location: Poorly constructed crawlspaces. These promote mildew growth. Bare earth floor transmit huge amounts of moisture.
Solution: You can cover the bare earth with a 6-mil poly sheeting. Or you may even heat, cool, and humidify the area the same as the rest of the house.
Location: Freshly cut firewood. What a lot of people do is that they store these indoors for easier access. What they don’t realize is that these emit a huge amount of moisture which is conducive for mold and mildew.
Solution: Store it outside.
Location: Reservoir type humidifiers. When unclean or misused make a perfect way to breed and distribute mold and mildew.
Solution: Always clean and treat the reservoir often with an antimicrobial solution. These are available at most hardware stores in any area.
Location: The condensation pan under the coil of the central AC unit. This harbors mold quite a bit as it is often overlooked.
Solution: Before the season where the AC unit is used a lot, clean the pan with a half bleach, half water solution. Also, make sure that the continuous drain is functioning properly.
Location: Concrete basements that haven’t been waterproofed from the outside. Moisture tends to migrate through the earth and non-waterproofed concrete walls. The moisture can then be trapped behind vapor barriers, carpets, layers of insulation and even drywall.
Solution: Make sure to thoroughly waterproof the exterior of concrete walls before backfilling. It’s best to install at least 6 inches of gravel under concrete floors during construction to prevent moisture from coming up through concrete floors and into floor coverings.
Location: Your home’s foundation. When your yards are sloped towards the foundation, water may start to pool there and mold will follow shortly. Or worse, the water may enter basements and crawlspaces.
Solution: Regrade the area of your yard around the home. Ensure that the slopes are angled that water flows away from the house.
Location: Improperly flashed or caulked windows. These let moisture seep into the surrounding wood, insulation, or even the drywall.
Solution: Properly flash and caulk windows during installation. A good way to minimize condensation is through good ventilation and airflow in an area.
Location: The attic, insulation, and eaves. Leaky flashings and shingles are to blame for moisture building up in these areas.
Solution: Always perform periodic roof inspections.