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Mold and Moisture in Your Home

Mold and moisture is part of the natural environment.  Outside your home, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided.

Mold is usually not a problem indoors, unless spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing.  Mold has the potential to cause health problems. Mold produces allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins).  Inhaling or touching mold or spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

Moisture and Mold Prevention and Control Tips

  • When water leaks or spills occur indoors – ACT QUICKLY. If wet or damp materials or areas are dried 24-48 hours after a leak or spill happens, in most cases mold will not grow.Moisture control is the key to mold control
  • Clean and repair roof gutters regularly.
  • Make sure the ground slopes away from the building foundation, so that water does not enter or collect around the foundation.
  • Keep air conditioning drip pans clean and the drain lines unobstructed and flowing properly.
  • Keep indoor humidity low. If possible, keep indoor humidity below 60 percent (ideally between 30 and 50 percent) relative humidity. Relative humidity can be measured with a moisture or humidity meter, a small, inexpensive ($10-$50) instrument available at many hardware stores.
  • If you see condensation or moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes ACT QUICKLY to dry the wet surface and reduce the moisture/water source. Condensation can be a sign of high humidity.

 

Actions That Will Help Reduce Humidity

  • Vent appliances that produce moisture, such as clothes dryers, stoves, and kerosene heaters to the outside where possible.  (Combustion appliances such as stoves and kerosene heaters produce water vapor and will increase the humidity unless vented to the outside.)
  • Use air conditioners and/or de-humidifiers when needed.
  • Run the bathroom fan or open the window when showering. Use exhaust fans or open windows whenever cooking, running the dishwasher or dishwashing, etc.

It is impossible to get rid of all mold and spores indoors; some spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust.  The spores will not grow if moisture is not present.  Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors.  If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean it up and fix the water problem causing the mold.  If you clean up the mold, but don’t fix the water problem, then, most likely, the mold problem will come back.

Don’t make the mistake a lot of people make with mold, thinking you can clean it up yourself using bleach. The use of chlorine bleach is NOT recommended as a routine practice during mold cleanup.

If you suspect you have a mold problem, call a Brown and Reaves Services at 843-497-9867. We are certified in mold testing. When we test, we send samples to a lab for analyzing to determine what type of mold it is and the best way to remove it. Most of what we find is HVAC related and we can treat that for you.

Remember to visit and LIKE US on Facebook and grab your 20% off discount coupon on your next service call.

Mold: Things You Should Know

Mold affects different people in different ways. Some people are more sensitive to it than others. Exposure to mold can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Some people with chronic lung illnThings you should know about moldesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop infections in their lungs.

There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and their spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture. If mold is a problem in your home, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent future growth.

Water in your home can come from many sources. Water can enter your home by leaking or by seeping through basement floors. Showers or even cooking can add moisture to the air in your home. The amount of moisture that the air in your home can hold depends on the temperature of the air. As the temperature goes down, the air is able to hold less moisture. This is why, in cold weather, moisture condenses on cold surfaces (for example, drops of water form on the inside of a window). This moisture can encourage biological pollutants to grow.

Pay special attention to carpet on concrete floors. Carpet can absorb moisture and serve as a place for biological pollutants to grow. Use area rugs which can be taken up and washed often. In certain climates, if carpet is to be installed over a concrete floor, it may be necessary to use a vapor barrier (plastic sheeting) over the concrete and cover that with sub-flooring (insulation covered with plywood) to prevent a moisture problem.

Moisture problems and their solutions differ from one climate to another. Here in the South it is mostly hot and wet. The use of air conditioners which cool the air too quickly may prevent the air conditioners from running long enough to remove excess moisture from the air. The types of construction and weatherization can lead to different problems and solutions.

Important points to understand concerning mold detection in heating and cooling systems:

Many sections of your heating and cooling system may not be accessible for a visible inspection. You should be aware that although a substance may look like mold, a positive determination of whether it is mold or not can be made only by an expert and may require laboratory analysis for final confirmation. For about $50, some microbiology laboratories can tell you whether a sample sent to them on a clear strip of sticky household tape is mold or simply a substance that resembles it.

If you have insulated air ducts and the insulation gets wet or moldy it cannot be effectively cleaned and should be removed and replaced. If the conditions causing the mold growth in the first place are not corrected, mold growth will recur.

If you suspect you may have a mold problem in your home, you may need a professional to take care of it for you. NEVER try to treat it yourself, as mold must be treated the correct way, or you could just enhance the problem.

It’s possible that a mold problem could be coming from your air conditioning system. We’d be happy to check your system for you to make sure it’s not creating or enhancing a mold issue in your home.

 

Like us on Facebook and grab our 20% off coupon for your next service call with Brown and Reaves Services, Inc. Call us today at (843) 497-9867.

Mold, Moisture and Your Home

I’m sure you have heard a lot about mold recently.  It seems to be an ever growing nuisance.   The number one question we hear is, “Why is mold growing in my home?”  Mold is a part of our natural environment.  Outdoors mold plays a large part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as dead trees and fallen leaves, but indoor mold growth is a totally different story.

Mold can gradually destroy the things it grows on; the longer it grows the more damage it causes.  You can prevent damage to your home and furnishings, save money, and avoid potential health problems by controlling moisture and eliminating mold growth.  The key to mold control is moisture control.  If mold is a problem in your home, it’s time to act quickly!

Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless they have found a bed of moisture to grow in.  This is when molds start causing health problems.  Molds can produce irritants and in some cases toxic substances.  Inhaling or touching mold spores can cause allergic reactions such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, skin rashes, and can irritate the throat and lungs.  Allergic reactions to mold are quite common; they can be immediate or delayed.

Moisture control is the key to mold control, so when you have a water leak indoors, act quickly to have it taken care of.  If wet or damp areas are dried within 24-48 hours after a leak or spill happens, in most cases mold will not grow.

Here are a few tips to help keep moisture under control in your home:

  • Clean and repair your roof gutters regularly
  • Make sure that water does not enter or collect around the foundation   of   your home.
  • Keep indoor air-conditioning drip pan clean and the drain lines unobstructed and flowing properly.
  • Keep indoor humidity low. If possible keep the humidity below 60% relative humidity.  (Relative humidity can be measured with a moisture or humidity meter, which is a small, inexpensive instrument that can be purchased at many hardware stores.)

If you see condensation collecting on windows, walls or pipes, act now!  Dry the wet surface immediately. Condensation is a sign of high humidity.  How to reduce the humidity in your home.

  • Vent appliances that produce moisture, such as clothes dryers and stoves.
  • Use a de-humidifier when needed.
  • Run the bathroom fan or open the window when showering.  Use exhaust fans or open windows when cooking, running the dishwasher, etc.

If you suspect that your heating and cooling system or your ductwork is contaminated with mold, make an appointment with us today for a system inspection.

QUICK TIPS!

Washing clothes in cold water instead of warm or hot water can save up to $167 per year!

Change the setting on your water heater, 120 degrees for electric and the warm setting for gas water heaters.  Water heating is the 3rd largest energy expense in your home.

Put a dry towel in the dryer with a wet load of clothes to speed drying time.

Install aerators on the faucets, the less hot water you use the more money you save!

If you have any questions or comments, or have any problems or questions about your  heat/air conditioning unit, please contact us.

Daniel Brown  843-424-0192

Jon Reaves 843-902-9829

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