Because air moves upwards in your home from the bottom floors through the roof and upper levels, mold in the basement means mold in your home. And in apartments and rental homes, the Journal of Property Management reports that lawsuits are being filed in mold-related issues by the tens of thousands. In fact, the vast majority of general liability and property insurance companies have excluded mold from their coverage. This, combined with the lack of regulations set by the Environmental Protection Agency in acceptable results for mold testing, has resulted in a legal battleground, where building managers and homeowners are most often the casualties.
Ignoring a mold problem leads to expensive home damage. Repairs can be long and complicated, and in some cases, the building's inhabitants may need to be relocated until the work is complete. Headaches, stuffy noses, and other allergic reactions that fade quickly once a homeowner has left the house are signs that indoor air pollutants and allergens have reached unacceptable levels. And, as Glenn Fellman, executive director of the Indoor Air Quality Association reminds us, "If you are reacting to a problem because somebody's been sick, you've waited way too long to address indoor air quality". It's important to deal with the problem right away.
Household Mold Facts
Mold grows wherever there's moisture, most notably near old plumbing, leaking roofs, and in damp basements and crawl spaces. If the home was a water problem, it's extremely important to fix the problem right away- all floodwaters should be removed within 48 hours. Click to read about fixing a wet basement or click to learn about fixing a wet crawl space.
Get Rid of House Mold before it Starts
Symptoms of mold allergies- allergic rhinitis- include a runny nose, watery eyes, a scratchy throat, fatigue, general discomfort while breathing, and many other problems. In some rare cases, mold can even be toxic. The American Lung Association has shown that 88 million individuals across the USA suffer from some sort of respiratory distress, with 50% of homes have at least one person with allergies, asthma, or another respiratory ailment.
Many homeowners will attempt to use mold-resistant coatings to keep mold out of an area. However, these coatings are very limited in usefulness. While mold cannot grow on these coatings, it can still grow on everything that is not coated. And even if you coated your ventilation system, all organic material, and everything brought into the space, mold can still grow on dust, and its spores can still be present in the air.
The easiest and most effective mold-prevention method - and the method recommended by the EPA - is to reduce indoor humidity. Combined with removing all sources of water leakage in the home, sealing penetrations in floors and walls, and removing all sources of freestanding water, lowering the humidity level below 60% is an effective way to get rid of mold. This makes a lot of sense: the home will become more comfortable, the house will experience increased energy-efficiency as it conditions the dry air, and because dust mites also need high humidity levels to survive, lowering humidity will do double duty.
A dehumidifier is the answer. However, choosing the best basement dehumidifier can be a challenging prospect. Click to read about how to pick a good dehumidifier, or click to read about dust mites.
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