Have the Sniffles Got You Down?
Did you know mold allergies get worse during the winter? Indoor heat inside your house pulls air from the crawl space into the living space. Sometimes it’s hard to see the water damage, you may need a professional with a moisture meter and infrared cameras to see if there’s a leak.
What Are the Symptoms?
Symptoms of mold are very similar to other allergies, such as sneezing, itching, running nose, congestion and dry, scaling skin. Reactions worsen in a damp or moldy room such as a basement.
How to Prevent Mold and Mildew Inside Your Home
• Get your house tested for mold. A moisture meter test will help. Also, a dust sample from your carpet can show whether mold spores are in your home. Check with your state health department about mold testing.
• Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water. If you have mold in your crawl space or basement, locate the source and stop the water from coming in.
If your crawl space has mold, call an environmental service to get rid of it. If a small area is moldy, you can try cleaning it yourself.
• Check inside drywall for mold inside the wall. You can usually smell mold even if you can’t see it. Moldy drywall must be cut out and replaced. Moldy insulation also must be removed and replaced.
• Wash mold off hard surfaces. You don’t have to use chlorine bleach; soap and water, combined with scrubbing from a stiff brush, works to remove mold. Some people also recommend vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. Non-toxic cleaners are also available. Allow areas to dry completely.
• Dry water-damaged areas and items (like carpeting) within 24 to 48 hours of flooding. Don’t install carpeting in areas where there is a moisture problem.
• If ceiling tiles or carpet have become moldy, they must be replaced. Throw out all wet, moldy tiles and carpeting.
• Reduce indoor humidity by venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources. Exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens can help. If you don’t have exhaust fans, crack a window in the kitchen when you’re cooking or in the bathroom when you’re bathing.
• Use air conditioners and dehumidifiers inside your home. Change filters regularly. Use a dehumidifier to get rid of dampness in basements.
• Add insulation to windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors where there is potential for condensation on cold surfaces.