As the warmer weather is beginning to move in, I am breathing a sigh of relief. However, I am also thinking about the impact spring has on our exposure to mold. The past 2 months in the southern US have been extremely wet. In fact, in Georgia where I live, we’ve already had 60% of the projected rainfall for the whole year! So just a few reminders of avoiding mold issues this time of year.
1. The leaves and debris left by fall and winter really pile up. Since it’s mold’s job to eat away at dead things to clean up our environment, we know it’s everywhere outside. When tilling or raking in the spring, you release not only mold, but mycotoxins (mold’s chemical warfare to protect itself). I spent 2+ months in bed last year recovering from a 5 minute raking job. Now, I am armed with gloves, hats, coverall and several grades of masks to protect me from a replay of mold sickness.
2. The thaw of the last bits of ice and snow from the winter and the higher concentration of moisture in the air create ideal conditions for mold to grow. As you open up and clean out your home this spring, be aware that these conditions could cause excessive mold growth. Generally, you want to have humidity in your house below 50%. Running your A/C periodically can reduce moisture. Humidifiers help tremendously. Placing moisture absorbing materials in your closets and basements can also help.
3. Let your nose be your guide. If you smell mold, but don’t see it, you may have mold under your wallpaper, inside your walls or hidden in other unsuspecting places. Certain homes have issues with water from the outside leaking into the home. If you notice the basement or crawl space in your home has water marks or collects water after or during the rain, your basement will become very humid.When excess humidity isn’t dealt with quickly (especially in basements where ventilation is lacking), mold problems can develop. My daughter recently put a contract down on a really cute house. However, the inspector found mold in the crawl space. Remediation or no sale! Just be cautious this time of year!