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Home Decor

Mold and Mildew

When you notice green discoloration on the walls or ceiling or the room smells musty, then you know you have a mold and mildew problem. High levels of humidity or a water leak can cause mold and mildew. The extent of damage to the house is proportionate to the extent and spread of mold and mildew. This can cause structural damage, permanent discoloration of paint and health problems as well. Mold and mildew grow and thrive in areas that are damp. Mold and mildew is caused by:

  • Water seeping through the roof, foundation or through spaces around the windows and doors.
  • Dampness caused by a leaking pipe.
  • Water wetting the walls and floor from a shower or a bathtub.
  • Increased indoor humidity caused by routine activities like showering, drying clothes and cooking.

If the problem of mold and mildew is restricted to a small area like a corner of the ceiling or wall then it caused by water seepage. It the problem covers a whole wall, a room or the entire basement then it is probably caused by increased levels of humidity. Tips to restrict the spread of mold and mildew:

  • If the source of the problem is a leak, fix it or have it fixed at once.
  • If the leak is in the roof employ a roofing contractor to fix it.
  • Hire a plumber to fix a leak in the toilet, bathtub, shower or water pipe.
  • If the mold has caused extensive damage to the structure of the house, hire a person who specializes in mold repairing.
  • Once all repairs are done dry the area thoroughly.
  • Check levels of indoor humidity and if it is higher than 30% to 50% then reduce it.
  • Cover the soil floor of the crawlspace under the house, with plastic to stop moisture from the soil adding to humidity of your house.
  • If the soil is wet use fans to dry the soil.
  • Use exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms to control humidity.
  • All vent fans should be connected directly outdoors and not to the attic.
  • The vent from your clothes dryer should be connected directly outdoors.
  • Check all ducts and replace damaged ones periodically.
  • Clean ducts annually.
  • Air-conditioning drain lines must be clean for proper drainage.
  • Ask a heating and cooling contractor to inspect both heating and cooling systems to ensure that they are removing humidity.
  • Seal air leaks in ducts to prevent increase in levels of humidity.

Damp Basement
Moisture evaporating and increasing levels of humidity inside the house normally cause dampness in the basement. Another reason is precipitation on cold concrete walls and floors when the weather is very humid. Measures to prevent dampness in basement:

  • After heavy rains if water stands on the floor of the basement, this is probably because there is a leak in the foundation.
  • Ensure that the downspout runoff is directed away from the foundation.
  • The ground around the house should slope downwards away from the foundation.
  • Make sure that the sump pump is working properly.
  • In case the basement has a dirt floor it should be covered with plastic to reduce water vapor from permeating through the soil.
  • Use dehumidifier in the basement when it is extremely humid to reduce precipitation on the walls.
  • Seal the basement properly so that humid outdoor air does not enter it.

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Mold and Mildew
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