Battling Black Mold and Renovations

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ March 19, 2010

Black mold is a plague on health inside the home. It spreads like a grass fire and and can be responsible for respiratory illnesses, especially in children. Run rampant, black mold not only destroys your home from the inside out, it has the same affect on young people's immune systems. Environmental Health Perspectives describes how mold can spark life-long asthma or restricted airways in children. It's not a pretty picture. Eradicating black mold is difficult at best, so take measures to prevent it from getting a foot-hold in the first place.

According to the Toxic Black Mold Information Center, your dwelling can be a feeding ground for black mold fungi if it's especially damp. The problem is excess moisture that typically hides in places you can't see unless your walls become discolored, you find cracked paint, loose drywall, or if you discover rusting around your plumbing. Most people find the first signs of mold in darkened grout in bathroom tiles.

Black Mold Prevention and Home Renovations

If you're doing a renovation or addition, it's the perfect opportunity to search for signs of mold and build in safeguards. Mold testing is expensive; the more economical way of tracking mold conditions as you open walls or inspect basements is to measure for relative humidity (RH). An RH level should remain below 55-60% or it can become inviting to toxic molds. You should get ventilation into the area permanently and consider installing a sensor and dehumidifier.

Fix any pipe leaks you find immediately. Signs include rusting or a mildew odor, pooling water or-in the worst case-if you have an instant allergic reaction. Black mold spores spread through the air, so check your heating and air conditioning systems. Clean out the cooling coil, empty and disinfect the drain pan, remove and replace duct insulation, and put in a new HEPA filter. That done, you have to minimize dust in your home as well. Eliminating Existing Mold

The most important step in removing mold safely is containing the outbreak. Turn off your HVAC system before doing any work. Be sure to wear a respirator at all times, and limit your exposure to short intervals before going outdoors for fresh air. You should block access to the toxic area with plastic sheeting to trap the spores and prevent spreading.

It's a nasty job, but when your health and the well-being of your loved ones is at stake, you want to do it right.

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