Most homeowners believe that the worst household mold originates in the bathroom. Truth is, mold is all around us in the home. Spores travel through the heating and cooling system and your vents. They enter on a fall day when a breeze stirs them up from a pile of rotting leaves or cut grass. Once inside the home, they can affect those with allergies as well as those without any prior health condition. Your eyes water and turn red, your throat is sore, you sneeze and your skin can break out with a rash.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns that it may be impossible to entirely eradicate mold spores in the home. For most of us, it's a matter of degree. Toxic mold produces mycotoxins, particles that have been linked to memory loss and pulmonary illnesses in infants and the elderly. I have asthma and am especially vulnerable to the more subtle and sinister irritants and molds that build colonies in my home.
Mold loves water
If you have water leaks in the bathroom, laundry room, kitchen and basement pipe system, it's like sending out an engraved invitation to mold. That's why a routine walk-around in your home from top to bottom can prevent nasty out breaks. Remember, mold causes stains and costly cosmetic damage to your home that's nothing to sneeze at. Concrete molds love to move into basements where there's an unsealed dryer vent, leaky water pipes or pooled seepage from cracked walls and flooring. If you have cracks, use hydraulic cement that dries into a water seal in under five minutes.
If you find mold growing in your bathroom, clean it frequently and find new ways to increase ventilation via a new window, ceiling fan or dehumidifier. You may need to take out the carpeting in a serious case. If your windows bead up frequently, you may need to install storm windows or install double paned replacements.
Black mold and calling in a contractor
Black mold, according to the EPA, loves to spawn in dark places in the home. It's not always black, but it's always nasty. If you don't address the moisture problem in your home and just clean up the mold, it grows back with a vengeance. If you believe your home is susceptible, call in a contractor to perform black mold testing.
Like most home problems, you can prevent mold with routine maintenance and common sense. But you have to be motivated to perform routine checks.