Preventing mold in your home

Stretching Your Dollar

INDIANAPOLIS –  The scorcher continues around the country, and right here in central Indiana.  It’s that heat and humidity that can lead to problems for your home, including mold.  Our ongoing extreme conditions of climate change have brought extreme heat and storms. 

That means it’s even more important to know how to treat your home for excessive moisture problems.  You can call a professional but you can do some of the preventative work yourself.

“We are also advocates of you don’t always need an army of guys in HAZMAT suits to take care of the problem,” said Pete Jarvis, owner of AdvantaClean North Central Indiana.

The housing market is still booming enough that people are buying homes without inspections, which can cost you.

“And a lot of those home offers are over the asking price, so you’ve already got buyers who are already spending a lot of money on the current home market and then surprise problems cause the price to be even more severe,” said Jarvis.

One of those problems is mold.  It can appear within 48 hours of moisture getting into your home.  Jarvis is the owner of AdvantaClean North Central Indiana.  He says you can do some of the mold cleanup work yourself if it’s minor, but one common fix of bleach is not the answer. 

In fact, experts say bleach can sometimes make things worse.  For small issues, you can often use anti-bacterial soaps.  If you are unsure, get a professional opinion.

You can also prevent problems with inexpensive tech. Having just a simple humidity monitor, which you can get for less than $15 at one of the box stores and making sure the humidity levels are staying down well below 55% maximum is going to make sure your home stays healthy. Some thermostats have humidity detectors built in.  And those are often tied into your HVAC home system.  Another common problem Jarvis sees is homeowners who are told to leave their fan on all the time!

“In between cycles if the fan is left on, then all the water that is built up on the coil actually gets re-evaporated back into the house, so you get worse dehumidification with the fan on then when it’s set on auto.  We recommend putting the fan on auto especially in the summer months,” said Jarvis.

The outside of your house is where many of the problems to the inside start, but they can be fixed.  You may want to start by checking your downspouts.

“Getting the water away from the foundation is really important and it can be a pretty simple process.  It’s just extending the downspouts away from the foundation, making sure the gutters are clean and they are working.  When you get water up against the foundation, that water is making its way into the home, creating humidity and water intrusion problems,” said Jarvis.

Crawl spaces need to have a vapor barrier as water seeps up that way.  It’s something which companies like AdvantaClean install, and it’s often missed by inspectors.  The only way to verify is to make sure you are controlling the moisture.  Mold is the symptom, moisture is actually the cause.  So if you think you have a possible mold or moisture problem, what should you do?

“Contact a professional.  In some cases, you can get referrals from your realtor.  There are just one of the ways to get a higher level of trust than just doing your average search on line.”

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