Just as the worst of spring and summer allergy season is behind us, a new round of allergens is on the way. After pollen, mold is one of the leading causes of allergy symptoms and can leave you sniffling and sneezing any time of the year.
Mold is primarily an indoor allergen, which makes it easier to avoid and prevent. However, even the newest and cleanest homes can have mold if you don’t take the right precautions and know what to look for. Here are some tips to help you eliminate mold from your home so you can breathe easy through the fall and winter.
Eliminate visible signs of mold. This may seem obvious but keep in mind that mold can hide in out-of-the-way places where you might not think to look. Be sure to thoroughly check under sinks, behind cabinets and in your basement or attic.
Look for leaks. Leaky pipes or cracks in the wall or ceiling are a sure sign that mold will eventually develop. Dry these areas as best you can and have them repaired right away.
Improve air flow, especially in bathrooms and kitchens, which tend to be the dampest areas of your home. Opening windows and using a fan or ventilation system will help dry them out to prevent mold growth.
Keep humidity low, ideally between 35% and 50%. You can easily measure the humidity in your home with an inexpensive hygrometer available at your local hardware store. An air-conditioner or room dehumidifier will allow you to regulate humidity to the right level.
Use an air-purifier. Air-purifiers help remove pollen and dander from your home but they can also trap mold spores to prevent it from growing and spreading. Choose a purifier with a HEPA filter, which is the only type fine enough to capture allergens like mold.
Check your drains. Stagnant water and damp areas create ideal conditions for mold growth. Be sure exterior drains are directed away from the house and functioning properly, making any changes as needed.
Store yard waste away from your home. Piles of leaves, grass and other clippings are an environment where mold can thrive. Dispose of these as quickly as possible but keep them at a distance from the house if you can’t do so right away.
Kevin Arnold writes about health, wellness and travel. For more tips and information, check out all of his posts at www.pureroom.com/blog.