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Prevent Attic Mold With These Simple Tips

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

attic moldWhat is it about an attic that’s so attractive to mold? Just about everything that makes it a place people tend to avoid. Most attics are dark, warm, overly humid, stuffy, and dusty. In other words, the perfect accommodation for mold. Mold growth can be destructive to vital wooden structure in the attic and also ruin attic insulation. Moreover, microscopic airborne mold spores migrate down into living spaces and spread contamination further throughout the home.

Once active mold growth has established a foothold anywhere, including the attic, professional mold remediation services are required to effectively neutralize and remove it. However, there are several preventive steps you can take to make your attic less mold-friendly now.

Maximize Ventilation

Old houses seldom had moldy attics. Imprecise construction methods standard in those days made attics very drafty. Constant air exchange with the outdoors kept attic humidity low and mold growth seldom had a chance to get started.

Make sure existing attic air vents at the soffits and the roof peak are unobstructed and wide open to promote continuous passive air flow. For a more active approach, consider installing turbine vents on the roof that pull moist air up and out of the attic every time a breeze blows, or a solar-powered electric roof vent fan.

Dry It Out

Make sure that bathroom vent fans, kitchen vent fans and dryer vents aren’t exhausting directly into the attic space. They should all be connected to vent pipes that extend all the way to the outdoors. Also, make sure that vent pipes routed through the attic are intact, joints and connections are secure and not leaking vented air.

Check ceilings in bathrooms, kitchen and other humid spaces for cracks, gaps around light fixtures and other openings that could allow warm, moist air to infiltrate the attic.

During rain, look for dripping and other signs of roof leakage into the attic. Repair requires a roofing professional as drips often appear far from the actual leak.

3 Tips To Remove Mold From Washing Machines

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

remove mold from washing machineA common household appliance that cleans and sanitizes clothing is also a frequent source of mold contamination. How does that happen? If it’s a front-loading washer, the answer is in the design. Efficient front-loaders are now a popular choice to replace top-loading machines in many laundry rooms. However, while top-loaders usually dry out between each use, the waterproof design that prevents leakage from a front-loading machine tends to retain residual moisture inside the unit. This provides an environment for mold growth that may infect clothes and/or taint these items with unpleasant odors.

Here are three tips to interrupt the cycle of washer mold growth and keep your clothes sanitary and fresh.

  1. Ground zero for mold contamination in front-loading washers is the rubber door gasket. Deep creases in the gasket retain hidden moisture and conceal mold growth that contaminates the entire unit. Begin by making a 50/50 mixture of warm water and laundry bleach. Put on gloves and soak a clean rag with the mixture. Clean the door gasket thoroughly, pulling open the seal creases and wiping deeply to remove mold and mildew growth. If fungal growth is advanced, saturate several rags with the water/bleach mixture and stuff them into the seal crease, leaving the wet rags in contact with mold for 30 minutes. Following this initial cleaning, remember to wipe the door seal dry with a clean rag after every wash cycle.
  2. Remove the detergent dispenser, another source of potential mold contamination. Soak it in a 50/50 mix of hot water and bleach or vinegar, scrub it clean, then rinse and re-install.
  3. On a regular basis to eliminate mold in the washer and internal plumbing, run a wash cycle containing just a few small clean towels (many manufacturers don’t recommend running the washer totally empty.) Pour only a cup of bleach directly into the tub—no detergent—then select the hottest water setting and the longest wash duration. Some models incorporate a special high-temperature tub-cleaning cycle option that will help do the job for you.

Natural Ways To Prevent Mold In The Bathroom

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

bathroom moldDoes your home include a space suitable for conducting scientific mold experiments? As it turns out, most residential bathrooms provide the perfect controlled environment for mold contamination: high humidity, chronically moist surfaces, warm temperatures, limited air circulation and little natural sunlight. Airborne mold spores circulate everywhere, outdoors and indoors. Without positive intervention, the ideal conditions present in a typical bathroom will trigger dormant spores into active mode that spawns mold growth.

Here are some natural methods that interrupt the cycle of bathroom mold contamination:

Fresh Air Treatment

Bathroom humidity from showering or bathing rises well above the 50% level that triggers active mold growth. Ample air circulation lowers humidity as well as rapidly drying surfaces where mold-friendly condensation forms. Open a bathroom window to let in fresh air and sunlight. If a ventilation fan is installed, ideally it should be timer-actuated. This allows the fan to continue running for several minutes after bathroom use in order to completely remove residual humidity and moisture. Fully extend the wet shower curtain—a mold magnet—to quick-dry in circulating air.

The Vinegar Approach

Mold is acid-averse. Common vinegar is a natural, non-toxic source of acid you probably already have in your home. Vinegar is known to kill over 80 percent of mold species when topically applied. Spray it full-strength on any suspect spots of mold (or its second cousin, mildew) on bathroom surfaces or infecting grout between tiles. For mold prevention, routine vinegar application about once a week to bathroom surfaces helps keeps the environment acidic and mold-resistant.

Vodka. Yes, Vodka

Naturally-occurring ethanol in fermented alcoholic beverages is known to be particularly toxic to mold and mildew. A readily available source of purified ethanol is vodka. Budget-priced brands of 80 proof vodka—containing 40% ethanol and 60% water—are cost-efficient for spot-treating incipient mold contamination. Pour it (straight) into a spray bottle and spritz it directly on signs of developing mold or mildew. Wait about 10 minutes, then wipe away the residue with a wet sponge or cloth.

Simple Ways To Prevent Laundry Room Mold and Mildew

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

laundry room mildewYour laundry room rates high priority for mold and mildew prevention. In terms of fungal growth factors, it offers everything: excess humidity, warmth, condensation and the potential for water leakage. Once triggered, mold and mildew are unsightly and destructive to surfaces where they grow. They’re also a source of airborne spores which may cause allergic reactions and chronic illness in some individuals. Preventing contamination is preferable to eliminating it after it’s gained a foothold. Here are some laundry room-specific tips for mold and mildew prevention:

  • Use hot water only when necessary. Hot water and high spin speed settings increase the volume of water vapor emitted by a washing machine. This may raise room humidity into the mold-friendly range as well as forming mildew.
  • Remove clothes and begin drying as soon as the washing machine finishes. An idle washer full of wet clothes contributes humidity to the air. Mildew can actually begin forming on wet clothes while they’re waiting in the washer.
  • Inspect washer water supply hoses. Look for leaks or seepage as well as cracked or suspect hoses. No amount of leakage or hose deterioration is acceptable as a ruptured washer hose can release hundreds of gallons of water and trigger widespread mold contamination. Consider replacing rubber hoses with more reliable braided stainless steel lines.
  • Maintain the dryer. A dryer vents water vapor equivalent to two to three gallons of water during each drying cycle. Clean the lint filter before every use. Dryers should exhaust to the exterior of the house through intact vent pipe, preferably metal.  Check the dryer vent pipe twice a year for lint accumulation that inhibits exhaust, as well as leaks that allow water vapor and heat to escape indoors.
  • Consider installing a powered vent fan. To reduce accumulating humidity and heat in the laundry room, a vent fan installed in the wall vents moist, warm air directly outside. Ceiling vent fans utilize a dedicated duct and vent to the roof.

Stay on top of mold and mildew prevention in the laundry room with these simple tips.

5 Tips For Mold Prevention In The Winter

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

mold preventionIs mold prevention in the winter easier than in summer? Only marginally, it turns out. Seasonal outdoor conditions have little effect on mold growth inside the enclosed environment of a home. Airborne spores that spawn mold may infiltrate the house at any time of year. What’s more, active mold growth can survive at temperatures far lower than typically maintained inside an occupied house during winter. Still, controlling certain factors specific to the cold season can at least reduce the odds of household mold contamination. Here are five ideas for mold prevention in the winter:

  • Humidify sparingly. Winter air is often dry and irritating to certain individuals. To alleviate these symptoms, humidifiers are commonly utilized to add water vapor to indoor air. Many portable humidifiers do not allow specific relative humidity settings, however, and rooms may become over-humidified. Moisture is a primary trigger for active mold growth. Maintain indoor humidity levels at 60% or below to discourage mold.
  • Run ceiling fans in the “reverse” (clockwise) mode for winter. A ceiling fan rotating clockwise pulls warm air upwards and pushes it across the ceiling and down walls and windows. This air circulation dries out condensation on these surfaces, particularly overnight, eliminating another source of mold-triggering moisture.
  • Upgrade your insulation. Some houses have minimal or no insulation inside exterior walls. Condensation forms on and inside cold, uninsulated walls in contact with warm, moist indoor air. To prevent mold growth, wall insulation should meet current Department Of Energy recommendations for type and amount.
  • Check the attic. While your roof shingles may shed summer rain effectively, the slow, stationary seepage from melting snow on the roof is another matter. Roof leakage due to snow melt or ice dams on the roof is a common cause of mold growth in the attic.
  • Dry wet areas. Many parts of the house—windows, mirrors, plumbing pipes— tend to be chronically damp in winter due to ongoing condensation. Quickly removing moisture with a towel prevents these areas from becoming potential focus points for mold growth.

The mold remediation experts at Rytech have more tips for mold prevention in the winter.

3 Completely Avoidable Causes Of Mold In The Home

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

mold in homeMost causes of mold in the home are moisture-related. Microscopic airborne mold spores exist everywhere in nature and there is no effective way to exclude spores from a house. Fortunately, in dry conditions, mold spores remain in a harmless, dormant state. When the missing ingredient—moisture—occurs, however, spores activate and become growing mold. The presence of active mold growth in the enclosed environment of a house is often toxic to residents and may cause a wide range of symptoms. Mold can also be destructive to surfaces where it grows.

The takeaway from these facts is simple: eliminate avoidable sources of moisture and you eliminate most causes of mold in the home. Here are three places to start:

  1. Control indoor humidity. Bathrooms and kitchens in particular accumulate excess humidity that triggers mold growth. These specific rooms should have exhaust fans that vent humid air all the way to the exterior of the house. In the overall home environment, humidity should be kept below 50 percent to prevent activation of mold spores.
  2. Fix plumbing leaks. Leaks or oozing from water lines should never be considered normal and disregarded. In addition to being a red flag for a potential pipe rupture that may cause severe water damage, even “minor” drips and seepage create a friendly environment for toxic mold growth. Since plumbing is frequently routed through seldom-seen areas, leakage and mold growth that accompanies it may be quite advanced before it’s discovered.
  3. Ventilate the attic. Hot, humid air accumulates in under-ventilated attics during daylight hours. At night, attic temperatures drop and water vapor condenses. Fibrous insulation in the attic becomes saturated with moisture and forms a perfect growing zone for mold. Make sure lower attic air vents, typically located in the soffits, are wide open and unobstructed by insulation or objects stored there. Also check the upper vents at the roof peak. Where passive ventilation is insufficient, consider adding a powered attic vent fan to exhaust humid air more effectively.

Ask the mold remediation experts at Rytech, Inc. about proven techniques to eliminate causes of mold in the home.

 

You’ve Got Mold! Act Fast to Minimize the Impact!

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

mold in homeMold in the home is a time-sensitive issue. Not all mold is toxic and not everything that looks like it actually turns out to be mold. However, once the conditions exist to trigger mold spores into the active mode—such as water damage in the house—the clock is ticking. Active mold growth will begin in as little as 24 hours, From that point on, remediating the situation becomes more complex as time passes.

Dormant mold spores are inert and generally have no effect on your home or occupants. However, when spores shift from dormant to active due to exposure to moisture and the right temperature, the outlook changes substantially. Active mold in the home releases millions of airborne reproductive spores, spreading contamination far and wide into your indoor environment. Depending on the type of mold, these reproductive spores can be both allergenic and toxic to susceptible individuals.

Take Action Sooner—Not Later

Here are some reasons why proactive techniques should be applied ASAP when water damage or other events create a favorable condition for mold growth.

  • Since mold spores exist almost everywhere, any event that includes water intrusion such as a ruptured plumbing pipe or inundation from outdoor flooding can activate dormant spores on contact. Therefore, the likelihood of mold contamination should be assumed and not delayed until active growth is advanced to the point where it can actually be visually observed.
  • The relatively short interim between exposure to moisture and the conversion of dormant mold spores into active reproductive mode is an important window of opportunity. When professional water damage recovery techniques along with mold remediation methods are applied in that time frame, spread of reproductive spores is minimized and toxic mold contamination is less likely to gain a foothold in your house. The multiple long-term impacts of mold contamination are also prevented.
  • Air sampling and inspection by a mold remediation specialist can quickly rule in—or rule out—the presence of mold spores or active growth and guide effective treatment methods.

For more information on preventing mold in the home, contact the remediation professionals at Rytech, Inc.

4 Simple Ways to Keep Mold From Becoming a Problem in Your Home

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

Prevent mold growth before it gets established in your home or else seek professional mold remediation to eliminate it after it’s gained a foothold. Those are your choices. Simply living with mold isn’t an option. Continued exposure to toxic airborne mold spores is a known trigger of allergic responses and a wide range of physical symptoms. Efforts to prevent mold are always preferable to the procedures required to remove extensive mold growth after the fact.

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