From Crawl Space to Attic: Tips to Prevent Mold in Your Home
Nothing stops you dead in your tracks quite like coming face to face with mold inside your home. Your eyes narrow, “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” theme song plays softly in the background, tumbleweed rolls by. Well, not really. But whether you face-off in the attic, the crawl space, or anywhere in between, make sure that mold knows this house just isn’t big enough for the both of you.
Many homes in the Carolinas have an attic or a basement, if not both. These features often are a huge selling point for homebuyers because of their potential: extra space, a possible bonus room, maybe a home gym. While they seem like great additions for you, they’re even better for mold. Attics, basements, and crawl spaces are usually the darkest and most damp parts of any home, and they likely don’t get cleaned as often or as thoroughly as the rest of the house — creating the perfect breeding ground for mold spores.
While this isn’t the Wild West, dealing with mold can be just as intense. The effects of living in a home with mold range from health problems to structural damage, so don’t wait until high noon to solve the issue.
Being prepared for mold can save you time and money you would otherwise spend trying to get rid of it. If you’ve already spotted mold in your home, read our blog The Difference Between Mold Removal and Remediation for tips on how to effectively remove it. This blog, however, will list mold prevention tips to protect your home from top to bottom.
Let’s start from the top and work our way down.
Mold Prevention Tips
Use these mold prevention tips to protect your home:
Tip #1: Insulate your attic
Attic insulation seals your attic by placing material in the walls, floors, and ceilings. There are a few different types of insulation: loose-fill and blown-in, spray foam, and fiberglass batt. For more information about choosing the right installation for your home and DIY installation tips, check out our blog Attic Insulation 101: Everything You Need To Know. Fair warning, insulating your attic yourself is a pretty big project, so enlist some help if you’re not feeling up to the task.
Tip #2: Ventilate the attic
Mold problems are rooted in moisture problems! Warm, stagnant air creates the damp environments that mold thrives in, so having a well-ventilated attic is crucial for preventing its growth. Fans and vents circulate the air, keeping the attic dry and ensuring that mold spores don’t have a place to grow. Consider installing attic vents if you don’t already have them; they can even be programmed to turn on automatically when the moisture levels in your home get too high.
Tip #3: Get a hygrometer
As stated in tip #2, you can track the moisture levels in your home and program your ventilation system to work accordingly. To do this, you’ll need a hygrometer, an instrument that measures the humidity or water vapor levels inside. It will alert you when the moisture levels get too high, giving you an idea of when you need to take action. We estimate that the most comfortable humidity levels for your home are between 30% and 50%, depending on the climate you live in.
Hygrometers can be found online and in stores for as little as $5, so it’s definitely worth the investment. Monitoring humidity levels in your home will save you a lot of money in the long run that you might have spent on mold removal and remediation.
Tip #4: Clean up spills and leaks immediately
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth noting. We’ve already established that mold grows where it’s damp, so it’s imperative that you dry any wet areas as fast as you can. Fix the leaky pipes under the kitchen sink, seal up cracks in the roofs that rain may be dripping through, don’t leave water sitting in the tub, etc.
Tip #5: Use essential oils
They’re not just used for aromatherapy! Certain essential oils like cinnamon, thyme, and tea tree can help prevent mold when used in a diffuser and mixed into a homemade cleaning solution. Utilizing essential oils is an ideal natural alternative to the chemical cleaners that we’re used to.
Bonus! Essential oils are also effective in deterring pests!
Tip #6: Put a dehumidifier in the basement
These small appliances work like air vacuums — they suck the air in, remove the moisture, and blow the air back out. If your hygrometer is reading levels at over 50% humidity, go downstairs and turn on the dehumidifier. Placing one of these in your basement will keep the humidity levels down and let mold know it’s not welcome there.
Tip #7: Avoid basement clutter
Excess clutter in the basement will block airflow and reduce the effectiveness of ventilation. On top of that, make sure that you clear out any objects that you don’t need, because holding on to them may be contributing to mold growth. Wooden materials, paper products, and clothing provide great breeding grounds for mold, so if you have to store these items in the basement, make sure they’re protected in plastic bins.
Tip #8: Encapsulate your crawl space
If you have a crawl space, encapsulate it! Encapsulation is the process of sealing the crawl space so that water and moisture are unable to get inside. This keeps the notoriously dank, damp area clean and dry, protecting your home from mold.
Tip #9: Clean regularly
Clean your house. Thoroughly. Often. Top to bottom. Rooms that are prone to spills, leaks, and moisture, like kitchens and bathrooms, should be wiped down once a week and deep cleaned twice a month. Mold can attach itself to dust particles as well, so it’s important to dust every few days, too. We realize it’s unrealistic to deep clean your attic and basement regularly, but even the tough-to-reach areas should be carefully cleaned at least four times a year.
If your home has a mold problem that you weren’t prepared for, fear not. At Killingsworth Environmental, we have a comprehensive mold removal and remediation strategy to safely and effectively rid your home of unwanted growth. The best part? We use a dry ice blasting process, meaning no harsh chemicals! We pride ourselves on using environmentally friendly methods to provide you with the best possible service, every time. Schedule an inspection and service today.