Follow these 10 tips to drastically reduce the mold in your home:
1. Call in a home inspection professional to assess water-damaged areas.
2. Keep humidity low. Humidity levels should be under 40% in order for mold to stop its forward march.
3. Replace any carpets and furniture that have ever been significantly damaged (i.e., saturated in water), even if they look OK on the outside.
4. Carpet in the bathroom or basement? Don’t even think about it. And if you have it, get rid of it.
5. Use an air-conditioner during the summer. We know it’s not cheap to run the A/C, but if it’s in the budget, even setting it to 80 degrees when it’s 90-plus outside, will help. Use fans to circulate A/C most effectively.
6. Dust and clean furniture regularly, and vacuum carpets at least once a week (make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter).
7. Provide adequate ventilation in hot areas. The kitchen and bath are two of the highest-risk rooms for mold. Install exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom.
8. When you’re shopping for house paint for big or small painting projects, ask the sales rep about mold inhibitors you can add before painting.
9. Does your central air system have a fan from the Ford Pinto era? If so, replace it with a high-performance electrostatic air filter. Your local HVAC technician can help withy this.
10. Don’t neglect areas underneath the house—have a professional drain and ventilate all sub-basement areas, especially crawl spaces.
Charles Furlough is vice president of Pillar To Post Home Inspections.